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    Ariel Kurtz, Writer
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    minutes read
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    Jan 1, 1970
    Sexual Health
    A Very 2008 First Period Story
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    Picture this: it is Fall 2008, iPhones don’t exist and you are listening to Taylor Swift’s Fearless album on your iPod on your way to school. Our main communication with our friends is on AIM/iChat or texting from our non-smartphones. Most of us are getting a Facebook for the first time and think it’s cool!

    I’m in the 7th grade, which is my last year of middle school. I have always been someone who marched to the beat of her own drum, for better or for worse. I loved theatre so much and I had just gone to theatre camp for the first time, the summer before. I found people for the first time, who understood me. I was a very enthusiastic, but sensitive 12-year-old. I was both in the chorus and orchestra. I played the violin and I started to take ballet for the first time, while other people my age were starting to go on pointe.

    I go to see the Twilight movie in movie theaters, the day after it comes out. I started to have very bad cramps, later that afternoon. When I got home later that day, I went upstairs to my mom’s bathroom and discovered that I got my period for the first time.

    The irony of getting my period on the day I saw a movie about vampires and werewolves has never been lost on me.

    I would get my period very heavily for years to come. Sometimes, before I get my period, I get a fever. As a singer, I know that having my period affects my voice and I find it more difficult to sing on my period. In other countries, I know that they have paid period leave. I wish for all menstruating people to rest and get whatever care they need, whenever they are menstruating.

    I knew I was going to get my period, because I knew I was of age and everyone at school seemed to be talking about it. I can imagine that it can be scary to get through puberty earlier than your peers. I recognize that twelve is a “normal” age to get your period, but I know that some people start menstruating, early at age nine or ten. Some people don’t get their period until they are fifteen or sixteen.

    If you have ever gone through middle school, you know that middle school can be a tough time for friendships. Since I got my period on a Saturday, I didn’t see my friends in real life until the following Monday. I’m sure that we discussed the fact that I got my period, and knowing me, I was probably excusing myself out of gym or math to go to the nurse to use the heating pad (Sorry Mom!).

    Something as a menstruating human, I’ve vowed to do is always help another menstruating human in need! I always carry pads with me because you never know when someone will ask you for one.

    One of the things that I think makes middle school more difficult in some ways, is that you are very confined to your grade. So, if you don’t have a lot of friends in the grade that you are in, it can be hard. There are so many changes going on in middle school from our bodies to our friend groups and having a lot of big feelings. Everyone deserves a group of friends to help them through the shared experience of menstruating, among just being a middle schooler in general!

    The school year before, I was that friend in the friend group, that not a lot of my friends wanted to be friends with anymore. My friend group would have secret meetings in the library to talk about how they would tell me that they didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I wasn’t invited to those meetings, of course. We had an assigned seating chart at lunch that one of my friends made up. All of this broke my heart. I felt betrayed and sad. I just want to say that not all of my friends were a part of this, but my main group was.

    Menstruating people need to stick together to have each other to get through this phase in life and all phases!

    Everyone deserves to feel understood and safe in their friendships. Of course, some friendships aren’t meant to last forever. You never know how much it might mean to someone to ask them to sit with you at lunch or tell them about a cool club at school that they might like. Middle school is such a tender age and you deserve to be loved for exactly who you are.

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