Can I choose which identity to adopt as and when? Yes

I’m a church girl. I grew up in Lontone before joining my current ‘fire’ church. I am a mother, wife, a friend, a woman, a Motswana, singer, gardener. I also spent a bit of time at school. These and multiple other identities often converge to influence my general perspective of the world.

It’s not often possible to know which identity influenced which view because as you might be aware, I cannot be separated or divided among the zillions of identities for different discussions or whatever.

The church girl is stuck with being a wife and a Motswana woman within a strict partriachal tradition harbouring the idea of a democratic state.

At times though, some of the identities try to dominate others, just as it happens in our society where certain groups assert their identity through a hegemonic relations with others.

Gladly, dealing with the self is not as political as with the outside public. The politics here can be easily contained.

What I’m I on about? Nothing.

A journey to home

Before I had a house in the middle of a naked and dusty patch of land, I didn’t think in plants and bushes. I had lived, previously, in the second floor of a three story complex. Each door and window opened to brown concrete walls; rough and unflinching structures of  multi-residential, multiple floor complexes. These were my definition of ‘view from my room’.

The nakedness of the land, I landed on, its poverty stricken and unkept look, triggered a hunger in me. I was hungry for life, for freedom from suffocating sights of brown  concrete  walls.

I remember spending days, out in the rain, an umbrella in one hand, a garden fork in another, tiling the land, planting and uprooting.

I am on the journey to home.

Home is where all the windows open to a live plant, to something with a semblance of a garden. To some live green and colour.

And until that happens, Home is a journey, a vision.

Gardening was to remain a partner I seek for inspiration; a reminder to be grateful for a piece of land.

I’m tilling the land to home…

And until each window opens into a garden; until we are hidden behind bushes and can pull down and trash our curtains, we can only imagine home. We can only see its shadows.

Tilling the land reminds me that one day, I’ll be home.

At home our curtains are bushes.

We hide sanitary pads, did you know?

You, dear friends, who do not have the honour to shed blood every month, don’t you sometimes wonder why you hardly see us with sanitary pads?

Let’s start here. One of the signs that a young woman has hit puberty, besides breasts and maybe pimples, is the onset of menstruation. And this becomes a monthly occurrence until the dawn of yet another stage in the life cycle, menopause.

Menstruation, in simple terms, is when a woman”s body drops an unfertilised egg(yes we have eggs). The egg breaks and blood gushes out of our bodies. This egg is unsolicited, comes voluntarily, but it cannot be rebuked back into the body. It often only stops dropping when it has been fertilised, when we are pregnant.

So I’m talking about a natural process here. As natural as urinating and the other one.

Don’t you men, especially, sometimes catch yourself thinking “Do my colleagues at work, fellow church members or ladies eveywhere, outside home, have a different body make up from those in my house? What do they use to stay clean, that we never get to see?”

We use the same thigs as those you see at home, dear men and brothers. It’s only that we hide our sanitary pads. We have to appear like what you know happens to the women close to you, doesn’t happen to us you meet at work and other places.

Menstruation has been tucked away into the private and secret spaces. It is a home matter – and outside home, it is a ‘keep-it-concealed -and-invisible’ and hide all its associations from the public eye.

Ask around, for me, if anybody has ever met a lady colleague, carrying a sanitary pad like they would a bottle of water?

Truth is we hide our pads under the armpit, pockets, purses. We carry an entire handbag to the bathroom, just so we can hide, from you, a pad. A pad we use to stay decent, to protect ourselves and our clothes. We have to hide it from you.

I don’t know why, but each time we need to change into a clean pad. Yes we have to change pads throughout the day. They fill up like ‘pampers’. Do you baby’s disposable nappies? You know they get soaked in urine and have to be changed every now and then?
A sanitary pad works the same way.

And just like a disposable nappy, it fills up and will leak and stain clothes, if it is not replaced quick enough.

But do you know what an effort it is to just decide on how to hide it, with each toilet visit. Armpit? What if it drops? You then have to walk in attention mode and remember to not lift that particular arm.

Or should it be a pocket, a handbag? Then you rebuke yourself “Eish the handbag is too big and too obvious”.

So much negotiations you could probably have invested on something more sophisticated. But you are here, stuck in your little space plottimg the best possible, less suspicious, mode of transporting a sanitary pad.

And the capitalist has now created square shaped purses for pads. But pads come sealed, individually, inside a bag, already. Do we really need another bag?

#Can we set the pad free please…