BTS 2021: Here are some of our favourite posts

It is no lie – 2021 has been quite the s#itstorm! But if there is one thing we can all agree on – there have been some hidden gems amongst the rubble. Today, let’s take a look at some of our favourite posts on GirlOnTheBus – plus, a happy word from our uber-talented writers!

“with writing, there’s always a risk of writing ‘too much’ or ‘too little’. With any of my poems, they come spontaneously through dreams, life events, emotions and experiences where I just feel like ‘this would make a great story’ or I just need to find some outlet for whatever is brewing inside without it coming in the form of a 2000 word essay. poems are little nuggets packed with loads of material and substance, no one poem is the same as another and the meanings can be different for everyone. a poem could start off one way, with an idea, and then do a complete 180-turn as you’re writing – it’s a sojourn on a page!” – Saadiqah Schroeder

“Before starting Confessions, I already knew that I wanted to write something different from what I usually write in my spare time, but I didn’t really know where to start. I remember scrolling through social media and seeing all these articles and posts about people being bullied and body shamed for the way they looked. It upsets me to know that society has a specific idea of what a “perfect” body should look like. That’s why I started writing confessions because I wanted to write something that reflected my emotions about this entire idealism. I also wanted to help in spreading the message that everyone is unique, and it doesn’t matter how you look, that there are many people that will accept you for who you are no matter what you look like. I wanted people reading it to know that it doesn’t matter what you look like, what really matters is what is in your heart.” – Riahannah Halliem

“So for my story “Looking at the Sky atop the Mountain”, it was actually what I wrote for one of my school’s exams. They gave a few topics and pictures to choose from, to give some sort of idea on what to write about, and the picture that caught my eye was a stack of rocks by a cliff, and the horizon was shown in the picture. Saw I thought of writing about the weather and describing every single element in detail. At first, it was going to be a murder mystery and from the perspective of a dead victim, but the more I wrote it, I thought about how cool and unsuspected it would be to write from the stack of rocks perspective. So this story is actually told from the perspective of the rock on how it watches the sunrise, a storm brew, surge and end, and then watching the sunset to complete the day.” – Kawthar Schroeder

“I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember holding a pencil. My inner thoughts were drafts of my wish and hope for the nearest future. As an introverted child, I guess that made up so much sense why I enjoy just the company of my thoughts. Growing up, Writing, I believe, comes naturally to me depending on my mood, emotion, and motivation. 2021 has been a year unlike the previous I’ve lived. I was broken at some point, depressed and overwhelmed by the pressures life came forthwith. It was not easy taking it all in, I unplugged for most of the year to reconnect and recharge my soul, and I believe it is working. I still write from time to time. I hope to publish my first book in 2022 In shaa Allah… I anticipate a very prosperous year, and I hope it comes easy for us all.” – Maryam Jimoh

Thank you! You, the one reading this – thank you. Your scrolling, clicking and sharing of our content make all the late nights worth it. Without your continued support, we would not be where we are today. As a final gift to us for 2021, please share this post with your friends, your family and loved ones.

We wish you all nothing but goodness in this life. May your days always be filled with goodness and good things – always. Keep learning, keep searching, keep writing and stay hydrated. XOXO -Zahraa Schroeder

Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer #4

A few weeks later, I sat waiting for my friends in the school cafeteria. It was unusual for Katie and me to arrive there separately. When I searched for her in her classroom, she’d already left. I scanned the room, making sure I had a view of all the entrances, yet neither Katie nor any of my other friends walked through any of them. Suddenly Kasey appeared – we made eye contact, and I warmly waved at her.

Recently, I spent afternoons at her house working on our school project. Unexpectedly, she’d become a great friend of mine, even though we barely spoke to each other at school.
At most, we would acknowledge each other. However, we would speak over the phone regularly, and through this, we got to know each other better – which made me realize that Kasey was not like how we thought she’d be at all!


Katie and the rest of my friends found this new acquaintanceship super weird. They would readily make remarks whenever I would greet Kasey. Once, when Katie was feeling especially mean, she made snarky comments about our friendship – of course, I simply laughed it off. I knew she wouldn’t mean them, but the insults became annoyingly unbearable, and I tried to avoid bumping into Kasey whenever I was with my friends.


The cafeteria became a bit noisier. I looked over my shoulder to see Katie and our group of friends laughing as they made their way towards me. Katie’s face sobered up as soon as she saw me.


“Hey”


“Hi, where have you been?”


“Around,” Katie answered vaguely. She shared a look and a giggle with our friends sitting at the table.


“Around? What’s that supposed to mean?” I was confused about why they were leaving me out all of a sudden.


Katie looked at me whilst rolling her eyes. “I mean around, Emma. Do you really need to know everything?”


