Well hey there,

How stoked are you for this one, huh? Right now, you’re just a small girl, but one day you’ll bloom into a beautiful woman who farts in public, misses her knees every time she shaves, and was once caught peeing behind a rock by a charming Japanese couple just trying to get through their hike without, what I can only imagine would be, seeing a pale white butt squatting in some unfortunately sparse foliage.  So girl, get ready for that.

But hey, periods. Those are fun. Honestly I can’t really remember when you get yours. I think you’re eleven. Or thirteen. I don’t know, it’s one of those two. Truly has faded from memory, but you do get it. And when you do, it’s really not that bad. As you get older, you’ll actually come to embrace periods because they mean you’re not pregnant which is pretty cool. That being said, they can still be a nightmare so I’ll prep you.

Now periods come in all shapes and sizes. There are trickles, streams, waterfalls, lakes and flat out tsunamis. Some you’ll hardly notice, some will leave you bedridden and one or two will seriously make you consider if it’s worth just ripping out your ovaries and throwing them into a volcano. After many a visit to the hospital for extreme discomfort during sleep your doctor will inform you that, “you just have a weak back. Take an Aleve.” This will hit the top of your list as the least helpful information you’ve ever received from a physician. Eventually you’ll figure out, on your own, that the source of this back pain is actually your oncoming period and it's a bitch.

Other than that though you won’t suffer a whole lot. You will claim an “allergic reaction” to tampons for a couple of years. You’ll believe it at the time, but I’m telling you right now it’s a load of shit. You’re not allergic to tampons; you just have no idea what you’re doing. And that’s okay because, until you have sex, a tampon is going to be the closest thing you get to having something up in there and it’s pretty weird. Still now, I’ll put a tampon in and find myself doing a lot of awkward squats and shifting to adjust the angle. My dog has been the only unfortunate witness of this severely unpleasant occasional ritual and I honestly feel like I owe her something for it. But moving on.

The worst thing about periods are, in my opinion, the stains. Just about every period will bring a new stain and, with it, the death of a cute pair of underwear. Usually this is the result of your red river surprising you on a sexy panty day, but sometimes it’s just because your uterus has decided to be a total piece of shit and give your tampon a run for it’s money. This unwelcome circumstance can be dealt with in two ways. One, buckle up your vagina with a tampon and a pad and try to switch them out every few hours. Right off the bat, I can guarantee you that your lazy ass will not do this. Your inability to keep track of time is truly impressive.

So the second option is period undies. You will have a lot of those. Period undies are, more often than not, horrendous. They’re the leftovers from a time when full-butted and cotton with incredibly unsexy patterns seemed like a good purchase to you. Underwear that Limited Too would even have been like, “Nah, we’re good.” The crotch is the worst part though. I still stick to the mentality that no man will ever see the inside of a pair of my period undies until they’ve been married to me for thirty years and their eyesight is fading quickly (if I’m lucky, they’ll die soon after). The inside of period undies are… not great. They’re not red, but they are generally an off-ish sort of nasty yellow. It’s the stain that, despite relentless scrubbing, will never go away. But as long as it’s on a pair of period undies, it doesn’t really matter. If you do think your period is coming, but you’re not sure and you’re willing to commit to a cute panty day, go black. Always black. You will have a truly insane amount of black lacy undies. This is 150% strategic.

Bigger than underwear stains though, are OUTERWEAR stains. That’s right. Outerwear. Of all the stains you experience, there’s one that will stick with you until you die. Or until you’re twenty-three at least because, oh my god, Coco, this is a bad one.

It’s going to happen one day after science class in seventh grade. Or is it eighth grade? Fuck, I don’t remember. Whatever, it happens, that’s the point. Class is going to let out, the last class of the day. To get from your science classroom to your lockers there is a long stretch of hallway that all the kids file down. It will be that day, of all days, that you decide to take the head of the group. Yes, that’s right, you will lead the pack back to your lockers. This will also be the day that you learn the catastrophic difference between pads and panty liners.

Pads, mind you, are the equivalent of a diaper if diapers were excessively long strips that cover all but your butt cheeks. More than once you will stick a pad to your underwear and wonder why so much of your butt crack needs to have that level of swathing and you will consciously touch your pants every five minutes, worried that they’re puffing out in all the wrong places. Panty liners, on the other hand, are thin, delicate and pretty fucking useless unless you’re a tiny fairy princess who bleeds rainbows and glitter.

It’s this day in seventh (eighth?) grade that you will be wearing a panty liner. As you turn the corner and reach your locker, your boyfriend at the time (Yeah, you have one of those. Shockingly.) will say, “Hey Coco, what the hell is on your pants?” and then point right directly at the center of your butt. Horrified, you’ll claim you sat in chocolate and then run to the bathroom to further investigate. It will be a HUGE stain. Just enormous. It could drown that tiny fairy princess, it’s so big. Your friend will lend you a jacket to wrap around your waist and after many deep breaths and a couple of punches to the wall, you’ll walk from the bathroom with your head held high as though nothing happened.

But something did happen. You walked triumphantly down a hall with a good thirty pre-teens on your tail, unknowingly parading your tainted pants for the entire world to see. Ten years later it’s that single thought alone that still makes me cringe. I have yet to voluntarily purchase a pack of panty liners since. It’s going to be super jumbo tampons until menopause hits and dries us up.

Despite all this, you have to remember that periods are natural. Your uterus is going to hurt. Your back is going to ache. It’s a good excuse to lie on your couch and eat ice cream. It’s an even better excuse not to have sex if you’re not in the mood and on the contrary, it’s a great way to make your boyfriend feel totally uncomfortable if you are in the mood. (If he’s a new one. The long-timers know the game. Just as an FYI though, yes, you will be asked many a time if sex on a period is messy, is his penis going to be covered in blood, blah blah blah. For you, at least, it’s not and no, his penis will be just peachy. But if you’re tired of answering that question, just stare him dead in the eyes, say, “Yeah, my vagina is going to explode everywhere,” and then kindly exit the room. If he’s smart, he’ll get it.)

So what am I teaching you from this? Well, you’re going to get your period so you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. One, always have a jacket or a sweater. I don’t remember suffering from another stain apocalypse, but then again my memory is terrible and maybe I’ve just furiously repressed any reoccurring instances. Two, if you’re not going to use tampons, fine. But don’t you dare use that panty liner. Have some self-respect. Those Urban jeans might’ve been on sale, but we both know you’re a cheap bitch and you’re not in the market to buy another pair until you rip the crotch fully from front to back from both over wear and you’re incredibly incorrect assumption that jeans will stretch no matter how deep you’re squatting. (Why are you squatting? I don’t know. You’re a weird kid.) Three, for all the discomfort periods bring, they’re also a good way to force yourself to relax (and make people leave you alone which, if you have yet to experience "you time," is pretty life-changing). Four, if your boyfriend can’t handle a little shedding uterine wall, he’s not the one. Find a real man. And five, don’t be embarrassed if something does happen. The worst that comes out of it is a stain and a good story you can laugh at yourself with. It’s not so bad.

So enjoy becoming a woman. I hear it's a hell of a time.

Love you buttface,