It is a rite of passage for every girl to step into their first period. It’s often synonymous with cramps, acne and other bad symptoms. When mine arrived, I rejoiced and celebrated because I never thought I’d see the day.
As my classmates and peers started to get their first bra, or learn about period, talk about period pain, I couldn’t relate. I had not experienced this, and therein was my greatest concern. Was I once again going to be left behind? Why could I not be like everybody else?
It wasn’t uncommon for me though. My entire childhood, I’ve felt different.
I didn’t fit in even if I wanted to.
I was 16 and still did not have my period. It was embarrassing. Was there something I was supposed to do that I didn’t do? Were my breasts meant to blossom before the blood came out down there? Because that hadn’t happened either.
In the place of perky cony bits of flesh that needed to be held in a brassière, I had nothing. Maybe a little bit of fat, but barely.
Naturally I did have a brassière. When all your friends start wearing one, you’d be silly to attract even more unwanted attention on just how DIFFERENT you are from everyone else.
So I wore one, and stuffed it with cotton, socks, shoulder pads, anything I could find.
I also did not have hair. You know, under the armpits.
This too was rather worrisome. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do about that, and I drew the line at ‘faking it’. Unlike stuffing my bra, I had no idea how to pull this masquerade off.
So I did the only thing I knew whenever I was faced with a serious problem – I prayed.
First period – the celebration
Now that you have the context about me, a teen as per her birth certificate but a little girl biologically, it’s fair to understand how getting my period shortly after 16 was a monumental milestone!
I cried tears of joy as I scribbled how thankful and elated I am on the pages of my diary before locking it with its secret lock.
Far from wanting to keep this a secret, I rushed to announce to my mother.
Finally I had my period! If I needed reassurance that I was normal, there it was, a bright red stain that I never wanted to wash off. It was beautiful – the sight of blood. The yearning, the waiting, all these years…they were worth it because now it culminated with tears of joy, laughter, relief, satisfaction, pride, and celebration.
Back in school, I felt proud to be part of the girls. We were all in this together, weren’t we? I could finally belong.
It was all well until the following months, when I listened to my girl friends talk about their menses as my throat dried up and my chest tightened.
Many had abdominal cramps, they shared Myprodols (I’ve never had one to this day / 2021) whenever one of them would be in pain. They spoke of headaches, acne, being bloated, PMS and tender breasts.
Yet again, I found myself in the outsider category. Little did I know that this would be a lonely journey through menstruation in my early adult life where I’d hide my happiness of getting my period.
The incredible thing though is that the God I prayed too had not left my side. He would sustain me throughout this entire journey and would later on bring me to women who have changed my life and how I do anything in life.
In the next post in this series, I will share about how I align my activities, my tasks, projects and life pillars to my menstrual cycle. First, I wanted to share a bit of background into the story, and next I will share the roller coaster I went on with my health (including mental) due to periods and misinformation.
My hope is that we can be women (and men) who speak openly about this. Whether we call it menses, menstruation, period, Zorro or The Red Sea, it ought to be a topic that becomes a dialogue that promotes even more compassion and beauty in our lives.