Earlier in the summer, one day at the beach, I told my best friend that I knew I would get my period during my annual 2 week visit to see my Dad in Perth (I lived in NSW). I just knew like I had never known anything so deeply and with such unwavering force before. She argued that she would get hers first as she was older. This conversation took place while waist deep in breaking waves. I was 11 1/2 years old.
On Australia Day my Dad took me to my first ever “Sky Show” as it was known. I remember walking up Barrack Street toward the bus stop with several hundred other sweaty bodies in the dark to make our way home.
The next day it happened. I went to the toilet and when I wiped there was blood. It was all at once a jolt to the core of my being, and mundane expectation. I thought “oh yeah… that” while also having the overwhelming sense that I was forever changed. Then, I realised I had no pads. I was in my father’s home with only him and my 16 year old brother who lived with my father. My father was a traditional strong silent type who drank a lot. Certainly not your warm fuzzy go-to person for things such as this. My brother wasn’t available (I’m guessing he was out or in bed with a hangover) so I folded some toilet paper, put that in my knickers and went to the toilet often. A few hours later my brother surfaced and pretty quickly asked me what was wrong. I remembered he had bought pads for our mum when our younger brother was born. I remembered he had talked openly about his girlfriend having her period. I believed he would be understanding but still I felt so embarrassed. I had nothing to be embarrassed of. I was a vulnerable young woman in a man’s world. I felt very alone. I shared with my brother what had happened and he responded in the best way he could have – he hugged me, he smiled, he went to the shop for me, he gave me a packet of pads with respect and he didn’t tell our Dad.
This is my connection to the Australia day Long-Weekend. I have spent time with this memory every January 27th since. My relationship with my cycle and bleed has evolved and grown as I’m sure it does for every woman, but the constant has been that inner knowing that I had on that beach. My cycle, my woman-ness brings me home to that feeling that I now recognise as my spiritual self. Some might call it their soul.
By chance yesterday my husband found an old journal and this excerpt comes from July 2007:
“The flow feels beautifully feminine connecting me with the universal feminine force that is greater than myself. Women since the dawn of time have bled. All that experience and wisdom that I am connected to. It is a part of me and I am a part of it.”
This year I turn 40. This marks the decade in which I will probably lose my bleed. I wonder how I will connect to my feminine power when it is gone. I used to worry. I have faith now that the connection will still be there. Maybe it will take more work, maybe it will be easier. For now I appreciate the journey so far, and celebrate it on January 27th. Happy Australia Day Weekend!