Allie Starts Her "Moon Time"

I started my period before everyone else.  It happened so early that my mother hadn't really had a chance to warn me about it beforehand.  I think maybe she tried to talk to me about it, but I heard the words "vaginal bleeding" and some sort of psychological defensive-mechanism kicked in and I stopped listening.  

At any rate, I don't think it is even possible for an 11-year-old to be mentally prepared for "vaginal bleeding."  It is also pretty impossible for an 11-year-old to understand unrestrained maternal exuberance over the commencement of said vaginal bleeding.  I would also guess that it is fairly hard for mothers to understand why their daughter would resist publicly celebrating her passage into womanhood.  

Basically, there is no good way to start your period.  But this is how I started mine.  

I was playing basketball with my friends Joey and Sarah.  I had been hydrating like a champion, so I eventually had to excuse myself to take a bathroom break.  

When I pulled down my pants in the bathroom, I was shocked to see what I thought was poop in my underpants (for all you guys out there: periods often start off brownish.  Just FYI.  Aren't you glad that you are reading my blog and I taught you that??  You're welcome.)

My first thought was "What have I done??  I am waaaaaaay too young to start losing control of my bowels..." I sat there on the toilet staring at my disgustingly brown panties and trying in vain to come up with a logical course of action.  I was too distracted worrying about my future of fecal incontinence to devise any sort of concrete plan.  

When I had collected my thoughts enough to actually take action, I wrapped the incriminating underwear in almost a whole roll of toilet paper, put the wad of toilet paper and supposed poo-panties under my shirt so that I could walk out to the shed and retrieve a shovel without being intercepted by a questioning friend, dug a hole and buried the evidence of my failure.   

I walked back into the house, put on a forced smile and a fresh pair of underpants and rejoined my friends outside.  

After playing basketball for another half-hour or so, I felt a slightly "off" sensation in my underpants.  I went to the bathroom again and discovered that I had shat myself again (or so I thought).  How could I be pooping myself without even knowing it?  

I went through several pairs of underwear and more than a few psychologically crippling episodes of burying my soiled failure-panties in the backyard while feeling paranoid about being discovered before the accidents in my pants began to look legitimately like blood.   

At that point, I thought I was dying.     

But I was too embarrassed to tell my friends that I was pooping in my pants inadvertently and had just recently started bleeding from what I was pretty sure was my butthole.  I just kept playing basketball with them like nothing was wrong, excusing myself to go cry in secret when necessary.

When my mom got home from work, she asked me what was wrong.  It took her awhile to fish it out of me.   I finally said "Mom, I think I am bleeding in my underwear... like maybe from my butt..."

To which she responded "OH MY GAWD!!  My baby girl is becoming a woman!!"

I didn't know what to make of this, but my mom looked happy, so I was at least reassured about my prognosis.

My mom sat me down on the edge of the bathtub and told me all about what was happening to me.  She told me that I was not bleeding from my butt, but actually I was bleeding from my vagina - which didn't sound a hell of a lot better to me and it didn't explain why I had been pooping myself, but whatever.  She told me way more than I wanted to know.  She told me about ovulation and how my uterus was making a special lining for a baby and that now I could actually have a baby if I wanted to and that girls my age actually did have babies in the middle ages, but times have changed so I probably wouldn't be forced to marry some 45-year-old king and bear his royal heirs.  She told me that I would probably bleed a lot, but not to be alarmed because I would get used to it since it was going to happen to me every month "just like the full moon" until I went through menopause at which point, I would have hot-flashes and be really grumpy and wish I could have my period back.  She talked a lot about goddesses and the power to create.  She said "empowering" probably 18 times.  She made it sound like I had just earned my membership into some secret cult of women who bleed from their hoohoos.  She showed me how to use a Maxi pad.

I was eventually allowed to return to playing with my friends who had miraculously been entertaining themselves for the entire duration of my mom's extremely thorough explanation of periods.  They didn't even ask where I had been.  Nevertheless, I remember being so paranoid that they knew what was going on.  I felt like my Maxi pad was the size of a mattress.  "What if they think I am wearing diapers??"  I wondered.  "What if I bleed so much that it soaks through my giant maxi pad and then everyone in the world will know that I bleed from my vagina?"  It was horrifying.  I was so glad when my friends went home and I could finally weep openly about my dismal future as a disgusting vagina-bleeder.  

