SCENE: INTERIOR, DAY. GIRL sits in CHAIR, furiously typing like a badass on her LAPTOP COMPUTER. GIRL feels strange, mounting discomfort with the aura of the universe, without knowing why. GIRL suddenly stares down at PANTS and has a terrible, awful, cataclysmic inkling that is confirmed when she stands and sees the visible BLOOD STAIN ON THE BACK OF HER BUTT. GIRL runs for BATHROOM, texting TRUSTED FRIEND and mourning the death of her FAVORITE JEANS along the way. END SCENE.
Let me guess: when you read this harrowing tale, you were picturing the heroine as an acne-prone, rosy-cheeked, unsuspecting 15-year-old girl. PLOT TWIST. It was actually me, a grown ass 24-year-old adult woman — and the bajillion other girls like me, whose periods are too nefarious for our adult lives to be contained. And while I hold fast to the belief that nobody should ever be ashamed of their periods, there is an acute and terrible discomfort in SURPRISE! periods, especially when you are ... in any situation ever, really. There is never a good time. Uteruses may be like vampires in their thirst for blood, but unlike vampires, they do not wait to get invited in.
Honestly, as if periods aren't inconvenient enough, the chaos of having an unpredictable one is just plain ridonk. Mine is so free range at this point that I wouldn't be surprised if it started in the middle of me writing this post just to spite me. (Wait. Hold on. Let me go check.) If you also have an unpredictable period, you'll understand all these struggles like no other:
You Have "Boy Who Cried Menstrual Flow" Moments On The Reg
IT'S HAPPENING IT'S HAPPENING NASA DO YOU COPY IT'S ... Just kidding. The almighty phantom period menace strikes again.
People Are Always Asking You Why You Don't Just Go On Birth Control
Everyone has their own reasons for not doing it — they had a bad experience, or a friend did, or it's just plain too much money and work to maintain. (Seriously, getting birth control beyond college is like jumping through hoops, except the hoops are on fire and don't accept your insurance.) Still, for a lot of us, birth control isn't a magic fix-all.
You Are In A Constant State Of Doing Laundry
Laundry that looks like it was taken right off the set of the Carrie remake, that is.
Period Panties Are About As Effective As Hitting Your Uterus With A Fly Swatter
My period is like the little engine that could. They see your challenge, period panties, and they raise you several volcanic, leaking gushes to prove you wrong.
You Have To Sleep On A Towel
R.I.P., monogrammed Rapunzel towel that I purchased for myself in college (I'M A PRINCESS).
Your Underwear Budget Is Through The Roof
The average lifespan of your granny panties is however much time is between you purchasing them and your next period.
You Feel Like A Teenager Every Time You Leak
Only this time your mom isn't here to tell you to go ahead and skip swim practice and bake cookies with her. Now you have to keep on adult-ing like an adult as you stew in your hot mess.
Your Emergency Sanitary Napkins Inevitably Fall Out Of Your Purse On The Subway
If there is one thing I've learned about emergency menstrual products, it's that they love themselves an audience.
The Only Time You Can Predict Your Cycle Is When You're On Vacation
At which point it will start the moment the "fasten seatbelt" sign lights up in the plane.
… Or Right Before Some Big, Stress-Inducing Thing
Finals Week and Shark Week were always one in the same.
People Frequently Assume You're Sloppy Or Have "Bad Hygiene"
I talk candidly about leaking at work, and people's first assumption is usually that I am careless or don't know how to handle myself — when in fact, as a human with an unpredictable period, I wear one of those thin sanitary napkins literally every day, and when the period is actually happening, I seal my vaginal area off like a god damn fortress and sit on a sweater for good measure. It's not a "Woops, silly me!" situation. It's an "ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO" situation, and even that doesn't help.
You Second Guess Yourself During All Puppy Commercials
Am I crying because of a cross species animal baby friendship, or because my uterine lining is getting ready to march out of the gates of hell two weeks ahead of schedule?
You Sometimes Genuinely Worry If It Will Affect Your Fertility
How will I ever be able to conceive Andrew Garfield Jr. when my uterus is too busy twerking to ovulate? (We actually wrote up a very handy article about pregnancy and irregular periods, if you are also concerned about Spider-Man's ability to impregnate you.)
Everybody Is Always Trying to Story Top Your Period Horror Stories
NOPE. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200, YOU ARE WRONG AND I WILL ALWAYS WIN.