Coming of age
It was swimming time and we were in the changing rooms getting out of our school uniforms and into our costumes and swimming caps. I took off my panty and there it was … a big patch of blood. I was 13 years old and my periods had finally started! BUT why did it have to start now?! Miss Cook was very strict about swimming and she was not going to accept my excuse. I ran to the hostel and told our matron about what had just happened. She was kind enough to let me go to my cubicle where I found my packet of tampons. I went to the bathroom, inserted it and ran back to the swimming pool.
I was very fortunate because I was prepared. I knew that one day I would start bleeding down there. I had read about it in a book that my mother kept under her bras and panties. This book was called “Every Woman” and it had taught me everything that I knew about women's health. I had seen an advert for o.b. tampons in a magazine and I had written to Johnson and Johnson asking for free samples. I had also saved up enough money to buy myself a small box of tampons for The Day. My mother had never spoken to me about any of these things but I used to hear her gossiping about me to my granny. They were very worried that I had turned 12, had small breasts but that I had not started my periods. It was funny to listen to them because all they had to do was ask me but they never did. So by the time The Day came I knew exactly what to do and I had the tampons ready.
This is sadly not the case for every young woman. Many of you start your periods with no idea of what is happening with your bodies. Nobody has taken the time to explain the beauty of nature to you and how your body is preparing you for adulthood. There is so much confusion and I believe that all of this has to end. We need to change the way we deal with issues of sex, sexual health and general women’s health. How do we expect young women to make life choices that benefit them when we can hardly say “sex” to our kids … let alone talk to them about it? This is why I have made it my business to educate young women about sex.
There is so much that we have to deal with as young women and as we enter adulthood. And sometimes the people that you need to speak to the most just aren’t there for you. Just know that there is always someone you can speak to. If it is not a kind aunt, it could be a teacher at school, a stranger on Twitter like me, or even someone that you meet at the bus stop. Never be too shy to ask questions.
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