Wow, you’re moody – it must be your time of the month!
This article is a bit different to the others. Although periods are a common topic coming up frequently in the student newspaper, I haven’t yet attempted to write one because I have an uncontrollable habit of going into a level of detail that can make even the strongest of stomachs turn slightly. I forget that the conversations I have with my mum cannot also be broadcasted to the whole of my university. My poor boyfriend is now a qualified professional at handling a hungry me and hearing out my intense descriptions of how my Lounge underwear is RUINED. At school, after sitting down for a long period of time, I’d stand up, look my male friends in the eye, and say, ‘drip’, ‘drip, ‘drip’. So yeah, I’d say I’m a bit intense.
Therefore, this is not going to be a re-write. Instead, this is a throwback/re-write to my English Language A-Level coursework, because guess who couldn’t contain herself when being required to write a creative piece? Me. I got 28/30 as well, just to flex.
Let’s talk periods…because what’s better than reading about someone who’s had a period experience worse than yours? It might make you feel better about your own experience – I assume I’m not the only woman in this world who’s had it this bad.
This is for all of you who have been asked why you were taking your bag to the toilet, in front of way too many people. This is for all of you who have to cough in a public cubicle just to cover up the stupidly loud sound of a pad being opened. This is for all of you who suffer from major PMS (Pissy Mood Syndrome – also known as Premenstrual Syndrome). This is for all of you who skip a 9am and sit at home once a month with emotional diarrhoea, a hot water bottle against your stomach, three servings of Ben and Jerry’s, an extra-large bag of salty popcorn and The Notebook on TV (so literally anyone with a functioning teenage uterus).
I received my first little crime scene between my legs when I was 12. The villainy occurred a little earlier than my friends, so I only had my mum at the time to share this ravishing event with.
You might assume my 12-year-old brain would know what was happening to me, after all the overly graphic sex education we had in primary school; let me assure you – this was not the case. Apparently the only thing I remember from Year 6 is the image of a vagina, stretched to a size I will never be able to live up to. The more useful images, like what my pants might look like on my period, didn’t seem to stick (probably because I was chundering by this point).
Coincidentally, I’d seen an awareness advert on TV a few nights earlier. I’ll spare you the gory details, but it basically talked about the signs of bowel cancer – one of them being blood exiting my downstairs area. So, of course I came running out of the bathroom to tell my mum I had bowel cancer, without checking if the blood was coming out of the front or the back. Through the tears, I explained there was blood in the loo after taking a dump and she burst out laughing. I felt distraught – she was actually laughing at the fact that I may die. She soon calmed herself down after seeing my horrified face and explained that Mother Nature had reached its destination, and so the journey into womanhood began…
I told her it must have the wrong address. No way was I ready for my vag to rain red, full speed.
Packets of pads were loaded into the bathroom and I felt like I was 6 months old again – waddling around, dependent on a nappy.
Soon enough, packets of tampons were then forced upon me (I was a swimmer; I didn’t have much choice). Unfortunately, my common sense seemed to be non-existent the first time I tried to plunge this strange thing into a stubborn place I had never explored before. Nowhere in the instructions did it say, ‘remove the plastic applicator’, so I went swimming, quite satisfied with myself and feeling like this was the most ridiculous invention ever. I soon realised my catastrophic mistake. With every kick, I felt the plastic sneaking its way out of its dark alleyway. That day, my coach set me a half hour kicking exercise; that really was menstruation at its finest. All I had to do was squat over the toilet to watch both the tampon and River Rouge run free.
I confirmed with my mum that removing the applicator was the right thing to do, and of course, once again she found immense humour in my situation. Worse yet, my dad walked into the room whilst we were discussing the rather in depth details. Little did I know, there’s this phenomenon that you just can’t discuss lady issues near your dad, because as soon as they hear the ‘P word’, they run off, frightened for their lives. Asking my dad to buy me a new car is probably more realistic than asking him to buy me more tampons. We’re in the 21st century and men still can’t cope with talking about this stuff. If it wasn’t for periods, none of us would exist – do men just not understand that?
Menstrual cups are the one thing I have never, and will never try. If I struggled with tampons, some little tea-cup thing is a guaranteed disaster for me. Ironically, I will recommend them to you lot though. You only need one (unless you have multiple vaginas), so there’s no filling your bag with tampons, no running out of pads and you’re saving money.
*Don’t worry, since writing this, I’ve become more educated on our environmental emergency and will now absolutely try them to decrease the amount of waste I produce. Also since writing this, Tesco has started paying the tampon tax for us (that’s 5%) because they are NOT a ‘luxury’ product, and schools across England have introduced free access to sanitary products. Although this has been a long time coming, it’s definitely better late than never. And to be honest, I’m not too bummed that this wasn’t introduced whilst I was still in school, because boys in my year were oblivious to the meaning of ‘maturity’, and so their idea of humour would probably be to use these free tampons to wear as jewellery for their waxy ear holes or something.*
So all of you time-of-the-monthers, don’t worry; you’re not alone and there is an end to it all (in about 30 years’ time when your reproductive system starts to deteriorate).
I’m 19 now. That’s a seven-year anniversary coming up soon with my darling Mother Nature. And has it really been that bad? Honestly, no. I’m bigger than that bitch. Period.