Sometimes you meet someone, and you get to experience pure bliss with them. I know that it happens at any age, but the younger we are, the more intensified that feeling tends to be. In part, it's the hormones. It’s also that sense of wonder that comes only with brand new experiences. I’m talking about the kind of bliss that comes when you fall into that exhilarating rabbit hole that some describe as lust, love, or, afterward, one big mistake. No matter how long that bliss may last, while it's there, you get to enjoy that amazing, magnetic, and extremely physical attraction. I was in my second year of college when I got to experience some of that full-on bliss for the first time.
I was barely 19 when Adam and I met through mutual friends at a late-night study session in an IHOP. What’s more romantic than binge drinking shitty coffee and not actually studying all while shooting sly looks at a handsome guy that you just met?
The intensity was mutual. We did the dance for a few weeks, and I’m talking the whole gambit. We would constantly text back and forth; we’d skip out on class and call in sick to work to hang out together. I’d make us lunch, he’d make dinner, and in between, we’d sit outside smoking way too many cigarettes while we took turns trying to shamelessly woo each other.
One night, we got some spray paint so we could tag some buildings. One thing led to another, which led to us drinking a bunch of whiskey, which led to breaking into a church for the hell of it — you know, romantic shit — the kind of stupid, fun and illegal adventures that cheesy, romantic comedies are made of.
To top the rush-filled evening off, we finally did it. The whole night, from beginning to end was filled with nearly every kind of exhilaration I can think of. Back at his apartment, we did it each and every way we knew how and then some. That was my first first-time that wasn't awkward or unsatisfying. It was all fun and comfortable. Being the self-conscious lady that I was, and still am to an extent, that was a huge deal. I’ll always remember the sense of relief that came from really being able to let go and enjoy the sex.
Here’s the other thing I’ll always remember about that night: my period came about a week early.
See, back in those days, my cycle was fairly regular — dependable even. I hadn’t experienced an unexpected, leak-through-your-clothes situation since my first period at the tender age of 12. My cycle was the last thing on my mind. What had been on my mind all day was wondering if tonight would be the night. My uterus had big plans, though, and seeing that his sheets and blankets where pure white, it decided now would be a good time to get the party started early.
When I woke up, I was tired, and with only a little light seeping in through the curtains, I could barely see anything. Quietly, I pulled off the covers. With the room being dark, and me in a hurry to go take a piss, I didn’t notice right away. I tried to sneak into his bathroom to freshen up for a morning redo. I sat down on the surprisingly clean toilet, admiring his overall cleanliness. He was much tidier than most guys I knew at the time; hell, he was much tidier than I am. That’s when I looked down at the blood soaked panties that I had so meticulously picked out the day before. Suddenly they weren’t so sexy anymore.
A sense of impending doom sunk in pretty much immediately. I tried to sneak back into his bedroom. My plan was straightforward: go to his bed, see how bad the mess was, and somehow take care of it before he woke up. I opened the door, and there he sat, very much awake. He had no shirt on, and despite the twisted and shocked look he wore on his face, he still looked hot. But there was blood all over his white bed spread. It was everywhere. My flow hadn’t held back even a little. There was even dried blood caked onto his thighs.
I was so goddamn mortified. Even with embarrassment sweeping over my every fiber, my mind scrambled to think of how to fix the situation. I attempted to play it off like I didn’t care, but I stumbled through that quite ungracefully. It was obvious that I was embarrassed, and the truth is I’m not, nor have I ever been, a graceful person.
Adam got out of bed and kept insisting that it was okay, but he would grit his teeth through every sentence. He could barely look at me. I told him that I would clean everything, but he refused. Then he finally told me I should probably go.
From the moment that I opened the door to the moment he asked me to leave, probably only five minutes passed by. We barely talked that week. Even when he told me it was over, he could still barely look at me.
The biggest stinger about the whole thing was that things took a turn that awful, bloody morning, and to me it was obvious that it ended because of my period. Of course that’s not what he said, but some things don’t always need to be said. I won’t deny that our relationship could have ended when it did no matter what, and I won’t deny that I could have handled the situation better. Either way, I’m certain that the fate of our escapade was in the hands of my uterus that morning.
When I think back on that situation, I find it tragically funny. I am glad we stopped seeing each other; I’m also glad we had our moment of bliss. It was something that I learned a great deal from. It’s been over six years since then. I’ve grown. I’ve become far more comfortable in my own skin, and far more comfortable talking about things like periods and my body. One of my favorite parts about getting older is that I’ve whittled away at my filter. You know that thing that holds you back from saying what you think or how you feel? Filters try to egg at you, making you wonder if what you are about to say or do is socially acceptable, or worse it makes you wonder if people will like or accept what you say or do. Filters can make you ashamed of yourself, of your body, of your very essence. If I still had the filter that I had back then, I wouldn’t be able to share this story with you, I wouldn’t have learned to accept myself, and my life wouldn’t be nearly as great as it has been.
I can’t say that I wouldn’t be a little embarrassed if that happened to me again. I can still be pretty self conscious at times. What I can say is that I know it’s not a big deal, and if it did happen again I’d shrug it off pretty quickly. I also wouldn’t ever want to be with someone who thought a period leak was so disgusting. Hell, I wouldn’t want to be in any sort of partnership or relationship where I felt uncomfortable talking about anything, let alone talking about the way my body functions. Periods suck. Mine are a pain, and a lot of times I wish I didn’t get them. My cycle is far from being regular, and I know a lot of women can relate. It’s something that you just can’t always predict. No, I don’t enjoy getting my period, but it is a part of my life. It is a part of what makes my body function the way it does, and I have learned to embrace it instead feeling some sort of shame or stigma for it. At 19 I bled all over the sheets the morning after and I had never been so mortified. At 25, I think back on that day and laugh.