Growing up my grandmother always made sure that I was informed about my body and the way it behaves. When I got my first period, I wasn’t shocked, I was pretty relaxed and made it through my birthday and a whole school day with a host of patience and motivation. I got my first period on my 13th birthday and I do not remember it being weird or me being uninformed. I already had an idea of how to use a sanitary napkin and realised that my family was extremely period positive. I did not have to hide a major milestone in my life from my own family.
Usually, in an Indian setup, your father and your period are two very different ends of the conversation. My father was a source of support when I went through my period and went through PCOD. He would schedule doctors’ appointments and would be ready to hear their opinion out. It was a different setup, he never left the room during any of the conversations. While my father always gave me room to make my decisions. He was never disgusted or asked me to stop talking about pain.
How to be more period positive?
Learn that periods are not to be associated with impurity. Learn that being a cis-gendered person you cannot be unaware of menstruation. Being aware and helping will only be of help.
Learn to have a non-sexist and period positive outlook on PMS. Do not pass comments on whether someone else is going through pain or not. For example, if I break my foot, you will not come to tell me “You are lying, come walk!”. Just like that if I go through my periods don’t give me unsolicited advice and do not undermine my pain.
Learn that as a menstruator you do not have to live in shame. You are not impure nor do you have to hide your own body’s mechanisms. Disassociate the notion of “purity” and “impurity” from the human body.
It is a very human thing that should be known to all. Periods are not taboo and we should not attach purist notions to them.