Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Leaving churches and periods

9 Comments

As I was working on filling out the Q&A project by Libby Anne, I started thinking about the different churches we were visiting as a family. There was always some reason why we would leave a community rather quickly. And then, I remembered one incident when I was 10, which caused us yet again to leave another community.

We had been members of that community for a few months at that point. We weren’t crazily involved with them (yet) because it was a bit of a drive to get to church and we couldn’t be there for everything. Nevertheless we went there almost every sunday for sermons and community gatherings.

This church wasn’t all about QF families, but there were some. Others were fundamentalist, but not QF like we were. Others again were people my Dad called “luke warm christians”, so basically, they were average, worldly christians.

That one sunday after sermon and community lunch, I was playing outside with the other kids. The church had a small but nice play ground. My parents were inside – my Dad talking to the elders, my Mom helping with cleaning up and talking to the women. Some older girls were babysitting us, but they just sat around, a bit further away, talking about their own stuff. They were 16-18 so they didn’t really want to play with us smaller ones. I was playing with some of the QF girls, singing songs and such. One of the girls I played with was 13 or 14, I don’t remember. Anyways, there was another group of girls, the luke warm girls, who were giggling and talking about how boring church was. That older girl I played with got upset and decided to lecture them – not a good idea. She stood in front of them like a grown up and told them not to speak that way of Jesus and the church. The girls didn’t take her serious at all and started laughing. One of them exclaimed: “I think she’s on her period!” and the other girls started laughing and agreed. “Yeah, totally!” “Aaaah that’s why she’s so moody!”. The older girl was very embarrassed, turned and walked away to sit in the sand further away.

Here’s where the joke comes in: I had no idea what they were talking about. Why was that so funny? What was “period”? How did you get “on” it? And how did you get off? (Please note, if they said “unclean”, I would have had a tiny idea but no knowledge either)

So of course I asked rather loudly “What’s a period?!?!”

At first, the girls looked shocked and humoured. And then, they started laughing hysterically.

“WHAT?! You… don’t know? You don’t know what a period is?!”

I figured that this thing they were talking about was something so essential to my existence that not knowing what it was made me look like a 3-year-old. I blushed, I think, I know my head turned so hot I was afraid my brain would melt.

“Of course I know!!!” I yelled. The girl they picked on earlier yelled at them to leave me alone, she’d tell on them. That scared them a bit, but not enough to drop the subject. They started talking to each other, loud enough for me to hear – of course that was on purpose:

“What’s Lisa going to do once she gets her period???” – “I bet she’ll cry and be like ‘Mommy, mommy look!” – “Yeah, or she’ll get a vacuum cleaner and suck it all out!” – “Oh yeah, ‘vacuum cleaner Lisa’!”

They actually said that part about the vacuum cleaner and today, I can only laugh. It is kind of creative to think that way, I guess. Any way, I was humiliated and close to tears, still standing in the middle between the group of girls and the bigger girl still sitting in the sand, just as humiliated.

“Come here, Lisa, it’s all just fun, I’ll explain” one of the laughing girls said. So I went over and the girls exchanged knowing looks. “Your period is when blood comes out, down there, you know”. They giggled, but I was HORRIFIED. “Down there?!? Blood?!?!” I asked and thought about it. “You mean, out of my butt?” They laughed again. “Noooooo Lisa, not your butt. Where your pee comes out!” Of course, I thought. And I was still horrified. Why would such a thing happen? Did it mean I was sick? I went back to the older girl and told her I was sorry she was on her period. The girl stood up and left, I had no clue why. I didn’t want to stay outside with the mean girls and I was too shocked anyway, so I decided to find my mother.

Later that night, I went to ask my mother about it. “Mom, am I going to get my period?” “Yes, eventually” she answered, clearly embarrassed. “Why? Is it that I’m sick then?” I wanted to know. “You’re only 10 sweety,” she answered, “you don’t need to know until the day comes. Why do you ask anyway?” I told her the story about the girls and my mom was shocked. “These are bad, bad girls and you shouldn’t talk to them any more.”

I bet you already figured that these girls weren’t as educated on the matter as they thought they were. Well, my mother talked to my Dad about it, who was equally shocked that these girls were so oversexualised. He decided that contact with them was unhealthy for us, and we never attended that church again. It’s funny to think how such stupid girl’s fights could stir up so much suspicion in adults. And considering the fact that ever since that I was even more scared of growing up, it shows that it’s not the best idea to keep this stuff a secret. I think my Mom would’ve saved me many worries if she’d come clear that night when I asked her about it.

