This Post is Probably TMI. Period.
I'm going to share a secret with you, friends.
A secret so embarrassing that I kept it from even my closest friends from fifth grade until, like, college.
A secret that could possibly blow the lid off my facade of uber-coolness and expose me for the ridiculous dork that I actually am. ( ...What? You already knew that? ... Oh.)
And, just so's you have fair warning, it's a feminine-type secret. Involving girl things. Like periods. So if you weren't down with my gray hoodie post, I suggest you click on over to something a little less ... frank.
So anyway, if you're still with me, here it is .........
....... in story form. (You actually thought I'd just tell it straight out, with no wordy explanation? Please.)
Let's go all the way back to 1990 - my fifth grade year. I looked like this:
Oh yes I did. The perm. The bangs. The brows. The Spongebob Squarepants teeth. The hot pink suspenders. Yes, my friends, I was actually that cool.
Anyway, I was proudly sporting this same fashionable look when my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Haxel, announced that we were going to watch a special film: one just for the ladies. Giggling the entire time, the fifth-grade girls were segregated into a darkened room. We watched with a combination of horror and delight as the actress who'd once played Little Orphan Annie told us of the impending changes in our bodies. How we'd soon become women.
Turns out, I took the "soon" part a bit too literally. Because when one week passed after the movie, and then another, and I still hadn't started my period, I began to freak out. What's worse, one of my friends actually did start hers within just a few days after watching the film. I thought that's what was supposed to happen. I thought that watching the movie meant that I was going to get my period, like, immediately. Why else would we have gotten the free sample of maxi-pads?
I was usually a smart kid, but when it came to feminine matters? Notsomuch. It wasn't that my mom wouldn't have filled me in if I'd asked, but I didn't. I was far too embarrassed. And she didn't exactly volunteer the information; she was probably too busy being a single mom working two jobs and taking classes (and secretly hoping that Little Orphan Annie would tell me all I'd need to know).
I wasn't sure what was wrong with me. But what I did know is that, if I told my mom, she'd probably take me to the doctor. And the only thing more embarrassing than telling my mom would be telling my pediatrician, the man who had cured my ear infections and upset stomachs since I was a toddler.
To avoid this painfully embarrassing scenario, I figured, there was only one thing I could do: lie about it. So before my mom could confront me, demanding to know why I had watched the film and still hadn't started my period like a normal ten-year-old girl (which I just knew was going to happen any day), I barricaded myself into my bedroom with my sample pack of pads and a bottle of nail polish. It was a reddish-brown shade called Rich Russet.
See where I'm going with this?
I painstakingly dabbed a bit of nail polish in the center of each pad. I had no idea what a used maxi-pad actually looked like, but I used my imagination and dribbled the polish accordingly. When I was finished, I had a small stack of "used" pads. They would provide the "proof," at least in my mind, that would keep me from being subjected to the embarrassing truth. For the final touch, I dribbled polish into the crotch of a pair of underwear.
It was those underwear that I showed to my mom, telling her I'd started my period. Only I didn't show her show her ... it was more like a little flash. That way she couldn't examine it close enough to tell it wasn't blood, only Rich Russet nail polish. She bought me a box of pads. Success!
I fully immersed myself in the role of period-having-fifth-grader. I told my friends I'd started so that they, too, would think I was normal. And every month, like clockwork, I'd periodically (hehe, no pun intended) crumple a few nail-polished pads into the bathroom trash to perpetuate my lie.
I kept it up until the summer, when I went to visit my dad. I didn't want my mom to find my stash of painted-up pads in my closet while I was gone, so I hid them in a different location - underneath my beanbag chair, of all places. And when I came back at the end of my monthlong visit ...
... they were gone.
I was mortified. WAY too embarrassed to ask my mom about it. I knew she'd found them, but she didn't say anything and neither did I. I figured that either she had found me out, or she thought I was some dirty-pad-hoarding freakazoid. Either way, the jig was up, and my faux-period period was over.
I was actually relieved. And to finally wash my hands of the lie once and for all, I told my friends that I hadn't started after all. Although to avoid looking like a total liar, I stupidly told them that I thought I'd started ... but it was hemmorhoids. They believed me, but I got mercilessly teased well into middle school. I suppose it serves me right.
Within a year or so, I realized that I wasn't abnormal after all, and that watching the film had not meant I was supposed to start my period right away. That's lucky, because I didn't actually start my REAL period until I was - get this - fifteen. And you know what? I don't remember it. At all. I guess it's because I had already gone through enough "becoming a woman" ...
... when I was in fifth grade.