My Flow Confession or Where My Blog Finally Crosses That Line

So I cannot believe I’m actually going to do this, but below is the story of my first period. This post in inspired by Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog. She recently featured Elissa Stein and Susan Kim’s book Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation and challenged her readers to talk openly about menstruation on their own blogs. After seeing the other responses and the wonderful twitter conversations that her post and this book has inspired, I am here to give my two cents.

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If you are at all squeamish about bodily functions or the female reproductive system or if you are my dad, you should probably stop reading now.

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It was the summer between sixth and seventh grade and I was an excited girl heading to ballet camp for the first time. The day before I was to leave for two weeks, nature decides it would be funny to send me my very first period. I had the basic idea of what I needed to do so I put on a pad and told my mom. No big deal right?

Wrong. For those of you who did not have the joy of spending your summers at ballet camp, it involves 6-7 hours each day of wearing only a leotard and tights. No skirts. No shorts. Leotard and tights only. As a mere 12-year-old (oh how I envy those that got 4 more years of freedom than I did), I was still a few years away from tampons. And pads require underwear, so I had the joy of wearing underwear under my tights and leotards (non-dancers: the ONLY time you do this is when you’re wearing a pad). I’m sure everyone knew exactly what was going on.

But it gets better.

No one told me that the flow of your period changes as it progresses. Or that it can sometimes stop during times of rest and then start again. So naturally, when I woke up on the third or fourth morning and found nothing in the pad I had been wearing that night, I thought it was over. I then, in my brilliant 12-year-old wisdom, decided that I would wear my white leotard. Yep, white. See where this is going yet?

Halfway through my first class, I was stretching and noticed that there was a little red spot on the crotch of my sparkling white leotard. I quickly stopped stretching and finished the rest of the class trying very hard not to draw attention to myself. I have no idea if anyone noticed, but I have to imagine they did. I changed at the first opportunity I could but there was no getting out of that class. I was forced to pirouette and grande jete along with everyone else. Except no one else had to do it with a growing stain on their leotard. To this day I have no idea if anyone noticed, but c’mon, they noticed, right?

And really, why on earth would I choose the white leotard out of all the other colors? I probably should have picked one of my 800 black ones that day. But no. I chose the only white one. Nice, Michelle.

And that is the story of my first period told for the very first time. I can’t believe that is out there for the whole world to see now. Thanks Rebecca.

Time for you all to start sharing.

13 thoughts on “My Flow Confession or Where My Blog Finally Crosses That Line

  1. Kelly March 13, 2010 / 9:27 am

    You should’ve sent that in to the YM/Seventeen/Teen Humiliation! columns. Remember those? I always loved reading them and they always had those really bad stories about getting your period while wearing white shorts or a white skirt.

    My best friend got her period a few months before I did, and I was so insanely jealous; all I wanted in the world was to get mine. And then I did (and I think it was on the day of my grandmother’s funeral, but it was right around then, anyway) and I was like, “Yeah. Don’t want this anymore.”

    Like

  2. Lenore March 13, 2010 / 9:55 am

    I stained a lot of white clothing too.

    One of my favorite stories about my period is from when I lived in Spain for one summer. I got my period and was having bad cramps. I told my host mother, and she brought a bottle of whisky and told me to take a couple of swigs!

    Like

  3. Helen March 13, 2010 / 9:57 am

    Great story, but how horrible at 12. I was so lucky to be 15 when I started. Trust me, I totally appreciate having the extra teen years without it.

    Like

  4. Jenny March 13, 2010 / 10:03 am

    Oh no that’s awful! I would have been so upset. I was younger than that when I got mine but it was a regular school day and my mom stayed home with me that day. I would have been so upset if it happened before something like that.

    Like

  5. Bina March 13, 2010 / 1:25 pm

    Uh, they probably noticed. But seriously that must´ve been awful at 12!
    I actually first got my period when I was 11 so I really got the most out of it 😉 But I got it over night so no white pant issue. I remember pony camps every summer though, not so easy changing your pads when you´re doing cross country riding for hours on end without stops that actually involved toilets and privacy.

    Just read Eva´s great post and she mentioned this book!

    Like

  6. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog March 13, 2010 / 3:53 pm

    You are awesome for sharing this! All of these posts (and the comments that have sprouted from them) this week have made me so proud to be part of this reading community of women who are gutsy enough to take charge of making a pointlessly taboo topic less scary to talk about.

    I’ll be posting my own story next week, but just know that you’re not alone in bad luck: mine has a way of finding me when I’m on vacation 🙂

    Like

    • Michelle March 14, 2010 / 9:27 am

      Thank you for inspiring us all to share.

      Like

  7. Nymeth March 13, 2010 / 4:19 pm

    Eek! And by “eek” I don’t mean that’s gross; I just mean “poor you” 😛 I spent my pre-teens terrified that something like this would happen to me, but fortunately my first period was completely uneventful.

    Like

  8. Michelle March 14, 2010 / 11:28 am

    Oh. My. Goodness. How embarrassing! It made me laugh though – thanks for that!

    Like

  9. Iris March 15, 2010 / 4:50 pm

    I think you’re very brave for sharing!

    It must’ve been very emarrassing. I still hate going to ballet class when I’m on my period. Even when I’m allowed to wear pants instead of a maillot.

    Like

    • Michelle March 15, 2010 / 8:42 pm

      Going to class on my period doesn’t bother me now that I’m an adult and nobody keeps me from wearing whatever I like. You will rarely see me without shorts or a skirt on in class at any time of the month now.

      Like

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