9 thoughts on “Leaving churches and periods

  1. It’s not just your mom. I think a lot of parents have that problem. It’s more of a denial that their children are growing up than anything else. And the mistaken belief that if they don’t know anything, they won’t “do” anything or get into trouble. Not true, in my opinion. And that goes for boys as well as girls.

    • Wow, you are so right about that! My own mother was terribly uncomfortable telling me anything about sexual maturity, as if I would NEVER be old enough to know these things. I had to learn what was mostly MIS-information about it from my peers, but then there was this guilt surrounding all of it because it MUST be bad if my mom can’t talk about it.

      By the way, I always love your insightful comments. I have a feeling that if we ever met in the real world, you and I would totally be friends (and I, too, have 4 boys and possibly boy #5 on the way!).

      • Congratulations on Baby Number 5 (regardless of whether this is boy #5 or girl #1). I know how much criticism you can get on the size of your family.

        After reading your comments on freedom and liberty on the post about gay marriage, I think we probably would be friends.

  2. I, too, know what it is like to grow up with a parent who constantly finds fault with a church and the people there. It is something I took into adulthood with me and have had to consciously overcome in order to avoid becoming cynical and critical and missing all of the love and friendship that our church has to offer. I don’t want to live that way or set that example for my kids.

    As AWFUL as it must have been for you at the time, your period story made me laugh so hard. It reminds me of how my older boys (when they were a good deal younger) found out what French kissing was… from a pastor’s kids who are all homeschooled! My kids didn’t have any questions for me about it but instead firmly asserted, “Mom, you and Dad don’t do THAT! It’s GROSS!” Ha, ha! I told my husband that’s what we get for not making out in front of the kids on a regular basis. I have had a lot of laughs over it with the mom of the other kids.

    And then a few years later, my boys, who by then considered themselves QUITE knowledeable, took it upon themselves to inform my friend’s daughters. These girls have been intentionally protected from any mature information, even though the oldest is a young teen. Their mom was a little horrified with my boys. Ha, ha, at least they only TOLD her girls what French kissing was and didn’t try to SHOW them! Seriously, with kids, you never know and just have to take it all with a laugh and a shrug🙂. Luckily, the mom and I are still friends, so I guess it wasn’t nearly as big a deal to her as the “period scandal” was in your famliy.

    • Oh yeah it was awfully humiliating back then, not so much because of the information but because I felt like I SHOULD know and didn’t. But as I said, I’m not angry at the girls are anything, considering that they were quite misinformed themselves, it’s just what kids do when they feel like they know a “secret” others don’t. I told my best friend about that and we laughed really hard about the vaccum cleaner part, she told me that she was pretty misinformed for some time too and it could’ve happened to her as well. It’s not a thing that only happens in P/QF families🙂

      Yes, French kissing, can you tell me one single person who didn’T think it was disgusting as a kid?! I sure did. “Ewwww, with tongues and SPIT?!?!” I saw a couple french kissing once when I was a kid and it was disgusting! I swear I gagged! lol! I think it’s one of the things that you can only like if you like the person you’re doing it with. Today I still feel a bit grossed out when I see people french kissing too much. Like when they’re licking each other’s faces like dogs and almost eat each other.. bahaha, not for my eyes!

  3. Some of our parents were raised in the the 1920’s and 30’s and learned every thing they knew about sex from going to the library and looking things up. Their parents were born in an era where it just wasn’t talked about and so felt uncomfortable talking to their children and probably knew very little themselves. I just plain felt uncomfortable talking to my daughters about sex not because it was a taboo subject or anything wrong with it but just because I didn’t know how to approach it. Fortunately the school had sex ed so I just used what they learned in school to approach the subject. My hope for them is that they will approach the subject with their own kids with alot more comfort than I did with them.

  4. I started my period at 9 years old, so the idea that your parents that 10 years old to be too young to know about it is very odd. My mom saw the signs for the previous year, so I was prepared and it was no big deal. The embarrassed behavior around periods from parents is so strange to me.

  5. Getting your period is “sexual”? Ha ha ha ha😛

    • My girls are 2 and 4 and they already know what a tampon is and that it’s for when you’re on your period. Ten years old is way too old for a girl to just find out (espescially from other kids and notyour mom) about it. “When the time comes”? I can’t imagine finding out when all the sudden there’s a bunch of blood… I think I’d be scared I was hemoraging to death!

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