I was inspired to write this by Mama Kat’s writing prompt, “something embarrassing that happened at school.”
I was 15 and in sitting in the front row of my 10th grade English class. Suddenly, I felt something — got my period unexpectedly in class. Now, this is something that happens in life, but at that age, I was still learning how to manage things. Even though I was wearing black pants, I didn’t want to stand up because I was afraid people would see, so I acted like everything was just fine.
When class ended I gathered my stuff slowly and left the room last, then rushed to the restroom. Afterwards, I confided in some friends and they assured me there was nothing was visible on my pants because they were black, so that made me feel better.
The next day, the teacher, Mrs. Wierman, a.k.a. the dreadful human who taught me how to analyze Beowulf, came up to me before class. She was a small woman with short, curly gray hair and glasses and she must have been close to retirement at that point.
Kids were getting settled in their seats and chatting to each other when she put both of her elbows on my desk, leaned into me, and hissed, “Did you ‘get sick’ on your chair yesterday?” Her tone was accusatory and I wanted to disappear.
I said, “No, what do you mean?”
“There was a stain on your chair and the person who has this seat after you refused to sit in it. She created a big fuss over it!”
“No, I didn’t get sick on my chair yesterday.”
She looked at me with a skeptical smirk and walked away without another word.
I knew what she meant — there must have been a blood smear on my chair and I didn’t realize it. But I don’t consider that “getting sick,” I got my period, which is a normal thing, and I had a mishap, but I wasn’t sick.
Still, I felt so humiliated that tears came to my eyes right there in class. I don’t think anyone saw, which would have made things so much worse.
I think if she had phrased her question differently and had a less accusatory tone and approached me in a more private manner, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I probably still would’ve cried, though.
What the fuck, though? Like, why even say anything to me? I was shamed because I was a teenager who had an “accident” that came as a normal and natural consequence of being female. Even though it was so long ago, I’m still pissed about how ashamed she made me feel.
If I hadn’t thrown my yearbooks away years ago I would’ve included a photo of her with this post to shame her right back for being such an asshole. But instead, here are my cats Magilla and Kevin playing with a tampon.
If you’d like to share something embarrassing that happened to you in school, I’d love to hear about it!