That’s it. Period.

Guess what… this a not a political rant or a thumbs down to the tsuris (troubles) our world is facing due to mrt kind of passive aggressive of me, eh?. This is a girls story. My Big, she is growing up. Born not ten minutes ago, yet my shana maideleh (sweet little girl) is soon to enter double digits. She is gaining wisdom, confidence, curiosity and her own personal identity, wrapped in a blanket of kindness and love. Oy, here I am kvelling (enthusiastically bursting with love and pride), again…

Big and Little, so grown up!

I should probably show a Georgia O’Keefe painting right about now because I am going there… Periods. Girls are getting them. There is chatter. We have chatted. And we are doing everything we can to keep it positive, normal and free of shame as we begin to prepare for this milestone gallstone kidney stone. She’s got two moms — this should be a walk in the park for us, right?

But I gotta say, she just learned to ride a bicycle. Am I ready for the menstrual cycle?

Which of course got me thinking about my own very strange, first-period experience. It was the Saturday of labor day weekend, 1976 and I was thirteen. We lived in south Florida and it was hotter than hell in a sauna on those particular September days. School had begun in August and I had welcomed the 3 days off. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon played on every TV in our house. I went to pee, and there it was – the small red blot. It was more of a dot than a blot. Definitely a dot. I was rattled I wanted to write, ‘mortified’ but you’ll soon see, my father’s name is Morty. Some of my friends had already gotten their periods, so I knew time was not on my side. I read Judy Blume’s, Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret, a few times by now.  I just did not want it to happen. Gay avek (get lost, go away)!

So I very inconspicuously left that bathroom, and quietly went into my room with Buttons, our poodle, and my closest confidant. I closed the door and sat on the floor quickly putting my legs up on my bed. I went vertical, in what I now know was a yogic shoulder stand. I was upside down. Dammit, I was going to send this period back where it came from… Surely if I stayed this way, there was no way for the ‘flow’ of Aunt Flo to wind its way, well, down. Why had no one else tried this? I was brilliant! Buttons agreed.

Day 1: After the initial spatter, I was fine. Feeling positive that I had this entire situation well under control, laughing with Jerry Lewis. Buttons, she was just happy we were staying in the air conditioning. Day 2: Coasting. Not even Dexter could find any blood spatter. I stayed on the phone, watched the telethon, Buttons at my upside-down, side. Day 3: WTF What happened to physics? How could this happen to me? I was in a shoulder stand for three solid days! I was as invested in this endeavor as Jerry was in raising money. I had to do something. I had to call my mom… Ugh!

They were at the tennis club. This was all pre-smartphones. I picked up my princess phone and dialed the club. Max, who manned the front desk and was 90-years-old if he was a minute, answered the phone. He paged my mom. Yes, called her by name over the loudspeaker and told her she had a call. Kill me now, before she picks up. A bolt of lightning. Divine intervention. Thankfully her doubles match was over and I wasn’t too much of a burden. I told her I didn’t feel so good and could she please come home. That was all I said.

Inside Red Canna, 1919 Georgia O’Keefe (c). I had to put it in…

Instantly, she screamed across the entire restaurant, “Morty! Lisala got her period! Let’s go!” They came home, my father teased me incessantly and my mother handed me a futon-sized bedroll and called it a maxi pad. She said, “You know everything, right?” I mumbled, “of course I do” and slinked, head down, in shame, into the bathroom where this nightmare began. She added, “Be careful of the sheets at night, from behind the locked bathroom door.

Later, on that dreadful night, they took me out to dinner an alleged celebration at The Rascal House where they embarrassed me by telling everyone in line, the waitress, the guy who brought the pickles, the other guy who cleared the dishes, the cashier, that I just got my period. Wasn’t it bad enough that everyone could tell I had a mattress between my legs? I prayed for invisibility well before Harry Potter had the cloak.

Needless to say, things got way worse before they ever got better, and there will be more stories, to share, I am sure. And I never wore white pants again.

Who doesn’t love a nice carousel ride

Last week, I was invited with my Big to go with her to Diana Circle. It’s like the happy, hippy, feminist version of Girl Scouts no judgment here, no cookies to sell either. They are an empowering, safe, and inclusive group that celebrates modern young girls as they experience their own, unique rites of passage. In a world filled with mixed messages, misogyny, double standards, a stunning amount of sexual harassment, and thankfully, oceans of #strongwomen in #pinkpussyhats marching the earth, I am so very grateful to Tara R. and her spiritual girl-guidance. She helps us to help our kinder (kids) embrace life, take the bullshit by the horns and grow up to be strong, healthy, and proud women.

At the previous gathering, one of the older girls got her first period and she was celebrated in a beautiful and moving way. The Mrs. and me, we are trying our very best to do right by our kinder. May they never be shamed for their bodies or their natural bodily functions. May they embrace the challenges of growing up as their uniquely beautiful selves free from adolescent misery and filled with love, connectedness, and honesty. A way I never knew was possible until a decade or so of therapy.

And friends, I leave you with this Yiddish Proverb:

No one knows whose shoe pinches except the person who walks in it. Keyner veys nit vemen der shuckh kvetsht, nor der vos geyt in im.

Nu? What’s your first-period story? Share with us and we all become a bissel (little) closer. Here’s to #mightygirls becoming #strongwomen!

      

      

      

73 thoughts on “That’s it. Period.

