Thursday, April 24, 2008

If you're a man and you're about to start reading this, I want you to know that you're more than welcome to stay, in fact, I encourage it. But first you need to know, that today we're going to talk about periods! Yay! ...Ladies, shall we? We shall. ...They say that friends share their cycles. The more time you spend around someone, the closer your cycles become. Well mine is any second away, so I'm feeling crappy as ever this morning. Anyone else about to take a big dose of bitch? Ugh. I remember the exact moment I started my very first period. I was in middle school, the 7th grade. Which puts me at 12 years old? I already had boobs. Those came way before my monthly. In the 6th grade I was approached in the hallway by a teacher actually, who pulled me aside and proceeded to explain to me that it was no longer acceptable for me to not wear a bra. They said it was a distraction (to who?!), and unhealthy (your mom's unhealthy). I went home and cried to my mother, who then took me to the scariest old woman's bra shop that ever did exist, and my very first bra, was a 36C. Seriously, scary old lady had me in enough straps to suspend me from a tall building. For that very embarrassing reason, my Eleanore will start wearing pretend bras as soon as she wants to, which will then lead to real bras, and proper boob care. But back to when I started my period. So, I was the typical unpopular fat girl. And when I say this, try not to take it too seriously. Its all in fun. My only friends were the other fat girls, and we all sat at the fat girl table in the cafeteria. If you're a fellow fat girl, you'll understand how this works. And you'll also understand how when you get old enough to start changing in locker rooms, you opt for the bathroom stall instead. I liked the middle stall. One time when I was changing in there, none of my classmates knew I was in the room, and proceeded to call me every name in the book and come up with a thousand and three insults. Its a fat girls worst nightmare, hearing the popular girls playing with her insecurities. When I got the nerve to walk out of the stall, and straight out of the locker room, they all knew I had heard them, and it was almost like a classic movie scene complete with crying and running down the hallway. One of the girls, I think it was Jennifer O'niel (one of the pretty popular girls that I knew I would never be, who also happened to be my neighbor), followed me to an outside bench, where she apologized. At least one of them cared. It was that same middle stall that I started my period in. It was right after gym class. My best friend at the time, Bryana Cline, was in the stall next to me. We were talking the entire time. I think doing Ace Ventura Pet Detective impersonations. Yep, that's how cool I was. And then I remember looking down and thinking "what in the hell is all of this yucky brownish red crap?". But then I realize, Oh, I'm a woman now! And then I got so excited I think I shouted "He-llo, womanhood!". Once we both got out of our locker room hideaways, we jumped up and down holding hands with excitement Babysitters Club style. Little did I know what was in store for me. It took months to figure out how to get a handle of the overflows, and the cramps, and the everything else associated with the shedding of my uterine lining. Do you remember your first couple of spills? White underwear was soon a thing of the past. As well as unstained jeans, and freshness. Ew. And what is that smell?! It would have been nice if someone would have handed me a box of diaper wipes and said "this will help", know what I'm sayin'? My mom had bought me a box of tampons though, that I would set up on the bathroom counter next to me. I'd stare at the how-to pictures on the back with wide eyes, and hold an unwrapped tampon in my right hand. There was no way I was sticking that in there. I tried a few times, but it just wasn't happening. So I wore the big bulky pads until I was ready to introduce Ricky to Lucy. Oh how much better they were! Seriously, whoever invented the tampon, thank you. Things got less messy. I felt liberated. My period sucked 50% less. As I got older my periods got worse. Much worse. Super worse. My cramps would get so bad that I wouldn't be able to get out of bed. I'd lay there and think about how much I hated being a woman, and stuff my face full of chocolate while watching Beaches. My flow was so heavy that I'd have to wear a tampon, and a pad. My mom told me that wasn't normal, but what was I supposed to do ya know? Bleed everywhere? Soon even that wouldn't work, because using a tampon became painful (why god, why?!), and I had to go back to pads alone. Overnight pads during the day seem to do the trick. I still catch myself trash talking tampon commercials when I see them on TV. Its so not fair. In October 2007, I had a laparoscopic surgery, confirming that I have Endometriosis. An incurable disease where the uterine lining grows wherever it damn well pleases. Whats that mean, you ask? It means a LOT of pain, infertility, internal bleeding, food intolerance's, ect. My mom had suffered from this, and had a hysterectomy when she was 35. I wasn't really aware of it when it was happening to her. I was young, and my parents did a good job keeping me out of it. I'll most likely have a hysterectomy someday too. Its not a cure, but I hear it helps a hell of a lot. Until then, I want to pop out babies like a popcorn maker at the movie theater. We've been trying for our 2nd child for a year with no luck. Tomorrow, this dreaded thing that we were all at one point excited about (what were we thinking?), will be here to ruin my weekend. Watch out folks, Aunt Flo is in town staying at the Herman Hotel. Put on your pj's, put your hair in pigtails, and lets talk periods!


erinpetersonart April 24, 2008 at 10:43 AM  

Grrrrr. Periods.
I do love your choices of items for this post! Although, I don't think I could bring myself to use the reusable pads. I love earth, but I dunno...

