There is a video making the rounds on social media concerning a young lady so eager to grow up that she actually fakes a certain female experience. When her mother discovers that she is lying, she throws her a humiliating party to celebrate the supposed occasion. It’s funny, but also a little disturbing. A.) Who fakes something like that? and B.) Nice parenting skills, Lady! Your daughter will be in therapy for life!
I guess I was weird. I didn’t have the same fascination with the whole thing other girls my age did. In fact, I was perfectly OK with that parade passing me by completely. The whole operation seemed like a huge inconvenience, not to mention a bit of a mess and I wanted no part of it. I hoped I might be a medical anomaly, the grand exception to the rule, or at the very least, would follow in my mother’s footsteps and avoid it until I was 16. No such luck. Two weeks after my 12th birthday, IT happened. The event I had been dreading ever since I read Judy Blume’s “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
I became a woman… five minutes before entering the seventh grade.
There is something disconcerting about a routine trip to the restroom on the First Day of School turning into a life-altering right of passage; especially one that prompts mothers to become weepy and make ridiculous comments about this unwarranted and unwanted transformation like, “I guess you’re not my little girl anymore! Congratulations!”
This was not an accomplishment. I didn’t do anything, my ovaries did. And if I am no longer a little girl, then what the heck was I? Seriously, an hour before, I was a normal 12-year-old who still slept with a Cabbage Patch doll and played Barbies on a regular basis. Now after one little bathroom break, my reproductive system was fully developed and I was capable of bringing new life into the world.
I was so not ready for that level of responsibility.
Other womanly endeavors such as wearing pantyhose and training bras had proven to be big let downs and I suspected this would disappoint me as well. Not only would I have to deal with this hoopla on a monthly basis for the next four decades, but I would also have to endure possible stomach pains, migraines and avoid the color white until my mid 50’s. Thanks so much for the gift Mother Nature… what’s your return policy?
To her credit, my mother didn’t throw a party in honor of the occasion and was understated about the whole thing, but I still felt like there was a big neon sign above me announcing my condition. When the initial festivities were over, I stared at myself in the mirror to confirm that I didn’t look any different, (I would only do that one other time in my life.) However, I remained convinced that everyone would know. How I would make it through the school day? What if I ran out of supplies? How was I supposed to walk normally with what felt like a king-sized pillow shoved into my underwear? There were so many hypothetical questions running through my head, all punctuated with an unmistakable period and like it or not, I was going to have to get used to it. One down…only 509 to go.
Though it would happen time and time again, and on occasions far more embarrassing than the first day of school including field trips, graduation, my wedding day and even family vacation, in that moment, I could not think of anything more mortifying than having to explain to my brand new (and male) teacher exactly why I needed to go to the girls’ room yet again.
Unless of course, it was telling my father.