I have always had orgasms—many orgasms daily—and I have loved to orgasm since I can remember. Even with two younger sisters and three years in between each of us, I always managed to find a little private corner to have an orgasm, the corner of the bed or the pillow. We all slept in one bedroom. I can remember the configuration: three single beds and the piano, with windows that hinged open to the backyard garden and the clothes line. My grandmother had to make clothes for me and my two sisters, Lindy and Pia. There were three years between each of us. I was the oldest. We were called “the girls.” For each of us, she used the same cloth but a slightly different style. One time she made us red corduroy dresses with white collars in different shapes.
I knew at a young age, Don’t do“it” in front of mum.
Like most girls, I remember the day I started my period. Sports day happened every Friday afternoon at Bellevue Hill Primary School. We all wore white shorts and a white shirt. Everyone would go tumbling down the steep stairs and down the massive hill that lead to the bottom of Cooper Park across the road from our school. The tennis courts were way down at the bottom of the valley. It was quite a trek back up the giant staircase—at least fifteen minutes of huffing and puffing.
For some unknown reason, blessed by Spirit, I wore black shorts one afternoon. At Sports, I noticed I was bleeding. The deep red blood was all over my underpants, deep red blood. “What is that?” I wondered.
The next morning, Saturday morning at home, I noticed I was still bleeding between my legs. “Mum, I am bleeding,” I said. “And I don’t know what it is.”
“Where?” she asked me.
When I told her, she disappeared and came back with two mystery items in her hands—a bag of pads, also known as sanitary napkins, and a thin elastic belt with two bits of plastic hanging off. She thrust the things into my hands and said, “Here, you know what to do with them.”
Then she fled out of the room to the phone.
I heard her calling Sherie Glick, her longtime advisor, to tell her the “terrible” news. I had started my “period.”
As an 11-year-old, I had no idea what to do with those items. NONE. I figured out how to put the belt on and then slipped the ends of the long flappy bits at either end of the pad through the plastic things. I didn’t know anything—if I wore the pad for a little while or the rest of the day. That night happened to be one of the few social occasions—a Girl Guides and Boy Scouts get together—that I was allowed out to attend. I thought, “Do I wear the pad tonight? Do I wear it to bed and sleep with it? Help!”
With this big pad thing between my legs, it was the worst social evening ever. I was still bleeding. It hadn’t stopped. I didn’t know when, if ever, the bleeding would stop. Hoping it would stop by the next morning, I felt completely lost and utterly bewildered. I knew Mum had told me everything she wanted to say about it, and then there was that disturbing and confusing report she gave to Sherie Glick.
Back at school on Monday, a couple of my girlfriends told me just a little bit more practical information: Yes, you wear the pad all the time and change it when you need to. Yes, it will stop. This is going to happen every month now forever. Starting my period was a major all-round unpleasant and shocking experience. I also knew my Mum was quite upset by this event. It would be quite a few years more before I understood why. Now I could get pregnant.
At the time, I did not know what sex was. Mum and I had been to a Mother and Daughter evening one night at school where they showed diagrams of pregnant horses—or rather a cross section view of a little horse inside a big horse. The event and the images were all quite disconnected and certainly made no sense to me. They also offered no discussion or giving of the real facts about sex.