when i got my first period,
i was thrilled.
marked with the crimson stroke of womanhood,
i was no longer a little girl.
i was no longer too young
to be a part of the whispered gossip filled conversations
of the women in my family.
my sister and i could share boxes of pads and tampons,
bottles of advil and naproxen.
i was no longer too young to go bra shopping,
too young to understand.
i could read Teen Vogue and relate to every word,
i was a woman.
no one told me that it was now okay.
it was now okay for men to comment
on my new chest.
it was now okay for boys to yell their
tube sock dreams of my wider hips.
no longer protected by the shield of childhood,
it was now okay.
while i experienced many new things
after that first visit from Aunt Flow,
i also began to feel things i had not felt before.
an unexplained, unwarranted hatred of
the body i lived in,
my burden of anxiety heightened
with raging hormones in my blood,
mood swings worsening the monster
living under my brain named depression.
red spots on my face that boys liked to make fun of
as if their faces were not acne warzones themselves.
another growth spurt, as if i was not already towering
above the other girls in my class.
“don’t let anyone see your pad when you go to the bathroom to change,”
my friend whispered to me at school,
“don’t say period in front of boys,
“don’t talk about puberty,
boys think it’s unattractive.”
suddenly i realized that my body
was not for myself
and it was my responsibility
to act like I didn’t feel like there were
earthquakes in my ******.
it was my responsibility to hide my new body,
because my education was not as important
as the pervy boys in my math class.
it was my responsibility to not bleed through
my new jeans,
and miss class because i’m crying in the
bathroom as i call my mother to bring me
a change of clothes.
because being a woman is unattractive,
but when she’s half naked on the cover of ******* we like it.
because spreading your legs open for a ******
but when a man is in between them it’s hot.
because a woman’s body was never for women,
unless it’s ****** and crampy,
then we don’t want to hear about it.
i am here to say that Womanhood is for women.
i am here to say that young girls should take pride
in their new bodies.
your body is yours and no one else’s
and you should never feel ashamed of it.
you should never feel shame
when the crimson wave comes.