One Of My WORST Fears Came True — I Started My Period On A Crowded Subway Train

menstruation
Self, Sex

It was like the elevator in The Shining, minus the ghosts.

For as long as I have been having my period (so around the age of 9), I have lived in terror of getting my period all over the damn place. 

I know, I'm an adult and I've been menstruating for the better part of two and a half decades, but that doesn't change the fact that I am just bad at containing my period. 

People will tell you that when you have your period, you aren't actually getting rid of more than 1 to 6 tablespoons of blood. I say those people are either clearly male, or have uteruses roughly the size of a chipmunk's left eye with nice, speck-sized vaginas to match. 

 

Related: 3 Super-Weird Reasons You Poop So Much During Your Period

 

My embarrassing period stories are numerous: If there is a way to bleed on sheets, I will find it, and I will do it. My own sheets, your mom's sheets, the sheets of the boy you like. I have bled through jeans while on my period and kept it secret. I have had to jam toilet paper up there due to lack of access to any other options. I have sneezed out a tampon. Menstruation is a war, and like so many good soldiers, I have stories to tell about my time on the battlefield. 

However, for every single one of my embarrassing period stories (I once gave myself a menstruation Hitler mustache, quite accidentally) there is one thing that never happened: I never got my period in public in a bloody messy way in front of a lot of people. 

That all changed on Saturday. 

Friday night, I spent the night at my boyfriend's apartment in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan because I am a wanton harlot. I took my pills before bed, including the first "period week" pill for my birth control.

Usually, it takes two full days of the placebo stuff before I bleed, and even then I get a warning in the forms of cramps. 

We got up the next morning, he made me breakfast because I do not deserve him, and eventually I donned a light blue skirt and a t-shirt and headed to the train. 

At some point between the ten-minute walk from his apartment to the subway, I began bleeding.

The problem was, I had no idea. Usually you can tell if your vagina is secreting some kind of fluid and take preventative measures no matter how horrific those measures may be (see the above mentioned toilet paper stuck up vagina, idea). 

However, I didn't notice. Because it was 95 degrees outside and, frankly, my entire body was busy secreting fluids in places that were even more embarrassing than in my vagina (I'm talking about my ass crack, if that wasn't clear). 

Usually being so sweaty makes me feel self-conscious, especially on the train where you tend to get intimate with people in a way you seldom do in life. It's like, hello old man's dick in my face, greetings, tall woman's unshaven armpit, I embrace thee and sing of thee.

I made an exception to the rule this day and decided. 

To.

Sit.

Down.

It was a decision that would haunt me for the rest of my life.

(I mean, I know it just happened two days ago, but I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about, so, who's "overly dramatic" now, MOM?)

Eventually, after a relatively typical subway ride, I got up a couple of stations before my own stop to make my way home, like the proud efficient New Yorker I am. I had not made it two steps before I heard the elderly woman sitting in the seat beside mine cry out. 

I turned around and saw it: bright red against the orange seat, my own menstrual blood. To make matters worse, my underwear and my skirt had acted as a sponge of sorts, distributing the menstruation in a butt-shaped design. 

In seconds everyone on the car was aware of what exactly was happening. No one laughed. No one shrieked. Everyone was looking at me, waiting to see what I would do.

"Does anyone have baby wipes?" I asked loudly, my face turning roughly the color of the mess I had to clean up. 

Several women (and one dude!) reached into their bags and scrambled to get me the wipes. 

By breaking the silence, I set a series of unexpected events into action: The old lady next to me gave me her sweater to tie around my waist, a lady patted me on the back and murmured stuff I couldn't quite hear that seemed comforting, and one man, inexplicably but kindly, offered me a bottle of water. 

 

Related: GENIUS: There's Now A Tampon You Can Wear *While* You Have Sex

 

I swabbed down the seat until it was cleaned of my blood and jammed the dirty wipes into the recesses of my purse. The train announced my stop, and, tight-lipped, I smiled at everyone who had helped me and got off the train.

Walking home, newly acquired granny sweater around my waist, I marveled at what had transpired. It was little Becca's greatest fear realized. 

And you know what?

It wasn't bad. It wasn't awful. Was it great, would I recommend free bleeding on the subway to anyone else? No, ma'am, I would not. But it happened, one of the things I was the most scared of, and I made it through. 

Sometimes when you're a woman it can feel like everything is designed to work against you: even your own body. That's what made me so feel so powerful in that moment, my body was embarrassing me, but the people around me treated it like exactly what it was — a natural, normal, unfortunate, accident.