When I was in 4th grade, my school sat all the kids down and gave us “the talk” about our soon to be changing bodies. The nurse who gave us girls the talk scared me into buying deodorant and my first training bra, but the part of her lecture that really stuck with me is that most girls get their period when they turn 13. Flash forward a few years to when my 13th birthday is approaching, and after every trip to the bathroom I check my panties for any freaky stains and silently thank God every time they come out clean. When the fateful day arrived, my mom immediately decided to teach me how to use tampons. Here’s the thing though: when you have a baby vagina that is still unused to things happening downstairs, tampons are no easy task. Every day that week, I would sit on the toilet for hours holding a mirror in one hand to see what I was doing, and be wiping away tears of frustration and pain with the other. There was a tendency for the tampons to get stuck on my hymen on the way out. I alerted my mom of this catastrophe when she came in to help me, and immediately grabbed hair cutting scissors from the medicine cabinet and offered to fix that problem for me once and for all. This only served to scare me even further of my new woman status, and helped me creatively solve my problem without needing an impromptu surgical procedure from my mother. Eventually I got the handle on tampons. BUT I was unaware that tampons came in different sizes, and that those sizes made a difference. By 7th grade, I had grown familiar with the ins and outs of periods and knew that the bathrooms at my church had complimentary tampons in case a woman (such as myself) were to need one. One Sunday, I found myself in need of one, as I was unable to find my mom who kept pads in her purse and I was caught off guard by mother nature. In a panic, I grabbed one of the free tampons. As I was struggling to put it in, I grew more frustrated with the process, thinking I had moved past this stage of
difficulty and had learned to do this swiftly. By the time I decided to give up and look for my mom again, I was struck with horror. The tampon was stuck halfway inside me. No amount of yanking on the string would dislodge it from my loins. I didn’t know what to do. I knew if I could find my mom, she could help me get it unstuck (hopefully without scissors) but how could I get off the toilet with this 1” in diameter mass shoved up my twat? After about a half an hour of sobbing to myself in the bathroom I resolved to pull up my panties and go look for her. When I didn’t find her, I once again retreated to the bathroom where I tried in vain to remove the tampon. This process repeated several more times until eventually she found me as a hopeless puddle and got the pain stick out of me. And that’s when she told me about the difference between the tampons I was used to using and the Super tampons the church had, and why Super wasn’t gonna work for me. From that day on, I never left home without being prepared for a similar emergency.