When it comes to memorable moments in our lives, everybody has a story. Whether it’s a birthday party that went hilariously awry or an inspiring moment of self-discovery, there is always something we can think back on and say, “I learned something that day.”
At Diva, with a team largely composed of women (and a few awesome, open-minded men), you can bet that we have stories to share but with one twist: Periods.
According to recent research, there are 3.52 billion women in the world (and we all know that it isn’t just women who menstruate) which means that there is an endless supply of period stories from all over the world. And while we have yet to hear all of these inspiring stories – though, we are all ears – our team had a few we had to share!
Prepare to be laugh, cringe and be inspired because life goes on. Period.
I remember I had a big interview scheduled for my dream job, and I prepared for days. I was excited and a little nervous the night before the interview so I drank some chamomile tea and went to bed early. I wanted to be well rested and alert for my big day. I checked my alarm clock to make sure it was set at least three times, and finally, hit the hay.
The morning of my interview, I woke up with a churning feeling in my stomach. Of course, it was my period, of course! I was doubled over in the bathroom minutes after waking up. It was full blown, floodgates wide open, right from the get-go. I could feel my focus and my confidence leaving my body along with my uterine lining.
I knew I had to pull it together. There was no way I was going to let a little blood stop me from landing this role. I ransacked my bathroom drawer for some Midol, popped two, took a shower and got ready. I put on my perfectly ironed dress pants, a crisp white blouse, a pair of heels that made me feel like a damn rock star and a bright red blazer and walked out the door with my head high. I may be bleeding, but I can still slay.
My sister got married when I was still in my freshman year of University and she asked me to be her maid of honor. For an 18-year-old, being a maid of honor was a really big deal for me and it was going to be my first go at taking on a job like this. My sister was really into the swing dance scene at the time so the whole wedding party was decked out in lounge lizard style.
My dress was a skin-tight beaded affair in grays, blues, and silvers. It took three fittings and a lot of work to take it in and make it fit perfectly. Of course, Murphy’s law being what it is, I got my period the night before my sister’s wedding.
When I menstruate I retain a lot of water and this caused my second-skin-like to be too small in all my menstruating glory. No matter what I tried, it would not close. Plus, since it was entirely beaded, there was nothing the seamstress could do to fix it. So there I was, in tears over a silly dress, trying to come up with any other option when I should have been perfecting my speech and enjoying the excitement of the day.
In the end my stressed-out-bride of a sister was the voice of reason, and suggested I buy another dress. I went to a local store the morning of my sister’s wedding and bought a dress that was on sale. The women at the store were kind enough to do minor adjustments and I rushed out of their to store to wedding with time to spare.
And even though I was menstruating, and not in the dress I had planned, life went on and it was amazing! I had an incredible experience and everything went on without a hitch.
Four years ago I started a new journey in my life: college. During my first year, my professors often spoke of our final “capstone” project, that would take up much of our time in the final year of our degree and determine whether we would pass or fail our program. With a year left before I graduated, the word “capstone” began to haunt
When it finally came down to my last semester, I was responsible for conducting thorough research, talking to the clients and establishing a plan that would work for their business. On top of my scholarly responsibilities, I was also working part-time and meeting with my mentor. To say it was a stressful semester would be an understatement.
Finally, the big day had arrived. The final presentation. Four years of hard work and dedication later I was about to complete the project that could determine my future. And then, it happened.
I awoke to a pulsing in my stomach and aches in my back and legs. I thought to myself, “NO, this cannot be happening! Not now!” But of course, I woke up to blood in my underwear. Not only did I have an incredibly important presentation to worry about, but now I had to try and relieve my cramps AND hope that I could keep myself together long enough to pass my program!
After a few minutes of panic, I took some medication for my cramps and focused all my energy and effort on my presentation.
The result? I passed!
At 15-years-old, I had barely had my period for a year and I was about to learn the hard way that periods don’t always play nice.
I had been invited to my then-boyfriend’s sister’s wedding which was a HUGE deal because it was my first “non-family” wedding and I desperately wanted to make a good impression. As a self-proclaimed tomboy, my initial worry was, “I have nothing to wear!” Thank goodness for girlfriends that love clothing as I was able to raid my friend’s closet and find something to fit my style.
When the big day came I was feeling good in my chunky black heels and black mini skirt. Since my boyfriend was in the wedding party, I ended up being my own date and spent most of the evening getting to know my boyfriend’s extended family. As we filed into the reception hall for dinner, I admired the beautifully decorated venue with twinkling lights, pale green tulle and crisp white chair covers. Cue the foreboding music.
After several hours of sitting, I stood to go to the ladies room and was quickly pulled back down by the aunt I had been getting to know. Quietly, and with a level of panic in her eyes, she notified me that I had turned the beautiful white chair cover into a deep shade of menstrual blood red.
Luckily, the aunt/fairy godmother helped me cover up the blood-stained chair as I shuffled out and along the back wall to clean up. Thank goodness for black skirts.
By this point, my face was as bright red as that newly decorated chair cover. When I returned, the table the chair had mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with a plastic seat.
Now, here I am, over 20 years later, still good friends with my teenage boyfriend, and though he still doesn’t know what happened that mortifying day, his wife and I have had a few good laughs over the story.
As a competitive horseback rider, championships are the ultimate end goal. They mean that all of your (and your horse’s) hard work has been validated. It means that all of those times you said, “Sorry, I can’t. I have to go ride” are now worth something. It can also be really scary.
When I found out that my horse and I had qualified for champs, I was ecstatic. I probably hugged my horse a thousand times. I spent all of my free time prepping and training so that we would be unstoppable on competition day.
But the world is a cruel place.
The night before champs, I couldn’t sleep. I knew that I had to wake up at 3 AM to prepare for the competition and naively thought that it was the nerves keeping me up. Until I felt that familiar ache in my side.
I remember walking to the bathroom and praying that I was being paranoid, but of course, I wasn’t. My period had arrived. Instantly, I started doing the calculations. In three hours I would be putting on skin tight, beige breeches and hurling my horse and myself over 3-foot fences. Would my cramps be bad? Would I feel light-headed? Oh no, what if I leak?
After a few minutes of panic and then a few more feeling sorry for myself, I decided there was no way I was giving in. If my horse could jump around a course for me than I could handle my period for a day for her.
It ended up being a fantastic day. And although I had my Mom and coach on leak patrol, I felt completely confident going into the ring. My horse and I pulled out all the stops and ended up placing 6th out of over 40 horses. Just goes to show that you really can do anything while on your period.