Males may want to stay away from this post. It's about girly stuff. Sorry. I was inspired by Hyperbole and a Half. My story isn't half as funny as hers (although possibly just as traumatic). Remember, this also may be exaggerated. This is MY memory, although my mother disagrees with part of the story.
In fifth grade we had “the video” and the lecture when they sent all the boys out of the room. And in sixth grade, it was discussed a bit as part of health class that was taught by the lady that was also our P.E. teacher, Mrs. McGregor. Going through these classes, well I don't know about anyone else, but I always thought – that's not gonna happen to me! So, being immature, and of course young, I didn't pay much attention. The fact that I did this in all my classes makes no difference here.
I was barely a month into my eleventh year of life when I started my period. I found out in my second class of the day, P.E. I was horrified. I had been wearing a white mini-skirt with white shorts underneath. I had given an oral report to my first class of the day. I was changing for P.E. class and happened to look down while taking off my shorts. O. M. G! What the Hell is THAT? Aw, HELL NO. I may be a girl, but this is NOT happening to me. My mind moved further... how many people saw this in science, and how many people didn't say anything? How many people laughed at me? How many people made fun of me? I started crying. Uncontrollably.
One of the girls who was near me in the locker room – quite possibly a famous person, as her last name started with an E and mine an F – asked me if I was ok. I whispered, quite shakily, or at least tried to whisper (it may have come out as a shriek at this point, as my voice often does when I'm crying), “I think I started my period, can you get Mrs. McGregor?” That got some sudden attention of what seemed like everyone in the locker room – the sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Again, I was horrified. Mrs. McGregor came running over, crying. Not because she was horrified, quite the contrary, she was EXCITED. If no one else in the locker room knew.... they did now. She fucking announced it. I don't think I have ever been more embarrassed at that point, or even possibly ever again as I was that second. She didn't seem to notice. She immediately sent me to the bathroom with the old fashioned pads. The kind with the belt that you have to safety pin into your underwear. How in the hell did these things work? I am pretty sure I made a huge mess of myself.
I finally made her understand that this “womanhood” was all over my WHITE clothes that I had to wear the rest of the day. My mom was luckily home that day with... you guessed it – cramps! I felt safe in calling her for help. The women of the P.E. Department led me into their office to use their phone. I picked it up and dialed home. I heard the phone pick up on the other end. NO. This can not be happening. Here is what I remember the conversation going:
(still sobbing) “Dad, please let me talk to mom.”
“Jenny, what's wrong?”
“Please, just let me talk to mom.”
“Not until you tell me what's wrong.” (he wasn't being mean, he was just worried)
“I stttttttarteddddd my perioooooooooooood!”
“Oh, honey, let me get your mom.”
I was hoping that I would never have to tell my father that I was, in fact, a girl. Well, too late, apparently. Mom took over the call and told me she would bring clothes for me to change into. My teacher called the school nurse, who walked me to the office. My mom came to bring me clothes. When she did, I think she understood how traumatized I was. Somehow she convinced the school (“we usually don't let girls go home for this”) nurse to let me go home.
My class was running the “Cross Country” that day, and I could picture them all seeing me while I was climbing into the car, seeing my stained shorts and laughing at me. I could not stop thinking about that once I got home and put on my pajamas.
Once school got out, my best friend's mom called because she found out. She apologized to me. That made me feel better. Not really. I also found out that one of the reasons that my teacher was so excited was because I was the first girl in my class to get my period. Lucky ME! I also became the center of all period related jokes. I seemed to be the only one that ended up getting the dreaded “pants spots.” Sometimes to the point of having to call my mom often to bring me fresh clothes, or bringing a jacket or sweatshirt to tie around my waist. Oh girls, don't tell me YOU never did that!!
My best friend started hers less than a month later. She didn’t tell me for a while, but at least she was lucky. She started hers at home and it was much less traumatic for her. One day, she just told me all matter of factly. Having gotten my period so early gave me so many more traumatic experiences for me to live through.
Oh, the event of “Becoming a woman.” What fun.