When I was 12, I was relatively new to having WW3 in my uterus. I, like the stupid girl I was, asked my father if I could visit my grandparents with him, on the train for a total of 9 hours, without my sisters or mum. Irregular periods-nah, I wasn’t going to get my period at the most inconvenient time like I usually did. (My first period happened when a nanny was here and my friend was coming over for a day of baking and other such activities where I couldn’t curl up and die with paracetamol and chocolate) Imagine my surprise when Aunt Flo decided to turn up for a torturous visit.
Having just discovered that my underwear was full of blood, I placed an awkward, crooked pad in my pants (which then proceeded to annoy me until I changed it) and dashed downstairs, forcing a smile on my face. I left the house with my father and we walked briskly to the station. I was smiling that smile a relative dying of a painful illness gives a young child, pretending that there’s no pain so as not to upset the child. I chatted at the pace Usain Bolt runs, all the while wishing somebody would kidnap me and knock me out so that I only woke up when the police arrested them in their van and the pain was gone and I was fine. I swear it would’ve been less traumatic than this.
We caught the train and I had to grin and bear it, texting my sister and my best friend texts about how I was DYING. Did I mention that there was no/terrible wifi and back then, I worshipped wifi, so I was grumpy.
We sprinted to catch the tube, my dad dragging me half of the way. I distinctly remember sliding round a corner, him pulling me along as I lost my balance. I got stuck in the tube doors, but they didn’t reopen, they kept closing so I had to wriggle through before they crushed me. I was already in a bad mood and now, I could have been renamed, “Angry Alice” because the hulk had nothing on me, half-crazed with pain and hormones and further angered by circumstance. I sat and grimaced, the closest I could to a smile.
I can’t quite remember what happened exactly, but we got on a train for about 2 hours and the train had wifi which didn’t work. Now, sure having no wifi drove me crazy, but promising me wifi and internet and youtube and then denying me that one simple THING?! That just pushed me over the edge. But still, I had to smile and laugh and act as if the world was a lovely place full of scented flowers, skipping lambs, chocolate and music. (Spoiler alert: It’s not)
We finally got off the train and went to the loo. I’d had a super absorbent pad on for slightly more than half the time you’re supposed to, and I had a heavy flow. It should have been fine. I’d bled right through the damn pad and stained my pants. It was a good thing I was wearing black trousers. I fumbled with the zip to my handbag which contained all of my pads and the stuck zip promptly broke. I stuffed some tissue in my pants, knowing full well that it would annoy me and would be like trying to absorb an ocean with a wad of tissue paper. I was right. I felt the urge to fidget and sort it out and my stomach hurt like hell. I was FURIOUS!!!!!!!!!
But I had to act like everything was fine and dandy and skip around the shops in the concourse, letting my dad drag me to look at the men’s sports magazines. We boarded the train from Birmingham to the place in Worcestershire where my grandparents lived and I slumped in a chair next to random strangers who would be shocked if I let rip the string of words I wanted to yell right now. I kept them in and smiled cordially at no one in particular, because if you make eye contact you are destined for a life of misery and destitution. It’s an unwritten rule.
We took a taxi with pale seats to their house and I sat nervously on the edge of my seat, praying that Niagara Falls wouldn’t gush onto the seat from me. We reached their house and I was forced to sit for 2 and a quarter hours, politely answering questions and slowly talking so they could hear when I really wanted to just take a knife out, stab myself and end the misery, yelling out words which would make Trump call me disrespectful.
I even had to walk with my dad to buy my granny flowers and I had to get up from a chair where my pain was bearable and force my pained body to happily move and chatter and smile and skip along to the shop, dither over what flowers/sugary treats to buy and then queue up and buy them with an angelic smile on my face. Now, I love my granny, I’d buy her flowers any day and my Grandad is welcome to as many sugary treats he can eat. But understand, any boys reading this, a period is worse than a kick in the balls. Can you imagine hating girls but feeling horny, having to stuff random objects up private places to stop you from bleeding dark, disgusting liquid everywhere, being in crippling pain for about a day and feeling like an emotional wreck? Probably not.
Eventually we went back to the train station in another taxi with me, once again, nervously perched in mid air with a seat belt keeping me up, my thighs fire. We got on the train back and the entire journey home, cramps invaded me. Honestly, I think a demon got inside of my stomach, took an knife and some fire and started wreaking havoc. Damn you demon.
I don’t remember too much from this point onwards, I just listened to music, but I remember finally getting into a comfortable position before my dad asked me to move my leg. It took all the self control I had to move it and place it, uncomfortably, in my footwell with a polite smile. I wanted to scream, to yell and swear and then attack everybody in the train carriage-to cry. To sob my heart out. I was (and still am) a hot mess.
So to every girl out their experiencing monthly torture, the rest of us are dying too, just hold on until you find someone to scream at, until the pain’s gone. And remember, although pregnancy holds off the pain for 9 months, you’re then left with a handful for at least 18 years. (It’s a last resort (I’m kidding, it’s your choice to get pregnant, not a last resort))