June 19, 2009

Karl Marx and menstruation

Something will open up, some new connections will be made and something will run out. Blood. That will be blood. My blood. Mother is talking like a distant robot and pointing at the terrible drawing in a scary book. Drawing looks like a upblown face of drunken hedgehog, and that’s supposed to be mine inner organs where new connections will be made soon. I try to think of something else, since mother is serious and distant. But I remember that blood will run out. The name of that is menstruation. And when it will start, it will be there each month. It´s 1983, Soviet Union is in the grey years of stigmatization and the book is exactly as grey as a face of a communist party leader Leonid Brezhnev. I want to escape thoughts of menstruation and the heaviness of communist party. Impossible. Both of that.
So when I got menstruation for the first time I was prepared. Mother wasn’t around, it was school holidays and I was in my grandmothers place. I was smart enough to sneak around in here linen and I fund what I needed – a big peace of cotton.
To walk around with a big peaces of cotton in panties was a constant remaining of some unpredictable, indescribable shame. It was uncomfortable, stinky and a bit risky. One day I was stroked by a sudden thought that every woman around me had to go trough those worries once a month. Besides the pain in a stomach had all of us to walk around with those slimy, betradiory sausages of cotton between our legs and watch up for running blood. It must not be seen or discovered by someone else.
In 1988 we got a new paper in Latvia, a weekly issue printed by a new organization - Peoples Front Movement. The result of Perestroika. Paper had a lots of good articles, plus political statements and plans for the changes in society. A brave, fresh breeze in a public arena. The editor was a known female journalist and as a chef she got to be the first one from the paper who visited some Western country. She reported that the ”rottening capitalism” was fare away from rottening. And as one of examples she printed a description of something unbelievably practical – panty posts. There it was. A picture of something delicate, designed for a use in catastrophes. I don’t remember any other article until today from a newspaper ”Awakening” except that little one with a small picture in black and white.
Two years later I was on my first trip to a capitalistic country by my self. On my way to Norway I had to stop in Sweden, and stay a night in Stockholm, where fortunately one of my co-travelers knew a Latvian family with a flat near the railway station. In the evening in this flat I saw that a monthly period had started. And there in the bath room I saw with my own eyes a little cute product witch proved for me for all the times that capitalism was not rottening. I held in my arms a smart, smart, smart invention – a little package in thin plastic cover, a panty post. It was made to sit in the panties and not to slide out as a loose bit of cotton does. It was made to help human beings and not to accuse them. While I held it in my arms I felt so sorry for all those years in my and my mother’s, and all soviet women’s lives with a fights in our panties, caused by clumsy cotton peaces, that I was speechless. Overwhelmed and speechless. My hart bumped in joy and relief. In my mind there was a storm – who, who was responsible for all this, all this fear for unpredictable shame in all those years? It had to be Karl Marx. He was always the basic and fundament in the great soviet ideology. Reason for Red Revolution and the outcome of everything denied for us, poor soviet citizens. So I started to course Karl Marx. He was a thief of the unknown happiness, he and all other men in the Red Revolution. May you be there in Your graves without the blood while we will enjoy a feeling of purity and civilized hygiene. A feeling of relief.
That was what I felt in Stockholm, 23. August 1990. With a blue plastic pad in my arm.

Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen

1 reacties:

wasted project team said...

remarkable story.... No idea that Red Revolution can be interpreted like this....

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