Times of Youth

I bleed

Dear Men,
now it’s the time,
for us to have a dialogue.
I’ve been waiting for quite long.
Wandering around.
Getting lost.
In the mystical world of my
traumatic impressions,
wrecked aspirations,
clinching hopes and vague necessities.
I’ve been looking for someone to stop by
and talk to me
tell me,
what exactly has been going on
in my life?
Sometimes I don’t get how the world perceives me.
And why?
I don’t get why I get mortified,
locked up.

I’m 18.
It’s the time for us to clear things out.
Or should I say
It’s the time for you
to clear things out.
I’ve been fighting a never ending battle with
my thoughts,
that eat me out from the inside
as I fail,
to get my questions answered.
The doubts, I’ve been hiding inside of me.
When I ask,
why me?
Why should I be the one
to go through it
hide it
feel the shame,
the impurity,
as I bleed.

Let me tell you something beautiful.
Something extra ordinary.
I bleed.
I bleed, every month.
I bleed and I go through the pain.
I bleed,
because I give life.
I bleed,
because I’m the one to take forth your bearing.
I bleed,
because I provide shelter to your little self to nurture inside of me.
For 9 months.
I bleed, because I’m the one
almost giving up on life
as I give birth
to a pure little soul
through the cleft
between my legs.
Isn’t that beautiful?

You see, why?
Why I bleed?
That’s not a shame.
That’s not an impurity.
When I turned 13,
I was told
over and over
that I’m impure.
I was told
not to enter the kitchen
or to touch the food.
I was told to stay away.

Today I’d ask
If this blood makes me nothing
Then, answer me.
Is the birth of every child
Is your child filthy and the birth shameful?
You’d answer no.
Why would you answer no?
Because it’s your child, isn’t it?
All blessed and pure.
Just like milk and honey.
It’s the blood that this child is here.
It’s the pain that this child is here.
It’s the sleepless nights, the cramps, that this child is here.
Not the impurity
or the shame.
Not the filth
or the dirt.

I’m not one of those
filthy rich girls
to unwrap tons of maternity pads and
stick em to the walls of university
just to show the world
the kinda feminist I’m.
Not a bra-burner either
to come out on the streets
and burn it all in front of your eyes.
Or the man hater you’d think
to protest
against your right to my abortion.
I simply demand respect
and some warmth.
So that I know
all that I go through
is something worth going through.

My love,
Yes I bleed.
That blood,
brings heaven under my feet,
adds colors to my life,
and gives my soul some pride.
You see,
I will not hide.
Oh wait,
Wasn’t this a dialogue?
now it’s your turn.
Can you please tell,
why should I?

Written by Nayab Ali 
Roots IVY International School