by Dee Putri
Recently there was a blood stain on my pants after I couldn’t change my tampon for 10 hours because I was away. I noticed it at home, which is kind of okay, because it would totally have freaked me out if I’d noticed while I’d been in public–I would have had to find a bathroom, etc. It would be just troublesome. But it made me feel like a kid, you know? Just like, how not-pro I am about this after 11 years of dealing with it. And I still somehow I feel ashamed about the stain. I’m not sure when I got it, but I was definitely around some boys at the time and nobody said anything, which could means two things. First, they were ignoring it. Second, they didn’t even realize that I had a blood stain on my pants. Maybe they didn’t notice that the bl0od stain was there, or maybe they did and just weren’t saying anything. Add in the fact that one of them is a cute boy, and this clearly wasn’t my favorite moment. Let’s just hope that he was ignorant enough to notice my not-pro experience.
It’s been 11 years since I got my first period. I got it when I was 13 years old. I think this is normal, but some of my friends got their first period when they were in elementary school, at 10, 11, or 12 years old. My first experience of my period wasn’t special at all. There was nothing major that followed it. I didn’t really think that something big had happened to me. I just accepted it and thought that my body was starting to work that way. I remembered my sister asked, “Are you sure that it’s your period?” My dad didn’t say anything at all. Maybe it was too awkward for him. Thankfully there are tampon ads, so I knew what to do. Sometime ads are helpful, to be honest. I knew what a period was–I think it was my friends who told me, I’m not sure. But it wasn’t my family, I’m sure of this.
In my early years I got blood stains on my pants and skirts a lot. Back then I just put a jacket on my hips to cover it, but of course I usually tried to wash the stain a little first. Since I didn’t have any detergent (I mean, who would carry it around? No one I suppose), the stain would just become a weird round reddish wet thing on my skirt. Me with my period was just awkward at first. Also, seeing the blood that came from my vagina was kinda weird. People know that you have a period stain when you use the “jacket around your hips” trick, but my classmates were super tolerant about period problems. The girls were super supportive–they would help you get a tampon if you got your first day of your period at school. So, it wasn’t a nightmare experience for me. Sometimes I would carry around a tampon in case me or somebody else needed it, but I forgot to bring one more than I remembered to.
I don’t remember what my male classmates at junior high reacted to this matter. Recently I asked some boys (they’re in uni) what they think about blood/period stain on girls’ pants and skirts, and they said that it is totally okay and not worth to be shamed about because well, when girl is on period it just means that they’re not pregnant. (They’re not joking or being weird! I guess they’re nice people.) Point well taken. I guess as girls it’s sometimes easier for us to relate and deal with “period talk,” although not all of us have the same period feelings. Some of us get it easy without period pain, some of us feel terribly in pain, and some of us don’t get periods at all. But most of us have period feelings, and sometimes it makes us sisters. Sisterhood is wonderful, I tell you.
The anxiety of blood stains is another story, but I’m getting better as time passes. My period is more stable than it was when I was younger, so I know when I’ll get my next period and I’ll be prepared for it. But sometimes when I’m stressed, I get my period unexpectedly. I always try to bring tampon with me anywhere and sometimes bring extra clothes–a little preparation doesn’t hurt anyone! I kinda envy that in US there are detergent pens that help you with stains, but oh well. I’ll be a period pro even without them.