July 2019: Shark Week Stories
“I thought I was dying. People had said that you’ll see a little blood. No one tells you that your first period may be clumpy, brownish, and terrifying. I was so scared and ashamed that I didn’t tell anyone, and didn’t realize until two months later when I did see “normal” blood that it was my first period.
No one should feel as alone and scared as I felt.
I have taken this lesson of shame and terror and I answer my young daughter’s questions honestly, I use anatomical names for body parts, and I wholeheartedly try to normalize the spectrum of reproductive health experiences.”
“I still remember the first time I had ever heard about Periods. I was in either third or fourth grade and in an after school program at my local YMCA. One of my friends had recently had the puberty and growing up talk with her mom and brought this subject up to our friend group. I remember being so horrified at the thought that I would literally bleed one week out of every month “down there” because, honestly, it sounded a little gruesome.
After airing our pre-pubescent disgust, my friends and I rushed to the bathroom as a group and went into the giant disability stall together to check to see if we were bleeding. (For the record, none of us miraculously started our periods in that moment.)
I pretty much forgot about that experience until I started menstruating in middle school. I remember thinking to myself, “huh. That’s really not as much blood as we thought.” And that was that.”
Submitted by Nik Sparlin (they/them/theirs)