Now I can't shut up about periods.
When I was growing up, sex education started in fourth grade.
It wasn't a lot, just a videotape played during gym.
It was just enough for me to get the basics: sperm plus egg equals baby, so don't ever have sex.
Other than being happy that we weren't being forced to play dodgeball, I don't remember having a lot of feelings positive or negative about this introduction to my soon-to-be changing body.
In middle school, the sex ed talks became much more serious.
They divide up the class according to gender and it was there that the gravity of my rapidly approaching puberty began to sink in.
Hair would grow where? Smells would come from what?! How many times a day would I have to wash my face to keep it acne free?
It was almost too much information.
It seemed to me that men got the better end of the deal.
Sure, for a period of time their penises would be cursed with uncontrollable erections, and they would have wet dreams but women ... we would have our periods FOREVER.
They passed out bulky pads and deodorant in pink bags and I took them home, putting them in a special drawer in my bathroom.
I was equipped and had the necessary information to do battle with my period, when it finally came.
Which it did, roughly a month later.
I noticed the faint rusty stains in my jeans and thought "Whoa, that must be my period."
But that was the extent of it. I tossed the jeans into my hamper and went about my business, ignoring my menstruation.
When it happened again the following month my period was accompanied with sharp awful cramps and nausea.
On the bus to school I started realizing that this would be my entire reproductive life and began to sob.
In hindsight, that was tragically adorable of me.
At school, I wadded up toilet paper to be a makeshift (and terrible) menstrual pad.
I knew I was getting my period. I had pads at the ready. I knew it was nothing to be ashamed of, yet, I didn't tell anyone it was happening because I WAS ashamed.
The third month I got my period, my mother caught on.
Going through my laundry she pulled out my jeans and did a double take.
"Have you been getting your period?" She asked incredulously.
"I don't know," I mumbled under my breath, knowing full well that yes, I was.
My mom was baffled. "Why didn't you say anything to me?"
She took me out that night to stock up on usable pads and walked me through how to use them. It would be years before I tried tampons or menstrual cups.
I remember getting the distinct impression that she was angry with me but the truth is she was probably like, "what the hell, you weird kid, why didn't you tell me you were getting your period?"
And fair enough.
I felt like crying, and for reasons that were (probably) more than hormonal.
The truth was that I hadn't told her because I didn't want to face it. It was one thing to dream about growing up and getting boobs and kissing boys, and another to be confronted with the reality of adulthood in the form of a puddle of blood in your panties.
I didn't want to grow up, I didn't feel ready.
I felt like everything was moving really quickly and even though I knew the facts, the roller coaster of the birds and the bees (you know, sex) wasn't a ride I particularly wanted to get on just yet.
Of course, this wasn't anything I could articulate then.
It's funny to think about how closed-lip I was then, because now when I have my period (what up, I'm on day three) it's all I can do to shut up about it.
I talk about my period a lot now because I was so scared to when mine first started. I think it should be normal, which is why when I have to buy tampons and there are waaaaaay in the back of the pharmacy next to the board games and deeply discounted year old cookies I always say something to the manager.
Of course, little Becca didn't want to admit that she was menstruating! The world makes menstruation something we should be ashamed of instead of admitting that it's a biological process that is necessary in order to sustain humanity.
It's crazy how something that once seemed tragic is now just such a shrug-worthy part of my life.
In my sex ed classes, they taught me the basics of what menstruation was, but they never told me that it wasn't something I should be embarrassed about.
When I have a daughter, I fully plan on making sure she knows that periods are nothing to be embarrassed about, and also that getting her period doesn't change who she is.