Meno-Pause Until Recess

| Learning | February 1, 2017

(Around year 10/9th grade, I develop a lot of confidence quite dramatically and stop being embarrassed about a lot of things. It sometimes leads to clashes with people who think I should be more embarrassed or apologetic for things I can’t change, such as not understanding a question or, in this case, uncontrollable biological functions.)

Me: *realises during class I’ve just started my period, days early, and therefore have not taken necessary precautions* “Miss, could I go to the toilet, please?”

Teacher: “No, you can wait. There is only 20 minutes left until break.”

Me: “No, seriously, miss, I really need to go to the toilet. I’ll be less than five minutes, I promise.”

Teacher: *sighs and looks at me down her nose* “[My Name], are you a small child who can’t hold their bladder for 20 minutes?”

Me: *getting slightly desperate at this point because, hey, bleeding through your clothing is uncomfortable and kind of gross* “No, miss, I’m a 15 year old with a uterus who needs to go put a pad in because I just started my period!”

Teacher: *looks disgusted* “Go to the pastoral office, NOW!”

Me: *shrugs, goes to the bathroom then to the pastoral office*

(I explain what happened and the pastoral officer is baffled as to why I’ve been sent there. 15 minutes later my teacher arrives looking smug.)

Teacher: “I take it you’ve received your detention, then?”

Me: “No? I’m not entirely sure why I was sent here and nor is [Pastoral Officer].”

Teacher: *looks shocked and goes into the pastoral officer’s office, closing the door behind her*

(Luckily for me the office walls are made of plywood so I get a front-row seat as my teacher is torn to shreds for trying to have me punished for mentioning the word “period”, which she deemed inappropriate for a classroom. She comes out and barely looks at me as she passes.)

Pastoral Officer: *passes me a chocolate bar surreptitiously* “I know we’re supposed to support that healthy eating crap so don’t let [Head Teacher] know I gave you this. You can go to your next class now. You’ll be a few minutes late but tell your next teacher you were with me, and get a hot water bottle from the nurse if you need to, okay?”

Me: “Yes, miss!”

(In an all-girls school of over 1000 students, it baffles me as to how mentioning a period could be seen by anyone as a punishable offence. It makes me wonder what that teacher does every month, close her eyes and pretend it’s not happening?)

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