Dear 10 year old Dom,
I am so sorry you’re feeling scared. Yes, that is your period. But it is only coming around for one cycle and then it will be gone again for a couple years. I am so sorry it decided to surprise you the day you’re going to an indoor play park. And I’m sorry you feel too ashamed to say anything. You’re still going to have a fun day, and nobody is going to say anything, even when you bleed through your underwear. Your mum is so ready to swallow you in love and protection. She will let you know that this is normal, and everyone you know will be going through this. You will create a safe password so that if you need to call her in public you don’t have to say ‘period’.
You are still so so young, keep enjoy being playful,
Dear 13 year old Dom,
Okay, it’s back, you’ve been here before. Initially you were confused as to why mum made sure all the girls were educated on periods before we went away on this school trip, but now you get it. I know this has happened AGAIN in a place you weren’t ready for. Not only has being at camp in Algonquin been trickyish enough, but now you have this to worry about for the bus ride home. You could ask someone, you have really good girlfriends that would totally understand! At least you are on your way home now, in fact there’s probably a pad in the pits of your bag if you really go dig.
I know you’ll feel really uncomfortable with the design and use of a tampon. In fact, I totally agree it would be so much easier to just avoid going to dance for the week you’re bleeding. Honestly, who designed leotards to be so high cut? Probably not a woman.
Please know I’m here for you through all the worry; those first few cycles where you can’t get the tampon thing quite right and bleed all over the inside of your tights. I know you’re afraid to ask your mum for more tights, I know they’re expensive. You are so brave for continuing to wear them, even after 1000 washes didn’t get the stains out.
I feel the anger you had the day two friends got in trouble. They came in from recess (with a hall pass) to get period supplies, and the teacher yelled at them for being upstairs. That was really unfair. No wonder you all walked around feeling ashamed!
I promise you will start to get the hang of this, and that eventually it won’t feel so terrifying.
Dear 16 year old Dom,
You forgot to put your tampon in before getting on the bus!!! But don’t worry, your waxing lady is amazing and kind. She’ll tell you a story about a time she did the same thing.
Dear 20 year old Dom,
You are doing all the right things. You can feel that something isn’t right. I know you feel like you can’t really talk about it to anyone, but talking to doctors is the right thing. They’re going to check you for Endometriosis, but will tell you you’re clear. Although that’s not the culprit keep searching, keep investigating. Explore being kinder to yourself and to your body. It exists to help you, not to punish you.
Dear 22 year old Dom,
HONESTLY, you are SO right. How on earth does a woman prepare for surgery when she’s on her period? You aren’t allowed to wear underwear, so a pad is out. You also might be out for 10 hours, so you can’t use a tampon. A cup would probably work, but you don’t have one!
How has this not been something discussed before? Why is there no cheat sheet for this? The male nurse definitely looked surprised when you brought this up. GOOD! You keep letting them know that these issues exist.
Dear 27 year old Dom,
I am so so proud of you. Bleeding was something that used to make you feel sad and shameful. It used to make you feel like you were a victim to your body and hormones. You used to be so hard on yourself, feeling heavy and unattractive, emotional and overwhelmed. You have come so far to explore what your body is actually going through on a menstral cycle.
It is not you going crazy, it is hormonal chemistry. There are times when you feel high, and times when you feel a bit low, but now you are able to observe them for what they are. This is huge! How amazing to know that this is all ‘normal’! THIS is the stuff you wish you had learned in school.
Please don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling like you should have known all of this earlier. Everything happens in time, and you’re taking that time now! Your body appreciates so so much that you’re trying to always come from a place of love. We only get one body, and yours has been through so so much. It is exhausting to spend your energy picking it apart when you could be filling it up with love.
Thank you for taking care of yourself, and for loving yourself through all moments of your cycle (even when its hard).
I love you,