4. El rechazo

4. Rejection

At some point it all started with rejection, the disconnection from my female self. Nelly explained to me once that when we reject a part of ourselves it is out of fear that if we identify with it, others will reject us. We reject this part out of fear and to feel that we fit in better. I think that in my relationship with my female self rejection has been present on many occasions. They label us as female from birth, when we arrive in this world and our parents have a girl. The girl.

I grew up in a time and place that had more freedom and offered more opportunities for education than those that my mum, my grandmothers and my great-grandmothers experienced. I remember talking with my school friends about periods and one of them who already had hers said that when you’re on your period you use loads of toilet paper. I didn’t have mine yet, I don’t remember how old I was. The other girls thought that mine had come already, and when telling them that it hadn’t, they called me a liar. When I was a girl, I had the impression that being a girl gave you a label of being weak, although you would neither be this nor feel this way. And somehow, for fear of that rejection, you end up accepting all these labels that will be placed on you and you end up rejecting the person that you feel you are.

Well into the hormonal storm of puberty, my period came one day in the morning, and at that moment I cried and called my mum. But I didn’t cry because I was scared or because I was shocked. I am not usually a hypochondriac with blood or injuries. I cried because I thought that was what I had to do. I didn’t cry much because it wasn’t genuine, it wasn’t from within. It was the etiquette. What I had seen in films or TV series and what I had heard was “her period came and she burst into tears out of shock”. And I don’t remember what age I was or what day of the week it was. I only remember reacting to the heights of what I thought was expected of me, to fit in with the other girls’ stories, the other women’s stories. In that moment I rejected my true self. Now I see it.

Our period forms a central part of our life as females, but it is presented to us full of taboos, fears, prejudice and misinformation. At school they explained the reproductive system to us, but at that age having children was so distant that the information seemed rather irrelevant to what was happening to us then. They didn’t talk about periods, or menstrual health. We wore sweaters tied around our waists when we had our periods so that if we bled onto our trousers it wouldn’t be seen. You would feel ashamed and disgusting. Leaking is something that keeps happening to me when I have heavy periods, which is the vast majority of the time. Now I have other tricks and it doesn’t bother me, I accept it. Now when I leak it is because instead of prioritising myself, I prioritise whatever it is that I am doing, especially when I am at work; in a meeting or in the lab. I can’t stop the meeting to say “Sorry, it’s so interesting what you are telling me but do you mind if we stop the meeting? My period is really heavy and I have to go and change” and get a tampon or pad from my toiletry bag and go to the bathroom as it was normal. Or being in the lab doing experiments and knowing that, during the incubations there isn’t enough time for me to go to the toilet and, as the experiment comes first, then I wait to finish it and then it is too late. In my current job a lot of the time I work with students, and if they are girls, I am more open and I tell them I have to go to the toilet, and that it isn’t close-by.

For me I think it was in this way, in this relationship of rejection with my period that I started to reject my female self. And from then on, I started to feel that often being a woman is full of loneliness, and even punishment. I feel that lots of my friends and the women around me could be thinking the same. I don’t know anyone who has told me “I was so happy when I got my first period. I loved it and every month when it comes I enjoy it so much, it’s fun!”. And believe me I have friends from all over the world and I have lived in contact with many different cultures. Having a period makes us enter a fertile, sexual stage that is also full of taboos, fears, prejudice and misinformation. The fear and misinformation often go hand in hand. There are so many things to include here! Taboos about sexuality and pleasure, scared that we might be harmed, that we could be raped, that we could be taken advantage of, prejudices of gender and sexual orientation, of what you “should” and “shouldn’t do”, misinformation about illnesses, about the use of hormonal contraceptives, about menstrual health and so many other things.

I realise that for a while I’ve been deciding that I am fed up with all of this. And that somehow this blog serves to express this exasperation. I want to contribute in changing things, so that the future will be different, so that girls won’t be scared of their periods or reject them. So that we can teach them to live in peace with their cycles, to talk and share, and to not be ashamed nor feel dirty or rejected. I want to learn to understand my body and to help other women understand their own and above all be able to improve our menstrual and hormonal health. I want us to be empowered through information, empathy and self-discovery. I want men to be our allies in this change. The man in my life is called Juanpe, we have been together for 15 years, and so many times he has been the one to rescue me from the loneliness in my relationship with my female selfto give me back my self-love and to support me the most in this journey.

Questioning this rejection has made me think about trans people and how difficult their relationship with their bodies and the female part they identify with or not, or are wanting to change, must be. It comes to my mind that surely it is trans men who perhaps have the greatest empathy to understand what happens to a female. I don’t know any trans people, but I would like to say that this space, this blog, is not only open to cis women like me, but to anyone who wants to join me on this journey, no matter your gender or if it corresponds with your body or not.

9 thoughts on “4. Rejection

    • Author gravatar

      Pues me voy a empezar a plantear el estar en un reunión y decir: « Muy interesante lo que estás contando pero se me rebosa la copa menstrual. Dame 5 minutillos👍🏼»

      • Author gravatar

        Pues si lo haces, cuéntalo, y a ver si así nos vamos animando entre todas a ser más claras y a normalizar estas situaciones.

    • Author gravatar

      Y la foto con las etiquetas es enorme👏🏼

      • Author gravatar

        Gracias Trini. La verdad es que me he ido dando cuenta de que las fotos también se han convertido en una parte importante del compartir este viaje, y abrirle de nuevo la puerta a mi expresión más creativa, que llevaba mucho tiempo callada.

    • Author gravatar

      Yo ahora estoy en proceso de aceptar mi sexualidad, de entender cuales son los límites de lo que me gusta y no en la intimidad y es muy difícil, ya que la mitad de las cosas que me interesan son tabúes. Pero estoy intentando dejar esa vergüenza y aceptar lo que deseo y me gusta. Esta siendo muy liberador. Te ha pasado?

      • Author gravatar

        Sí, si que me ha pasado. Pero en mi caso, creo que era una cuestión de perspectiva, como que en realidad eran cosas tabúes desde un punto de vista cultural, pero en realidad eran cosas naturales del deseo y el placer y el querer disfrutar intimamente con alquien a quien amas. Para mí la intimidad forma una parte importante de un proceso de comunicación. A veces también es importante que la persona que te acompaña sea abierta y te comparta la naturalidad de lo que esteis viviendo sin hacerte sentir vergüenza. ¡Me alegro mucho que tu proceso esté siendo liberador! Creo que es una manera muy bonita de poder sentirse empoderada. Un abrazo.

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