The next few days were a haze of odd gifts and clandestine meetings with my mother's Native American friends (who apparently understand periods better than anyone else).  I was given crystals, pieces of ribbon, bundles of sage... I heard all about how "sacred" I was as a woman.  I learned about my power animal (moose) and how people used to use corn-husks instead of Maxi pads.  

It was all very confusing.  

My mom wanted me to be "empowered" and develop a positive relationship with my body, a relationship based around an intimate understanding of how I am connected to Mother Earth.  It is a wonderful idea in theory.  In reality, it made me feel just a little weird.  I guess I didn't quite grasp the connection between "bleeding from vagina" and "Earth goddess."  

A week or so passed and the horrors of my first period slowly faded to minor but permanent psychological scars.   I started to be able to enjoy life again.   

It was Wednesday when I went to my friend Selia's house while my mom was at work.  My friend Sophie was there too.  As the summer day was winding down, we got all giggly and decided to play Truth or Dare.  Sophie went first:

Sophie:  "Allie... have you started your period yet?"

Me: (torn between my the morally objectionable option of lying and the socially objectionable option of telling the truth and turning myself into a social pariah) "No." 

I though I had dodged the bullet, but on Sophie's next turn, she kept probing:

Sophie: "Allie, are you sure you haven't started your period?"

Me:  "Yeah, I'm sure.  I would totally tell you guys... Is it my turn now?  Oh it is?  Okay... Selia... do you have a crush on anyone?" 

Selia: "No.  And now it's my turn.  Allie... have you told a lie today??" 

Me: "Me?  No. Periods are gross and I did not start them."  

Selia and Sophie:  *Snickering*  "Okay... if you say so...." *more snickering*   

Me: "I'm thirsty.  Do you have any water?"

Selia: "Yeah.  It's in the faucet.  Are you nervous about something?"

Me"Nope.  Just really thirsty..."

We walked into the kitchen.  As I was leaning against the counter chugging unnecessary amounts of water to avoid having to answer more questions about my "condition" I noticed a little lavender slip of paper on Selia's refrigerator.   It had stars and moons on it.  And my name.  Wait... what??  I looked closer.  The paper was an invitation. It said:

"MOON TIME CELEBRATION.  Allie has started her 'moon time!'  Please join us in celebrating this special event in Allie's life! (There was a date, but I don't remember what it was)"

There was some stuff about passing on the gift of womanhood to the next generation, but I stopped paying attention.   I appreciated that my mother had tried to protect my fragile dignity by using the code-word "moon time," but I think she drastically underestimated the ability of my friends to decipher such a phrase.  

I honestly do not remember what happened next.  If Sophie or Selia ever read this, maybe they can tell you.  

The next memory I have of that day is being picked up by my mom when she got off work.  I was furious:

Me:  "MOM!!! Why did you tell everyone that I started my period???"

Mom:  "What do you mean?"

Me:  "You gave an invitation to Selia's mom inviting her to some stupid period party that you are throwing for me... and now everyone knows!"

Mom: "Oh Sweetie, don't be ridiculous. The party is just for us parents - we're putting together something special for you... Wendy would never tell Selia about it...."

Me:  "She put the invitation up on her refrigerator!"

Mom:  "Oh... well, I'm sure Selia didn't understand."

Me:  "YES SHE DID, MOM!!  Why are you doing this to me???"

Mom: "I want you to have a positive experience of your first period... I want to gather all the people who know you and love you together to give you support and guidance..."

Me: "How many other people did you give these invitations to??"

Mom:  "Just a few of the other parents... Selia's mom, Sophie's mom, Sarah's mom, Troy's mom, Lacy's, Joey's mom ---"

Me: "MOM!!!!!!!! That's, like, everybody!"

Mom: "It's okay baby... don't worry.  They all understand and they love you..."

Me: "What am I going to tell my friends?"

Mom: "Just tell them the truth."

Me:  "That I'm bleeding out of my... down there?" 

Mom: "Yeah.  They'll all get their periods some day too and then you can help lead them through it."

