This is a guest post by Sara Mahmood, a fourth year dental student and one of my greatest friends who is obviously multi-faceted and now I need to go find more hobbies. Read time 7 minutes
"Mom can you sign this?"
"What is it?"
"I don't know," I mumbled.
"Give it to me. Let me see it."
I handed her the slip and buried my burning face in my palms. Please, God, let this moment end.
"No, I'm not signing this. You aren't allowed to watch this movie. I'll teach you what you need to know about your periodS."
Fun fact: she never did.
I was the only person in my fifth grade class that had to sit outside of the room while my peers learned sexual education from some cheesy film. I was mostly embarrassed but also frightened. What the FRICK, mom?! I need to know this stuff! Word on the playground is that I'm gonna start peeing blood soon. A heads up on what to expect would be great. What if I get pregnant, however that happens?
So I sat the movie out but as soon as I had the opportunity, I found the boldest black friend I had, cornered her in music class and the asked her to fill me in.
"Gurrrrl, it was dumb."
"But, um, how do I know when I'll start peeing... Ya know .. Blood?
"When does blood come out of my body? How do you put a pad on?"
"EW. No. Trust me, when you get it, you'll know. I got mine a few weeks ago."
"I got it a few weeks ago! When you get it, you'll know."
I didn't know. I kept waiting and waiting thinking something monumental was going to happen but when I got it, I was clueless for like 26 hours.
Thanks for the solid advice, Krystal'iá, but you were wrong. You kept me on my toes for months thinking menstruation would be some ethereal experience that just fell into place and made sense but it wasn't. I was perpetually confused for my first few months of womanhood.
I'm sharing this horrific story because the only other time people play the When It Comes, You'll Know card is with love.
My sister found the absolute love of her life. Until a year and a half ago, she had everyone in our family convinced she was going to die alone. The yin to her yang. The peanut butter to her jelly. The Judge to her Judy. It's all been really beautiful to witness and be a part of, truly.
It's also been f&cking annoying.
The resonating theme ever since my sister found her Knight in Shining Armor has been "don't settle". Let someone love you for you, Sara! Don't change! Don't compromise! He's out there!
When it happens, you'll know, they said.
Really all this has done for me over the past few months is warp me back in time to the perpetual stage of confusion and anticipation I had pre-menstruation.
Wait, is he the one? No I didn't feel it immediately like my sister so he probably isn't. But wait maybe he is! No but he's probably not because he's 5'10 and I want someone 6 feet tall and my sister told me no compromises! Do I really care about height? He's the one! Wait, too late, I told him I like cats. I hate cats. I changed myself for him, oops. NEXT.
This pressure of knowing when you know? It's dumb and it psyches me out constantly. The term "love" has quickly joined the ranks of words like "perfect" and "heaven" and "six-pack"- the common thread is that they're all seemingly unattainable for me.
If I don't feel electricity jolt through my body as soon as I meet my soulmate...does that mean he's not my soulmate? I can't take this pressure anymore.
It doesn't escape me for a minute that I've never actually felt true love before. I thought I had. Even that was something that required work, constantly, taking months to actually acknowledge. And god dammit, it was beautiful! It doesn't really bother me to know that I may have to put some energy into loving someone in the future.
What I'm trying to say is hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy to say that the person you're spending the rest of your life with was made from the same clay as you, that your missing piece is out there and when you meet him, you'll know. But maybe this illusion of a fairytale is actually a culmination of moments that make you pragmatically decide to commit your everything to someone. Maybe you actually know because you commit to the idea of knowing based on rational ideas. Maybe 'love' isn't like being struck by lighting, maybe it's something that takes some time.
I'm ok with that.
I hope that in a few months I can post an update to this post and tell you b!tches I was wrong and when it happens, you really do know! In the mean time, I'll continue to overanalyze every interaction I have with every (mostly single) man I meet. Males, you have been warned.
- Sara Mahmood
Comments from Tareen:
- Really impressive, I could barely remember the five ways to spell Brittany in fifth grade but there you are spelling Kristalia's name properly like you owe her something.
- So like, the blood and not knowing you started your period: how many pairs of underwear did you go through before deciding that maybe you're not dying?
- [Semi Graphic] My mother didn't believe me when I told her I started my period and I had to show her my stained underwear. Your mom probably found you lying in a pool of broken dreams.
- This period//love parallel is kind of the best thing.