THOUGHTS ON THE SLOW EVOLUTION OF PEOPLE, PERIODS, AND MY DISEASE
By: Autumn Smith
In sixth grade we would whisper about the girls who had started their periods (even if you were secretly one of them) because it was weird, funny, and gross. The boys agreed. Gross.
In 7th grade, girls were starting left and right. Were you one of them? I mean if everyone’s doing it, it must be normal. Even the boys were curious about it! They most definitely would have projectile vomited if they heard you actually speak about it though.
In eighth grade it seemed that most of us had started, and all of my close friends were able to talk about it and complain together. Maybe even borrow a tampon (if you had long sleeves on and a clever, quick way of hiding it on your way to the bathroom)!
The boys still thought it was gross, but I guess it was becoming more normal. Girls have periods. LOL but NBD.
It seemed normal when my friends made fun of me for missing school every month when I had my period. I mean, they never missed school. They didn’t complain the way I did, so maybe I was kind of a wuss.
But they didn’t get sick like I did. that wasn’t normal.
It wasn’t normal for my pediatrician to prescribe me Vicoden for my mom to give me for the first time at the end of eighth grade. You can’t show up to eighth grade medicated because of debilitating cramps. The doctor knew it wasn’t normal, but how not normal was it?
I could never tell the boys why I was missing school. You couldn’t even say the word “period” without a giggle, how the hell could I convince them it’s normal for me to cut class for a few days each month for it? Not happening.
With killer cramps, a shitty immune system, and normal friends who would obviously enjoy skipping school too every once in a while, I got a lot of shit.
It’s funny, I guess it perfectly prepared me for what was to come.
Boys would go to high school and college and eventually become boyfriends, boyfriends who had girlfriends who had regular periods. Definitely more normal.
They don’t get it but they care. Or at least they better.
Your guy friends get it, but do we really have to talk about it? It’s still kinda gross, right? Even if it happens once a month and can (if even just slightly) affect your life in almost every aspect?
Endometriosis affects one in ten women, and to me that sounds like it’s bordering “normal” for us. But when periods and the reproductive system are involved in your “normal” disease, it’s not as normal to talk about anymore.
For women without the disease it’s still kind of normal, all of the girls you meet know someone who has it. Sometimes they assume they know exactly what you’re going through, but they don’t. They don’t know the levels of sickness, pain, trauma, or mental strain.
The men who love someone with endometriosis have trouble understanding, but they try and they care so much, or at least they better. When the boys who didn’t want to talk about periods become men and have to talk in-depth about these kind of symptoms, it’s an awkward transition.
It’s much more awkward trying to talk about it with a guy friend. They know I’m getting ready to have surgery, but if they say “good luck” is it the same as saying, “GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR VAGINA”!?
No, but why would it be normal for them to know about this disease if periods are still borderline taboo to talk about?
It should be normal.
Complain to your sons about your period the way you would complain about a summer cold. Wear a shirt with a uterus on it because the majority of men wouldn’t be able to make a simple sketch of one. Be like China’s Fu Yuanhui, admit that your Olympic swimming game was off because you were on your period.
Make it as normal as it is.