Me: "I don't want to be the leader!"  

Mom: "Allie, get in the car and let's go home.  It's going to be alright.  I promise.  You might even have fun."

Me: "I will NOT have fun."

Mom: "Okay, but that's your choice."  

I don't remember whether I had fun or not.  The Moon Party may or many not have even come to fruition, but I strongly suspect that it did or at least that it happened somewhere possibly without my knowledge because I have a box in my closet at home labelled "Allie's Moon Box."  It is full of pretty rocks, bundles of sage, heartfelt notes about my feminine power, ribbons and a lock of my hair.  

I take the box out sometimes and look at all the gifts and read the notes.  I even used the sage when I got scared of moving into the apartment on 3rd Street because I was sure that people had done really bad things in there and it made me uncomfortable when I was trying to sleep and my mom came to visit and brought the bundle of sage and we "cleansed" the apartment of negative energy by burning it in my room.  

And my friends did start their periods.  Sophie started hers at my house.  I wanted to rub it in, but I settled on being a good friend and leading her through it.  I showed her how to use a Maxi pad.  She said it felt like riding a horse.  I said "yeah... I know."  And then we laughed until Sophie's mom (who became just as emotionally unstable as my mom when she found out her daughter was finally bleeding from the hoohoo) came to pick her up.  

P.S.  Speaking of being totally empowered, here is a kickass picture that Amber sent me:

And that is why I love blogging.  



I don't want to be the first to post about this.

Gigi said...

Allie - you had me rolling on the floor laughing so hard. Although I didn't get the Earth Goddess and Empowerment speech - or a party - you reminded me of exactly what it felt like!!! You are too funny!

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Failure-panties. I have so many good feelings about that phrase.

Is it okay that I still get failure panties sometimes, and bundle them up and bury them in the trash? Say yes.

Chris Gooch said...

"I don't trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die..."

This was...insightful...although I feel sorry for the person who next lives in your house and digs up pairs of little girls blood stained panties whilst they're doing their gardening one day...

erin said...

I was the complete and total opposite. I had my period way later than everyone else and all my friends thought I was a freak.

My mom would constantly ask me, "You didn't get your period YET?"
"You're messing me with me, Erin. Stop fucking around"
"You're 17...maybe we should take you to the doctor!"

Then 2 weeks before that doc's appt. I started my period.

I don't know what everyone was rushing it for, it fucking sucks ass!

motherunit2 said...

Gosh, I don't remember getting an invitation to your moon party, Allie, but probably just as well or I would now feel conflicted about humiliating you. Totally funny (and so typical) what Selia and Sophie did! But the funniest line is "I don't want to be the leader!", when everybody knows that you were always the leader. (It's not a coincidence that all of your friends - well, all the girls, anyway - became obsessed with rats in the first grade because YOU were obsessed with rats!)
Anyway, love your blog. Sarah told me about it awhile back and I think I've read just about everything. Next time you're stuck for something to write about, how about the "anatomically correct" dolls saga? Love, sarah's mom

Ed said...

My baby girl is only 16 months. I am so NOT looking forward to this shit. Hopefully my wife will deal with this.

Gigi said...

Hmmmm, somebody who knows your past reads your blog! Interesting.......oh the questions we could ask....

Allie said...

DOROTHY!!!!!! Hi! Can I just say that I love that you called yourself "motherunit2"? Partly because it is a very good inside joke and you are remarkably perceptive for thinking to use it and partly because it aptly describes your influence in my life because I hung around (and still hang around) Sarah so much.

That being the case, I'm sure you were invited... you probably just didn't put the invitation up on your fridge like Wendy. Or maybe the whole thing got cancelled and my mom just asked everyone to send me period-related gifts and letters? I don't know. I'll have to ask her. Or maybe she'll comment too and explain it because I am almost certain that she has not buried the experience in denial like I have.

Though it was humiliating at the time, I can now appreciate what my mom was trying to do for me. She always knows the right things to do even if they don't seem like the right things in the first place and maybe they aren't even the right things but the seem to work out in a roundabout way.

