Getting Comfortable With My Period
We all have things we don't like to talk about; for most of us, our period is one of those things. That undesirable plague shows up once a month, every month, and dares to threaten our fun —and our entire social life.
The first time I heard about periods, I was pretty young. Even then, I knew I wouldn’t be a fan. I was so right. At the age of 14, I was first visited by Mother Nature. Since then, “she,” as I call her, has become a frequent (and frequently unwelcome) visitor.
Not all girls mind talking about their period, but I’d say most don’t like it. It took me awhile to get comfortable discussing it openly, especially in the presence of boys. In high school I would feel embarrassed whenever the time came, even though no one else knew it was my time of the month. Despite the discomfort and pain I experienced, I would pretend that all was OK, that I was fine, that I totally wasn’t in agony. I felt as if just saying the word “period” would be an atrocity.
When the pain became unbearable, I was forced to make my way to the school office to ask for a pass to leave class. I, of course, had to give a valid reason. So I looked an administrator in the eye and said that Mother Nature was here, and that she was putting up a fight. As if having a period could get any worse, I also had to explain myself.
The first time I realized it was OK to talk about it was in college. At age 17, I sat with friends—including a guy friend—and I remember thinking, wow, (*raises eyebrows*) there is no shame in discussing this. It was such a not-big deal, it was as if we were talking about music. From that time on, I felt totally normal talking about it. I felt myself becoming less constricted and more free; it was one step closer to accepting me.
From that point on, I wanted to help others feel comfortable with their periods. I made a point to talk to younger girls who were going through that same awkwardness of discussing their periods, or were trying to get over the crushing fear of being spotted buying pads or tampons.
I know now that there’s nothing wrong with talking about my period or the pains I experience, or the type of sanitary napkins I buy. After all, it’s only natural. So I’ve decided that I will no longer be embarrassed by that time of the month, nor will I feel like it’s a taboo I can’t bring up. Not only have I grown into my period, but also, on some level, myself.
By Shanika St. John, 23