Monday, April 9, 2012

The Menarche Diaries: Josie's First Period

The Menarche Diaries:
Josie's First Period

I got my first period when I was 10 years old. I remember the day like yesterday, I was going to the bathroom when I happened to look down in my underwear...I freaked out. I came out of the bathroom and went to my mom, telling her I thought something was wrong with me. I had something weird on my panties.
She asked to see, so I showed her, nonchalantly she said I might have my period-she took me to the bathroom and gave me a pad. One of those big puffy ones that make you think of a diaper. (Nothing cute nor colorful for me!)
"Put this on, if you wake up tomorrow and see blood on it-you have your period."

I went to bed, praying that this wouldn't happen. I woke up the next day and the first thing I did was check the pad. Damnit...blood. I have my period.

My mom printed information for me off the internet, it talked about menstrual cramps, how long periods typically last, and the general...non-personal information every girl learns over time.

Never did I have a warm hug, welcome to womanhood speech. I was given a pad and the cold-hard facts...and Tylenol or ibuprofen if needed. I felt like I was a rebel in school; hiding pills from the teachers so I wouldn't have to ask to go to the nurse. I remember telling one of my school friends that I had gotten my period over summer vacation-soon some of the popular girls at school came up to me in the bathroom. They asked (in a snide voice) if I had gotten my period. It wasn't seen as something "cool" but it instantly put me down lower on the "status" chain at school than ever. 

No one to talk to, relate to...I was an outsider. I couldn't ask any of my classmates questions-my mom had the "suck it up" was never made out to be something special or celebratory for her. It wasn't for me.

It was embarrassing for me at such a young age, to become a woman. Especially without the support group of positive people around me-it's taken me many years to get over the idea that my period is misery in liquid form. That it's a time for me to be gentle with myself, love myself, and treat myself as a woman. I'm strong, but yet it's not always painless...I get tired, worn out, and cranky. I push myself through every day tasks, sometimes just wanting to curl up into a ball instead. I'm working on getting over my shyness over admitting "hey, I have my period...I'll do my best, but if I'm not as chipper as normal-that's why."

I think my overall confidence in myself would've been better, had my period experience been more positive and affirming. 


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