  1. I clearly remember mine – luckily at home – and my mum screaming with joy (still don’t understand why) as she’s opening the door of the toilet because I called for her: my little girl became a big girl! I felt I was perfectly prepared and mine came slightly late – so all my girl friends prepared me beforehand. My mum chatted about it too, but because I was eager getting it, I somehow remember more about my girl friends’ stories. #familyfunlinky

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hahaha, I can’t believe you went upside down to stop aunt flo, hilarious. For my first, my Mum handed me a Dr whites and a belt, I was horrified, did she not know you cold get pads with sticky strips now and you didn’t have to have them tied up to your waist? Thankfully, she did go out and buy some sticky ones. I have two girls with periods and we are all synchronised in this house, we get them at same time (hell for the boys, lol) #mondaystumble

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of our friends is from Sri Lanka and we got invited to a party to celebrate their daughter’s first period and her transition from girl to woman. It was a really lovely thing to be part of.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, my first period went a bit like yours did. I cramped really bad that morning so my aunt let me stay home. But then she decided that my brothers needed to know what was going on. That was really embarrassing. They didn’t need to know anything other than I wasn’t feeling good. I didn’t understand her need to blab it to everyone she talked to. Later that night she told my grandfather and one of my uncles. I just didn’t get it. I’m so glad that you have a place with such supportive women around you. Your girls will have a positive experience because of that:) #MondayStumble

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just remember throwing up right before I went into the bathroom and found that I had started mine. I don’t remember how old I was or anything. This is one of those life experiences that make me so thankful I had boys… I’m really not sure how I would handle the whole thing. Thankfully the pads aren’t all mattress sized anymore! #FamilyFunLinky

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I actually do not really remember getting mine, i remember that I was happy as I wasn’t early like some friends, nor was I near the last, but other than that I obviously took it in my stride. In high school my friends and I would share experiences, mine was light and over in 3 days so I never worried. But after I had kids suddenly a period was no longer a non event, yes Dexter would be proud! It is a lot for young girls to deal with, I only hope mine don’t have to deal with theirs too young. You are a wonderful mum!!! Thank you for joining in the #mg link up

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa! Thanks for the kind words about Diana Circle. It takes a village to do things differently, and I’m so glad that you and your Big are part of the beautiful space we’re making for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My daughter is 12, 13 in a few months, so I know it’s only a matter of time before she gets hers. We have talked about it a lot, she knws there is no shame in it, it is just part of life and growing up x
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh gosh I am not looking forward to these days with my girl. Fortunately it is a long way for us but I do remember t not being the most pleasent thing. Fortunately it’s a way off for us yet. Good luck for the inevitable! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  10. God, this takes me back. I think I was 11 and thank goodness I was at home. I don’t recall it being a big deal and I thankfully had a great relationship with my Mum who was super prepared. I wish it had remained ‘not a big deal’. The pain I have experienced on a regular basis ever since has certainly been a big deal! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I dread my daughter getting her periods as mine have always been agony despite years of medication but I want to make sure that she sees them positively. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was 13 and one of the last in my friend group so I guess I was really lucky as I was totally ready and in fact waiting. I’m so sorry but I had to giggle at your upside down technique. Fool proof if you ask me! Who knew that biology is more powerful than physics eh? Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My older girls just this week have been on the phone for relationship advice why they come to me I don’t know Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh I cringed at your mum telling everyone but I love that you had a meal out to celebrate it! I just remember being at home & shouting my mum who passed me a pad then went into detail about how to deal with them…she’s very thorough is my mum! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t actually remember my first period, though I think I was about 12. But what I do remember is being desperate for it to start when I was about 10. Me and my friends thought it would make us so grown up and it was almost a race to see who got theirs first! haha, now it’s such an inconvenience! Thanks for sharing with #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh what a miserable first experience. I’m so sorry. I don’t remember my first period, I just remember being desperate to start (so that I’d feel really grown up) and then immediately desperate to stop! Haha. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I was quite traumatised by my first period – hadn’t been prepared for it – didn’t know what it was – remember it vividly as I was on holiday in Austria! I cried and cried… so good you’re talking about this stuff with your girls. #thesatsesh xx

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  18. I was relieved when I got my first period. All my peers already had theirs and I thought there was something wrong with me! I was cycling and when I got off the bike, there were stains on the white saddle. When I told my elder sister, she yelled, “Congrats! You are now officially a woman!”.

    #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m quite ashamed to say, after reading everyone else’s stories, that I honestly can’t remember my first period. I remeber my mum talking to me about periods in the bus and saying we were going to go and buy some supplies so that I would be ready when it did happen. That was pretty embarrassing as I’m sure everyone could hear. But my period didn’t actually come for a couple of years after that.
    #Thesatsesh

    Like

  20. I love the way you write. Obviously mine was uneventful as I can’t actually remember it but I have also got two older sisters so I think that probably helped growing up #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great post! And another cool yiddish proverb 😀👍
    I got my first period on a sports day, when I was 13. We went curling (which was so much fun!!), and I was feeling a bit funny all day, but thought it was because I’d had a strange nightmare which had made me wake up feeling sick in the morning. Anyway, I enjoyed the curling very much, then went to the toilet after, and hey presto! There it was. 🚩x
    #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ah what a fab post! I love how your write. I got mine when I was about 12-13 I think? Wasn’t very exciting, haha. I was out for a walk with my Dad and his partner, and my brother. Was quite embarassing, I just remember crying in the toilet panicking haha Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    Liked by 1 person

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