Tag Archives: first period

Becoming A Woman

10 Sep

As my niece nears the age of puberty, I can’t help but remember my own journey to “becoming a woman”.  As with everything else in my life, it was an experience fraught with awkwardness.

I was 12 years old and vacationing with my parents and grandparents at Disney world – the so-called “happiest place on earth” (not on that day!).  To make matters worse, as if by some great symbolic gesture of my purity, I was dressed in all white.

I don’t know how long I walked around with that giant red spot on my white shorts, but I remember the exact moment I discovered it.  I think my childish-turned-womanly screech was burned into the memory of every other woman in the public restroom that day, as well.

After discreetly informing my dad and grandfather what was happening by shouting “SHE GOT HER FIRST PERIOD!” in the middle of the restaurant, my mom and grandmother escorted me back to the hotel.

toxic_tampons_pads_504x334Once in the hotel bathroom, mom walked in with a tampon in one hand and a pad in the other.  I wasn’t sure what to do with either, but the thick, cushiony pad looked a lot less menacing then the hard plastic thingy which I was informed was meant to be inserted INTO my little lady bits – no thank you!

Still…I was intrigued.  I knew my mom and older sisters used tampons. And now that I was a woman (or so I was told repeatedly by every female relative), I needed to get to the bottom of how this all worked.  So when I got my period again, I asked my eldest sister (who was 26 at the time) to teach me.

Me: {holding tampon} “How does this thing work?”

Sister: {squirms uncomfortably; resigns herself to conversation after I repeatedly shove tampon in her face} “Um… well, let’s look at the diagram on the instructions and I’ll talk you through it. As you see here, you place the tampon into the hole then –“

Me: “Which hole?”

Sister: {blink, blink} “What do you mean?”

Me: “I’ve got a couple down there.”

Sister: “It… not your butt hole! The other one.”

{Sister continues walking me through the process, even mimicking the movements shown on the instructional diagram}

Me: “I’m still confused. Can you show me, like, on yourself?”

Sister: “No. I…no.”

Me: “Then can you watch me do it?”

Sister: “This is one of those things you have to do on your own. I’m sorry.” {runs out of bathroom}

{After several awkward attempts, I think I mastered the tampon. Despite the discomfort, I am proud and want to show off to my big sister.}

Me: “I did it!  See?” {drop pants}

Sister: “I SAID NOT YOUR BUTT HOLE!”

Becoming a woman is hard work!