Warning: this is going to be a TMI kind of post. Menstruation will be discussed. So just scroll down and look at those apathetic Bart riders. Nothing to see here… keep moving or check your phone for whatever it is that people do when they check their phones.
The day before these drawings were made, I attended an abbreviated workshop for an art, healing and transformation project with which I’m involved, and which will culminate in an art exhibit in November. I met up with one of the facilitators who had taken the full-length 6-month long workshops before and we agreed to meet for lunch the next day (which is the day the drawings are made) because there was no time to socialize at the workshop, and I was so happy to have another girl friend with whom I can confide and be honest, especially in reference to sexuality. There are only a few trusted individuals and she is one of them.
I come from a long line of women who don’t talk about sex, sexual health, or hell.. even puberty. I remember that in the 6th grade, we had one class of sexual education. We were given booklets where puberty was discussed. I loved that booklet. It gave me answers for questions I didn’t know how to ask (and honestly, still have a hard time asking), and I remember wrapping the cover so it would not be too obvious that I was reading this booklet over and over. I no longer have that booklet and at this point, I didn’t have anyone with whom I can discuss this frankly. I remember that when I had my first period, I had to washed my underwear by hand and I didn’t know where to hang it to dry or anything, so I left it on the side of the bathtub. My oldest sister found it and then as if to scold me, she asked pointedly in my native tongue if I had my first period. I thought, Oh my god. I shouldn’t have left it there. Oh my god, she KNOWS!! I have been discovered! Guilty!! I felt like I have sinned (I was also raised Catholic). I could not deny it as much as I wanted to say no! I swear it wasn’t me, but it was. It was my underwear. So, I nodded. She then told me where the supplies were and where to hang my wet underwear so it could dry. I wasn’t in trouble, but it was still traumatic. She said nothing else. My mother and my other sister, on the other hand, did not talk to me about it at all. We went on our daily life as if nothing ever happened.
This event, as I have discovered through another friend with whom I had lunch a couple of days earlier, has shaped my view, attitude and my approach to sex and sexual health. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I don’t know.
So meeting my new girl friend felt like it was sent from heaven. Because I didn’t know her that well, for some reason, I felt I could be more honest with her than with others whom I have known for years. I liken it to talking to a bartender (even though I don’t drink). Amazingly, this brought us close because she also didn’t talk about this to anyone.
On that note, enjoy the drawings on the train on my way to and from my lunch with my new friend.