Lemme tell you about my first period.
No, DON’T run away. There is a point to this. And actually, it’s not my very first period, it’s probably the second or third. Maybe fourth. Anyway, one of the early ones. The first one was awesome in comparison to the ones that followed. A mere dribble. A whisper of blood. ‘I’ve got my period,’ I thought proudly to myself, ‘I am going to the shops right now to buy some tampons! At last, I am becoming a WOMAN. Just like the girls do in Judy Blume books.’
In the next few months I decided I didn’t want to be a WOMAN any more. I farking CURSED Judy farking Blume. Periods were nothing like in her books. They were HELL. Hell on toast with spiky bits in. At one point, I was lying on the bathroom floor, screaming and sobbing with pain and dragging myself up to vomit in the bath. Whilst bleeding everywhere. I missed days of school each month. My own mother would look at me askance. ‘It can’t be that bad,’ she said, clearly using her own experience of giving birth five times to knock my meagre period cramps into the stratosphere. To me, looking back, that level of pain is not normal. But as a 14 year-old, it just seemed like something I had to put up with. To be a WOMAN. For fark’s sake.
Anyway, I went to the doctor and he put me on the Pill. I had to describe my periods to him. ‘Are you sexually active?’ he asked. He was probably bored. Another dramatic teenager, he most likely thought. ‘I’ve not even kissed a boy,’ I sobbed, and then added hopefully, ‘yet..’ because I didn’t want to totally write myself off, despite not having discovered eyebrow tweezers or Impulse body spray at that point, and he was quite an attractive doctor as well. But I guess a spotty teenager who has just been talking about copious amounts of menstrual blood leaking through her pyjama bottoms was not his type, cos I left with a prescription for the Pill and not a lot else.
The Pill. THE PILL. I was fourteen and ON THE PILL. Like a deviant. Like a super-slutty, uber-sex-mad whore child, who shagged everything in sight and who also had a latent sense of responsibility. I told my best friend about it in hushed tones.
‘Oh my GAWD,’ she shrieked. ‘Are you having THE SEX??’
I took on an expression of pained exasperation. ‘No, actually no,’ I sighed, ‘it’s for my periods.’
‘Why do you need it for your periods?’
‘Because they’re so, like, massively painful and really really heavy.’
‘Are they? Wow. Mine aren’t.’
Yeah WELL. Turns out I’m a medical mystery or whatever. I know there’s a proper name for heavy periods but cos not every one is like that for me, apparently I don’t have that. It’s just my cunt being a bastard.
So I was on THE PILL, on and off, through the years, and having some of The Sex, until I hit my early thirties and thought I might have to have a baby at some point. Which I did. And have done. And now… maybe I want to go back on the Pill again?
My periods, as my Twitter followers will know, are a PAIN IN THE VULVA. I am on one right now. I am sitting here, BLEEEEDING at you. There are little sanitary towel corpses in my bathroom bin. I farking hate it. Heavy, bloated, painful, aching, cramping, flooding, sticky, smelly farking periods. All those years I was on the Pill? Bliss. Mere whispers again. No pain. My skin even cleared up. And – AND – I could carry on a packet and MISS A PERIOD IF I WANTED TO. Farking GENIUS.
(I read somewhere that they – they being the man scientists in the 1960s wot invented the Pill – could’ve invented a Pill that women could take all the time and not have a period ever. They only did one for a 28 day cycle cos they thought us women would WANT to have a ‘period’. Yeah. Right. Cunts)
So – the Pill – should I? Should I blitz my body with hormonal bombs once more? When I came off it for the baby-making it took a loooong while before my cycle regulated again. And it’s not like I’ll be having The Sex any time soon. Should I just grin and bear it? All part of being a WOMAN?
Or what other period-calming devices are there?
