Apologies & Brown Customs

Now the last few weeks have not been the most shining moments for I, Scarlet Ramerez have been mind, body, and soul distressed. You may be wondering, what did you do this time, well it’s more what did I say. Look, I’m not too good with the words coming out of my mouth thing, and frankly me typing them isn’t doing them much justice. So before I start out with my regular entry I do have to make out some apologies. The first goes out to the person I may or may not have talked about in my previous blog. Yes I do admit, a lot of the stuff I wrote, although not ethically moral or accurate in many cases was not 100% targeted towards you. Let’s just say I hit a bump in the road, and for some reason something about you triggered me (wait, that came out wrong, I meant to say well…I think I wasn’t thinking but those emotions, they are not directed at you but at those who have wronged me that weekend before my trigger). My next apology goes out to Mr.X. The things I wrote about him never really triggered him in any way, but one slip of my fucked up mouth made him think I am the ultimate bitch. In all honesty the straight joke was targeted at the fact that you can draw straight lines not the other thing. I know it came out that way, but really in all honest, “amma sathyam”I meant the ruler and the drawing straight line thing. I would never try to hurt you, please believe me Mr.X. If I would want to hurt you, I would be hanging from the edge of a building and the guy that could save me told me that the only way to save myself was if I insulted you. Finally I want to apologize to my readers for not writing regularly or with any quality; when French is on your mind, English lacks ambition.

Okay with that said, let’s jump into that time of the month, a girl’s periods (yeah well it’s because I’m on mine). Yes that momentous time of the month where a girl moves, budges, sneezes, laughs a little too hard, and it’s like Niagara Falls down there. Now I have talked about this before, but you know I never really went over how ridiculously far brown people take a girl’s period, especially in my culture. A filipino girl on her 18th birthday gets a big fancy Debut, and a Latina gets a quinceanera on her 15th birthday, but what does a brown girl like me get; a puberty ceremony within the week she gets her very first period. Yes, this is real. It is an occasion where your family announces to the entire world (my family has no end, I’m practically related to everyone) that I can now have children; and I’m talking, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, they all fucking know that you have your periods. In fact I remember my first periods like it was seven years ago:

It was the tail end of August, the summer before I was off to fifth grade. This was also the year where I developed an unhealthy eating habit. No, I did not become anorexic, quite the opposite actually, I ate literally everything and anything in the fridge, from ribs, to rice, to even crackers, and plain bread if we ran out of food. I also grew quite a bit which explains why my growth has been a deficit feat in the recent years. So here I was, chubby bunny, eating everything, when I started to notice that I was “developing.” Yeah way to put it maturely. In other words, I started getting a figure that looked not so sticklike anymore. I also went through emotional phases; I cried for no reason, laughed at things that weren’t even funny, and got triggered so easily, you’d might as well call me a grenade.

The Day of the Event:

The day I got my period was not a glamorous, I woke up one morning and became a woman kind of event. It was actually a humiliating event altogether. That morning, my dad had to get the car fixed, so after my mom left to work on her trusty bicycle, my dad and I went to an auto shop. Being a girl, and a tired one at that, I decided to fall asleep in the back of the car while it was getting fixed. What seemed to be three hours later, we finally came home. Still extremely tired for some reason (huh wonder why), I went up to my room to sleep once again (who knew that would be the last day I ever come down). Hours go by and finally I emerge from a hundred year sleep like Aurora awakening from the kiss of her Prince Charming, except I awakened with the need to pee. So like a normal person I go to pee, and looky, looky, I see something bright red stained on my white underwear (who knew I would wear white that day). Don’t judge, I was only 10 so I lack this knowledge, but my first instinct was that I was have cut myself somewhere and the result was blood on my underwear. So where do I check; my head, my elbows, my knees, everywhere except the source of where the blood actually came from. So here I am on the toilet panicking when my dad knocks on the door and asks if everything’s all right. Any parent would be concerned with having their daughter locked in the bathroom for a half hour hyperventilating.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I come out of the washroom. My dad was sweeping the floor, when I told him, “Appa, I’m bleeding, but it’s on my underwear and I don’t know where I cut myself.” He slowly lifted his head up, smiled, dropped the broom and ran to the phone. Now that I think about it seven years later, it was not my best intentions to tell my father about this. Within 5 minutes my entire immediate family knew, and in the entire commotion, my mom was able to take a day off work, and ride her bike all the way back home.

 The Talk:

Look I was only ten, so my mom never really had “the talk” with me. But I think in the history of all talks my mom spent a half hour explaining to me about periods, pads, and sex, all while calling my family. That night was hell. Families upon families came over to hug, congratulate, and advice me on the wonders of the period. They were like, “you’re a woman now, you must take care of yourself.” I was on my period for crying out loud, not pregnant. But they treated me like I was pregnant and this is how:

  1. I was not allowed to leave my room for a week leading up to my puberty ceremony out of fear of straining myself. To help keep me occupied, my parents bought me a 5000 piece puzzle to do, hooked up the cable to my room, and I didn’t have to lift a finger. Sounds like the life, not when there is a party going downstairs celebrating you and you can’t even join in the fun.
  2. The things they make you eat in itself can be a blog, but here is the rundown. I had to drink blended kale, raw egg, egg mixed in coffee, and brown food consisting of every spice in the world and alttogether looked like the colour brown. Enough said.

 The Day of the Ceremony:

The day of the puberty ceremony (I cringe just typing this) was like a bollywood production. A lot of brown families have their ceremonies at big banquet halls, but since I was still so young, my parents decided to have mine at home. It was a really small event, just a 100 of my closest relatives, that’s all. They all came at 5 in the morning. I was showered with milk, tumeric water, normal water, and finally with shampoo and conditioner. Then I was made to wear a saree that was the same body mass as me, fresh jasmine flowers in my hair, and over 10 pounds of gold jewellery. For 5 hours, I went through a photo shoot, a ceremonial standing where I was made to hold a coconut for a good hour, some family photos, and finally group photos with immediate families. The day was exhausting, a toll on my feet, and frankly meaningless. I even asked my mom once, “why do we do all of this?” “We just do.” she said and smiled at me. Now the only perk of getting a puberty ceremony is the shit load of cash and jewellery you get from relatives and grandparents whose dying wish is to see their first born granddaughter flourish into a woman, This my point here is, every culture has their own way to welcome womanhood, but why target your periods, that’s all I’m saying.


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