Growing up, I learned a lot of information from my sister, Sarah. She paved the way for me and that made me feel more at ease about all the changes I was going through.
I remember hearing my sister’s first period stories. I was probably in year four or five. For some reason, I already knew what a period was; the knowledge was just already there. I was always surrounded by women (my aunts, my cousins, my sister, my mum) so I guess before it happened to my sister, it must have been something we discussed casually.
I don’t clearly remember getting my first period. My mum didn’t prepare me, but I don’t think I necessarily needed preparation because I had already witnessed my sister going through it. I do recall that I was in year seven and that it happened in May. I was pretty ready for it to come. I remember talking to my friends about it, hoping to become ‘grown up’ soon. When it happened, I told my mum, sister, and grandma. Then I told some friends, and soon enough, everyone knew. I didn’t really care about them knowing. I wasn’t ashamed.
My mum told me to wear pads until I felt comfortable enough to use tampons. That lasted one month. In June, I had a dance recital, and I couldn’t wear underwear; I had to try using tampons. I read the instructions in my bathroom, tried all of the different positions, and finally got it in. But I realised something was not right. I asked my sister if I was supposed to keep the entire tampon inside of me. She told me to only use the cotton part; the other part was the applicator, used to help with insertion. I took it out and tried again. This time it was more comfortable and eventually I got the hang of it.
After getting my first period, I felt older because I had been told that getting your first period is a sign of maturing; I was growing up. Getting my first period was not exactly what I thought it would be. I had to learn to deal with it, and I have. Looking back, one thing about getting your first period that I do admire is that it is a bridge from adolescence to womanhood, and that is vital to many young girls while growing up.