for many 8 (?!) to 15 year olds, this is a time of great joy; "now im a woman", for some, a time of medical hysteria; "oh my god, im haemorrhaging!" (shame on those mothers who refused to endure those mutually embaressing bird/bee bonding moments), and yet others it was a time of denial (yes; me again).
i learned the way many others in my 10 year old peer group did who smile knowingly at the question "are you there god? its me, margaret". judy blume's book prompted me to ask my mother the question, and for the first time literally stop her in her tracks. this served as a preparation for later definition requests for "condom" and "virgin" (was i supposed to say 'yes i am' or 'no im not'? the P.E. changing room consensus was the latter, presumably i would be in the majority?). she gave me an answer, but i came away still not really knowing.
a month before i turned 16, i came home from school and my mother observed that i had something on the back of my skirt; she gave me a "look". [abject horror; ran to room; slammed door; threw self on bed; commenced sobbing] "its so unfair! now im like everyone else" (a recurring lament of the adolescent identity crisis). bleeding; it really is the great human equalizer. i had spent the previous 4 years (waiting) and listening, to my peers complain about the (inevitable and unavoidable) debilitating stomach cramps, and being unable to go swimming. this particular dramatic feminine cross was not one that i cared to bare, nor was it the kind of martyr i aspired to be; pain and no pool. hardly. forget congratulatory, celebratory cakes, a very american way to acknowledge this 'rite of passage' into a hallmark moment. not even the lifetime excuse for a monthly sanctioned chocolate fest was consolation. i was therefore determined not be like 'everyone else' who sounded like their own personal walking/talking transfusion. i decided i would be ovaries "lite". hardly.
i cant wait to (not) have hot flashes and night sweats.