I was taken aback by how harsh her tone was. “Everything? I literally just asked one question, Katie, it’s not such a big deal.”


She scoffed. “I swear ever since you started hanging out with Fatty K you have been acting so weird! I don’t even know who you are anymore.”


“What are you even talking about? I don’t hang out with her.”

“Are you serious, right now,” her bitter laugh made me freeze. I started feeling queasy, fidgeting with my fingers. Katie had a blank look on her face, completely unreadable, which made me feel threatened. “Come on, Emma. We have all seen how you greet her in the hallways, even now you waved to her.”
Around the table, everyone nodded their heads in agreement with what Katie was saying. Her face lit up. “Wait a second, don’t tell me that you’re actually friends with her?”

Looking around the table, everyone nodded their heads in agreement with what Katie was saying. Her face lit up. “Wait a second, don’t tell me that you’re actually friends with her?”


Stunned, I felt the room spinning around me. Not saying anything – unable to find the words, Katie and the rest of the table broke out into a fit of laughter. I gulped nervously, feeling uncomfortable as they laughed at me. I could feel the blood rush to my ears as tears welled up in my eyes. My throat was closing up, making it hard for me to breathe. I couldn’t stay there any longer – I had to escape – but I couldn’t move at all. It was like I had lost complete control over my body…

What was wrong with me? Why did I just sit there like an idiot? Why didn’t I just deny it? That would have been better than to have them laugh at me.


Katie steadied herself, “well this is rich. Our little Emma is all grown up and making friends with our school’s resident Fatty.” She checked her wristwatch, putting her arm around my shoulder. Leaning in too-close-for-comfort to my ear. She whispered, with a hot breath that sent shivers down my spine, “I really think you should see what’s about to happen next. I think it’ll put you back on the right path.”


Unable to look at her, she tucked my hair behind my ear. Once she finished speaking, a commotion started on the other side of the cafeteria, right where Kasey sat. I looked up just in time to see a tray of lasagna thrown on her head. I swear I gasped, but it was lost in the raucous laughter erupting in the cafeteria. Kasey stood up to defend herself – her protests were silenced with a yoghurt cup thrown at her face.


“Go ahead, Em. Go defend your friend, she looks like she needs your help,” Katie said loudly standing up from next to me, making me look up at her. She looked at me with such malice in her eyes that made me feel so intimidated – it made me feel so small. I wanted to stand up, I really did. But I was frozen to my spot. I was scared that if I moved right then, everyone that was throwing food at Kasey would turn their attack on me in an instant.


A high pitched scream.


It was Kasey’s last warning for them to stop… and everyone did. Until Katie walked towards her at an agonizingly slow pace. Picking up a can of soda, she opened it – the slow fizz of the can synonymous with the cocking of a gun – and poured all the contents over Kasey’s head. Katie’s speciality.


My heart sank to the ground as I made eye contact with Kasey. Her entire face was covered in food, but I could easily see the humiliation on her face. But nothing stung more than her look of sheer disappointment directed at me. Kasey’s glassy eyes were the last thing I saw before she ran out of the cafeteria, fiercely pushing through the crowd that shattered the silence with a piercing, mocking laughter.


19+ Sexy Summer Songs That Got You Feeling Yourself

Shimmering December is hitting our shores and it is the perfect opportunity to unwind, relax and love yourself! What better way to do that than with some sexy hits to get you in the mood. Summer is connected with spontaneity, holiday flings and ‘girls gone wild’. Today, we’re all about that self-love and music that make you feel like a confident Summer goddess (coz’ you are one)!

2021 has been a tough, long year – it’s time for some good things! GirlOnTheBus has you covered with good reads – good food – good music – the works! Follow us on Instagram @girlonthebus_za

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01


Pot Belly by Freshlyground

“Fat thughs, flabby arms; a pot belly still gives good lovin'” – it most certainly does! A South African classic that lifts the spirits with feel-good beats and self-love lyrics. I promise, there’s a reason this song is first on the list – nuf said!

02


Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

This powerhouse classic will have you shouting out to the world: “you are beautiful, no matter what theysay!” Feeling a bit down? Our special No.2 will cure those insecurities.

03


No Scrubs by TLC

A classic straight out of the 1990s that is oozing with self-empowerment and knowing your worth. Regardless of how old this masterpiece is, its message rings true to this day. Never settle for less and believe in your worth – you deserve all things good and well!

04


Hula Hoops by DPR LIVE ft. BEENZINO, HWASA

Bring some heat to your summer season with this spicy number. The bouncy baseline and catchy lyrics will ignite your inner diva and complement any trip to the beach (or morning shower).

