Am I even a Woman yet?
I remember specific details. It was Sunday and I had just played soccer in the women’s team down the road at our local oval. I was using the laundry toilet as someone must have been using the main bathroom. I remember thinking to myself that playing with women is the next step in my age group as there was no girls division at the time and I thought am I even a woman yet?
Cue looking at my undies to find blood. How ironic? I had just turned 13 years old the previous month. I went to tell Mum and she was very supportive with asking me what I needed. I received a care package with new undies, pads and chocolate. I was asked if I wanted a lock on my door as it opened to the lounge room and I said no. I did not want to highlight any changes to the rest of my family.
I remember going to school the next day and feeling very conscious of the pad I was wearing. How could no one tell I was wearing it? It seemed so obvious. The new way I was walking. The noise it made. How can I get a new pad out of my bag and take it to the bathroom without anyone noticing? At our school not all toilets had period bins (most did) so I had to double check which one to use. The sound echoed throughout the toilet block.
The other and more pressing issue of getting my period was that I was swimming at a national level and training 4-6 times a week in the pool. My coaches were understanding with me missing sessions once a month but I needed to learn to use tampons as if there was a competition and I had my period I could not swim. This was time, money and energy used wastefully. I believe it was about 6 months (6 periods) after my first one that I used tampons successfully.