April M. April 24, 2008 at 11:21 AM  

I love this post! Thank you for including my pads.

Once you get past the first reaction - yuck!- to cloth pads, they are wonderful! The best part about it for me was no more yeast infections. I used to get them every 2 to 3 months, now they are gone.

When I had my first period, I cried! I knew all about it and wasn't scared, I just felt the impending doom of a lifetime of periods. Too funny.

missfire April 24, 2008 at 12:34 PM  

I LOVE my reusable pads! The yucky smell only happens with the disposables.

The day I had my first period, my mom announced at the dinner table that "Jen is a woman now." My Dad almost choked while I almost died. Then mom gave me her super ultra tampons. Yeah, right!!

Whitney April 24, 2008 at 3:18 PM  

I love this entry. I am definately passing this on to all period-havers in my neck of the woods :)

ThisOldHenHouse April 24, 2008 at 3:55 PM  

I'm all about saving the planet and all that jazz, but I'm too afraid that a cloth pad would be like wearing a diaper

I dont know, maybe its just me, but I assume in order to be absorbant they'd have to be pretty thick and that would make em unconfortable.... now I wanna know!

Angie April 24, 2008 at 3:59 PM  

Great blog article! I love those polkadot liners / pads! :) And it's so true that friend share periods and my roomate have our periods at the same time now :S lol

Christopher And Tia April 24, 2008 at 3:59 PM  

I actually have a cloth pad that I got around Christmas time. Its an extra absorbant one, with snaps that help hold it on. It feels a lot more comfortable than the disposable kind. And I've actually gotten diaper rash from the paper kind. It was HORRIBLE. Now I know how my daughter feels when I don't jump up and change her diaper immedietely. But I still can't bring myself to make the switch entirely to cloth. Maybe some day.

h_pets April 24, 2008 at 5:04 PM  

That teacher is a douchebag. Sixth grade is enough of a pain in the ass - you don't need a teacher telling you the way your body is growing is unacceptable.

I was fourteen, on a family roadtrip back from Ohio. I started figuring it out in a porta-potty (gross) in the middle of nowhere. For some reason I looked down into the, well, crap and stuff, and there was a polaroid with a naked young girl sitting on a naked man's lap, terribleness floating in a sea of excrement. I hated my first period and everything associated with it.

Now I need to read something else to cheer me up. :`(

BTW reusable pads ARE awesome. And so is this. and these.

Diana April 24, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

Hey love~

This story made me laugh. And then want to cry. And certainly relate all the way through.

Just one more thing we have to talk about. Why oh why don't you still live in Portland???

I got my first period when I was 10. Yep, that's right. And in the fifth grade. My stomach had been hurting strangely all day, and then the rust in my underpants made me understand. I didn't know quite what to do, but I tried to summon a reaction like what was described in the seminal girl's help book, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." Which was laughing and crying simultaneously. My teenaged aunt (I was at my grandma's house) thought I was just spazzing out, but grudgingly gave me one of her pads anyway. My mom, returning from work, had a grimmer reaction. She recognized it for what it was: seasons of pain and complication.

Have I told you that I dealt with infertility? It took IVF for us to conceive our first son. I have some knowledge of endo from friends who've gone through it, and have a book recommendation for you. It's an awful thing to have, and I'm so sorry. It's a good thing you're so kickass tough, doll.


P.S. Check out my blog today: I left a surprise for you...

Amanda April 24, 2008 at 9:32 PM  

LOL...I love your sense of humour and your art...and I also have endo...but I did get pregnant finally and it put it into remission for a number of years...wishing you lots of happiness.

Anonymous,  April 24, 2008 at 10:38 PM  

Ohhhh the joys of mensing. I will never forget the day mine first arrived... I had no mom and no one had explained it to me so I was in the bathroom screaming for someone to bring me a bandaid because I had cut myself. My poor dad had to call my grandmother to come give me the talk.

matilda sue April 24, 2008 at 11:23 PM  

When I got my period my mother ran around the house yelling "She's a Woooman now" and of course made phone calls to the entire family and some friends and a dinner to celebrate. I think I was scarred for life. She also attempted to tell me that tampons would give me tss and I shouldn't use them - but alas with some sports they are required and I found them!

Tatyana April 25, 2008 at 8:36 PM  

heh now you got me thinking back to my first period. i was 11.

Actually it was a summer and we were in a bungalo colony, with my grandma, myself and a 13 year old chick. That chick juuuuust so happened to get her period right at the beginning of summer and brought a big carton of pads to the bungalo. She told me that if i got my period, I was welcome to the pads. and I was like "noooooooo thank you not gonna happen."

...i got my period a month later.

and i think it took me several years to become actually proficient at handling overflow, staining, and all that great jazz. Oh and not having to wake up to a random stain on the sheets cause i friggin wanted to sleep in a comfortable position.

oh, oh! This august I'll be celebrating 10 years since my first period. ...goodie.

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