Because this is a blog and it’s written by a woman there’s a trope that says that at some point I have to write a post about my first period and because I still keep a blog in a the age of Tumblr feminism, my post should technically celebrate this wonder of female strength and use the word ‘womb’ a lot.
Except that I have no intention of writing about my first period, which was actually physically and mentally distressing and an event that my mother wanted to celebrate by taking the entire family out to dinner, which in Orange circa early ’90s would have meant Pizza Hut All-You-Can-Eat or the restaurant next door that was meant to serve old timey “country” dinners. The only thing more horrendous than my first period was the thought of having to raise a glass of Coke to toast its arrival with my parents and sisters and I frantically pulled my father aside and told him his wife was crazy and that if this event went ahead I would completely understand if he packed a suitcase and left, so long as he took me with him.
He looked at me grimly and said, ‘Don’t worry. We won’t be going out to dinner tonight’. And we didn’t and that was the last time I discussed periods with my dad, except for the time when we came home and found him playing fetch with our kitten and a wrapped tampon. Suddenly Mum was the total prude, who couldn’t believe there was a tampon in the lounge room.
Anyway, after this rather confronting introduction menstruation, I have tried to come to terms with it and respond to it in a more mature fashion, thus, when I received a text message from a beloved colleague today telling me that she needed to work from home today because of a dastardly period, I thought long and hard about a sympathetic response, and finally settled on:
I thought this was perfect. It was warm, work-related and expressed just the right amount of concern. And there’s reason to be concerned! You really can bleed out! Well … maybe not all the way out but you can get anemia or need blood transfusions and this is a real and true fact told to me by a nurse at a wedding mixer.
She clearly appreciated my concern and probably understood the reasons behind it:
At this very moment, I imagine she’s lying in bed watching the last scene of Six Feet Under because she needs a way to purge herself of her raw emotions and unlike RSPCA ads, which can also be used in this instance, with Six Feet Under, you can always rewind to the bit where Ted makes out with Claire in the cupboard when it all gets too much.