Bleeding is fo Suckas

7 Sep

When I was 13, I got my period.

How exciting you say. Just like almost every other girl who ever existed.

But there’s a catch.

I was 13 when I got my period, and had no mom. I had only a father who referred to any menstruation related products as “Sanitary Napkins”.

I kid you not. It’s taken me at least 15 years to get him to say “pad“.

I had a stash of various pads and tampons stolen from other people’s mothers, figuring that I needed to be prepared for when IT happened. I thought having one a day would be fine. I had read all about it at the library, and took the claims of “teaspoons” of blood seriously.

I know, I know. I don’t believe it either. Stop laughing and keep reading.

And then it came, and I spent the majority of a morning writhing on the linoleum in the bathroom from cramps, the kind of cramps they tell you are similar to labor pains. That day, I decided to beg any and all gods to remove my ovaries and uterus. I wasn’t going to use it anyway, and this kind of pain was just mean.

Eventually I picked myself off the floor, stuffed my mouth full of Motrin and made my way to school. Wearing light blue jeans, and my favorite loyalist days shirt. The one with the ruffle that my mother had made.

Everything was just fine until I coughed an hour into the day. Suddenly, it was like the gates had been opened, and it had been raining for days and days. I imagined blood was pouring off my chair and on to the floor. I thought about what I could do, where I could run.

Instead, I stared straight ahead and tried not to move. Not.An. Inch. No coughing, no talking, no nothing. I would wait until the end of class, and tie my coat around my waist. I knew that the evidence on light blue jeans would be too clear.

At the end of class, I stood up after everyone else had left, and felt that torrent begin. All I could do was let it happen-it’s not like I could close my legs and keep it in. I ran from the room for recess, and hid in a corner by a window, my coat tight around my waist.

I was not the first student back into the room, and when I entered, I heard the boys sniggering and all the girls pointedly NOT looking in my direction. Suddenly, one of the louder, ore boorish boys yelled out,

“Mr.. Dubeau, we can’t sit here-she BLED all over the chairs.”

In my defense, I only bled on one of the chairs.

Everyone in the room started to howl, and I managed to cover the red/pink spectrum in under 20 seconds on my face. And still, I felt the blood between my legs. The teacher was helpless-he was male, and everyone thought he was gay. In grade 8, that’s a death sentence. (he eventually was finished off by the class after us, who caused him to hurl a computer monitor out a closed window). So he did what any male teacher would do.

He sent me to see a female teacher.

Mrs.. Adams quietly took me aside, and began to explain a few things about my flow, and how to use pads. I had been dumbfounded the first time I stood in front of the aisles of “Feminine Products”. Wings? Super Plus? I had no clue what anything really meant, and she kindly explained it to me. I watched her almost waver into pity, but she knew better. I was deeply embarrassed because I didn’t know what I was doing, and had caused the problem. I wanted help, not a shoulder.

Besides which, Mrs.. Adams was the most feared teacher in my school. You did NOT fuck with this woman, who was all of 5 feet tall. So I sat and let her explain that part of the birds and the bees to me. Then, she called my Dad, which only made me feel worse. My FATHER was going to know about this, and be just as uncomfortable and embarrassed about it. I wanted to crawl under a rock.

I wanted outside for him. I couldn’t bear to be in the school one more second. He came, and picked me up, and we drove home in silence. I cleaned up, tried what she had told me to do with the pads (double them up honey-some days are worse than others) and went back downstairs where he waited. The way back to school was silent as well, until we were almost there.

“I can’t Dad. I can’t go back. I’m so embarrassed.I bled all over a chair! Don’t make me go back, please..”

My father stopped the car, and looked me full in the face.

“You have to go back. That’s the only option here babe.”

What he didn’t say was what I heard in his eyes. That life has sucked for us, and this is just another in a long line of terrible, horrible no good things that might happen. That sometimes life hurts, a lot, and yet we have to soldier on. That he desperately wished my mother was there to make it all better, was there so he wouldn’t have to tell his daughter to go back into school to a guaranteed roasting. That all his love couldn’t make it better, and that this was what life was-doing what we don’t want to do sometimes. And it hurt him too.

I knew I had to go back in. And I dreaded it like I had never dreaded anything ever before. But obviously, there had been “a talk”. Likely a speech about being nice to the poor girl who had no mother. The offending chair was cleaned, but in my eyes, the stain never went away. I didn’t look anyone in the eye. At first.

My father taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned that day-that we do the hard things sometimes because it’s right, or it’s the only way. Hell, I can even apply this to childbirth in some ways-the only way out, is THROUGH. More importantly, my father taught me that it’s ok to be scared even when life requires something hard from us. That I’m human, and it’s ok to feel, ok to be a girl. That losing my mother didn’t mean I couldn’t handle life.

Ironically, I also learned a valuable lesson about OB tampons from Mrs. Adams. Which, all told, may have been the most important lesson I’ve learned.

4 Responses to “Bleeding is fo Suckas”

  1. Tiyanna August 2, 2007 at 11:17 pm #

    wow you make it seem cool iam 11 i really want mine!

  2. uuMomma August 3, 2007 at 11:03 am #

    I told my girls the story of how I started one day when I shouldn’t have when I was in jr. high and I happened to be wearing light green pants. I had nothing. No protection, no sweatshirt to tie around my waist, no clean pants, nothing. A friend walked behind me to the nurse and we called her mom for some clean pants (my mom taught 30 minutes in another direction, my father 45 minutes in the other). “What color shirt are you wearing?” her mom asked. Green. So she brings me some pants. Olive green. I was wearing kelly green and it all clashed so much that that, in and of itself, would have landed me securely on the throne of loser land. You see, we hadn’t really thought this thing through: my friend was at least 5 inches shorter than me and her hips were a few inches wider than mine. I put on her pants (that clashed with my shirt) and they were Floods to the ninth degree. (This was when no one knew what “crop” pants were so I couldn’t even pretend.) And they were bell bottoms. And I was wearing brown “earth shoes” (I know, so very 70s) with socks that of course didn’t match my new pants or anything else.

    So, I had to decide: bloody pants or loser pants.

    No deep life lesson like yours (which is truly lovely, by the way), but this is what I tell my girls: Keep a stash of pads and a pair of black jeans in your locker at all times. Because you never know….

  3. thordora August 3, 2007 at 1:28 pm #

    That’s a VERY good message uuMomma. And I great blog title “All you ever need are pads and black jeans”


  1. “I am so embarrassed I got my period” « Spin Me I Pulsate - August 3, 2007

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