05


Crazy Over You by BLACKPINK

If crazy looks good on you (__) this flaming K-pop hit will get your blood pumping. This 2020 bop pairs well with some dramatic lip-syncing and sexy glances in the mirror – have fun.

06


Belong To You by Sabrina Claudio

Selfish does not always mean something bad – it can mean unapologetically loving who you are and showcasing it! The fluid RnB melody will encapsulate you, naturally lifting your mood (so nice).

07


Cold Blooded by Jessi (제시)

If words of affirmation are your cup of tea, this hip-hop anthem from the queen herself – Jessi – will have you strutting your stuff. The lyrics heavily focus on self-assurance, self-confidence and powerful self-love.

08


One Dance by Drake (ft. Wizkid & Kyla)

Does a song need to say you gotta love yourself? I don’t think so. This 2016 Summer hit is accentuated with Afrobeats that is great for making you feel great during those long road trips or if you’re stuck in traffic.

09


Cherry by Jungle

Smooth melodies hypnotise you, transporting you to a place of calm and reassurance. You are part of this universe as much as the next person – always changing, always growing.

10


Tadow by Masego (+FKJ)

‘Tada’ + ‘wow’ = one sexy song. This hit sprouted from a jam session between the two artists and become popularised online. It will give you serious earworm, and the confidence to put on your red lipstick and love the skin you’re in.

11


Feeling Good the Michael Bublé version

One of the most popular songs performed by soft jazz and blues singer. This version of the song will give you classy, sassy levels of confidence to take on those dreary days before the holidays. The Nina Simone performance is to die for!

12


Woman by Doja Cat

A powerful ode to the many roles that women play in society, and how women move in and out of them. This afrobeats opening track is the perfect addition to your girls’ outing. Or simply, listen to it on your way to work for some powerful feminine energy!

13


What You Wanted by CIX (씨아이엑스)

The heavy baseline and flowy lyrical verses (and cute Kpop boys) gives you a sexy boost of confidence! But do not be fooled, the sensual feel of this song hides some pretty deep lyrics about knowing your worth and finding what it is you truly want – in life, in yourself and your relationships.

14


UN Village by Baekhyun (백현)

There is just something about the festive season that’s so romantic. Just us? Catching the eye of your crush outside the classroom. Meeting your workmate for a plutonic cup of coffee. This song embodies being smooth, flirtatious and confident. Let’s hit the town!

15


Nena by YEИDRY

A smooth blend of Latin influence and R&B, this ballad is nothing short of pure love. A story about “a mother sending her daughter a blessing from afar” speaks to the heart and soul. What better way to show how much you love yourself, by extending that love to others too.

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16


I’m a 빛 by Hwa Sa (화사)

Along your journey, you will find that not everyone has your back. It’s okay! Take some advice from this kween, and become a real b!tch and take on the world in your own way! With heavy electro-pop influences, this sassy track will help you embody the savage energy you need to follow your dreams.

17


Love Again by Dua Lipa

We’ve all been there – when we feel like the world is falling apart and the darkness has won. Never fret – this song is the metaphorical cuddle session you needed. Fun, empowering and super sexy: the nostalgic-heavy track will have you dancing any blues away.

18


Try a Little Tenderness by Pip Millett

Sometimes a kind word is all that we’re looking for. Soft and sweet, this song is nothing short of a melodious therapy session. As Millet say herself: “Try a little tenderness
That’s all you’ve gotta do” Go easy on yourself, eat well, sleep fully and stay hydrated!

19


Darkest Hour by Joy Crookes

Sometimes life gets tough and it can be difficult to walk alone. This song is all about loyalty, especially through the hard times. Celebrate this holiday season by extending your appreciation to the friends, family or pets who were there for you ‘even in the darkest hour’.

20


ZGZG by SAAY

Let’s be fair – the Summertime is the best time for chilling and enjoying life! This Kpop summer track is about living that dream party life. A punchy percussion line and infectious chorus will have you up on your feet. Not to mention the powerful S(L)AAY energy this song radiates!

21


Flower by Johnny Stimson

And in the end, the journey of self-love is a beautiful ballad, each one with its own unique poetry. This loving 2019 song compares a love interest to flora with words of adoration, awe and tenderness.

Did we miss a feel-good song that you love? Let us know in the comment below! We wish you nothing but good things for the rest of this crazy year ahead. You can find the full GOTB Self Care Spotify playlist below. Stay healthy, stay hydrated!

#RIME-TIME: The Gaslight (A Short Act)

A poem inspired by the film Gaslight (1940) that inspired the term ‘gaslighting’.

