Just entering the latter part of my 40’s, I have begun to enter that newest phase of being a female.  My doctor calls this new phase “peri-menopausal”…  I don’t really know what “peri” means as a medical term, but in real life terms “peri” means… aggravating, bothersome, annoying, troublesome, vexing…I.E.: ”Fucking-pain-in-the-god–damn- ass”-pre-menopausal.

So let’s talk real… I’ve been having a period since I was 11.  Yes…early bloomer in so many wrong ways….  WTF ever…  So, for over 30 years, it’s been an inconvenient, yet predictable part of my life.  3-1/2 weeks go by, I get cramps for a day, bleed for 4 or 5 , and it’s a done deal for another 3-1/2 weeks.  But a couple years ago, things started changing a bit.  First, I started to decrease to just 3 or 4.  It continued to dwindle over the next few months until I was down to just over 2 days.  Woo-Hoo!!!  Who wouldn’t like that???  Eventually I was left with a day of cramps but no period to follow.  Not my favorite, but the no muss-no fuss aspect has its appeal.  Finally one day I was at the grocery store, passing by the tampon display, and realized I hadn’t restocked my supply in what seemed like a very long time…  Standing at the display, I counted backwards to the last time I’d needed them… Holy shit…it was nearly 6 months!!!

Free at last – Free at last!  Fuck you Playtex & your God-damn labia pinching super-glide applicator!!!  They never once were a super glide… Fuck you Kotex & your God-damn pube pulling self-sticking panty shields!!!  And Fuck you OB & your God-damn strings that wick bodily fluids into the wearer’s underwear without absorbing a fucking drop!  I was a happy woman… I giggled and danced a little jig right there in the aisle…  causing the young man standing close by to move quickly away from me…  OMG…within a week, I had a freaking period…  NOT one of those 1 or 2 day MF’s either.  Apparently my uterus had not stopped doing its thing, just simply saving for a rainy day….  I had 3 days of cramps and 6 months worth of period over about a 9 day time span…   Mother Nature can be such a raving bitch…  Moving forward, I vowed a couple of things… I will only pass the feminine hygiene display if I need feminine hygiene products,  I will approach those product displays with only the deepest reverence and utmost respect…  Also, I will never again curse feminine hygiene product makers in public or private as I had learned my lesson…

Now for the past 6 months I’ve honored my vows, avoided the tampon aisle, been respectful etc. and my menstrual life has once again returned to uneventful.  The dwindling process resume and I went back to having periods that are sporadic, short-lived and sparse…   Life is good…but then I forgot… Shit!!!  While grocery shopping…  I must first point out and ask what genius’s idea it was to arrange the feminine hygiene products on the same aisle as coffee or deeply desired espresso… which for me, is a requirement of life as important to air and wine…  I decided it was silly of me to go all the way around the hygiene product aisle to get to the other end to get coffee, so I cut through… Dumb Ass…  Seeing the tampon & maxipad boxes all lined up, I again realized it had been some length of time since I’d needed to re-supply…  Outwardly I remained respectful & polite, inwardly, I must admit I had just the teensiest of  Ha Ha… moment…  That was all it took… you idiot!!!

The next day, Monday, I was sitting at my desk talking on the phone when, with absolutely no warning, I felt something go bluuurrp…you know…down there.  I knew immediately this was not good…  I finished the phone call and headed to the rest-room squeezing my you know what shut…  Oh My God!!!  It was bad…it was really really bad…  It looked like someone had bled a sacrificial goat into my underwear…  Was I wearing light-colored pants???  Did I even have to ask???  They were khakis of course…   Had it bled through my underwear into my pants???  Hello…of course!!!  Badly I wondered… Not too bad from the volume/area/stain size standpoint, however from a placement/location standpoint, it was fucking stellar…  Somehow, because of the way I was sitting, because of the way my pants fit, or because I fucking pissed off the Period Goddess again, I had managed to channel the flow forward so it made a big red blotch right at the base of my pant fly… It was only 10:00 am…

I cleaned up as best I could, & went looking in the bathroom cupboard for the supplies to catch any further leakage.  In the past, I always kept a small stash of tampons at work.  However it hasn’t been all that necessary for quite some time now, and I didn’t have anything…  Fortunately, one of my lovely 20-something year-old co-workers had a box of panty shields in the cupboard.  It was an emergency and I figured I could replace them later, so I opened her box, and learned a new thing…  Did you know they make panty shields for THONGS???  They’re normal width in the front, and taper to string width in the back…with wings…  Who knew and most importantly….WHY???  How fucking useless is that???  Being desperate, I made do…  I laid the first one in, front to back & then the second one, back to front so that together, they almost made one whole.  I made it through the rest of the morning by staying at my desk, or carrying papers, and file-folders in front of me.

At lunch, I zipped home where I scrubbed the spot from the crotch of my pants, and threw them in the dryer to dry.  Unfortunately…“the thong panty liners” didn’t stick very well to my “non-thong panties”…   Instead, they are curled, twisted and have attached themselves directly to my hairy lips… both right and left!!! Removing the liners gave me a free partial Brazilian job, as they ripped out thong shaped swaths of pubic hairs…  I took a quick shower and checked on my pants…  The stain had been transformed.  It was now a large ring around the whole crotch of my pants where they had been wetted when I scrubbed them.  I decided perhaps it was time for plan B…change pants, and just freaking deal if anybody asks why if they are stupid enough to not see the glaring eyes and flaring nostrils…

Night sweats, Insomnia, Hot Flashes, Moodiness, Irritability, Memory Lapses,  Brain-farts….all predicted, and all now accounted for. However, my friends, you left some stuff out.  Nobody bothered to tell me that walking down the tampon aisle at the grocery store will make your periods start. Nor did anyone say that after 30 plus years of practice in how to deal with having a period, that I’d suddenly become incompetent…  It makes me wonder what else was left out of the stories that I am yet to experience… it this some secret society you can only enter into thru trial by fire…well fuck you…  As for me, I am back to making sure I stay away from the feminine hygiene aisle, being respectful toward the patroness saints of the menses…  I’m hoping that will keep me relatively free of unpleasant surprises for the next bit-o-while.  I am passing this along for you 20 & 30 something’s so you have something to look forward too…

Ciao Bella… A Peri Sarah B…

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