Translation by Community Member Pilar Albisu
It was the 90’s and my mother asked me why I was feeling feverish and bloated. I attributed my state to post-exam stress. In my third year [of high school], I had just completed the BEPC examination and at home we were all waiting, my parents, my brothers, my sisters and, of course myself, for the results. After the CEP, which had been more of a formality for me, the BEPC represented my first real experience in my pursuit of a diploma. As the days went by, my faintness worsened. Headaches and lower abdomen pain… At that point, my mother had figured it out, so she gave me some pills, she looked at me carefully and then asked me to join her in her room, away from my other family members. She said, “My daughter, you’ll soon turn 15 years old and I think I know what is going to happen soon, because I had the same symptoms at your age. She gave me a big pack of sanitary pads. She hugged me and after giving me a few “mother tips”, she made me promise never to leave the house without a pad in my purse…
Advice which I ignored because on top of the pain, I didn’t want to have a strange thing getting in the way of my crotch.
My father had a transistor radio glued to his ear on that day that I will never forget… [My father]: “Hey, my daughter, sorry, please go and get your godfather. I have to speak with him,” he said with a big smile. My godfather lived four blocks away. As I was walking, I felt an unusual warmth you-know-where, but I didn’t realize what it meant.
Back at home with my dear godfather, the house was full of people and my father said, “Everyone, I would like you all to know that Sandra passed her BEPC.”
And all of a sudden my godfather took me in his arms to congratulate me. Then he whispered in my ear, “Go quickly and change because you are a woman now. The party is going to start.” In fact, he had noticed that my dress was stained.