February 2, 2012

oh womanhood

Katrina and I watched some movie on the fancy VCR her family had, ate pizza and popcorn and candy before going to sleep in our sleeping bags on their living room floor. The next morning when I was in the bathroom peeing I looked down and saw blood in my undies. Instantly, my heart started beating fast and it dawned on me that I shouldn’t have cut the hair that was on me- down there- the night before. I panicked. I wiped myself and there was more blood. I started to cry as I was sure I was dying. All because I used the scissors I found behind the mirror to cut the hair down there. I sat there wondering what would happen to Katrina and her family once mine found out what happened and that I was dead.

I sat there on their toilet, crying, until I heard a knock on the door.

“How many pieces do you want?”


“How many pieces of bread do you want?” Katrina asked again. “For the toast. For the Nutella.” Yeah we were badass and well ahead of our time eating Nutella on toast for breakfast.

I asked her to come in to the bathroom and cried to her that I was dying. She saw the blood and told me she’d be right back.

“Christina, honey, are you OK?” Katrina’s step-mom sang through the closed door of the bathroom.

I finally allowed her to come in and she gave me a new pair of my cousin’s underwear to put on along with this thick, fluffy, white sticky thing that she put on the underwear where the blood was.

“You have your period,” she told me. “Hasn’t anyone told you about getting your period yet?”

She must’ve known by the look on my face and the tears in my eyes that the answer was a big fat No and proceeded to tell me that I was getting older and changing into a woman and getting my period and growing boobs (I was already wearing a regular bra by then- at age 10) was all a part of it.

She showed me where she kept the “pads” (which my mom always told me were “pads of paper” when I asked about similar ones that sat below the ceiling atop the shelf in our bathroom at home… and at that moment it finally made sense why she never let me use those “pads of paper” to write and draw on), and told me to take the one in my undies off after a while, roll it into a ball and into some toilet paper and throw it in the garbage, and use a new pad until there was no more blood… in about a WEEK.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I was with that same cousin, 20-some YEARS later, that I finally used a tampon for the first time (yes, I didn’t start using tampons till I was in my early 30s- LIFE-CHANGING EVENT!!), too.

Oh the joys of womanhood. (And holy hell I'm now realizing I've had my period now for nearly 30 years!!!!!)

1.) Last week we covered your Top 10 Life Stories…this week choose one and share all the details.


  1. I got my period on my 13th birthday. Oh yay!

    That was really sweet of your cousin's step-mom to help you stay calm and understand your new body. If I had not known what was going on, I would have freaked! Isn't it crazy what kids think?? LOL!

  2. Everytime I hear someone say they thought they were dying or hemorraghing, I think of Carrie in the shower. And now I can't stop giggling. I am glad that your cousin's step-mom was there and that she was able to calm you. And seriously, at 10? My daughter was 10 last year with hers too and luckily we'd already discussed it. I was 15. FIFTEEN! It's just wrong to me that such young girls have to deal with a period so early sometimes.

    And the tampons? I tried a couple of times in high school and they leaked each time. So I gave up. It wasn't until I was about 32, 33, after my second daughter, that I tried again and it was like the gates to period heaven opened up and welcomed me.

  3. Oh, man. It's stories like these that remind me why schools need to start teaching about this stuff in 4th or 5th grade. How terrifying! Glad you had a sympathetic woman to help you out.

    And yes - good Lord, I can't believe how long I've been getting my period now. So freaking unfair.


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