A while before I started my period for the very first time, my best friend, Amy*, came round. We were 12 and spent the evening on my bed messing around on my laptop (creating Piczo websites, trawling YouTube, and being stupid on Omegle, probably).
We were there for hours until my mum knocked on my bedroom door to say that Amy’s mum was here to pick her up. So we got up. Well, I did. Amy kind of shuffled a bit and looked at me, her eyes boring into my skull like she was attempting telepathy.
“You alright?” I asked.
“Um…” she started, going redder by the second. “I spilt something on the sheets.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that!” I said with a wave of my hand. “Mum will just wash them.”
I was a very obnoxious and assuming child, back then.
Amy reluctantly moved to reveal what she’d spilt. EVERY DROP OF BLOOD IN HER BODY, I thought. For on the sheets was a very large splodge of red. Bright red. Glistening. Glowing. Like it was its own being.
That’s what my mind saw, anyway. I’d never seen anything like it.
“I’m so sorry,” Amy said, lip quivering. “I only started this week and I was embarrassed to tell you and change my pad.”
“It’s ok! Oh God! It’s so ok! Don’t worry! It’s fine! We’ll sort it!!!” I said, rather desperately.
PERIOD, I thought. OF COURSE IT’S HER PERIOD. And then, OH GOD IS THAT WHAT IT’S LIKE OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.
It WAS fine, obviously. Our mums laughed and soothed Amy, who did have a panicky cry, and the blood came out in one wash.
When I started my period at 13, Amy’s Accident was all I could think about. But by the time I hit 22, last year, I thought I was pretty chilled with the whole period thing. Blood in my knickers? They’ll wash! Blood on my sheets? Whatever. Blood on my hands when I wipe too casually? Pfft.
Blood on my boyfriend’s parents’ spare bed sheets?
“WHAT?!” My boyfriend said as he woke with a start at my frantic, loud whispering.
“I’ve got blood on the sheets. LOOK, I’VE GOT MY BLOODY BLOOD ON THE SHEETS,” I said, gesturing wildly to the deep red blood smack bang in the middle of the pristine white sheets.
“It’s ok! Oh God! It’s so ok! Don’t worry! It’s fine! We’ll sort it!!!”
I’d heard that before.
I was so embarrassed, and I hardly EVER get embarrassed. I work for a charity where we talk about weird, embarrassing body stuff every day. This was my jam. The splodge on the sheets was also my jam.
Was it because I was 22 and should be able to stop this? I felt like I’d wet myself. Was it because I was at MY BOYFRIEND’S PARENTS’ HOUSE? Probably, yes. That too.
My boyfriend stripped the sheets and ran downstairs with them straight away to wash, along with my knickers and pyjama bottoms. But the blood had gone through to the mattress. Nightmare. We had no choice but to have a ‘quiet word’ with his mum. I say ‘we’ but I was hiding in the bathroom.
By the time I came out and tiptoed back into the spare room, my boyfriend was sitting there very smugly, an old rag in one hand and the other pointing at the now clean mattress.
“See! Dabbed it with cold water! All gone! Sorted!” He said, opening his arms for a comforting hug. He passed me his pyjama bottoms to wear and we went downstairs after remaking the bed with clean sheets. Nothing more was said. His mum was pokerfaced. Nothing and no one gave the game away.
Well, apart from the fact I was now wearing my boyfriend’s pyjama bottoms and was clutching a hot water bottle to my screaming stomach…
Look, what I’m saying is that your period can always be a pain in the bum, no matter how old you are, where you are, what you’re doing, and how good your relationship is with it. You can be the best of friends and then BAM, it screws you over.
But you can cope with it, and so will everyone else. Embarrassing tales will turn into funny ones and you’ll soon realise that everything is natural and normal. Embrace your splodges. This is your jam.
*Name has been changed