It was January 1999, my birthday month, and I was about to turn 15. I woke up one weekend morning, went to the bathroom, and…happy birthday to me! I had finally gotten my period. I had waited expectantly for years, for much longer than most of my friends, and now it was here. I couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe all the blood. I realized I didn’t know what to do.
My mom was next door with my dad; tiling the floor of a rental house they had just bought. So I screamed for my 18-year-old sister, Cheyanne. She yelled in response, “Tampons are under the sink! Read the instructions!”
I opened the lid of the tampon box and reached for the folded instructions. I unwrapped them and they crinkled in my hands. The first line read: “Relax.” I panicked. I looked at the diagrams, then down at all of the blood. I was too scared to try. I thought it would be messy, and I worried it would be painful. Embarrassed, I yelled for my sister to drive to Walgreens and buy pads. She snapped back with an annoyed NO, then barked out, “Just use the tampons, because they are sooo easy to insert.”
I couldn’t. My sister finally went and told my mom and she went to pick up the pads, while I waited on the toilet for what seemed like eternity. When I finally stood up, a U-shaped band of red skin decorated the backs of my thighs, a perfect stamp of the toilet seat.
Once my mom came back from the store, I placed the pad in my underwear like the directions showed, pulled them up, and thought, “Why do they make them bulge out like this?” Suddenly I wasn’t so excited to have my period. I walked out of the bathroom and listened to the crinkle, crinkle, crinkle as I walked. I felt something sticky on my butt. I turned right back to the bathroom, where I had already spent half the morning, and pulled down my pants. The pad was all bunched and twisted. No wonder I could feel the sticky back. How could I have not have put this on correctly? I thought to myself. If I can’t even put on a pad, how in the world am I ever going to use a tampon? It was a long time before I even attempted a tampon, and that deserves its own story.
Later that night, I remember my joy at calling my friends to tell them I was now a part of the period club! Next up would be shaving, wearing makeup, finally wearing a real bra and not some slingshot that I called a bra.
I’m “grown up” now, or at least I am in the eyes of my monthly bloody buddy. Sometimes I feel like we know each other too well. Ah, to be young again.
I’d love to hear your first sticky butt story if you’re up for sharing.
Love always and Bleed On,