I started my period when I was 10 years old. I know 10 year old girls, and I can’t believe that at that age, I was beginning my journey into womanhood.
My breasts began to develop around that time and I didn’t like it. As one of the tallest girls in my class, I probably looked older than my nieve years.
I remember starting my period very vividly. I came home from school and went to the downstairs loo in my rush to get in front of the telly to watch Neighbours. Pulling down my knickers, skirt round my waist, I glanced down and all of a sudden, time stopped. The crotch of my white M&S briefs were daubed browny-crimson. I remember feeling my breathing get quicker, my face flush hot and sick. I called for my Mother.
Her face took on the mirror image of mine when she popped her head around the door. I was 10 years old. I’d been aged in single figures a few months before. This was something that happened to ladies. I asked her if I was OK. She said yes, and scrambled up stairs to get me some fresh undies. My eyes stung with indignant and confounded tears.
My mind shot back to Neighbours, and how it would be on telly and I’d be missing it sitting in the toilet with bloody knickers. I remembered Hannah Martin, who’s Dad was Philip Martin and Mum was dead Julie Martin. She lived in the big house and was once kidnapped by a guy selling sweets.
Anyway, what was happening to me right that second had happened to Hannah at school, in front of everyone, only a few months before, and she’d had to tell her Dad about it, because of her dead Mum. It was all very embarrassing. My own Mum didn’t bother explaining the storyline at all. I knew the same thing was happening to me right now though. I would probably be dead soon.
My Mum brought me some new scants, whilst passing my Dad who was told what was going on, and proceeded to get as far away from the situation as was possible without making a scene or crying.
She’d managed to ring her best friend, who’s daughter very kindly gave me some pads to wear, which I was utterly horrified about. I was presented with a thick, long nappy and I didn’t fancy walking around with it between my legs. What if people knew it was there? What if I bent over and someone saw the outline of this pant-mattress I was being forced to wear?
From that day, until well into my Second or Third year at High School, the bain of my life was the paranoia that someone would see my sanitary pad, under my clothes. Sometimes I wore two pairs of pants. I even had slightly thicker black ‘period trousers’, which I wore when I was on. This was my first taste of the paranoia only women get when they begin to become ‘Women’. Unfounded, crazy, nutty-lady paranoia.
We didn’t go into massive detail about it, but I knew it was my period, and my Mum covered the basics. We bought some of my own pads, some wee wipe things and some more knickers just incase my drawer full of knickers wouldn’t suffice now that I was spewing blood from my vagina, even though I was now wearing pant-mattresses with flaps on the sides.
At 10 years old, in Primary 6, wearing a bra, I became a woman.