I guess I kind of was the leader in many of our little kid fads. Poor Sarah :) I probably put her through so many humiliating experiences. Do you remember Doggy Detectives? That was a pretty low point. Also Tree Rats. I think that one was even lower and I probably couldn't explain it even if I wanted to.

I think the anatomically correct animals are another such thing. They defy explanation. I will probably give it a try at some point, but I think it's kind of like the concept of infinity: you can grasp the idea behind it but you don't understand why or how and it makes you just a little uncomfortable.

Anyway, thank you for commenting. It made my night.

Kb_Mal said...

I can't believe this happened. Seriously?!?

I think your mom has contributed to your personality (and psychosis?) in so many ways beyond this moon party. Are you going to do the same thing to your kids?

Tony said...

Okay, so...I was clenching my butt cheeks throughout this post. It was hilarious in the uncomfortable way. You know us creatures who have penises are...

That whole truth or dare part was hilarious, yet so sad for you...poor Allie. Poor Allie indeed.

We should start a band called Moon Party. You down?

Allie said...

Kb_Mal - Yes, I probably will. Maybe I won't throw my kids moon parties, but I am sure I will do something equally embarrassing.

My mom is a wonderful mom. She always did whatever she did with love and my best interests in mind. Some of it was humiliating. Some of it was uncomfortable, but don't all moms do that to their children? I think you almost have to embarrass your kids at some point. I actually kind of think the embarrassment was good for me. It helped to teach me not to take myself so seriously and that the world doesn't end just because people might judge you for something. My mom supported me through everything and that was the most important part.

My psychoses are partly shared with my mom and partly totally organic. There were things that happened to me that were completely out of my mother's control. But we are alike in many ways. She is also a worrier. She also has trouble accepting gifts and compliments. She probably has ADD too. She overextends herself and then panics about having too much to do. I do too.

But I like what I am (when I'm thinking clearly) and therefore I wouldn't change anything about the way my mom raised me. Also, it makes for good blog posts! What other mom would make their kid a badass fort to live in?

I think maybe I'll have my mom write something on here someday. If she wants to. You guys would totally love my mom.

Allie said...

Tony - but what would I do in the band? I am very capable of appreciating music - not so good at creating it.

I can bang pans together. And play the recorder a little.

Sarah said...

So, I was LOLing - no - LMAOing, and husband was all "Whaaa?" So, I started to explain how this is so funny because I totally thought I mysteriously shat myself the first day I got my period but that, instead of burying my failure-panties, I wrapped mine in a plastic bag and hid them far, far down in my duffel bag because I was at a friend's house. It goes on and on from there, because my story is almost as weird as yours - without the crunchy mom stuff - and now, he's just staring at me as if I'm telling him a gory story about decapitating frogs and laughing about how cute it is.

Tony said...

You can play the cowbell or the triangle.

Allie said...

Tony -


miss. chief said...

last year my boss was in the vagina monologues, and so everybody from my work had to go see her...there were these two hippie ladies on stage at one point singing about their "moon time" and one of them had wicked bad camel toe going on, and me and another girl could not stop laughing. now everytime i hear "moon time" that's what i think of.

You can call me, Hammy said...

I knew mostly what to expect with my first period because I have an older sister. I knew the mechanics of what happens and more or less how to take care of it.

I got my period at the age of 12 on December 26th. I remember the date specifically because the very first thing my mother said to me when I told her was, "Merry Christmas!" with a huge smile on her face, while I cried.

Anonymous said...

HYSTERICAL! Again I am dying laughing and my kids are looking at me like I'm a crazy person!

Just think, years from now when someone else owns your home and they did up those panties they're gonna' think it's a crime scene and it'll be all CSI-ish and they'll contact the former owners - you - and you'll have to explain to the cops how and why you buried your panties and they'll do DNA tests and everything, you'll probably be in the newspaper too reliving the horrible moments when you first began bleeding from your hoohoo! Save this post.. You're gonna' need it!

Alyson said...

I think I would have killed my mom. Thankfully, she's one of those "I ignore everything that's going on unless it's fatal" kind of moms.


Random said...

Artisan Spring Water?

Oh, and my mother threw me in the bathroom with a box of tampons and the directions that come in the box. I feel like that was better than my friend's mom who actually helped her learn to use them by putting them in for her... Yeah....