Writer’s note: Often films I see, or stories I read, influence the ideas I have when writing. I recently discovered the film that inspired the term ‘gaslighting’ (Gaslight, 1940) and [badum tss] decided to write something. I often get writer’s block, so poetry is short enough for me to get myself writing, but also get my creativity flowing again. This poem is the first one I have written in nearly 9 months, and I feel it may be simple, but one you can enjoy!

A windswept thief at night

A conniving murderer at dawn

my foolish anticipation of

endearing compliments

affections

adornments

colloquial turn of phrase

promising of love and adoration

Empty

The footsteps in my head

The dimming gaslight in our home

“perhaps i am mistaken”

(or suffering Stockholm?)

i could have sworn i saw him

Yell

Angry

Enraged at what i…

or perhaps

the gaslight is still burning bright

and i am (by myself) misled?

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!

Let’s Talk About Endometriosis (En-doe-me-tree-O-sis)

Nearly 10 per cent of women experience endometriosis worldwide – you’re not alone if you have this disorder! Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterine cavity. The tissue growth can form on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and tissues lining the pelvis. This condition can cause chronic irritation and extreme pain, and infertility.

In a conversation with Fatima Hoosain from Upswing SA; an endo-sister and all-round stunning human being, she opens up about her real-life journey with endometriosis: “I think the best way to describe what it’s like living with endometriosis is like having bribed wire wrapped around your pelvis down around your thighs all the time. It’s extremely debilitating, and if you decide to use the treatments currently available. it’s almost like you’re just numbing everything. The barbed wire is still there, you know it’s there, you can somewhat feel it, but you’re also just numb all over.”

What are the symptoms?

Some women experience moderate to severe or mild symptoms – it is important to note that the severity of your pain does not indicate the degree or stage of the condition. Some of the symptoms experienced include, but are not limited to:

  • pelvic pain, pain in the lower abdomen before and during periods
  • painful periods
  • heavy menstrual flows or bleeding between periods

Fatima says “nausea (and) IBS are the two I’d highlight most. The rest kind of just fell into my daily life…Other than that, it was and sometimes still is, that crippling pelvic pain.” Some women experience no symptoms at all – therefore, it is vital to have regular and honest check-ups with your GP or gynaecologist to monitor any changes and request guidance.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Is there a cure?

“…to answer bluntly – no – there is no cure for it. There are procedures and treatment plans you can follow to manage it and reduce it, but it is often referred to as chronic.” When left untreated, the symptoms of endometriosis can hinder women from leading a full life. Treatment can range from over-the-counter pain medications to a total hysterectomy (as a last resort option).

What led to your diagnosis?

Fatima shares: for me, it was very simple. Since I started menstruating, I experienced dysmenorrhea which is extreme period cramps – and I mean extreme. Before and during my periods, I could not walk because of the pain. As I got older, the build-up of endometrium tissue increased, which I later discovered wrapped around my intestines and kidneys As that tissue built up, the pain became more intense and didn’t go away after my period as it normally would for others. The inflammation got so bad that it started damaging my intestines, and my nutrition absorption was heavily compromised – it became life-threatening. I became so malnourished that it compromised my mental stability – all I wanted was for the pain to stop. Unfortunately, this led to an overdose of medication which landed me in the ICU for observation.

It was at that point when I realised I needed help.

I went to see a gynaecologist who suggested the idea of endometriosis, but they were not comfortable performing the surgery that would accurately confirm the diagnosis. Instead, I was placed on birth control pills and the inflammation was monitored. The treatment was not effective and my life force was dimming. I was so malnourished and surviving on painkillers – I could not even lift my head. My parents rushed me to the hospital to be seen by my gynaecologist. I don’t remember much of the first two days as I was too weak to stay awake and caught glimpses of the nurses put me on an IV drip to heal me back to life. After multiple scans, blood tests, consultations with specialists, the doctors concluded that I had a concerning amount of inflammation in my pelvic area and the gynaecologist finally diagnosed me with endometriosis.

Endometriosis vs Self Confidence

Of the symptoms that can be managed, chronic pain can prove to be very difficult for many women. Mental health issues are not uncommon for women doing their best to manage their endometriosis. “You discover new things about your body that you can choose to either love or reject. The way I perceive my body psychologically affects my physical health,” Fatima further adds, “Learning to understand how my body works, the functions and processes that take place for me to simply be has made me appreciate and allow my body to do what it needs to as I try my best to support it and look after it.”

Fatima also explains that through her bittersweet relationship with her period, she has prioritized her body’s needs over societal expectations, “loving myself extra during the times of pain and celebrating the cycle body goes through to cleanse itself out of the old to make space for the new.”

You are not alone – it is highly recommended to reach out to support groups online or fellow sisters working through their endometriosis journey. Fatima adds that Endo-Warriors South Africa has been a huge support structure in her life, “It has taught me how common this condition is, and I would recommend you (to) discuss your period with friends, family or anyone willing to listen. The more people (who) know about it, the easier it is for us to receive support.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Where are you in your endo-journey?

