Pre-Freak Flag Waving

Looking back, I was a cute teenager.  Maybe I wasn’t “hot”, but I was cute.  But, that teenage girl hadn’t a fucking clue that she was even on the map in that department.  Sure I went through the awkward braces and big feet phase, but a quick flip through an old yearbook tells me that I didn’t get hit with the puberty stick nearly as hard as some of my peers.  Puberty decided to rear it’s evil head on me in other ways.  Oh…the blessed period.

It was Christmas day, 1985 that Aunt Flo, The Rag, The Lady-Blues…whatever you want to call it, came into my life.  Ok, first you have to understand, that I was only 10 years old and in the 5th grade, and I hadn’t yet watched “the movie” that all 5th graders watch.  The boys in one room, the girls in the other – learning about our “private parts” and all of their glorious functions.

My grandma explained it to me like this, “We all get our periods, and we all hate it.  Just be glad you live in a time where you aren’t literally ‘on the rag’.  Back in my day, we had to bleed right into a rag, clean the rag, then use it again.”  The thought of thistampon just horrified me.  It then became quite obvious to me that we live in a man’s world.  So we had cars and airplanes, but didn’t have tampons and pads yet? My grandma has this knack for telling it like it is.

I couldn’t believe it.  I was in my grand parents bathroom, with my entire family in attendance, when I dropped my drawers to find my period.  Sure I had heard of periods, but I had no clue that this was something that was in my near future.   I guess I just assumed this was something that “big girls” get, and from my experiences on the school bus on the way to school, I knew I wasn’t yet a “big girl”.

I still remember her name, Tanya Solk.  I was the first pick up on the school bus route.  So, I had the pick of the seats.  And, Tanya knew this.  She told me, through her retainer lisp, in her “big girl” voice, “You will ssssave me a sssseat here, everyday.”  I knew she meant business.  She was blond and all the boys liked her, so I did what she told me.  Everyday, Tanya had her spot waiting for her.

So what was I to do with this Period situation?  I surely didn’t want my mom to know that I had now become a “big girl”.  I was too afraid to ask her to use a razor to shave the little sprouts of pit hair that had just revealed themselves several months prior, so I surely wasn’t going to tell her that I got my period.  So I stuffed my undies full of toilet paper, and put on my smiling face and went back out to join my family in their celebration of the festive holiday.

I would later realize this reoccurring theme in my life — stuff it all away so that nobody else can see that I’m really a “freak.”

Eventually, as all of us painfully timid girls do…we finally come clean and fess up to the arrival of our period.  Toilet paper as a substitute only lasts so long.


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