Adelaide said...

I remember when I learned about periods, I was like, "WTF? Why is there some big bloody female conspiracy that no one told me about until this moment? Why did no one tell me I was going to bleed for all the best years of my life? Thanks, assholes."

Fail-panties made me laugh really hard too. Also, your mom sounds like a character.

Unknown said...

lucky you. i had my period at ten years old and my mom didn't care enough to give me a crazy speech.

i'm dead inside.

oh! this might be a bit too late but your halloween costume's epic. yes, i said epic. that's what your awesome blogposts do to my vocabulary.

kate sweeten said...

That is absolutly terrifying...I would be terrified right now if I had to have that conversation with my mother. I started mine in high school (so waaaay after everyone else) and when I gold my mom, all she said was "'s about time. I thought something was wrong with you." The first time I used a tampon, I was pretty much convinced that I had given myself TSS and nearly had a panic attack. I'm not very good at being a girl.

Nooter said...

cops are gonna find all that bloody clothing in your moms backyard and take her downtown and book her as a serial killer

you and tv dharma had the same mom

are you gonna throw her a moon party when she hits menopause?

Christine said...

Holy Moses. Your "becoming a woman" story is even more horrifying than mine. Though mine does involve trying to use a tampon even though no one told me how. It was stuck for...well, a while. My mom told all my aunts and they all called me to squeal and congragulate. I was like, what the hell? All this for a little blood?

Moms are ALWAYS ruining one's street cred.

Amanda said...

WOW. We didn't have "moon parties" in my neck of the woods. Thank God.

carissajaded said...

hahaha I literally had the same thing happen to me (i wrote about it a few weeks ago!

I kept it a secret from my mom for months. I thought I had a disease!

I am so happy to hear that I'm not the only one!!!

Nicole said...

I'm a relatively new reader and I just have to say OMG you are sooo funny! I almost cried I was laughing so hard

Wynn said...

Shouldn't dudes who have had girlsfriends for more than a month like.. get used to hearing, or knowing that periods exist?

It's something that goes on like forever.

And I had a TAD less traumatic experience with my first period. Thank gawd.

Lilith_ii said...

I was eleven as well, when my period started (I just nearly wrote "when I started menstruating", but that sounds too much as if I had the choice to actively do that.) After briefly wondering whether I had pooped without noticing, I suddenly remembered I hit the vault that afternoon (I was an artistic gymnast) whilst doing splits. For the rest of the day I thought I was suffering from internal bleeding.
I actually knew all about the menstruation (I probably knew all about the birds and bees and all the other stuff by the age of three, I was a curious child), but I just couldn't relate my theoretical knowledge to what was actually happening. I thought for some hours I was going to die, until my mom enlightened me.

Nikole said...

I totally think you look like Vada from My Girl in that picture..just sayin =]

Deidre said...

My mom wanted to throw me a period party too (I was also 11) - She never did thank god but she did tell everyone and their brother. Horrifying completely horrifying. I've never quite forgiving her.

Stormy Cruz said...

Hahahaha... that was an awesome story. I totally felt your angst. And I had almost the opposite experience. My mom was basically, "Aw, honey, here's a pad. It's pretty self-explanatory."
And I didn't get my "moon time" until I was SIXTEEN. I actually *pretended* I had my period so my friends wouldn't think I was a wacko. "Oh, I have such cramps" and such. That is, until I really had cramps, and then I just groaned and cursed a lot.

Erin said...

Omg..this is too funny. I too thought I crapped my pants when I first started my period. I was 12.

No one threw me a party, but I do recall it being a HUGE ordeal. My cousin and I actually started our periods on the exact same day when we were staying at our grandparents' house for the summer. My grandma was just tickled beyond belief that 2 of her grandbabies became a woman on the same day and she got to witness it. I don't think she had ever been so proud of anything in her life. Why is that? Why do vaginal blood showers make people proud? That's disgusting.

Birte said...

I too was 11 at the start of womanhood.

It happened in a McDonald's restroom in Germany, and for some inexplicable reason the first person I told was my dad. He freaked the fuck out, directed me to my mother, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Thank you for being an early bloomer with me. I had to wait two more years for it to happen to my best friend and receive the letter she sent me from camp to feel good about myself again.

