I just googled “When do most girls get their first periods?” The answer was 12. So my body was totally on target. And while I feel pretty solid about that now, unfortunately, at the time, that information wouldn’t have helped a bit.
I could list about a hundred reasons why I was so upset, but here are just a few.
Not going to lie: I was kind of a loser. I carried around a Bible, buttoned my secondhand polo shirts up all the way and I was not the party type…unless the party was Bible study. While there’s nothing inherently bad about who I was, I’m sure you can see why I wasn’t considered the coolest kid on the block.
Well, dad made this unpopular girl join swim team. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d had friends on the team or if I’d been comfortable with my body. But teenage girls never are.
Swim team already sucked but then… It happened.
After school, I was in the locker room about to change into my swimsuit.
Oh. my. God. Did I just piss my pants?
I waddled as inconspicuously as I could (not very) to the bathroom stall where I pulled down my pants and discovered a crime scene. BLOOD.
SOMEONE CALL THE COPS. THERE’S BEEN A MURDER. Wee woo wee woo.
I didn’t know what to do
Ok. So there hadn’t been a murder and really there wasn’t that much blood to panic about. But when you’re 13 and you’ve JUST switched schools, this is an absolute disaster.
See, before, I had gone to a Christian school. We basically skipped over the whole periods and sex ed thing, and I really didn’t know what to do. Staring at my newly stained panties, I tried to remember what my older sister did when she got her first period.
The lucky bastard had been at home, not school. But I did remember. Tampons. They were the key to success. But where in the world was I going to get a tampon?
Drastic times call for drastic measures…
I feel really sorry for scared, younger me. I wish I could’ve been there to hand her some sanitary products under the stall door to prevent what happened next.
What if I…just…use some of this toilet paper…
And that’s what I did. I wadded up toilet paper and painfully tried my best to stuff it up my vagina. 0/10. Would not recommend.
I ducked out of the stall, grabbed my swimsuit and quickly made my way back.
Better line this bit just in case…
That’s right. I opted for the makeshift tampon-pad combo and I lined my bathing suit with toilet paper, not even thinking about the one million ways it could go wrong. Luckily for me, none of the fugitives (toilet paper squares) escaped during practice. But it was one hell of a sticky mess to clean up afterward.
You’re a woman now
First of all, gross. I’d always been a woman. That’s how I identified. But when I went home and told my parents that my period came calling, this was the response I got.
There’s something about it that just makes me feel icky, even today. Like I wasn’t a full person till I started bleeding.
I hope no one else has to feel that way. And I hope even more that schools will start stocking free tampons and pads in the locker room. That would’ve saved me a lot of trouble.
When I’m not exploring the writing universe, I make it a point to exercise curiosity and kindness in other parts of my life. Outside of work, you’ll find me in the woods with my dog Birdie. I love foraging for fresh ingredients to experiment with in the kitchen. I have always enjoyed all things quirky, silly and sweet.