Monday, May 22, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

We stood huddled in the bathroom. Our voices were low, barely a whisper lest a teacher heard us and ushered us back to the classroom.
"Did you get it yet?" one of us asked to no one specific.
A half dozen pairs of eyes darted back and forth in an effort to see everyone else's answer before determining their own.
When no one spoke up, it was safe to assume we all held the same status. That is until one of us raised a tentative hand, letting us know that she had taken the first step into a world we had only heard of. The rest of us gasped and congratulated her, but deep down we hoped she was lying. We were only 10 and a half. But now 10 and a half was different on her. In the midst of our celebration, we all wished the miracle would happen for us in the next 24 hours so we could be the next girl to raise her hand.

From the moment our teacher separated the girls and boys into two rooms in the 5th grade and taught us about the wonderful changes that were beginning to happen to our bodies, every girl longed for the same thing. The first spot of red to show up on her Minnie Mouse panties or pool in the toilet and signify that we were no longer girls, but young women. We checked for it when we changed our clothes, took a shower, sat on the can, or did anything else that facilitated a look down there. At recess, we hid behind the gym door and turned around to make our friends check for the non existent spotting we were positive existed. Cramps were imagined and bloating feigned in the hopes of willing that first period to fruition. Adults told us that there was no way to control when it happened. The best indicator was our mothers. I didn't want to hear that since my mom's didn't come until she was 14. I thought I would die if I had to wait that long.

In sixth grade, I watched as girl after girl was escorted to the nurse's office to pick up her first maxi pad after springing an unexpected leak during art class, music lessons, or phys ed. I hoped with everything in me, that periods would be contagious and I could catch mine too. My competitive nature wouldn't allow me to be patient while nature ran it's course. Age 14 was my albatross. The thought of graduating junior high school without a single menstruations was a Herculean tragedy in my eyes. Tragedy was averted a couple months after my 12th birthday. After waiting nearly two years to see the evidence of my womanhood, I didn't even recognize it when it arrived. When I saw freakish brown streaks in my Hanes for Her I assumed I hadn't wiped well enough after taking a dump. My mother had to inform me that I had in fact experienced my first period. I was absolutely estatic and called every friend I had to share my good news. While I wasn't the first girl to enter the Red Dot club, I wasn't the last! That was most important.

Thirteen years later, I want to kick my 12 year old self for being so damn happy about being on the rag. Five to seven days per month of cramping, bloating, bleeding, and mood swings for the next 35 to 40 years is not cool in the least bit. Unfortunately, women don't get menstrual days included in our sick time. Heating pads, Aleve, and chocolate have no place in a boardroom, so we suffer in silence. Tampons are expensive as hell and one box per period ain't enough. Plus, tracking its comings and goings is a bitch, since the tiniest thing can throw it off. Get a new roommate and it wants to come twice in the same month. Get stressed out at work and it decides to take a month off, which for most single women is NEVER a good sign. And for some women, it shows up when they desperately want it to go away for nine months. Then, when it finally does go away for good hot flashes and estrogen shots are left as replacements. If I would've known all this crap back in elementary school, I would've gladly held out until I was 14. Whoever gave me this scourge, take it back, PLEASE!!!!

23 comments:

Fuerza_amor said...

I guess thats all in being a Queen. What city in MI do you live in? Detroit? I use to live up there...go Pistons

Cece said...

I don't know how you could have wished for this. I hated getting it from day one!! I went to see Queen Latifah speak and she mentioned periods and everyone groaned. She was like be happy. It lets you know everything is working and hell at least you ain't pregnant... I have to say I agree but only a little.
PS Get up on Tampax 40 multipacks
the greatest invention since well the tampon.

Charles said...

Man oh man am I happy I'm not a female. That ish is crazy. I can't be bleeding for days and what not...that'll freak me the hell out. I gotta give ya'll credit...women go through alot. But wishing for one...? Wow...girls trip me out sometimes...

Tense Teacher said...

Did you read "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" at that age? It made the whole getting-your-period thing seem romantic and wonderful, so I was looking forward to it as well. Stupid me.

citygirl said...

My mom, aunt and cousin all fell prey to monstrous cramps, overwhelming bleeding and a host of other undesireable symptoms. I knew from a very early age that your monthly was nothing to rejoice about!

Hmph!

chris said...

Yea i couldn't wait to get mine until i got it. it is so uncomfortable and painful...arrgh.

rebelioness said...

My mom got hers really late, too; but, like you, I got mine at the tender age of 12...two months shy of 13.

In response to Charles, I totally understand your confusion, but it's just like any plateau you're told you should reach: you long for it b/c it symbolizes more than 5 days of bloody torture (pun intended). And it's crazy cuz you can't do anything about it! I remember lying about it to my friends and actually wearing a pad to "prove" it b/c I was THE last one in my "crew" to get mine and it was mortifying - especially when I was the most developed one in the group, wearing a 36C cup in the 7th grade!

I agree with the Queen. Many times I've PRAYED and cried for Aunt Flo to come cuz otherwise I could bet on being in a delivery room 9 months later. Thank God for Midol, Advil, and Always (though I'm starting to prefer Stayfree...I don't know how you tampon girls do it!)

P.S. Liz, your reference to the brown streak was TOTALLY unnecessary. Thanks.

