Ode to Judy Blume

Are you there God? It’s me Margaret. Ok so it’s been a while since we last spoke. In fact, it’s been something like 28 ok like 30 years ago. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since our last conversation. I know when last we spoke; my biggest problem was worrying if I would ever get my period. I know I was only 11 years old, but it seemed like all the girls at school were getting their period, everyone that is, except me. What was I thinking? Sure I had to wait till I was 14 years old to become a woman, but looking back; it’s hard to imagine what the rush was. Cramps, feeling like I could kill someone three days of every month, and all those pairs of white pants I had to throw away. I still cringe when I think of my marching band uniform. Remember, those were the days before Clorox had a non bleach formula to keep your colors bright. Those pants didn’t survive the Memorial Day Parade.

To think of all the things I could have asked you for, I chose menstruation. While Catholic girls kneeled in church praying to rid themselves of impure thoughts, while Jewish girls prayed to someday find their soul mate, I was praying for the privilege that each month I would get to wear a bulky uncomfortable sanitary napkin fastened to my underwear with an ill fitting belt. Luckily, by the time You blessed me with my period, Kotex had put an adhesive strip on their sanitary napkins. Now sans the belt, the bulky pad stuck to my panties with a sticky strip. The pads were so thick, it felt like I was walking around with a roll of paper towels between my legs. Inevitably, the thick pad, too short to do its intended job, would slide around, thus leaving all my panties with a permanent stain, this, the ultimate reminder of my womanhood.

Never, during all that praying to you, did I consider the ever present threat of the “public stain”. The stain you don’t know you have unless some well meaning girl friend discretely points to your ass and whispers to go to the bathroom, or worse, some mean spirited boy points the offending stain out to anyone within a shout’s distance of you.

And what about that whole breasts thing? In my eagerness to wear a training bra for the sole purpose of publicly changing my clothes in gym, I never considered how uncomfortable having large breasts could be. I seemed to have missed the mean taunts that the big busted girls got from the boys, or the snickers they endured from the flat chested locker room crowd. With all that praying and wishing and praying going on, and the constant wondering about whether you were even there listening to me, I guess I missed the down side of the whole thing.

The fact is shortly after my mother embarrassed me in the underwear department at Macy’s by opening the dressing room curtain while I was still trying on bras, I discovered that I hated wearing them. I hated the wire thing, the hooks in the back that I could never quite get right and the indents it made on my shoulders at the end of a long day. Worse than the bras, the boobs ended up not being such a great thing either. They used any excuse to jump out of my bathing suit with every dive off the diving board. Those budding nipples poked out of my wet bathing suit attracting the lecherous inappropriate advances of older teenage boys, camp counselors and youth group leaders.

In those days I watched all those movies with Jody Foster and Tatum O’Neil. I knew that Joanie loved Chachi, but I never figured she got a period or if Jody or Tatum had breasts, they never popped out over the tops of their bathing suits when they got pushed in the lake at camp.

Funny thing happened on the way to adulthood. That period I was worried would never come, came and ironically I never even used it. Turns out I’m a lesbian. Bet you never factored that in to the equation. My female partner ended up carrying all four of our kids. All those panties ruined for nothing. My boobs gratefully stopped at a B cup and I discovered the sports bra.

Are you there God? It’s me Margaret. I was such a fool. Sorry for wasting your time.

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