Every period story I’ve heard involves either great trauma or grave embarrassment. Girls claim they mistakenly believed they were dying when they first spotted the blood or that someone else noticed and pointedit out to them, scarring them permanently from the humiliation. I had heard it all by the time I was 12.
But then I was 13. Still waiting for this earth-shattering, out-of-body experience to happen to me. Each passing month made me more and more anxious and made me question why my body was so different than everyone else’s. Had I done something wrong? Was I not active enough or did I eat something I wasn’t supposed to? Was I born this way? Why was this happening to me? Literally all of my friends had their periods at this point. Some were even as young as 9 years old when it happened. Why was I so abnormal? Even my mom was concerned.
This painfully slow waiting period really took a toll on me. There were no answers to this confusion in the week long unit of reproduction in my seventh grade health class. And there was no way I was going to search for my answer on my family’s shared computer…What if my dad saw that in the search history? Good Lord that’s one uncomfortable ‘body changes’ conversation I didn’t want to have.
But then one random December day it happened! And no, I didn’t think I was dying. I was also the farthest thing from embarrassed. At 13 and a half I did it! I was as much woman as all of my friends and unlike them, I was SO prepared! I had practiced wearing pads on several occasions before this day so getting to experience the real deal was truly a celebration! :)
My period story had a pretty happy ending but let’s face it, ignorance was not bliss. I had no idea that my period actually occurred at a VERY normal time since I was judging my experience off of those of my 10 closest friends. What if I had gotten my period at 14 or 15? Do you know how stressful that would have been for the 13-year-old me who was already so flustered? I know now that women can get their period anywhere from 8 to 16 years old. ALL of these ages are perfectly acceptable and getting it first or last doesn’t mean you’ve won or lost a contest between your friends. The timing varies person to person and one may even get their period at a time totally different than her sister or mother. If you’re confused like I was, never be afraid to ask questions or seek out information from trusted sources. Familiarizing yourself with the hygiene products beforehand is also a great idea. The more prepared you are before the day comes, the more celebratory the occasion will be!
Hinnah is a third year college student who just finished her internship at another awesome nonprofit called The Brides Project. She's a fashion and makeup enthusiast and one day dreams to be America's next biggest talk show host!