My First Period & What I Would Tell My 13yr Old Self Now

by Katie Diasti

I was 13 years old and it was mid August. 8th grade was only a week away, and I was going to be the new kid at school. Tomorrow we had a welcome back to school pool party and I was so graciously invited even though I was the new kid. As I mentally prepared myself to meet tons of new classmates the next day, I had an extremely uninvited visitor for the first time... I got my PERIOD. Of course. 3 things that are absolutely mortifying when you’re 13: being the new kid, a pool party as an awkward 13-year-old figuring out her ever-changing body, and getting your period for the first time. Lucky me got to have ALL IN ONE.

The universe was humbling me and teaching me lessons that would…make me a better person? The reasoning was unclear.

What I did when I first got my period... I don't recommend. I cried. For 2 hours straight. Threw myself a massive pity party. I could NOT believe I was about to have this thing EVERY MONTH (I thought) for the rest of my life (I thought). That was reason enough for me to have a complete meltdown. Fast forward 13 years; I created an entire brand around making periods more approachable for young menstruators. Pretty full circle, eh? 13 year old Katie would be shocked by that one.

As a brown girl growing up in Florida, life was uhhh complicated sometimes, to say the least. I grew up in an Egyptian Muslim household where I was told I couldn’t use tampons. That’s because they “take your virginity” (massive myth and a harmful thing to say to young people if not already abundantly clear). I got a box of pads, and that’s all I could dabble with for the foreseeable future when it came to period care. Pads were not always the most convenient product as someone who played tennis competitively 3 hrs a day in the hot Florida sun, or frequented pool parties, but I made it work.

After a few sporadic periods a few months apart after my first period (which is common - but realized it was most likely my PCOS that wouldn’t be diagnosed till 11 years later), I got the hang of it! I had my routine down. If you’re reading this because you just got your first period or you’re doing your research to prepare (good for you!), then as someone who has now been menstruating for 13 years, I can confidently say a period is a really powerful thing. It is a window into our overall health and wellbeing. It tells us things other parts of our body can't. Not just the part where you actually bleed - but unlock the power of understanding your cycle. Understand that you have 4 phases and your power as a menstruator shifts with each phase. How cool is that?!

In your Follicular phase you’re outgoing and bold and great at public speaking - sign up to be part of that debate or do the talent show! In your luteal phase you come inward and may be more reflective and organized, preparing for the menstrual phase when your period comes. The earlier you lean into working with your body’s super powers, rather than trying to work against them, you can unlock a higher potential in yourself.

So, congratulations! You are now the proud owner of 4 PHASES OF A CYCLE. 4 different super powers every single month. That is how I would view getting my period if I knew then what I know now.

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