Hoo Hoo Boo Boo
This is not about what you think. Owls. You think this is about owls and there you’d be wrong.
From a narrative perspective, this blog is not particularly sutured. Just go with it.
This blog is nothing but musings about my womanly time.
This blog is about my link with the moon being broken.
About a visit being paid unto me by Aunt Flo.
Although personally I’ve never used the term “AF” nor referred to “Aunt Flo” except when FB groups require it of me, usually on mommy groups. I don’t know anyone who really says AF or Aunt Flo; but I do see it written.
This is about how much my period blows a bunch of monkeys and how much I suffered (unnecessarily) because of it (don’t worry, it’s not all boo hoo hoo).
And frankly, how I just got over it all. (Therapy.)
Would You Rather….?
I would rather French kiss the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, than have a period.
Having said that, I’m not quite ready, yet, to face menopause. Aye, there’s the rub.
So for the squeamish, read my flash fiction Wooden Spoon Challenge. For the stalwart, who are not afraid to discuss “women’s issues,” read on.
This is a little story about periods and why whoever at Always® who came up with the tagline “have a happy period” is clearly NOT a woman.
Let’s do a quick survey: who among you has had a happy period? Not counting those in which you were greatly relieved your period shows up. That’s not a happy period.
Seriously. A happy one?
Let me tell you about growing up in times before the internet where you only knew about your periods from Judy Blume books, a forthcoming older sister, friends, or your mum.
Note I put mum last.
Thankfully, I had Judy Blume.
My “forthcoming” older sister was a snitch who orchestrated Nixon’s downfall. She’s age-appropriate and had motive. I’m not Nixon’s apologist, just saying that consulting my sister — Deep Throat — was my worst and only fallback from The Books of Judy Blume.
My friends knew what I knew: whatever was in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. My mother told me diddly and I know, now that I’m nearly fifty, I shouldn’t judge her. If she were alive today, she’d be 95. The ages and social mores were somewhat against us. She and my sister were very close in both age and mindset. They likely reached menarche at the same time so my mother’s now forgiven for not informing me about periods until I was doing my trigonometry homework, one rainy Sunday.
By then, I had four years to figure it all out.
A lot is my fault: I was a pain-in-the-arse child. I know: colour you surprised.
Mother and I had little to talk about. We fought. I was irritating, she was “short” with me. I’m not biologically related and believe me, the nature-nurture question is easily answered in my home. So any bonding would be incredibly discomforting for both of us. This was from Day One but thankfully not til her dying days in 2007.
Don’t fret. This isn’t a dirge, it’s a series of disjointed anecdotes. I got over it. Just telling the tale.
I knew next-to-nothing. So my period, when it arrived, was a nightmare for me. I had nothing to use. (Belted pads were still in existence. No. Really.) I had no one to tell. I consulted Judy Blume and did what any other girl would do who’s significantly alienated from her mother and sister: I wadded up TP and you guessed the rest.
Mother (Didn’t) Tell Me There’d Be Days Like This
Did I mention I was adopted? I mention this because I often wondered if women sharing the same genetic code had similar periods. I bleed like a stuck pig. Sorry. I should have warned you.
I popped a rib from laughing when I saw the first “maxi” “thong” pad. Yeah, not happening.
Which is to say: why didn’t mother warn me about leakage? Why no 411 from the older sister who should have been guiding me through? Not a word. I gathered they had the periods of hummingbirds. I never saw a sanitary product ever in the house. Which lead me to think either I had to save my babysitting money for belts and the dreaded Barbie mattress (as I called it), or I wadded TP and hoped for the best.
Actually, I had a better solution: I went to sleepover summer camp for 8 weeks each summer from when I was 8, til 17. The moment I realized they didn’t itemize the “tuck” bill my father received, I stocked up. Yup. Beauty and brains.
By the way, Always does a nice pad. Just gotta say. But I’m more a Diva Cup girl now.
