Like most women in my situation, I have a love/hate relationship with my period. I love that it comes, like clockwork, to reassure me that there is no baby forming inside me. Oh, and that my body is functioning as it should, my hormones are balanced, and I’m a strong, healthy woman. I hate basically everything else about it.
My period always starts off with a fun game of “why the fuck am I so hungry?” and ends with a nice little spot of blood on my cutest underwear, as a friendly reminder that it’s never really gone. I first got my period in 5th grade, during a final exam. I was 11. That was 18 years ago. If my math is correct (which is rare), I’ve had my period approximately 216 times in my life so far, which sort of makes me an expert in the matter, right? WRONG. These are my confessions:
1. If a ten-year- old were to ask me today why exactly women get periods, my answer would suck. It has something to do with our uterus lining and our eggs, but that little girl or boy should ask a real adult instead.
2. I’m surprised by how often I’m surprised by my period. I have an app that tells me exactly when it’s coming and I have an increased appetite days before which serves as a pretty obvious warning, but nope. Still unprepared. Every damn time.
3. 2016 was the year during which I finally stopped buying tampons with cardboard applicators because OUCH. Why is that even an option? And why did I think saving $1.00 was more important than saving my vagina for so many years?
4. For a long time, I thought that women who missed activities because of their cramps or cried while lying in a fetal position were seriously dramatic, until I implanted a ParaGard IUD right into my uterus. And for that, I am sorry. I tolerate pain very well, but holy shit. You’ve been warned.
5. I still don’t understand how, exactly, a female can lose such a large amount of blood for days at a time, and still be alive. Along with my IUD came a shocking increase in blood flow, and I just don’t know what any of it means.
6. I’m having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around Diva Cups. I’m all about saving the environment but I just have so many questions. How do I know when it’s full? What if it overflows? Do I wear a pad as backup? How do you avoid dumping its entire contents all over yourself, your clothing, and the toilet seat when ‘emptying’ it? Once I’ve emptied it, I’m supposed to then get dressed, hope I have no blood flow for the next 60-90 seconds, walk out to the sink area in a public restroom, rinse the bloody cup in the sink, and then walk back into the stall to re-insert? WHAT?