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“Thirteen” has a bad association in society. Most buildings don’t even have a thirteenth floor, and we all know the stigma of “Friday the Thirteenth” (creepy). In fact it was “Friday the Thirteenth” just this weekend. Was there any resulting weirdness in anyone’s lives? I went to a department store on Friday and asked if they carried a special brand of mascara (I’m always experimenting). The sales lady looked at me as if I was homeless and/or dangerous. Shortly thereafter she sent me on my way. Weird.
So yeah, the number thirteen is not exactly a winner.
But what about my thirteenth birthday? Did it fall into the “thirteen profile”? Well I’ll let you decide…
…It was two days before the big 1-3. After that I’d become an official teen. I wasn’t really sure how the title “teen” would change my life as it was, considering I didn’t have make-up, cool clothes or boobs of any kind, but nevertheless it represented something. And I was ready.
Well at least I thought I was ready, but I forgot that becoming a teenager also meant becoming a woman (at a certain point). And two days before my thirteenth birthday…I became a woman.
[As a side-note, I really thought I could avoid the “period” talk on my blog, but if I’m playing back my memories…well it DID happen. I will try to keep the details professional…]
I’d heard about this reproductive milestone in Health class, but because of my lack of development in other areas, I tried to ignore that the crimson curse was coming. And whether it had already happened to my older sister, well I wasn’t too sure since no one mentioned a thing. It was almost as if the prospect of being ready for babies (at least physically) was a shameful one, not to be discussed.
And that was the very same tone that I got from my mother when I told her. I remember how gingerly I walked into her room, as I tried to keep my legs together… for fear of what might happen if I didn’t. This was also due in part to the debilitating cramps.
She was hanging up some clothes when she saw me.
“What?” she asked, in a rather impatient tone.
I could barely speak the words, since I was so afraid that the world at large was listening. So I whispered the words as I settled on the corner of the bed: “I got my period.”
My mother’s face went white for a second, in a look of shock it seemed, but in seconds she reverted to her stony face. She disappeared into the bathroom, and returned with a brown paper bag full of sanitary napkins (is that the official term? It sounds dreadful, but I think that’s the official term).
“Here,” she said. And then she sat beside me with the meanest look I had ever seen, saying only this: “You must NEVER, NEVER NEVER have sex at any time until you are married. If you do, you’ll get pregnant, and what would we do if you got pregnant??? What would the Indian community think!?!?!? Don’t do it.”
And…that was it. Oh wait, there was one more thing: “If your stomach hurts take some pain killers. There’s Tylenol in the cupboard. Now go.”
And so I went. It was the first time ever when my mind was totally blank. I had no idea what to think of all of this (and I was overwhelmed with pain, to be honest).
Despite my weakened state, my Dad knew nothing about it, and I was never going to tell him. So on day number two (which is always the worst, right ladies?), when he insisted we go for a bicycle ride, I had no reliable excuse. So we rode around the neighbourhood for twenty minutes. Worst bicycle-ride of my life…
…The next day it was my birthday, and I was now in day number three of the crimson curse. By now I felt like an expert in the process, and I started to act all bitchy (or maybe it was the hormones). So when I opened up my birthday gift, to find that I’d received a floral-printed, pastel-coloured warm-up suit, I was livid.
I couldn’t really yell at my parents, so instead my eyes welled up with tears. It was the first time ever that I’d cried upon receipt of a gift. Not my proudest moment.
The only words I could utter were the following: “It looks like an old-lady suit!”
My mother was visibly offended, but she calmly replied “Don’t worry, we’ll exchange it for something else.”
So we ate some cake and that was that…
…The following week my mom offered up a plain purple sweatshirt, which couldn’t have cost much more than eight or nine dollars. The warm-up suit however must’ve been at least thirty dollars. Which meant I should’ve gotten two more shirts! But no, it was just one shirt. A shirt that was so damn plain, there was nothing about it I could even hate.
So I accepted, and my mom saved twenty bucks…
…Overall it was a prettty crappy birthday, proving once more that “thirteen” IS the most unpleasant of numbers…
Does sound like a lousy birthday but, honestly, is 13 a good year for anyone?
And since you ask about Friday the 13th, I did have something strange happen at my convenience store.
Some mold appeared on the wall behind the “Wonder” Bread. In the mold, I was clearly able to see the face of Lata Mangeshkar, reknowned Bollywood playback singer.
Freaky or what???
Wow. I hate discussing periods, ever. I’ve put my first period in the back of mind, for it was embarressing. Mine happened at school, and I was 11, so I didnt even know what it was, I honest to god thought I shit myself. For two days I just thought I was dieing, so I kept a journal, JUST IN CASE I DIED. One of my classmates told me of similar conditions…and I was soo relieved! My mom never talked about it with me, so I just googled it! Ha ha, so I rather have a talk then no talk at all.
Gosh, I’m so sorry that your 13th birthday was such a trauma. Lucky for us you made it past that awful day.
And now, a couple of minor corrections …
1) 13 is not the first teen. The teens are the numbers between 10 and 20. Thus eleven is, mathematically, the first teen. Don’t you Canadians say oneteen like we do here? You should start right away.
2) The official technical term for sanitary napkin is rag. As in on the … Jeez Romi you of all people should know that.
Now that that’s out of the way I can say wow! Your mom gives incredible advice doesn’t she? I think I’ll try to find her next time I get depressed! “What? Oh you’re sad, and life is not worth living? Well here’s a gun. Now go!” 🙂
The last 2 Friday the 13ths have been pretty good for me. Knock on wood. 🙂
Awesome story. Ive never had trouble with the number 13. If I have daughters though, I hope to hell I never have to hear about their coming of age at all.
