Hey, World. Periods Still Suck
Periods are really en vogue right now. There’s chic, absorbent underwear you bleed all over on purpose! Fancy subscription services that deliver 100% organic tampons to your front porch! Sleek phone apps that track your cycle via colorful flowcharts! It’s as if menstruation is the new It Girl and we’ve filled her dressing room floor-to-ceiling with elaborate tokens of our affection. Those with cycles are part of her posse. So, by association, women are having a moment too. Though I’d love to simply bask in the glow of my lady parts’ newfound fame, one thing cannot be denied: periods are terrible. At best, they’re a messy monthly phenomena with minimal side effects. At worse, they’re an emotional and physical hurricane. There’s nothing glamorous or easy breezy about hemorrhaging every 30 days and the reality of this is never as fresh as the day you get The Talk.
My mom was the one who dropped the P Bomb on me at age ten. Most girls have some exposure to the idea of periods prior to being cornered by their parents; older sisters or hifalutin friends who softened the blow and fielded subsequent questions like a wise sage. I, however, was sheltered to the point of knowing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Mom had even signed me out of the sex ed portion of fifth grade health. As a result, my working theory on childbirth involved a woman’s navel stretching till it was big enough for a baby to pass through.
Up until The Talk, I hadn’t thought much about the anatomical differences between boys and girls either. Sure, we might look different, but our organs served the same purpose. The idea that a handful of mine had been lying dormant and would soon pull me into an involuntary fertility rite felt like a betrayal. I didn’t want my insides to suddenly be consumed with prepping for a non-existent baby. I wanted to remain free! The pubescent fate that awaited me was inevitable and open-ended. Aunt Flo could arrive next week or months from now. She lurked in the shadows of my fallopian tubes, daintily snacking on Fig Newtons and waiting for the day I wore white shorts in public.
The idea that a handful of mine had been lying dormant and would soon pull me into an involuntary fertility…