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.