“Dear Resident, we have your package at the East Building's Front Desk. Please bring your student ID and package number to get your package.” I was excited, just like any other time, that one of the numerous things I had ordered had arrived. I wasn’t sure what it was but getting a package is akin to getting a present—regardless of if you're the person who purchased it—so I was happy with whatever decided to arrive first.
When I reached the front desk, showed my ID, I received a blank parcel with a considerable weight. Now, I am an exceptionally impatient person (and I make no apologies), so as I swiped my key fob, I proceeded to rip the package open. And out spilled … pads.
I had ordered the Blume subscription, a subscription that supplies organic pads, chocolate, essential oils and an acne serum. In other words, it is the perfect combination for a girl on her period. As soon as my organic pads fell on the floor, the gazes of every individual at once looked down at the spilled pads, contorted into an expression of disgust, and quickly looked away. No one was willing to help pick them up, which I found a little annoying; everyone saw them fall out of a freshly ripped parcel, so it isn't like they were covered in blood. It was the embarrassment I felt at that moment that made me realize that society has conditioned girls to hide their periods like it is shameful, a marker that needs to be invisible at all times, hushed and discreet.
And that is problematic. We treat periods like it is something to be ashamed of, something we need to shield men away from. And it is this shielding that causes people to be disgusted when they see new pads on the floor because it is unfamiliar and taboo. It is this shielding that caused my male friends to be supremely uncomfortable when I mentioned I was on my period and had cramps. It is this shielding that spreads an unnecessary, and frankly, mindless fear of periods. It is this shielding that is the reason for the unanimous and silent agreement amongst women that men know nothing about periods. Girls get periods every month. It’s a natural human process. Get over it.
It is, perhaps, partly our fault. By being so conditioned to see it as a silent and taboo incident, women have found themselves comfortable never mentioning or speaking about it. We have contributed to the cycle of hushed conversations and averted eyes. But we are certainly not to blame. And we can combat this universal discomfort.
Ever since that incident, I’ve endeavored not to shy away from speaking about my period. If I’m feeling down, and it’s because I am on my period, and you ask, I will let you know. If I need to go shopping for pads, and you ask, I will let you know what I’m shopping for. I haven't yet reached the level of comfort I aspire to reach, where I may carry a pad from my bag to the backpack without being discreet, but I am optimistic. Because girls get periods, and we need to get over it.