I’d read books about the body during my tween years. I’d even read Are You There God It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume, before it became such a hot commodity that there was a waiting list for it in the school library. Both the boys and the girls all wanted to read it. I was prepared. I knew that adolescence would be about changes in my body, acne and this thing called hormones. Books explained to me what was going on when the two tender little bumps arrived on my chest. I even knew a special little exercise that would make them grow bigger. I knew bigger breasts were better, though I didn’t quite know why. I chanted, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust,” as I stood in front of the mirror. I’d simultaneously push my chest forward and pull my squared arms back with my hands raised over my head. Almost every syllable of the chant required a thrusting forward of my knobs. The book didn’t tell me it would take me all the way till my sophomore year of college to have that exercise finally work.
I knew I would get my period. I also knew that a woman gets her period until she goes into menopause when she gets older… fifties or something. What I couldn’t figure out was why girls in the book and in my class wanted this period thing to happen. Why would a person want to bleed and have cramps everyday of their life until menopause?
Thankfully, all the other puberty changes, besides a period, started happening to me. I accepted acne. I’d wash, cleanse, tone and moisturize. I’d put zit cream on the pimples. I even took a class at church about skin care. St. Ives Apricot scrub to exfoliate, Witch Hazel as a toner and Oil of Olay moisturizer was all that was really needed. A brand such as L’oreal from a drug store was a suitable upgrade. No need for expensive skin care lines we learned!
You see, I was well prepped for this adolescence thing and all that came with it. What did I need a “talk” from my parents for? I was cruising through this experience. One day I notice this brown spotting in my panties. What is this? Surely not my period because it does not look crimson red like blood. For days I wonder what it is. Should I tell my mother? I hide my dirty panties and dispose of them in public trash cans. I gotta think about whether I should tell my mother about this odd phenomenon. Before I can decide what to do, it goes away. Huh? Well… Good.
I am spared having to worry my mother that something is wrong with me. That is until it comes back! For some reason, this time I yell from the toilet, “Mummy, come look!” I show her my panties. I’m worried and so sorry to have to worry her now too. She walked me into her bedroom and showed me where the pads were kept. She walked me through all the steps, how often I should change them, how to dispose of them, everything. I’m given a little calendar to write down and keep track of what day it starts.
What?!? Whoa, wait a minute? Say that again, Mum? It only lasts about a week every month? Ok, so, really, the first time I got my period was the second time. Oh, Judy Blume, how could you forsake me so? How did I miss this key detail in my beloved books?
To this day I still cannot figure out why the topic freaks some grown men out. I don’t understand why some women feel sworn to secrecy from talking openly about it. No, drug store cashier, I do not need a double bag for these. It’s natural. Without it we wouldn’t be here. Get over it.
Special Thanks to those of you who have shared your first time stories with me. Feel free to share in the comments as well as email me :-D!