I was fourteen. Bras, shaving, and periods were quickly becoming part of my life and, from what others told me, were considered awesome steps on the road towards womanhood. In reality, bras were uncomfortable, periods were messy, and my legs constantly looked like someone attacked me with a weed wacker.
But yeah, being a woman is awesome.
As far as periods go, I was quickly becoming a champ at using pads. However, when I realized I was scheduled to start my period while on my first mission trip to Mexico (where I wouldn’t have access to indoor plumbing) I decided it was a good time to start using tampons.
We were only in Mexico a few days and things were going great, but then Aunt Flo paid me a visit and I began my crash course in Tampon 101.
It was dark outside and my friend Tina and I were rushing back to our tent before curfew. I quickly stopped by the port-o-crap to change out my tampon so I didn’t have to worry about it in the middle of the night. While back in the tent, I realized I couldn’t remember if I had removed the old tampon before putting in the new one. Tina said, “Just reach down and see if you can feel two strings.” I reached in my pants and started freaking out. Two strings! I now had to trek back to the outdoor bathroom...in Mexico...in the dark...to try to prevent my untimely death by Toxic Shock Syndrome (or some other rare condition one gets when you have multiple tampons stuck inside you at the same time).
I begged Tina to accompany me to the bathroom and she refused (stupid Tina), so I grabbed my flashlight, tucked my strings back in my underwear, and headed out to the toilet. By myself. In the dark. In Mexico.
Anxious to get the situation taken care of as quickly as possible, I rushed into the bathroom, turned around, shut the door, pulled my pants down, and propped my leg up on the seat to get a good grip on the strings. And, just as I had a hold of them…
The door swung open and I was blinded by a dozen flashlights being shined on my special bits! Apparently a group of fellow-missionaries also needed the bathroom at that exact moment and I had forgotten to lock the door. I screamed, slammed the door, and quickly removed the tampons, vowing to only use my regular heavy-duty-overnights-with-wings from now on.
Somewhere Jesus was laughing hysterically.
By the time I gathered enough courage to open the door, everyone was gone (thank God). I scrambled back to the tent to find Tina sleeping peacefully, unaware of the hell that would have been prevented if she would have just come with me. I replayed the horrific event in my head repeatedly until my sobs eventually brought the sweet relief of sleep.
It has now been fourteen years since the horrific event, and I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things since then.
First: Remove the old tampon before inserting the new one.
Second: Always lock the door. Always.
And Third: Tina is a bitch.