I wonder if that doctor is still around? *buys Impulse body spray*
An ex-manfriend and I had a code. When I was on my period and therefore Unclean, I would pre-empt any coital fumbling by whispering ‘The eagle has landed!’ in an alarming tone and thereby warn off his wandering hands for at least a week or so. Why I couldn’t just say ‘I am on my period so feck off with your libido’ I have no idea.
After a HILARIOUS rant on Twitter last night with the Duchess of Cooooool Mammasaurus about our periods and all things icky-bloody, I was thinking afterwards about what I’ll have to tell Moo when she’s of an age to know about the JOYS OF WOMANHOOD. Despite Hub being a teacher of biology and therefore MORE THAN qualified for the task, it will no doubt fall upon my shrinkingly reluctant shoulders to spout such fibs like ‘It’s all part of being a woman’ and ‘Nature is such a beautiful process’. Yeah, feck off, innit.
This is what I’m telling Moo:
Wearing a sanitary towel is like wearing a nappy
Yes, they’ve improved since the old days, when, as far as I can make out, my grandmother had to wear one fashioned out of pre-war mattresses and attached to her person with a system of ropes and pulleys. But, still: wearing a strip of sweaty, sticky plastic in your knickers is distressingly reminiscent of the nappy-wearing days. And it’s possible to hear it crinkle when you move. And smell it. Which leads me to…
Periods smell like death
You are, essentially, passing pieces of waste womb from your fanjita. WASTE womb. Womb that is no longer needed. Ergo, it is past its sell-by date. And it fecking smells like it too. Maybe I have an overly-sensitive sense of smell, but seriously, it reeks. I’m often convinced that I attract flies when I’m on the blob, like a massive piece of moving, talking manky-womby flesh. Mmmm, betcha think I’m really sexy now. Therefore sanitary towels ABSORB and MAGNIFY the stench until you might as well be walking around in a maroon cloud of blobby funk. Yuck. So…
Although they seem like a good idea, tampons are the work of the devil
Yay! If we’re not too sure about sanitary towels, we can stick tiny pieces of wadded cotton wool up our fun holes instead! Woo! Aside from the fiddly insertion, which, contrary to popular belief, did NOT get easier after I had a baby, the fecking things move. THEY MOVE. Is this peculiar only to me? It didn’t move up, which would have been fine (I’m guessing, with my limited grasp of human biology, that they would get absorbed into the lungs or bloodstream or summat) but down, till it was ‘out’ a little bit and therefore the MOST PAINFUL THING IN THE WORLD. Bastard tampons. And why don’t they soak up as much as they’re supposed to, so that some of it leaks out and you might as well be wearing a panty-liner* anyway?? You see…
The medical people say it isn’t a lot of blood, but it really, really feels like it is
A thimbleful. An eggcup full. Less than a saucer full. Oh, yeah? They clearly haven’t hovered anywhere near my vagina when I’m bleeding, have they? And if they did, they would surely get SWEPT AWAY in a TSUNAMI of blood, for that is what it feels like. I’m constantly amazed that I don’t leave red stains everywhere, like a bizarre and faintly vomitous calling card. ‘Oh, look, my sofa has a bloody patch on it. I guess motheventing came for tea’ and so on. I must be normal cos any one else I’ve spoken too says the same. Who actually bleeds a MERE thimbleful? I would worship them as some sort of goddess. I ASPIRE to a thimbleful. That would be AMAZING.
And lastly, don’t be scared of clots
…even though it looks like YOUR ENTIRE BLOOD SUPPLY IS COMING OUT OF YOUR VAGINA IN GREAT BIG CLOTTY LUMPS. Really. It’s fine. *sobs quietly*
For those of you now genuinely worried about Moo’s emotional wellbeing, feel free to think up better ways of telling her about the monthly hideousness and painful, icky and downright minging experiences that are our periods. And what do men have to suffer? Inappropriate erections. Rubbish.
By the way, a few more days and I’ll be back to normal.
*panty-liner is one of my LEAST favourite words. EVER.