After giving birth, I wore pads again for the first time in a really long time, and it brought me back to my first period, just before my 13th birthday. It happened at night, and I woke up in a bed that looked like something out of a Netflix true crime series. My younger sister stood in my doorway horrified as I screamed for my mom, “I’m DYING!” Once we all accepted that I was not, in fact, dying, my mother returned with a handful of menstrual pads.
“These are pads, you put them in your underwear and always make sure to change them when they are full.” I remember there also being some vague dialogue about how I shouldn’t have sex because I can get pregnant and, oh yeah, this will happen every single month for the rest of my life. My mom quickly left to call every person she knew to tell them the news, and I was stuck with a handful of pads and the murder scene that was my bed.
The next month, my period coincided with a pool party. My mom said I wasn’t ready for tampons, so I sat on the sidelines in shorts. It sucked. Thankfully my best friend Carrie had two older sisters, and they insisted I was indeed READY for the tampon experience. I was excited and scared—my mom said these were forbidden! What if it got stuck up there? Was I still a virgin after using a tampon? And most importantly–was I going to die of toxic shock syndrome?!
After Carrie performed her one-woman show entitled: “How to Put in a Tampon,” I was ready. I went into her bathroom and closed the door while she sat on the other side cheering me on. I tried 100 times—it just wouldn’t go in! I was tense and scared! Maybe I should just use pads. My mom said I wasn’t ready, what if she was right?! After an hour or so, Carrie got so fed up she marched right in and stuck the tampon in herself. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a true friend.