Here she runs — Artwork by the author

Like everyone else, the pandemic has forced me to review my workout routine. Naturally, I turned towards one of the most accessible types of activities: running. I have never been a fan of being out of breath quickly, feeling the unpleasantness of sweat against the colder air. Still, I grew some sort of liking because I’ve applied a layer of gentleness that directly derived from being aware of my menstrual self.

Do you remember this video campaign from a menstrual product company called “like a girl”? A simple blue backdrop, several people (male and female, of different ages and ethnicities)…


An Underrated Way to Lubricated Vulvas

Wet Secret V1— Artwork by the author

At first glance, they look like random materials for home recipe makers who are slightly superstitious. Long, dry, rough to the touch, with a dull brown colour; it is hard to imagine it was once a plant root that supported a living being. In the form I was used to, the dry stems would be either straight or rippled on some parts and securely tied in a wreath form with cotton thread. Vetiver roots have always been part of my childhood memories. Because they were stored in a remote corner of the kitchen board or my mother’s beauty closet, they…


About building bridges across the menstrual taboo

There is a whole world in your belly — V1 — Artwork by Kenma

In my teenage years, I used to have a little allowance every month to buy the menstrual products I needed. I was not so good at anticipating my period. I had no idea how to read the forthcoming symptoms, and tracking with the calendar dates was a foreign idea. My first bleeding days always came as a surprise and resulted in me running next door to the Aldi Market. They stocked my preferences there: the green package, ‘Normal’ with wings and three blue drops. …


About the anxiety that comes with the question

The yolk of anxiety — Close up— Collage by Kenma

When I was about 24, my dear grandma (may she rest in peace) sat me down and told me with a very solemn tone, ‘You should settle down now. Your babies are passing by, you know’. By babies, she meant my eggs. According to her, all those years and cycles without bearing any children were all wasted chances. I replied by telling her that the future I had pictured for myself didn’t include babies (or, at least, not yet) and that I was focusing on my studies. I also giggled to myself, amused by her expression. I could visualise my…


What we have is a womb of creativity.

“Fertility” is like the dusty box placed in the attic, in the mansion houses we would see on TV. I have always found the term quite unrelatable and alienating. For a long time, I would avoid calling myself fertile. As a teenager, I found the term was comparing me too much to a garden, desperately waiting for the rain to pour. Besides, my young mind was untangled in cryptic Qur’an verses, various misconceptions and striving hard to draw out the elements that I truly believed in. One particular Quranic verse impacted me: the image of a cultivated field was used…


Writing is Diving, but into what? — Collage by the author

It feels like taking a plunge—a big, risky one, with a pleasant adrenaline kick. At the beginning of the year, I set up my mind to improve my writing skills and share the stories sitting on my chest. Since March 2021, I have been publishing, at a steady pace, stories highlighting a piece of learning on intimacy, menstrual health, or identity once a week. Along with my writing, I also read from other writers: listicles and personal essays, mainly to feed my curiosity and keep the brain juice running. This is how I came across David Majister’s posts on the…


Delicious Heat — Artwork by Kenma

I have the feeling everyone is looking at me. No, it’s not true, not e-ve-ry-one is looking at you! What am I, the centre of the universe? But those looking at me must be doing so because of my skin colour, I am sure of it. Well, isn’t it to be expected? I obviously stand out in a room where everyone else is white. Fine, I am not ashamed about my body anyway. I have grown to cherish this body. Yet I can’t help but imagine some of them projecting some fetishising ideas onto my body. ‘Chocolate skin tone’, maybe…


Drop drop drop — Close up — Artwork by Kenma

It has often happened when I expected it the least. While queuing at the supermarket, riding full speed on my bicycle or at my desk, in deep concentration, with a hot water bottle stuck between me and the chair back. It has also happened while laughing with a friend on the phone or in a sneeze when crossing my flat’s cold corridor. I could never really predict the exact moment it would happen. The gushy flows of my period.

If you’re not familiar with how menstruation flows, know that it is not constant; it feels more like waves. You’d feel…


Journal entry of a plant lover

Fertile Soil (Detail) — Collage art by Kenma

I am a professional plant killer. Leave me your favourite alocasia, your pampered spider plant, and I will return them with sunburns or some dried brownish leaves covering the soil. My flat is a graveyard where new plants appear, replacing their dead predecessors. The new ones, shiny green with lustrous leaves, would occupy the exact location without necessarily reviewing the whole routine (error #1 and #2). The thing is: I very much love plants and can’t stop hoping I’ll grow a greener thumb out of all these victims.

When I stumbled across the idea that menstrual blood could be used…


A tale to the imperial gem of female genitalia

The Horizon and The Newcomers — Artwork by Kenma

No man’s land. Definition A: a piece of unowned land

Once upon a time, there was a land, moist, fertile, full of mysteries. The coasts displayed an infinite palette of nude colours, lagoons shimmered pink, and an abundant jungle climbed to the overhanging mountain, now called ‘Mons of Venus’. Several rivers and lakes flowed across this land. One of these streams had a peculiar intermittent flow that was red and took its source in some remote place underneath the Mons. After the first Robinson landed here, and for centuries after, humans tried to understand how this stream worked. They didn’t know…

Kenma

(She/ her) 30-something Afro-European woman. I share personal essays and opinion pieces about periods, sexual health and body positivity.

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