An Embarrassing Letter Announces the Start of One Girl's Womanhood to the World!
It was an otherwise typical day after soccer camp on August 13th, 2008. I had just gone out to dinner with my family and returned home, when, as I changed into pajamas, I noticed a splotch of blood on my green, blue, and turquoise-colored underwear. At that moment, all of the talks, demonstrations, and illustrative American Girl books given to me by my mother paid off. I knew exactly what had begun to take place, unlike those girls on countless Sitcoms who think they have suffered a mysterious, life-threatening injury. But, right then, I was without the appropriate feminine products. So, for that night, I slept using several sheets of toilet paper as a makeshift sanitary napkin, and decided to tell my mother the next morning before I was to head off to another day of soccer camp. Since she had been so open regarding the topic in the past, I simply assumed that the news would be, to her, rather inconsequential and routine. How wrong I was. She fretted about whether to tell my father. Fretted about how I would swim that day at the end of soccer camp. Then, as I waited to be picked up for my carpool, my mother handed me a thin, white envelope. "This is for your coaches. I just thought they should know what is going on, “she said. I felt confused. "What exactly did they need to know about?" I thought to myself.
As I rode in the back seat of an old white car that had seen one too many collisions, and chatted the morning away with a long-time friend of mine, and her father, she saw the envelope and asked, "What is that?" I handed it over. She slowly opened it up and unfolded the paper. I soon heard a quiet giggle. "You got your period?” she chuckled. It then occurred to me just how embarrassing my mother had made the situation. I then imagined my coaches-- two elderly white, heavily bearded men who often made subtle sexist remarks and spent one second too long staring at female campers as they emerged from the swimming pool, opening the letter, placing their blue and brown pupils parallel to the page, and processing the fateful ink on the page. During the rest of the trip, I attempted to rationalize my embarrassment. "The coaches are just people", I thought. "Periods are natural. Why do I feel uncomfortable?"
Eventually, we stepped out of the car and walked onto the AstroTurf field after briefly saying goodbye to my friend's father. My friend and I then took a deep breath, counted to three, and approached the coaches. I handed them the envelope, and we ran away to join the other campers as quickly as possible. I hoped that the coaches would think nothing of the letter, and write my mother off as a silly helicopter mom. But boy, could I have never been more mistaken. About 30 minutes into our first drill, one of the coaches suddenly stopped the practice. "Mya, you need to go to the bathroom! Take your buddy with you!" he shouted. My friend and I ran to the bathroom, humiliated. We messed around in there for a few minutes and returned to practice. The rest of the practice went as usual. Then, after lunch, it came time for the daily analysis of old World Cup matches in one of the TV rooms. As the video of the match played, the same coach said again, "Mya, time to go again." This time, I refused to leave the room without attempting to negotiate with his request. I replied, "Why? I don't have to go." to which he answered; "But I really think you do though." I then said, "No I don't. Trust me." To which he said, "C'mon. You need to go." and motioned me out of the room. I hesitantly stood up from my desk and left the room. Soon after I returned, it was time to go to the pool. As we arrived at the locker rooms to change, I heard from afar, "Mya, you are not allowed to swim today." For the rest of the day, I sat, rather humiliated on the bleachers as the rest of my fellow campers enjoyed their time in the Olympic-sized pool on a sweltering Los Angeles summer day.
When the black 2001 Volkswagen Jetta I knew so well finally appeared before my eyes, I enthusiastically kept from the bleachers, and made a dash for the car. I could not wait to let my terribly misguided mother know how horribly her awkward and unnecessary letter had served me. She immediately understood. She apologized, and we laughed it all off, a memory to be cherished until our bodies commence their decomposition, or are reduced by a passionate blaze into ash, and become truly one with Mother Nature.