I’ve spent over half my life as a menstruating female.
Truth: I was a late bloomer.
I got my first period when I was in grade 10. I remember waiting for it to come, ever since one of my friends spent an entire band class in grade 7 telling me the story of the first day of her period. She actually made it sound like it was a good thing. And I didn’t know any better until three long years later.
All of my friends had got their period by then. Most of them weren’t proud of it but they must have talked about it with each other. But rarely with me. Aside from my friend in grade 7, only one other friend talked to me about her experience. She was staying the entire weekend at my house and she just happened to have her period during that time. She asked me to tell my Mom before she came. I honestly don’t know why she insisted I tell her, but I did.
My Mom seemed to think my telling her that my friend had her period as a sign that I was jealous. Well, perhaps I was jealous of her and all the “average” girls out there, but that’s not the reason why I told her.
Those years that I didn’t get my period were spent wondering what I would do with the rest of my life.
First, I thought something was seriously wrong with me.
Then I began to wonder if I would always be flat chested with narrow hips. I imagined my childless, single life and what I would become. I can’t say I used my imagination wisely — all I could think about was the fact that I was unable to bare children. Perhaps that’s when I decided that I was never going to get married.
And then grade 10 came. The year I became a woman.
It was awful. Well, at first it wasn’t too bad. My period was light and not too painful. But within a matter of months, I was bleeding for weeks without stopping and getting sick from the cramps. At one point during my grade 11 chemistry class, I nearly passed out.
I tried to tell my Mom that I was having problems. All she did was buy me thicker, bigger, longer pads.
That year — my grade 11 year — I experienced what could have potentially been the worst period story of my life.
It was the Christmas season. I was playing piano for the Church service. I spent hours picking out songs and practicing. For the evening, I wore a very dark navy skirt. After the service was over, I went downstairs to the bathroom. And that’s when I found out I had bled through the pad I was wearing, all the way through my skirt.
My navy skirt had a large circle of blood on the backside, at least the size of your entire hand.
I was humiliated! Not only that but I hadn’t brought along anything to change into. I mean nothing. Not even any “sanitary napkins.”
There’s two reasons for that. The first was because I didn’t know any better. The second reason was that I had been bleeding for several weeks already and I thought my period was done. I was only wearing the pad “just in case.”
Somedays, just in case doesn’t cut it. And that day was one of them.
I ended up stuffing my bloody mess with toilet paper until we got home. The good news was the bleeding had practically stopped by the time I had discovered it.
The bad news is that now, whenever I have my period and stand up, I think about that day and wonder if it’s happened again.
The following year, I was on a school band trip. My friend had the exact same thing happen to her and she was sitting in the front row. We had finished our band performance and we all stood up as the audience applauded. I was sitting directly behind her and happened to look down at her chair.
A puddle of blood.
I felt awful for her. Fortunately, I seemed to be the only one that noticed. I’m glad it was me, someone who completely understood the potential humiliation of unintentionally sharing your period blood with the world.
Ah, the human body. So miraculous yet so rebellious.