Cece said...

How fitting is it that the same day of this post MSN printed an article about women stopping thier periods( or did you use that as inspiration?)... and it brought up a very good point. Why do females have periods at all anymore?? With birthcontrol you can never have a period ever!! You just continue the cycle instead of stopping for the 5 or 7 days.
T-M-I alert but I cant be on birth control b/c of my health. But if I could I would have one last going away party and that would be it. Contact the Ob/Gyn's immediately!

with sprinkles said...

Hello god? It's me, Liz...

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

It's a shame we men don't have anything like that to look forward to. The best we can muster is the first time we figure out how to spank the monkey. After that, life changes for us.

Bougie Black Boy said...

very nice write-up... and it allows us all to see what goes on in a young girls head during puberty. We all wnt to "belong" and fit in. And we dont necessarily understand what we wish for. Wonderfully written.

Lynn said...

Oh God Liz. I'm with you there. I was totally just complaining about sick days for this--I can't imagine men ever dealing with this and making it into work.

Sober In the City said...

Dear Lord... I've been reading your blog too often. Even our cycles are beginning to sync!!

I know mines coming when my olfactory senses begin to take on wolf-like super powers. I smell yogurt two days past its expiration in the fridge three apartment doors down.

jailbait said...

You know what some ignant dude said to me one time, "the reason I don't trust women is because - what animal do you know that bleeds for a week every month but doesn't die"

I got mine when I was 11, I think I was probably the first girl in my middle-school crew to get it...along with boobs and a butt. I used to get killer cramps, a really heavy flo, and crazy mood swings....the mood swings stuck...

The Stiltwalker said...

yet again I have to be thankful for my 48 hour, painless periods. YES!

Diane Mandy said...

I was just the opposite. When my time came I cried like a baby. I didn't want to grow up; I liked things as they were. And forget the day mom took me to buy a bra-- you'd have thought it was some ancient Chinese torture advice. Then again, maybe it is.

mollymcmommy said...

you are so right, i actually wished for this too??!! arg!!
i had a "holiday" from aunt flo for almost 3 years nows its back with a vengence, grrrr!
nobody better piss me off today!!! LOL!

m

Chesty Larue said...

LMAO at sober in the city. My mom has the "wolf-like" olfactory all year round. Probably explains why I never picked up smoking...

As for cece...I don't think skipping periods for extended periods of time is safe, hence why I'm on the pill b/c my shit just decided to go on sabbatical w/o consulting me. Something about polycystic ovarian syndrome. Apparently, we NEED to bleed so we DON'T die (or suffer...from other related complications, of course).

Cece said...

I don't know how safe it is for everywoman but they have Seasonal which lets you limit periods to 4 a year (how cute is it that you get a period to mark the seasons like oh its fall time to buy a sweater) And the MSN article I read said that by early next year a BC will be on the market that eliminates it completely. But it also said that while its be proven safe over 10-15 years no one knows about the longer term effects... and I know Glamour did an article not to long ago about nurses and OBGYN docs who never get periods but its like thier little secret
Heres the link
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/12914034/

Elizabeth said...

I never wished for it. i didn't know what it was.

When they separated the boys and girls in the 5th grade, and our teacher began explaining how the sperm fertilizes the egg, I, ever the teacher's pet, jumped up and down waving my hand, interrupting the class to ask, "Miss Sartor, Miss Sartor, how does the sperm get to the egg?" Everyone agreed, "Yeah, Miss Sartor," a room packed full of 9 year-old-girls cried out, "how DOES the sperm get to the egg???"

Poor Miss Sartor, it had never occurred to her that in prim Darien Connecticut most of us hadn't been told the story of the birds and the bees yet. She was so flustered she never could answer that question, and never got to the part about tampons.

Given this was the 60s and people simply didn't talk about such things, it came as quite a shock to both me and my poor mother who was entertaining 20 women from the Darien Garden Club in our colonial living room when I shouted down from the stairwell, "MOMMY, come QUICK, there's something really WRONG! There's BLOOD all OVER my PANTIES!"

Leah said...

"Age 14 was my albatross." Please write a book.

Sober In the City said...

Dear Chesty:

I am also a proud carrier of the Polycystic Ovarian Disease. I love saying it because it sounds so dire and serious. "Yes, I have a disease."

I leave out how common it is and that all me any my sisters have it. I also leave out that it causes me to retain unwanted weight and attract unwanted facial hair. But that's just between you, me and the blogosphere.

After enjoying half a decade period free, I was forced to go on the pill to induce the dreaded experience.

So in other words, I hear you sister. And what's that scent your wearing?

Enj- said...

Yeah I wanted my period to come badly too and I was the last ones to get it in my friendship circle and I was mad becasue they had all been having theirs and talking about it and no one told me...I remember feeling betrayed and i didnt go play with them for a while after that...Because we had taken sex ed L knew or rather thought I knew everything there was to know...I had been having my period for months before my mom found out??? "Have you all been playing with my pads again?" All of us [my brothers and I] in unison "No" "Well where the hell are they?" That was confession time...I was good with it until one day in 8th grade I wore a white jumpsuit...needless to say disaster! Lucky for me it was first period (no pun intended) early in the morning and my "boyfriend's" mom was a teacher so she ran me home to change...Crazy huh? LOL!!!