“I’ve moved over from recovery phase into lifestyle management phase. It wasn’t an easy adjustment, emotionally, as I have to plan my work schedules around my cycle which is difficult when you have to accommodate your responsibilities. The world doesn’t stop for you, and that is something I had to accept and work with. Make lemonade out of lemons kind of thinking.” says Fatima.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition with no cure, with no scientifically proven cause (yet) – but with various treatment options available, women can own every day!

EXTRA

What are your thoughts on the shame associated with periods, menstrual health and female reproductive organs?

FATIMA: It’s ridiculous considering that’s the only process where 100 per cent of the population has been brought into the world. Hence, the reproductive organs should not be such a touchy subject as it is the essence of human life. If we can speak about heart failure, lung disease, kidney stones, we should be able to openly speak about the functions of the uterus, endometrium, etc. just as easily. After getting sick I have tried my best to speak as frankly as possible about my health conditions, in the same way, I would if I had experienced a heart attack. I remember during my first week back to school after being discharged from hospital – in a Biology lesson we had reached the chapter of the reproductive system. Our male Bio teacher began describing a very vague version of endometriosis to a classroom full of girls. I boldly raised my hand and mentioned that I had this health condition and would be willing to share my experiences. If any of my classmates had a similar experience or needed some clarity, I wanted to talk about it – however, I was immediately shut down and told not to be so loud to discuss such private and personal matters in public. I didn’t have the energy to fight the patriarchy that day, so I just quickly let everyone know I’d answer their questions privately if they were interested. Now that I am older, I always look for an opportunity to bring it up. More talking about menstruation, thank you!

Your take on – ‘sex education is just about teaching youth how to have sex’?

FATIMA: It’s complete bull$h!t. Firstly, so what if we’re teaching kids the steps of sex? I’m pretty sure the more that kids know, the less likely they are to experiment. When you actually read through the process, you realise the weight of responsibility it carries. Instead of letting it be this elusive, mysterious thing, speak about it openly so that kids aren’t jumping into it to satisfy their curiosity. Aside from that, sex education is not just about “how to have sex”. It is a lesson about your sexual organs, their functions, risks, and necessary practices and routine to ensure that your reproductive system is healthy. Topics in sex ed include understanding the risks of prostate cancer, what happens to your body as it shifts into adulthood through puberty, understanding how to care for your body, keep it clean and healthy – which is vital information for anyone.

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

References:

Endometriosis: gene identified which could be potential treatment target – new study

Endometriosis

Where Endometriosis Can Occur

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!

For Better or For Worse: Understanding Your Normal Period

Monthly cycles are a woman’s companion, for 3-4 decades of her life, for better or for worse. Hormonal and mood changes associated with it have been the subject of many anecdotes and tales.

Many of us think of our cycles as unproductive times, both work-related as well as spiritually.

It doesn’t have to be so. Planning and prioritizing tasks can take the burden off from days that you don’t feel 100%.

Spiritually, it does not have to be a complete break, even though we don’t pray during our cycle. We can increase in remembrance of our Creator (dhikr) and other good deeds like charity.

What is a normal period?

A complaint I hear frequently is: “My periods are all over the place. I don’t have any pattern.”

Many of us have a preconception that there is a “date“ on which the cycle must start. If that’s not so there is a problem, and our cycle is irregular.

This is not true. 

Cycles can vary greatly and still be considered normal.

The monthly cycle starts on the first day of your last period and ends on the first day of your next period.

This can range from anything between 21-40 days. Periods normally last between 3-5 days, but again 2-7 days is a normal duration.

Then comes the actual flow. What some women consider normal, others may call heavy. 

If you see clots in the flow bigger than a penny, or you soak through and stain your clothes, your periods are heavy, and you may want to see your doctor.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

When do periods start and when do they stop?

For most girls, menstrual cycles begin at the age of around 12. But girls are starting periods earlier and it is common to see girls as young as 9 or 10 having periods. Read here to learn more about when to seek medical help if your daughter or sister starts experiencing their periods early.
Menopause, or the time that periods pack up, is around the age of 51 but may vary from 45-55 years. If periods stop before the age of 40, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Some women would need either hormone supplements or medication to strengthen their bones.

Feeling moody before periods?

You are not the only one!

As many as 3 in 4 women can be moody for a week or sometimes two weeks before their period. You may also have headaches and bloating. 

Many women will miss work at some point in time because of severe PMS (Premenstrual syndrome).

