I got my first period in the 7th grade, the morning before a school trip.
Thankfully I was at home, and it happened as I was shovelling Cinnamon Toast Crunch into my mouth for breakfast. While absolutely horking cereal, I was also unknowingly leaking a teeny tiny amount of blood onto the pair of stunning, brand new, white (yes white) denim shorts I was wearing. I had been saving these shorts to wear on the school trip of course— because I loved (and still love) to make all outings a show stopping, glamorous event. After all, you never know who you’re going to run into, even when it’s a Tuesday at the Ontario Science Centre.
I wouldn’t realize my #OOTD was ruined until I went to the bathroom to snap a pic of myself for MySpace in the mirror. When I posted this picture later that night, I didn’t realize it would become the first picture that popped up when you Googled me for the next 11 years. Yes, I Google myself!! It’s healthy and fine. Thankfully this selfie no longer exists because MySpace got zooted off the internet for Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, but here’s what I looked like in this iconic, first period era (just so you can visualize this story featuring me and my lovely, giant eyebrows):
After taking the picture that would define my internet presence for the next decade, I brushed my teeth and sat down for my final pee (because bus rides are long tbh and I have anxiety). And that’s when I spotted it. Underwear at my ankles, there was something…. there. Something red. Bright. I pulled them closer to me.
It was blood. Now, I had learned about periods of course. Some of my friends had gotten theirs already. But in that moment I forgot they were even a thing. Always one for the dramatics, I immediately screamed out loud. I thought I was dying.
My mom came running in. By this time I had pretty much clued in to what was happening, but was more so screaming due to my ruined school trip outfit. I hadn’t planned a back up! FML!
While I panicked on the toilet, my mom dug into the cabinets, pulled out a pad and fetched a new pair of undies for me. She showed me how to stick it onto my underwear, and made me pack a few extras for the big day. She told me I probably wouldn’t bleed a lot, but it was always good to have back up. I changed into a less exciting, less glamorous pair of shorts and hurried out the door.
I remember feeling really anxious the entire school trip. My period that day was mostly spotting (as most new periods usually are), but I was positive that I’d get blood on any surface I sat on. I went to the bathroom a gazillion times to check that everything was OK. On one of those bathroom runs I cried in a stall because I was so emotional about my childhood being over (liiiiiterally drama).
And while I was feeling my feelings and perioding my first period, my mom was at home… calling my entire family to tell them. Me and Ariana Grande have many things in common (amazing voice, iconic ponytails etc), but one of those things is that we’re both Italian. And Italians love to gab. Some would call what my mother did a boundary crosser (ahem), but I was used to my oversharing famiglia so I let it slide. It helped that when I got home, my Nonna was over with a $20 bill as a celebratory gift.
Since my first period, I’ve gotten better at handling the initial anxiety I had on my school trip 15 years ago. I track my period on my phone so I can plan for when it’s coming. I’ve switched from pads to tampons, and recently tested out my menstrual cup for the first time. I also started wearing period underwear like KT’s Super 'Oh-No'Proof Underwear. They’re so comfy and absorb so much liquid— so I literally never have to worry about leaking on my period. I discovered them in adulthood, but I know that 12 year old me on my school trip would have loved them.
AND, mostly importantly— they would have definitely saved that glorious pair of white denim shorts.