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.
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.
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.