Today’s a date to celebrate: today I make 20.000 days; there are few ages that I consider to be very important: 10 years, 10.000 days (at 27 years) and 1.000.000.000 seconds (at almost 32); if you try to calculate other – in any time unit you can’t find others so round; at 1 you’re to young to understand at 100 to old to care; in weeks, months (you make 100 months at 8.3) you can’t find so wonderful times; I celebrated all of them.
I was (and am) very busy but I’ll try to call you more frequently.
Hear from you,
Oh dude, that sucks hardcore. My thirteenth birthday was a surprise and I got Backstreet Boy tickets (if you tell anyone…) However, there were plenty of other shitty birthdays, including the one my mother spent the majority of oggling boys, or the one where my dad showed up uninvited to a girls night out, or the one where I was handed an unwrapped gift and an unsigned card while rushing to get ready for school. I say the best birthday was still six. I got a pink ariel suitcase and that rice krispie cake I sneezed all over and then served to my family.
HA HA! That’s rich! What a “coming of age present!”
Let’s see, when I was nearing “that age” my mom was working in a Christian book store. She gave me a book by Dr. Dobson, “Preparing for Adolescence.”
My mom said, “I’d like you to read this and if you have any questions, just ask.”
I remember having one frank conversation about the “Master…” word, and thinking back on it now, clearly I hadn’t started doing “that” because I felt absolutely no shame during our frank talk.
*snickers* Damn period . . or, crimson curse *ahem*
You got a much better lecture about sex/periods than I did . I told my mom (when I was 11, thank you) and she went into the bathroom and came out with a pad that went clear up my back. That’s it. She handed it to me and that was it.
It took me 4 days to learn about the sticky that adheres to the pannies *hangs head*
Gebus, mine was one week before my 13th birthday. I told my mother, she gasped (dramatically) and said, “you now have the curse” and boys will want to have sex with you. I thought I must give off some filthy jump-me odour, so I showered until I was raw.
Heh, the night before my sister’s wedding, she received ‘the wedding night’ talk. My mother says, ‘sex is a filthy business, but your husband will want it. Give it to him and he will be pleased. You will receive presents’
Pity my sister was 12 weeks pregnant at the time. ‘Twas a bit too late for that talk.
Oh man. You mean those sanitary napkins are not meant for wiping food off your face after a messy feast? Damn it! 13 really is a shitty number. You know what is funny though? I used to hate plain boring shirts. Now its all I wear. Hanes tagless T’s…almost as boring as dry toast!
“I will try to keep the details professional…”
What??? And alienate your loyal core audience??? 😀
I have said it before, and I will say it again: Thank GOD I was born male.
And I, also, got The Talk AFTER I first had sex…heh heh heh. Quite a humorous occasion, too.
Aww man, that sucks that happened right before your b-day! My boy/girl twins are turning the big 1-3 this weekend (*my daughter is already so CRABBY, so I’m a bit on edge where that’s concerned). How sad that you had to go for the bike ride because you just had to. 😦 Poor little thing. Times are different now, parents talk to their kids about this stuff much more openly. And yes, back in the day, it was all pure shame. I’m so glad to be able to talk w/ my kids and be totally comfortable doing so.
Ram: see? That’s why you can never trust Wonder Bread; like what is up with this “Whole Wheat Bread” that looks totally white? Are they trying to trick me? It’s like Vanilla Ice or something…sigh…
Shweta: wow? 11? Ya it sucks when it interrupts your childhood, especially when you don’t know what it is!!! And you handled your impending death really well, with the journal and everything…very calm of you, haha…
David: haha…sorry I don’t remember my “oneteenth” birthday 😉
PS: ahh…”rag” is such a harsh term, I don’t like it! I don’t like any term, hahaha…wish I was a dude! 😉
PPS: hahaha…ya my mom has a way of really shooting the euphoria through your veins, lol 🙂
Kerplar: I really hope your future daughters keep you out of the loop when it comes to any “woman” issues…like keep that to the “mom talk”, but then again that doesn’t always work either, haha 😉
danimalache: hi 🙂 …maybe I am too young to understand some of that? Haha..uhh…thanks (?) 🙂
Emerald: I am SO making fun of you on Saturday for getting Backstreet Boys tickets (and YES, I’m seeing you on Saturday…AHHHHHHHH 🙂 )
PS: I would have DIED for an Ariel “anything”!!! 🙂
PPS: oh my gosh, what would I do if my dad showed up to any of my “actually being myself” outings, hahaha 😉
dobeman: I think your story was pretty rich too! And hmm…I think I might have to try to find a copy of that book if it’s still in print…maybe I could learn a few things yet 😉
Red: oh dear, don’t hang your head! I guess it just goes to show that it’s probably the most awkward time in life, a time that is pretty much going to be unpleasant no matter what…argh…lucky boys 😦
Anja: hahaahaha…that’s an awesome talk!!! Why didn’t MY mom tell me about all these presents I’d get!?!! That might have changed how things went down in high school, haha 😉
Justin: please don’t ever let me see you using extra-absorbent “sanitary napkins” to wipe barbecue sauce off your face…goodness! 😉
PS: those Hanes shirts sound classic, not boring…and comfy too! 🙂
B Smith: wow you got the talk after? If I’d been you I would’ve have a lot of trouble holding back my laughter and not snickering 😉
Javaqueen: aww, you’re such a cool mom, I hope your daughter realizes how good she gets it when you don’t make her ride that bike during those first special days, hahaha 😉
But what if the Bar-B-Q sauce is the heavy flow variety? Is it ok then?
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