In life, most things seem to come with start and end dates. Sometimes you know what those dates will be because you set them yourself, or because they come, pre-ordained, like fixed points on the horizon. Knowing makes life organized, predictable; it makes it easier to say yes or no. Of course, sometimes a date is a mystery.
Kind of like a girl’s first period. She never knows when it’s coming, but she wishes desperately that she did.
I couldn’t wait for that date to come. I had been taught, by my Sex Ed teacher, I could expect it anywhere between the ages of 10 and 15, and so from the moment I turned 10, I was ready. When it came, I’d be a woman, not a little girl. But I was also nervous. Every day I didn’t get it was a day I wondered: How is it going to feel? How much will I bleed? What if I never get my period? Will I start before my friends? I hoped beyond all hope that I’d be one of the lucky ones and start my first period at home, not at school or anywhere in public.
Another birthday came and went and I still hadn’t started my period. And then I couldn’t care less where I would be when it came; I just wanted it, especially when my girlfriends started getting theirs. A good friend even started her period at my house, and so I thought surely it would soon be my turn.
It wasn’t my turn for another five years! I was the last, or at least one of the last, in my group of friends to start my period, at the age of 15. I was a Late Bloomer. I had waited so long, and finally it had come, but by then I was embarrassed my period had started so late, even though I was still considered to be in the “normal” range. I felt alone, because even though I could talk to my friends about it, we were already on different levels. They’d already outgrown the excitement and newness. By the time my period came around, none of my friends could really share in what I was going through. I was tardy to the period party!
One novelty that hadn’t worn off for my friends was complaining about how annoying and uncomfortable having a period could be. And, yeah, having a period is definitely both annoying and uncomfortable. But maybe because I had looked forward to starting my period for so long, even to this day, I have never thought of it as an inconvenience. I still look forward to it every month, because for all of the pain and inconvenience, it’s also a beautiful part of being a woman. I bleed every month and I don’t die! I get my period and I know I’m not pregnant! Hallelujah! To be a woman and have a body that can create life—that is amazing. To have the choice and ability to grow and birth a baby feels like such an honor.
Of course, with every start date comes an end date. I am not nearly as excited about the mystery date that determines when I’ll enter menopause. Once again, I wonder if I am a Late Bloomer. At 33, most of my friends are married or have families. They’ve entered a phase of life called “motherhood,” and I’ve entered one commonly known as “my eggs are dying.” I like to believe I still have some time to decide whether being a Mommy is a chapter in my life’s journey. In the meantime, I’ll just go with my flow.