My period: A Memoir.

In the wake of my not so monthly visitor; “My Aunt Flo”, “The Red Sea”, “Shark week” and any other ridiculous euphemisms for my period that softens the blow for the patriarchy. I’ve decided to recount the embarrassing events involving my period that I’ve had to face since beginning puberty. Aside from the other parts of puberty like; surprising hair growth in places I didn’t know hair grew and increasing breast sizes before anyone else my age. The following may get a little graphic, but these are the tales of a shedding uterus, and what’s life without a little blood?

As a girl I’ve always somewhat known what a having your period meant. I watched “Ready or not” on YTV as a kid, and it was one of my favourite “coming of age” tv shows that I always felt I could relate to. Specifically, the episode where one of the main characters; Busy, gets her period at school while wearing white pants. In the scene she stood up from her seat to find a big red stain trailing down her pants. I never wanted that to happened to me and that’s probably why I don’t wear white pants; that and I don’t think anyone really owns white pants anymore. I remember my mom’s pads, because they were always under the sink in the bathroom. She would tell me it was for her period and I knew that it had something to do with blood, although I had no idea how much.My earliest and most vivid  memory is of a friend that (at 12 years old a whole year older than me at the time)had started her period. I remember being in awe as she bragged about it; while also apologizing in case she got blood over anything in my bathroom. When she left, I went to examine my bathroom for blood, which thinking about it now; is a little gross and unsanitary. I then wondered and longed for when I’d get mine too.

When I first got my period there wasn’t very much blood; it was brown and goopy. A disturbing and terrifying sight for an eleven year old who barely knew what was happening to her. In a panic, I unknowingly did something you’re not supposed to do and shoved a wad toilet paper in my vagina to block the bleeding. I thought I might be dying, because the colour was so off. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it so I hand washed my underwear and hid it from my mom. She of course found them pretty quickly, because what eleven year old hides anything from her mother well? She then confronted me asking if I got my period to which my immediate response was “No” thinking that would be the end of the embarrassment and I’d figure the rest out later. My mom being a kind, but reserved soul calmly told me that she knew what was going on and that everything was going to be okay. She provided  me with some of her pads for the next time and life went on. When my father found out the news he was immediately enraged. There was yelling a screaming as though I had walked up and ripped his heart out myself. His little girl was growing and he didn’t know how to handle those resulting emotions. He berated me for something I had no control over. In hindsight, his reaction might have been quite traumatic and contributed to the shame I’ve felt about my period. At least now I’m actively working against those negative feelings as an adult.

The next time I had my period wasn’t for a few months, but by that time I had started junior high and was in full-on hormonal preteen mode. The pads my mom gave me were the super thick maxi pads meant for wearing to bed when you have a heavy flow, so they weren’t exactly the right fit for me.  My mom had assumed that I had a heavy flow like hers. Whereas little My Chemical Romance-loving, distressed jeans-wearing, black eye-liner emo kid me felt like I was wearing a diaper, ashamed as though it was the end of the world. I waddled through with the halls with a *sweesshh swisshh* sound between my legs. I was too afraid to change my pads or ask my mom for something smaller for fear of someone finding out I was on my period. Soon after, my best friend joined me in this big life change. She stood by me and I by her when I had crippling cramps; she brought me Advil. When I complained about my giant pads she introduced me to my first tampon a Godsend for my diaper butt. We shared embarrassing stories, supported each other through the tough preteen years and I felt such camaraderie with her; a sisterhood just like I had seen with Busy and Amanda on “Ready or not.”

After a few random months without my period I soon learned that it was very irregular. Which has it’s own pros and cons. Pros like; not having to buy as many pads and tampons (This was pre-Diva cup). The scariest con being in high school when I became intimate with my boyfriend at the time. I remember being very embarrassed every time I had my period. I would avoid telling him for fear of judgment or disgust, but I was pleasantly surprised by his understanding and gentleness when I shared “my secret”. When it came to sex we of course used protection, because teen pregnancy was not on my list of life accomplishments. But every time my period was late I went into automatic panic mode. Even though I knew it was irregular I always feared unwanted pregnancy. There were many bathroom cry sessions followed by drugstore pregnancy tests and then relief when the results were negative. The day she finally came felt like a miracle for about 30 seconds and then I hated life and begged for chocolate the next second. I think after high school I learned to navigate my awkward period encounters fairly well.

Until the dreaded last day period sex. I like to wait until my period is over before having sex, but sometimes I can be impatient. The last day for me is the lightest and almost non existent so I often think it’s over before it actually is. There have been many times when I thought it was over and set myself up for a good “dick date” only to be stunned and embarrassed by what looks like a bloody murder scene when we’ve finished. Out of all my clumsy embarrassing moments I think these ones take the cake. I’m lucky to have had partners who were not grossed out or shamed me for bleeding on them. That doesn’t take away the feeling of devastation when I’m faced with surprise period blood.

Now my “Aunt Flo” is an even more irregular visitor than she used to be. I’m unsure if it’s out of stress or just changes as I get older. (It could possibly be PCOS, which I haven’t spoken to my doctor about yet). I will say I’m happy every time I’m bless with my very own “Shark Week”.  My period is something that I used to be extremely ashamed of I’d never talk about unless it was a discussion amongst close friends. I know I’m not the only person to experience shame or embarrassment. It’s freeing to open up about what a perfectly normal part of life and it’s been a reminder to myself I’m not alone. There’s no shame.

Do you have any embarrassing stories about your period? Tell me about it.

See you next time friends !

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