December 02, 2005

Okay. I Know Everyone's Going to Get Mad at Me Again.

But I have to survey my female readers, here. I read a story at writer's group last night (a little autobiographical piece about my relationship with my body) and mentioned that it was "fun" to get my first period, at the age of 14. The five others present—all female—questioned that word. My mouth nearly dropped open: sure, menstruating can get to be a drag in any number of ways after months and years go by. But I had a classic Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret? experience, and genuinely wanted that confimation that I was becoming sexually mature and that my body worked properly. It sounded like a grownup thing, getting periods, and like most teenagers I longed for the trappings of adulthood (stopping just short of responsible behavior, of course, like most teenagers).

Am I the only one who was thrilled and gratified to see those spots of blood for the very first time?

Posted by Attila Girl at December 2, 2005 07:45 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: caltechgirl at December 2, 2005 09:43 AM

Yes. I mean no. Wait, wrong thread!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 2, 2005 02:53 PM

Oh no! I was too!

I was starting to worry by then. See, I started with the secondary sex characteristics at ten, stopped growing taller at 11, reached 34B status at 12, and still didn't have my period. So when I finally got it a couple months before my thirteenth birthday I was relieved. It was the only thing left undone and I'd been afraid it wouldn't happen.

At the time this was precocious, understand, not like today where it's probably average to start at twelve. There's always that little handful, two or three girls, who get the first real bras and such. And it leaves one highly vulnerable. Where I went to school, the consequences of being an "early bloomer" were terrible.

On top of that, I had horrible prolonged heavy sickening periods. Just awful. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I learned that fibromyalgia does that. I always figured it was endometriosis or something. Most of my life the pill was the only thing that got me through, turned those beasts into more *normal* periods.

But at least I knew I'd made it. I was done. And when I could get away from harsh reality and back into what I thought things should be like, socially I mean, I was thrilled. I'd crossed that line, made that rite of passage. I greatly disliked being a child and now no one could really call me that any mroe. Even though, of course, I still was.

And the funny thing is, when I read your post, I'd just been drafting up a post on peri-menopause. And on how nice it was to get a real period just now.

Posted by: K at December 2, 2005 07:09 PM

Ahem. Okay, I am not a member of the, uh, other leading major gender. The, er, feminine one. And therefore blood from any orifice is a cause for immediate concern, if not frantic panic.

However, I remember a page length comic in a National Lampoon issue, late '70s, on this exact topic. It was captionless, and featured two young women (girls, really) determined to try tampons for the first time, as a rite of passage. It followed their misadventures and discomfort and incredulity until the final panel, which had them walking proudly, a tiny little string dangling visibly between their legs. Incidentally, it was not graphically explicit.

I have no idea who drew it... at the time it seemed merely weird to me. Still does, in retrospect. But weird was what National Lampoon did best, back then, when they were funny.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at December 2, 2005 09:39 PM


Posted by: beautifulatrocities at December 2, 2005 10:16 PM

My mom was open and very matter-of-fact about periods (and all reproductive questions) for as long as I could remember. So I approached the day actually looking forward to it. Like you, it seemed to me one of those markers that annouced...Today you are a woman.

Happened exactly 3 days after my 12th birthday. I was thrilled! It was a bright spot in the midst of all the physical changes I was going 11th birthday signaling the start of puberty and a growth spurt that took me from 5 foot even, to 5 foot 7 inches when my period started.

I was as open, approachable and matter of fact with my girls. No depressions or freaking out. Just "hey, mom, come see what happened!"...and upping the total boxes of pads and tampons to buy at the market

Posted by: Darleen at December 2, 2005 10:24 PM

Steve, I'd love to see that National Lampoon bit.

Guys, you seem to be dealing with this post with impressive fortitude.

Posted by: K at December 3, 2005 05:41 AM

I don't even remember. It seemed like kind of a non-event, like sweating--er, perspiring. ;-) You know, something you don't show off, but it happens and you just deal with it all the same. A minor inconvenience. I never had to deal with the horrors of PMS that some do, though, so there ya go. (I also had a ridiculously easy pregnancy--maybe I was meant to be a "breeder!" haha)

And I do believe this would be the first time I've ever discussed this in a public place. Now I'm starting to freak out, thanks.

Off-topic, sorta, well, not sorta...I clicked the Baby Bella blogad. Cutie stuff!!! (See? Born to breed, I guess. EEEEK.)

Posted by: Beth at December 3, 2005 06:46 AM

It was another tedious purgatory at Aunty Viv's chateau in the Adirondacks, where I disappointed her by overturning china cups of tea & dragging my size 10 feet. Not allowed to wear pants, I was upholstered in a pink organdy knot bristling with lace & tatting. I had just sat down on a padded & priceless 18th Century chair - more like a stool, really - that had once been owned by Mary Shelley. Such a fuss!

Posted by: shirley w. at December 3, 2005 07:14 AM

What a trashy blog

Posted by: John at December 3, 2005 09:23 AM

notice John left off the


Posted by: K at December 3, 2005 09:49 AM

And who are you trying to start a blog war with with this this post?

Posted by: William Teach at December 3, 2005 10:06 AM

supposed to be a smiley face on the end of that

Posted by: William Teach at December 3, 2005 10:19 AM

No one this time, but I'm always open to a blog war, particularly if the other party is willing to, um, participate.

I just knew it was a delicate subject. However, I had to enquire, because I had suddenly realized that my experience might have been a minority one. And as a writer, I wanted to know about it if that were the case.

John, please come back next week, when I'll be discussing forensic entomology, and the progression of various species of maggots that breed in dead bodies. Either that, or how diet affects the texture of human shit. I haven't quite decided.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 3, 2005 10:26 AM

Oh. So you'll be linking to Bane next week then?

Posted by: Desert Cat at December 3, 2005 10:46 AM

Can't wait! Both delightly holiday themes!Who says the Algonquin Round Table has been turned to kindling? The new Golden Age?

Posted by: Darrell at December 3, 2005 11:43 AM

I think the fact that you wrote this post is pretty good. While it might not mean much to the male readers, the very fact that you posted something deeply personal is, too me, alot of what blogging should be about.

Posted by: William Teach at December 3, 2005 03:12 PM

Try to get her started on the thermodynamics of breast-washing

Posted by: jeff at December 3, 2005 05:55 PM

Hm. I'm pretty sure that "Shirley" was Jeff/BA. But there's this chance it was Hubris.

Of course, I could go check the IP log, and figure it out that way. But I'm far far far too lazy.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 3, 2005 09:08 PM

I enjoyed the subject. As a man who knows little about women, well actually a man who understands NOTHING about women, it was enlightening.

Posted by: Old Gary at December 3, 2005 10:50 PM

And you are different from every other man how, exactly, Old Gary? :)

Posted by: William Teach at December 4, 2005 08:22 AM

I wasn't thrilled -- guess because I'm a guy

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