I was twelve years old, in seventh grade. It was already a pretty crappy day because I lost my WWJD bracelet playing soccer during recess.
At the school I went to, we had scheduled bathroom breaks. (Of course, what a great idea...have all the fresh teenage girls go to the bathroom at the same time! *sacrcasm*) I walked to the bathroom with the rest of the girls just like I had every other day. The only difference this particular time was that when I sat down to pee, there was a bit of blood on my underwear.
Thankfully, my mom had talked with me about periods, so I didn't think I was dying or anything. Still, my heart raced, and I think I prayed something like, "Oh, God, please no..." Not because it was my period, but because it was my period at school. Body, HOW COULD YOU!?
I wrapped toilet paper around my underwear for temporary padding, acted normal at the sinks, and went back to class. There, I walked up to my teacher--female, thank goodness!--and took a deep breath. "Can I talk to you in the hallway for a minute, please?"
In the hallway, with my teacher's Concern Face peering down at me, I said, "I think I just got my period."
"Oh!" She sounded relieved. Maybe because she expected something worse? "Is this your first time?"
I nodded. Gosh, I wanted it to not be real.
"Do you have any pads?" she asked.
The only pad I had was the makeshift toilet paper pad, but I wasn't about to tell her that, so I said no.
She took me to the bathroom and showed me a little compartment in the corner that held pads in one drawer and tampons in other. How I had never noticed that before, I wasn't sure. (And why doesn't every school have these?) I thanked her, and she gave me some pointers. You'll probably want to wear pads...change it often...if the supply ever runs out, come get me.
Then she asked me if I had any blood on my underwear. I lied and said no. Admitting I did would have been the icing on the embarrassment.
I thanked her, and moved toward the stall, awkwardly holding the pad she'd handed me. I closed the stall door as she opened the bathroom door. I let out a breath of relief that the horror was over and sat down. Then, before my teacher left, she said these words to me that I replayed for the rest of the day--possibly the rest of the week: "Congratulations, Jessica. You're a woman now."
How awkward, I thought. Just go away. I mean, it was nice of her to say, and I'm sure she was trying to get me excited about it or something, but I didn't feel different. I didn't feel like a woman. I felt like I wanted to go home and cry.
My dad picked me up from school that day. I got in the an and casually said, like it wasn't a big deal, "So I started my period today."
The only thing I remember him saying was, "Oh, no! Now you're going to start acting like a woman!"
"No, I'm not," I said. "I'm still the same."
I don't remember my mom's reaction, except that she made a big deal out of it, and all I wanted was for everyone to stop calling me a woman and leave me alone, dang it.
When I couldn't stop crying, and my little brother and sister asked me what was wrong, I told them I was sad because I lost my bracelet. I'm pretty sure that's what I told myself too because it felt pretty stupid to cry about the fact that I had gotten my period. (And crying over a cheap bracelet is totally better.)
Since I couldn't stop crying, my mom took me to work with her that night. Aaaaand told everyone there that I started my period. Thanks, Mom, I want to die now.
How was your first period experience? Comment below, on my Facebook page, or find me on Twitter @Je55ieMullin5.