Always Maxi PadsI had my first period right before easter, 2000, when still attending elementary school. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got up in the morning, and then, like now, the first thing I did was to go to the bathroom. I wore pink panties, I remember them, and noticed there was blood down there. I asked my mom, but, being the uncaring woman she was, she just answered: "What do you think it is?" I rolled my eyes and just changed panties before going to school.
After school, I was babysat by a lady whose kids were grown up and lived on their own. I went to use the bathroom, only to find that I had bled through my clean pair and also on my skirt. I sat on the toilet for a few minutes and wondered what to do. My babysitter knocked on the door and asked me if anything was wrong, so I decided to tell her. She was outraged that my mother hadn't done anything to educate or help me. She helped me to some of her daughter's old clothes, and gave me one of her Always Maxi Pads. I remember them well because they weren't like Always pads are now. They were wingless, and thick; it was like wearing diapers. While teaching me all I needed to know about menstruation, she baked cupcakes.
My first period was long; six days, and I had cramps on the second and third day. When school started again, I learned to always have pads and a couple of aspirin in a secret room in my schoolbag. I was the first girl in class, if not the entire school, to have my period. When my brother found out, he kicked and beat me, and called me several ugly names referring to menstruating vaginas. It didn't take long before he had told the entire school, and I was harassed by the older boys. They called me "ragamuffin" and "bleeding beaver". Immature, yes, but incredibly crafty, I admit. It did learn me, and all the other girls, who incidentally didn't tease me at all, that menstruation makes women dirty and disgusting. One other reason to be a feminist.
When I was sixteen, I was put on antipsychotic drugs. I gained twice my body weight and lost my period. Now, after six years and a lifestyle change, I' got it back. Being without my period has been a strain, especially when surrounded by so-called "professionals" (social workers, child welfare, M.D's and therapists) who didn't really take the problem seriously; the fact that I didn't have my period for six years wasn't a concern to them! I had told CW when I was sixteen, after missing my third period. But now it's back, although it's not as heavy as it was. Now I bleed at night and have only very light flow during daytime. I finally feel like a woman again.