dec 23, 2001 marks 7 years of membership

there was something comforting and exciting about the smell of baby powder when i was 13. it no longer triggered thoughts of babies, but of panty liners wrapped in delicate pink plastic, and other feminine hygiene products that intrigued me so. walking down grocery isles with my mother became a test of bravery as i tried so desperately to glimpse the soft packages of napkins out of the corner of my eye, and not draw attention to myself. the rows upon rows of pastel products were like porn to me. no one could know, but i could stare for hours.

and there was something deathly embarrassing about a 13 year old who didn't have her period and who wanted into that elite club of bleeding women so badly. the longing made me feel so small and pathetic. as my classmates were always a year older then me, and early bloomers, i became obsessed with the contraptions associated with becoming a woman. more than once i bought tampons out of the women's bathroom at church, just to carry them in my little purse. my mother once saw one and i about died of embarrassment. i hid them well after that.

but it wasn't just menstrual products, but bras as well. i would make covert dashes to the underwear in the mervyn's girls section while under the guise of looking at clothes. always sneaking a few in-between the pile of sweaters and skirts to try on and frown at. such disappointment that i didn't look like the soon-to-be-stacked girl on the tag. i simply didn't understand how women could get used to the idea of these things and then get frustrated with them! to hear older girls in my school complain about tight underwire bras and being "on the rag" sounded just ungrateful. the nerve of these girls who obviously passed go, collected $200, AND got boobs, to complain about their bodies!

i wanted cramps more than anything. cramps, and to start smelling. i didn't need deodorant for years after the other girls, but that didn't stop me from ogling the teen spirit and putting it in a mental wish list right beside the nirvana albums and a black mini skirt. i wanted in that damn club of women for what felt like years.

it was only after convincing myself late in my 13th year that i didn't want any of it that it finally came. just before my 14th birthday, just 2 days before christmas, i started to bleed. and not long after my mother pushed me into wearing a bra and using deodorant on a regular basis. after all, "i was a young woman now".

suddenly the smell of baby powder made me sick and pink was a dirty trick to make those ugly bulky things seem feminine. to make me feel less disgusting as i went through my day, pretending that i wasn't awash with blood, strapping down my little breasts, and hiding some fetid smell under that chalky deodorant.

being girly changed just then. it wasn't easter dresses and she-ra dolls. it was doing all these odd things to my body to plug it up and hold it in and cover it up. it was a secret society of underground cosmetic surgeons that i'd just joined.

what a dirty trick.

gives the finger to womanhood