Girl Talk: Anyone Else Feel Too Old To Still Have Embarrassing Period Leaks?
So there I was, walking around the Parthenon with my sister. It was my first time in Greece, and with my bad luck, it was also my period’s first time in Greece too. My first day in Athens, my period was flowing heavier than expected. I was trying to make everything work with a tampon and a medium-sized pad as I moved about the ancient Greek structure; climbing stairs, sitting and standing for pictures, hiding out from sudden downpours of rain. We walked around Acropolis for HOURS (half of a day in fact) to witness everything that I thought I would only see in history books.
My sister and I eventually stopped to grab some nourishment, and we chose gelatos at a cafe not too far from Acropolis. As we sat and chatted, downing the delicious ice cream on an exceptionally warm day, I felt something. You know the feeling: It’s the sensation you get when you’re not sure if your butt is sweating from wearing a pad on said warm day, or if you’re leaking.
Well, I was leaking. And badly.
As it turned out, I was sitting on a cloth chair in the quaint, open cafe, and both forms of feminine products I was wearing had failed me. I had leaked through my clothes and all the way down into the chair. As I got up to survey the damage, I was mortified.
I ran into the bathroom and changed, scrubbing at my pants and eventually, walking back and forth from the bathroom to my seat, secretly trying to scrub at the chair with bathroom soap. After 20 minutes of failing to get the red out of the light orange upholstery, the owner, who was on the phone, walked up to me and shook her hand and head as if to say, “Just leave it.” Knowing that I couldn’t hide my bloody blunder, I apologized profusely and left the cafe, back of my pants wet and my pride bruised. When I finally got back to the hotel and scrubbed myself clean, I told my sister how embarrassed I was.
“I’m just too old for this. I’m too old to be having accidents in public, especially when I’m in a foreign country. My period ruins everything.”
And I have that same thought, “I’m too old for this,” when I have a leak in bed, or worse yet, my fiancé’s bed (thankfully, I cleaned that up and left no trace of evidence). And I have that same thought when I have to dispose of some underwear that didn’t make it through a rough first day of my cycle (Seriously, they need to let women have that day off in workplaces…).
As I near 30, and the pads I buy get bigger and bigger, damn near diaper size, I wonder if I’m the only person who has leaks a lot. I also wonder if I’m the only person who wonders if I’ll ever outgrow such struggles, considering it was a concern of my mother’s until she finally entered into menopause.
I remember one time when I was a kid, my family and I went to this restaurant in our neighborhood called Old Country Buffet. We waited in line to sit and eat, and out of nowhere, my mother got quiet. She crossed her arms and stood against a window with a concerned look on her face, tapping her foot. After a few minutes, she asked my dad to drop her off at home.
“My period just started. I need to go.”
That was all she said. She ditched mounds of potatoes, pasta, fried foods, and delicious dessert platters over a struggle I really couldn’t understand at the time.
When the rest of us returned home after eating out, my mom told me that whenever her period visited earlier than expected, she always opted to run home and stay in the house.
“The last thing I want is a mess when I’m out,” said my mom. “It’s too heavy the first few days, and I’m too old to be out here having accidents in public.”
I would soon understand that struggle after all.
Once I exited my teen years and left college, such accidents continued to be the bane of my existence. I often feel that I need to move past such follies, and I try to fully cover myself. And yet, wild nights of tossing and turning in my sleep often turn into a morning of “Oh, no!” And an hour of exercise leaves me trying to feel myself out on the low in the gym to ensure my sweat spot is just that.
So it’s time for some girl talk. Am I the only person who likes to think they’re adequately covered only to find themselves constantly dealing with leaks? Am I the only person who finds themselves wondering how things could have gone so wrong during a night’s rest? And am I the only one who ends up thinking, “I’m too old to still be having accidents”?