Yeah, I said it. Diva Cup.
You thought the scary part of this was about my yucky periods and boo hoo hoo no one told me it would be gross and hurt etc.
No. The scary part is I use a Diva Cup (somewhere my husband just fainted, bless his heart for reading my blogs).
I got tired of using so many womanly time devices (boxes and boxes costing dinero upon dinero and goodness knows how many cc’s of dioxins stuffed up my personal space, only to be flushed or chucked into landfill) that I finally sucked it up and tried the Diva Cup.
Don’t worry, this isn’t an ad for the Diva Cup. It’s just an indication of how far I’ve come. From wadding TP from the school bathroom (you know the industrial crap which is one level above newsprint) to Diva Cup.
The key? I finally stopped being revolted by myself and my body. I still hate my period, but I don’t hate myself for having it.
Because for my teen years of heavy bleeding which led to leaks onto the bed or my underwear, and a shrill mother shaming me telling me if I “did it again” she’d “tell [my] father” yet she definitely was not providing me with any sanitary protection (I started my periods at 12 and my income was rather low, then… not unlike now) I grew to despise how disgusting my body was, how vile I would be, how invisible I should become when the period came. I had no pads, I shared a bathroom with a brother so had no place to discreetly deposit anything. I bought duplicates of my underwear in case I had to substitute. I washed them at school, tried to dry them in my locker.
I used to share this anecdote about how I felt like Carrie in, well, Carrie.
Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek, IMHO are flipping genius. I read the book a few times (the blessing of having MUCH older siblings and parents is the cool library one has a child). Haven’t seen the new versions of the film. Seriously, how can you trump Sissy Spacek? Impossible.
Periods, and indeed anything to do with vaginas, breasts, babies, contraception were all vile, foul, not-to-be-discussed. And that day I crossed into the new realm of “woman”, my esteem plummeted (it was already low) and my sense of self-loathing escalated like 80s interest rates. I used to blame my mother (and sister) for this but I’ve grown up a bit since then. The best I can say is that they were products of their time (and I was twenty years after that time).
It wasn’t til Grade 11 Health Class (I went to a convent school) that I found out one doesn’t pee from the same place as one bleeds. Every time I had to go to the loo, I removed my tampons.
Interestingly, my sister is obsessed with body cleanliness, as is her daughter (four years younger than I). So perhaps my sister didn’t get off so lightly after all? Did she hide her stash too? Did we both suffer, alone? We rarely spoke in those days (she’s 20 years older than I). We rarely speak now, actually (insofar as an exchange of conversational tidbits goes). She talks, I listen. It’s faster.
All this to say, I was having a yucky period and told my hubs I wasn’t going to the gym (you know how far a bathroom is when your sanitary protection fails?) and he did the most beautiful thing ever (once he stopped gagging):
He gave me a dark chocolate bar, then backed away.
I have done my best to normalize menstrual cycles in our home (filled with boys). My fervent hope is that they do not grow to have that typical “horror” of menstruation and all things womanly. I pray and hope my openness and candor about periods means they’ll be ready with chocolate and a cuppa either for me, or a wife (or girlfriend, or just a female friend having the jones for chocolate bar).
By the way, the Diva Cup is NOT for the squeamish. There will be blood. Oh yes. But you know, I’ve saved a poop-tonne of money and kept my lady bizniz relatively chemical-free. Do you know what’s in pads and tampons anyway — not meaning the organic hippie kind I can’t find where I live now?
The big triumph is I stopped punishing myself for being a living, breathing, bleeding woman. I don’t know anyone who will ever have a happy period. They hurt, they’re yucky, you lose undies, you bloat. There is nothing to celebrate. I’ve owned horses and ponies and riding them on a beach never made me feel better about that time. No amount of technological advancement will convince me otherwise.
How about some parting words from Mr Garrison?
By the way, Mr. Garrison, if I bled for only five days, I’d dance naked on the front lawn in celebration.