However, this does not, entitle women to use this as an excuse to be disrespectful or uncompromising with others. A healthier approach is to find excuses for somebody who is moody when it is not in their nature to be so.

However, if you are feeling snappy and short-tempered, and you know it may be because of your hormones, explain to your near and dear ones how you are feeling to prevent misunderstandings.

An exaggerated form of PMS is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Women experience the symptoms of PMS, but on more intense levels. Some may feel depressed, anxious and even suicidal. 

Do not ignore these symptoms in either yourself or a family member. Sometimes the one suffering from PMDD may not have insight into the severity of the problem and a close friend or family member may pick it up.

You need to refer yourself to emergency services, which may vary depending on the country where you reside. Most countries have emergency mental health services.

Changes in the pattern of your periods

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Each one of us recognizes what is normal for our cycle.

It is not unusual to have early or delayed periods, heavy or light periods for a couple of cycles. Stress may cause hormonal imbalances and it usually settles back into a normal pattern.

However, if your periods start getting heavier and you are above the age of 40, do see your doctor.

Spotting in between cycles is a common complaint. If there is any possibility of pregnancy at all, do a pregnancy test to read more about the causes of spotting in different age groups, read this article.

If periods start spacing out and becoming lighter near the age of 45, you are probably going through the menopausal phases. No need to worry!

Should menstrual leave be universal in workplaces?

Japan is one of the few countries where women are allowed a menstrual leave. This law has been in place for nearly 70 years. South Korea also allows women to take leave during their periods if they suffer severe pain or heavy periods. Despite being entitled to menstrual leave, a 2017 survey in Japan showed that only 9 in 1000 women claimed menstrual leave. The reason being, there is a stigma attached to the menstrual cycle and women do not like telling their male employers that they are off sick because they are menstruating.

India is one of the countries where there is a lot of shame associated with periods. In some rural areas, girls are not allowed to cook or touch people when they are menstruating!

“Girls in India typically miss 20% of the school year because of their period, and 70% of mothers consider menstruation ‘dirty,” according to a 2014 report by philanthropic organization Dasra. as quoted in an article in CNN in 2021.

No wonder Indian food delivery company, Zomato, made recent headlines when CEO Deepinder announced period leave for their female employees. Read the note here.

Shockingly, the biggest opponents of period leave is women!

Westernized countries are yet to offer period leave, although it has been debated.

Feminists have widely debated the matter and are divided if menstrual leave helps or hinders women in the workplace.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Befriend your monthly cycles and embrace your womanhood!

Understanding your cycle and accepting the changes that your body goes through will make you happier and productive. 

Focus on what you can do rather than the limitations.

For sporty sisters, don’t let your cycle dampen your spirits. Think of alternatives – treatment to control symptoms and be open with your trainers so that you can discuss options.

Working women need to adjust their commitments around their cycles if their periods hinder everyday life. There is still a lot of shame attached to admitting that you are unable to perform certain tasks effectively. It will take the collective effort of men and women to overcome this long-standing negative perception of periods and it’s connection to productivity.

Stay-at-home mums – tell your husband, children, and other family members if you are struggling and ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence. They don’t know till you tell them.

Be positive, be kind to yourself and spread positivity and kindness.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Umm Aasiya is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. She gave up clinical practice due to health and family issues in 2020. She uses her years of experience to share authentic medical knowledge. Her aim is to empower sisters through credible information, enabling them to make informed choices about their health. Her main focus is to connect with her Creator, learn and reflect upon the Quran as much as she can.
The rest of her time is spent looking after her husband, 3 lovely children and their cat, Lulu.
For more from Umm Aasiya, click here

25+ Simple Sayings That Are Simply Blissful

A few years back, I received a tiny book from a kind neighbour. The miniature piece of literature was no larger than my own child-like hand. Yet, it held some of the most impactful words that would help me through my Tumultuous Twenties. ‘A Simpler Life’ by Helen Exley aims to help the reader reach a more contented life by doing less overthinking and over-analysing, and simply finding peace with who you are and where you are in your journey.

Inspired by the work of Exley and her team, I will be sharing Over 25 Quotes That Are Simply Blissful. Comment below which quote you loved, and live by.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

-Aristotle

“May you live every day of your life” – Johnathan Swift

“Turn your wounds into wisdom” – Oprah Winfrey

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour” – Truman Capote

“My roses are my jewels, the sun and moon my clocks, fruit and water my food and drink” – Hester Lucy Stanhope

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” – Jimi Hendrix

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise” – Maya Angelou

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water moulds itself to the pitcher” – Chinese Proverb

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment” – Rumi,  Masnavi i Man’avi

red, orange cherries for good health, sweetness in life and love
Credit: Nick Fewings
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“Angry people are not always wise” – Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny” – Stephen Hawking

