Adolescence, Menstruation & Poetry

A lot of adolescent girls in Uganda fear menstruation. They might see their sisters and friends crying when they have their periods and think it will be painful. Or they don’t talk with anyone about it so when it does arrive they think something is wrong with them. They’re teased by boys during their menstruation… boys often think the sign of blood means a girl has been with a man or see their blood as a sign that she’s ready to be with a man. It’s a confusing time!

Thankfully, the coaches at Girl Up Initiative Uganda show girls that menstruation is normal! They show girls how to take care of their bodies and make reusable sanitary pads. It is very empowering for these girls to be able to talk about menstruation with the coaches and other girls. Instead of being a taboo experience filled with dread, it can be – if not celebrated – at least accepted and sometimes, even embraced.

Check out this poem written by Esther, a young girl being featured in our book, “We Have Something To Say: True Stories Written By Adolescent Girls Growing Up In The Slums Of Kampala.”

~ Menstruation ~

Menstruation Menstruation
How I imagine if you were not there for me
Many girls in Uganda are crying because of you
Missing school because of you, fearing to be open because of you
And how I wish you could tell us the day you will come
Many girls are lacking what to use and even pads during their period.

May you stay longer because we still need you in our lives
Without you our mothers could not produce children,
Marriage and other thing and I really thank God because
He has given me a wonderful period.

Girls, women let us come together to solve this problems

Therefore we say menstruation is needed in our lives
So we be free, menstruation doesn’t kill but help us
And it teaches us how to care for our bodies as girls

**

Join us in turning our book into a reality! Donate to our fundraiser here: https://igg.me/at/BSKpc2yIaq0

The Gritty Pearl

I had a really gritty kind of day.

Winston Churchill once called Uganda, ‘The Pearl of Africa’ for all of its brilliant beauty.

The name Megan means ‘pearl’. (It also means ‘strong’ and ‘brave warrior’.)

Well, it takes grit to create that polished gem. So I’ve been leaning into the gritty, grumpy edges with as much kindness and gentleness as I could muster.

That helped. A lot. As did sharing about my grit with friends and loved ones. They got it. And they kept loving me. I didn’t feel so crazy or alone anymore.

While I don’t feel as in need of hugs, kind words and other contributions from you as I did earlier, I want you to know that would all be very welcomed. 

It’s not always easy to be doing this ‘living my dream’ thing and bringing a soul project to life. Sometimes I just wanna curl up in my mom’s bed in NY and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy and Outlander and drink hot cocoa as the snow falls outside. (Sigh)

For now, I’m giving thanks for the grace that’s emerging in the wake of this round with the grit.

Love,
Your Friend, the Pearl-in-Process

Lessons Learned From My Computer Crash

I learned 3 big lessons over the weekend when my computer crashed:

**BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE!

Planning on backing up your hard drive is very, very different from actually BACKING UP THE HARD DRIVE. Fortunately, I only lost 2 months of journaling pages and some Africa stories that were in process.

**BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR.

This weekend I was in need of a “reset.” I felt a bit energetically clogged up by all the city congestion, physically and psychically. I started to engage with my yoga and meditation practice again, reminding myself it’s not always about LEAVING the city to find peace but rather, BEING PEACE wherever I am.

I also had asked for a reset of my “operating system” (the different points of views I operated from that no longer serve me).

I guess I didn’t make it clear to the Universe that I didn’t literally need a reset of my computer operating system…

**BE WILLING TO LET GO.

Have you ever seen Tibetan Monks make sand art? They spend hours making gorgeous mandalas with sand dyed different colors. Then they let the elements have their way with the art: wind, rain… the art doesn’t remain. It’s a practice of impermanence and non-attachment.

I definitely felt tugs at my heart upon knowing I lost two months of journaling pages… pages that captured my dreams and reflections, inquiries and insights, grief and celebrations. Yet I also knew the truth of what a dear friend shared, of how the act of writing itself is the real medicine of journaling.

Yes, very true, aaaaaannnnnd, the writer in me wondered if some day, when writing my book about the journey over the past year and a half, I’d want those pages to refer to.

Yet I saw the poetic beauty in all of this…

How often do I hold onto old stories and points of views while simultaneously wishing to create a different future?

What else is possible when I allow a full reset and LET GO of all the past stories and reflections and points of views?

I’ll still back up my hard drive, don’t misunderstand me. Some things are just smart to do.

But I’m practicing the art of surrender. Letting go invites me to open up and receive more of what is wishing to contribute to me, the newly updated Megan 2.0. J