Writing about something that happened sixteen years ago is kind of difficult. I don't want to create some sort of fiction-non-fiction, so I had to really look back to see what happened. I even told my mom the story of what happened on my first Period Day. I wish I had written it down. I kept diaries regularly back then, but I don't know where they got to, and they were mostly pre-teenaged musings probably having to do with the fact that I had weird, pointy breasts developing that people made fun of (another crazy story that I will highlight later), or the fact that my dad wouldn't let me play football or basketball with my brother anymore. I've been making outlines in my head about it, but I didn't write anything down until now. I wrote a few pages of what I was experiencing back then and here is what happened:
Now let’s fast forward to three years later. The Vicious Cycle finally got me like The Nothing took Fantastica, sweeping away my girlhood in one day. It rendered my world of smiling stuffed animals and happy cotton panties to nothing more than overly emotional tears, ibuprofen and mattress-sized maxi pads. It was not a good day. My mother was at work all day, and I had noticed strange panty spotting the previous Friday. I was 14 years old and I had felt very odd all day, a little nauseous and like I had to go to the bathroom all day. I noticed the brown spotting, but for some reason, didn’t think twice about it.
The next day was a Saturday, and I felt horrible. My mother was at work and my father was at the grocery store, but before he left was in a noticeably bad mood. I watched some cartoons with my brother and sisters, then went to take a nap, neglecting my chores for the day. When I woke up after a fitful sleep, my father had come home with a large pumpkin he had intended to make into pies. He saw that I did not do my chores and instead of the punishment of no television or dessert, he gave me the pumpkin and told me to peel, chop and boil it down for the pies. He handed me a potato peeler and left me to work.
Now, who has ever peeled a pumpkin? A preposterous notion, still, I believe. Had I the knowledge of pumpkin peeling previously, I would have known that I should have sliced it up first,then peeled the smaller pieces, making it easier to handle. But alas, I laid down cut up brown paper bags on the kitchen table and considered calling child services. I then began to peel the pumpkin. Peel after peel I felt worse, and the agony in my abdomen made my arms weak. I felt heat rising to my face and I had to suppress the lump in my throat as sticky pumpkin juice oozed out of the gourd’s wounds and coated and dried on my hands. My brother came down to the kitchen once or twice and said snarky things with a sympathetic look, and my little sisters looked on with round, interested gazes.
After about an hour and a half of peeling and oozing, I chopped open the pumpkin and pulled out its insides, conserving the seeds and cubing the meat to boil for the pies. When I finished, I went to the bathroom to relieve myself and saw a small petal of burgundy on my underwear, imposing and life changing. I’m sure my face had a look of disbelief, and I had an embarrassing feeling in the pit of my tummy because I forgot all of the stuff I learned when I was a self-proclaimed Sex Education Superstar. I rolled up some toilet paper and stuffed it into my panties and tried to pretend that it wasn’t happening.
My mother came home seemingly just in time. She was exhausted, and went straight to her bedroom to sit down. I inched in, focusing on the carpet. So brown. She looked at me and asked me what was wrong, and then, without warning, tears streamed down my face like coming floodwaters. I’m sure she thought something bad happened because I was crying hard for my lost girlhood. I would have to change my life. Unfortunately, I had joined the sucky Puberty Girls’ Club where we hid our panties, wore diaper-like contraptions, had boobs and our bodies supposedly emanated suspect odors at any given minute. I didn’t feel ready.