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle

“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy” – Rumi

“Do all the good you can and make as little fuss about it as possible” – Charles Dickens

“The quiet mind is richer than a crown. Sweet are the nights in careless slumber spent” – Robert Greene

“Time that withers you will wither me. We will fall like ripe fruit and roll down the grass together. Dear friend, let me lie beside you watching the clouds until the earth covers us and we are gone” – Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

“When you forget that you need Allah (God), He puts you in a situation that causes you to call upon Him. And that’s for your own good” – Omar Suleiman

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails” – Henry David Thoreau

“Give love in secret by praying for one another” – Unknown

shiny red apples that keep the doctor away
Credit: Matheus Cenali
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“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too” – Earnest Hemingway, Men Without Women

“True love is rare, and it’s the only thing that gives life real meaning” – Nicholas Sparks

“We learn from failure, not from success!” – Bram Stoker, Dracula

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“Joy exists only in self-acceptance. Seek perfect acceptance, not a perfect life” – Unknown

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Sharon Salzberg

“Sit loosely in the saddle of life” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Learn to wish that everything should come to pass exactly as it does” – Epictetus

“The busiest, most creative soul must have at its heart a place of silence, of utter simplicity and peace” – Charlotte Gray

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!
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Menstrual Products That Are Good For You (And The Environment) | OPINION

Blood comes out of my vagina every month and has been since I was really young. That means I have used a lot of pads and tampons. All of which has cost me money and cost my planet. Below are a few period products I have come to love, including a few BONUS Yoga-inspired moves (from my favourite YouTubers) that really help for those uncomfortable and painful periods or PMS days.

I love these products because they help me save money, they have a gentler impact on the planet and they all believe in the common cause to uplift and support women and humans with vaginas!

Bamboo Pads

Pads are one of the first menstrual products introduced to humans with vaginas. They’re really easy to use; with an adhesive strip on the back that sticks to the underwear. Most are made of cotton and some have added fragrances or layering. I used pads for most of my menstrual journey. However, the one thing that really put me off wearing pads was the harmful chemicals they leached out into the earth, air and (potentially) oceans after ending up in landfills. According to the OrganiCup blog, conventional pads contain chemicals such as chlorine, rayon and dioxin. I checked out three different brands of pads in my home, the Always and Stayfree brands didn’t have anything resembling an ‘ingredients list’, but the Libresse pack did. Although it didn’t mention the three chemicals listed above, it contained polypropylene and polyethylene. According to the Reliance Foundry blog, polyethylene is great to be recycled, but not suitable to be disposed of in a landfill. Tbh I wouldn’t want the same chemical that is used to make literally every other plastic product near my most sensitive body parts…

The closest answer to my dilemma was the Here We Flo Bamboo Pads. They’re incredibly soft, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan and 99% biodegradable! Plus it’s plastic-free, does not contain dioxins, artificial dyes or chlorine – these pads tick all the right boxes. The pads come in two ‘sizes’: a Day-pad for regular flows and a Night-pad for heavier flow days. I purchased the ‘Combo Pack’ which contains 10 Day and 5 Night pads, so you can easily play around with the absorbency.

Here We Flo Bamboo Pads | Credit: Ethical Superstore

I bought these from my local Clicks store, but you can buy directly from their website (or schedule monthly deliveries to your door!) And if you thought this woman-owned company couldn’t get any cooler, they donate 5% of their profits towards organisations fighting against Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and who aim to provide menstrual products to humans who are unable to afford them (because pink tax is real).

If you’re used to thick chonky pads, these may feel like thin pantyliners to you – and there did come a point when I was not sure if I had put one on or not. Because these pads are really soft, light-weight and non-itchy.

These pads do come with a pretty price though, retailing at R69.99 at any Clicks store. But the quality and assurance these babies pack are so worth every rand! If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try the ANNA Sanitary Pads or the Clicks MyEarth Organic Cotton Ultra Normal Pads.

Menstrual Disc

Not to be confused with a menstrual cup! The ‘disc’ and ‘cup’ are both inserted into the vagina and collect the menstrual blood rather than absorbing it. Once the disc is inserted, it fits snug behind your pelvic bone in the fornix (space where the vaginal canal meets the cervix) and you’ll know it’s inside correctly because you won’t feel a damn thing! Check out this Healthline article about the science behind the menstrual disc.

L – Menstrual Cup R – Menstrual Disc | Credit: POPSUGAR

Made from squishy and body-safe silicone, these discs make for a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly product. Some, like the Flex Menstrual Disc, are single-use items. But I got my hands on the Softcup Menstrual Disc, which offers 12 hours of period protection and can be reused up to three cycles!

