The Last Laugh
For me starting my period wasn’t about “becoming” a woman like it is for most girls, it was about “being” a woman. In my parent’s misguided attempt to educate us about the birds and the bees they decided a 5 and 6 year old should watch a PBS special on how eggs were fertilized, etc… and all about hermaphrodites, it was very scientific and taught us a lot. In turn, all our friends knew what we just learned, as you can imagine their parents weren’t very happy with my parents. I tell you this so you understand that next part.
In my family I am one of the few with blonde-ish hair and blue eyes, so the “we found you under a rock” and “your dad must be the milkman” jokes were heard often. However, after watching that PBS special it became “ you were born a boy”, my mom even got in on the fun once in a while. I didn’t like any of the jokes but that one about being born a boy really got to me. When my sibling saw that the boy joke hit a nerve of course she did it more and more. And in such a way that it was convincing. I was young and dumb and believed everything my big sister, whom I wanted to be just like, told me. No matter how crazy it sounded. I never asked my mom because “ she wouldn’t tell you if it was true anyways”, as my sister would tell me all the time.
As the years went on that old “joke” was said here and there, it became more real to me as I aged. I watched my friends and older sister all getting their periods and starting to develop, while it felt I was getting left behind. You see your other friends getting boobs and having boys give them attention and you look at yourself and feel inadequate and you would kill for an A cup. You can keep telling yourself “you just turned 13, it will happen just be patient” all you want it doesn’t make you feel better or change the fact that you’re a late bloomer.
When you’re 13 one year is forever. My mother passed that year so I really didn’t have a woman to talk to about any of this. However, it did provide a few months of distraction.
At 14 (almost 15) when I finally started my period I cried because I thought to myself “ I am a girl and have a real vagina” even if I was hermaphrodite at least the female parts worked. A few months later I went to my first OB/GYN appointment, I couldn’t help but ask the doctor if she could tell if I had been “made” into a girl and if everything look normal “down there”. She gave me a weird look and kind of laughed until she realized I was serious about my question. She assured me my fears were unfounded and I was definitely a female and nothing else, so I kind of love my period. Yeah the cramps and all the other issues that come with it suck but for me it will always remind me of the moment I finally felt like a women.
Now that I am grown I can laugh at it all. But I still think my sister is a bitch for doing that to me.