Helena said...

oh i feel for you! i started mine aged 11 too, except mine started on a week-long school excursion... *sigh*. so, there i was 5 hours drive from home with 2 teachers and a lot of judgmental pre-teens and i started vaginally bleeding with no idea what was really going on and no option but to ask around for pads. i'll spare you the rather shameful details but i hope my tragic tale of failure makes you feel better

DH said...

My first happened when I was visiting my grandmother in another state. At first, I tried fashioning my own pad by wrapping many layers toilet paper ( I too, thought I had suddenly grown incontinent ). Then, I found my grandma's "pads", which I managed to smuggle away without suspicion. I'm sure that was a good look for me. My cover was blown when my younger male cousin started screaming one afternoon when he walked into the bathroom. The ONE TIME I forgot to flush I managed to traumatize a kid for life and expose an intimate secret to all my relatives .

Honkadoodle said...

Ah mah gahd, I had to finally comment instead of practicing my usual non-comment lurk through your past blogs. I have related to a LOT of your experiences, but this one brought back such a craptastic memory, I thought I'd share!

I was 12 and attending summer camp for gifted kids at MacMurray College.

We had an all-day field trip to some zoo or whatever, and I was wearing white pants... need I say more???

But I will. Because I ramble too! (AND I know you're not supposed to start a sentence with a preposition, but fuck it!) The big one started on the bus, but I ignored it, partly cuz I didn't know what it was and partly cuz I DID know what it was.. two hours later, when we got to the zoo or whatever, I ran to the bathroom.. blood ALL OVER the underwear and white pants. I pulled your "whole toilet paper roll wrapped around the panties" trick, which worked for a while, but then some chick who was obviously recruited by everyone else came and told me, "You need to pull your shirt down." "Why?" I asked.. "There's a brownish reddish substance on your pants." I still remember that's EXACTLY what she said to me.

I did so, then spent the rest of the day at ZOW yanking my shirt down and running to the bathroom for more toilet paper.. I was so embarassed, I never went to anybody for help.

When we finally got back to MacMurray, I tossed the pants/panties and continued the tp-roll thing for the next WEEK. My mom figured it out after I got home; she found some "evidence." Ugh. I definitely did not transition into womanhood with grace.

P.S- I love your blog, and would "follow" you, but I don't do the google thing. I AM on facebook, if I'm your friend, would that count as a follow?

P.P.S.- my fave blog of yours is when you're talking about super-cleaning the apartment, only to have it at the same state of disarray two days later. Ditto here!

P.P.P.S.- If you choose not to post my comment, I won't take it personally and will still continue to lurk around your blog. Love your posts.

P.P.P.P.S.- I made a post post post post script, I WIN!

Anonymous said...

I remember, when I was younger, having a sleepover with my friend, and she was like, "Guess what? I'm a woman now!" because she was one of those people who was really excited about getting her first period, and I was all, "... you were a man before?" I have no tact. Also, I never want to grow up.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and also, I totally started my period at eleven, too, but I wasn't really concerned about that being so early, being as I know someone who started at nine. :)

Anonymous said...

I started my period when I was 11 too(I still am 11), and although it was at school, I totally knew what it was and just stuck some toilet paper in my underpants. By the way, your posts are really hilarious and I'm reading every single one of them! Sorry for complimenting you and crap like that, but it's hard not to!

Holly L said...

I got my first period on September 11th, two years after the actual attacks (The day it was declared a Holiday). I was 13.

Thank god, when I was in fourth grade they did sexual education classes so I already knew all I needed to about periods. I'm pretty sure I was the first of my friends to get it as well, but I didn't have to worry about scrutiny like you did.

r3 said...

A couple things:
1) I have always felt that that whole thing was a bum deal for girls. That has to be just bizarre and totally insanely rough.
2) I am glad that my Mom isn't a hippy.
3) Even through this painful experience, you are able to put it into entertaining and comedic language and that's a great gift.

(yes I know that is three things and not two, but I didn't want to leave it there. I STILL have yet to figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing, but this is much more entertaining.)