Before I ventured down the disc drive, I trained myself to be comfortable with the idea of inserting something into my vaginal canal. Coming from a Cape Malay, Muslim family – matters of the female anatomy were not always taught with a hint of celebration and acceptance. So if you’re afraid of having a ‘foreign item’ (a tampon, menstrual disc or menstrual cup) being inserted into your vagina, have a look at this helpful article or this one!

The menstrual disc offers you the freedom to run, swim, laugh, sneeze and cough without the feeling of gushing blood. Plus, you can go to bed completely worry-free.

And just you wait until you discover auto-dumping….life-changing!

This product definitely put me in a love-hate relationship with my body. Hate – my fingers coming out full of blood when I removed the disc. Feeling frustrated when I initially need to insert it. Love – learning that the cervix changes position throughout the menstrual cycle. Knowing where my pelvic bone is. Seeing the actual colour and consistency of my blood. Realising that the vagina is not a scary long tunnel, but another little organ that can do amazing things! Some of the other benefits I found when using the menstrual disc, was that it doesn’t cause dryness, nor is there any unpleasant odour.

Just pinch and insert | Credit: Greatist

When you first use this product, add a pantyliner or pad to your underwear in case of spills or leakages. But once you start using it, you kind of choreograph a special dance with your vagina!

Get your very own Softcup Menstrual Disc via the Clicks Online Store or Takealot.com.

Reusable Pads

Also known as cloth pads or washable pads, are made from cloth and absorbent material. This product takes a very traditional approach to managing a period. According to this Hello Clue blog post, if we look at the time of our grandmothers, during the 1800s to 1900s, many would use homemade cloths made of flannel or woven fabrics that they would need to wash after use. Please do yourself the favour and ask the elderly people in your life just how they ‘dealt’ with their periods.

Soft, comfortable and stylish | Credit: SUBZ

Given the harsh ordeals that many humans with vaginas have to face in South Africa alone, many who start menstruating often miss out on school. This is because of a lack of access to conventional menstrual products and an inability to afford them. They make use of homemade pad-like products using old cloth or leaves or newspaper. Some are forced to make use of previously soiled and dried sanitary towels. Enter the rise of the reusable pad! According to this post on The Conversation, reusable pads are easy to adopt as it takes the same habit of needing to be washed after each use, yet boats a safer, more hygienic and kinder period experience.

Speaking of kindness, many local initiatives that make these pads strive to allow menstruating South African humans to attend school even on their period.

I love my comfortable and secure SUBZ reusable pad. It’s made with 6 layers of period protection which includes three layers of hydrophilic (water-loving) fabric, waterproofing layers and hydrophobic (water-repelling) fabric. The outer cotton-knit feels so luxurious against the skin, it instantly adds a sense of comfort when used. Like traditional pads, these come with wings that clip around the gusset of your underwear.

Now the moment you have all been waiting for – yes, you need to wash them after using them. This is something that I know freaks out a lot of people, but honestly, it’s not that bad or big of a deal. I kind of remember watching a video of a woman boasting about the plant-fertilizing properties of period blood and according to this post on the Pixie Cup blog, this has been a growing trend…so, there’s that!?

Rinse the pad under cold running water, this is similar to those pool deep-cleaning videos. It will help to remove the mucus and tissue on the outer layer. Secondly, wash it thoroughly with soapy water. I prefer using good ‘ol Sunlight soap – mild in fragrance and tough on stains. Finally, give it a rinse through clean water, and hang it up to dry. Easy peasy!

My only gripe with the pads is that it lacks something to really make it sit in one place. Throughout the day, I found that my pad would slide around to the back of my panty as I moved. And I don’t think I was actually alone in the aisle while I awkwardly adjusted myself.

These pads are great for people who want to save months’ worth of money on sanitary items, help the environment and protect their bodies from potentially harmful chemicals. Additionally when you purchase a reusable item from the SUBZ website or stockist you instantly support an organisation that actively fights for the freedom of South Africa, where all menstruating individuals can attend school without shame.

The Standard Pad Self Clipping reusable pad costs R27.20, which is roughly the same as an entire pack of pads. Except this one pad will last you between 3 to 5 years! Another brand you can show some love is Palesas Pads. They sell the coveted Flo Kits, which are like those dried fruit gift baskets, except their packed with everything a menstruating person needs in their life! It comes equipped with a pad-designated washing bucket, a variety of reusable pads, hand-washing sops and white spirit vinegar to make sure you really keep your handy-dandy sanitary towels fresh!

BONUS: Relaxing Moves That Help With Period Cramps and Discomfort – these videos are part of my pain-proof-period arsenal. Cassey (Blogilates) and Sarah Beth (SarahBeth Yoga) have these fantastic videos to keep you going.