25 Feb G Day Stories: Janice
I am excited to announce I will be volunteering at the very first G Day event in Vancouver! This exciting and well deserved event for girls ages 10-12 is about celebrating how special and unique this time is for them. Those years were hard for me; I have not shared my experience so I thought I would take this opportunity.
I remember being that age, standing in my living room, curious, intrigued and a little confused. There were so many changes happening in my body, to my environment and to my friends around me. I still wanted to be a kid, I didn’t feel adult but I thought I should be acting like my big sister and my Mom because in school we were talking about all these things that were going to start happening in my body and how I was going to change. “When will these changes happen to me?” the question slipped out of my mouth as I was standing in front of my mother. She looked at me, “You don’t want that stuff to happen to you, don’t wish for it to happen.”
After this, my innate curiosity for the world around me started to change. I was supposed to enjoy being a girl and “the facts” (what I was told in school) were that hair would grow in places I didn’t want and my body would grow in ways I did not understand and this unspeakable thing would happen where blood would spill from my secret place that should just be left in the dark. If this was true, then why would I want to be a woman? It sounded terrible.
I thought that being a woman was a bad thing, that changing was something to be ashamed of and that getting my period was going to be a dreadful experience. This fear did not stop the inevitable change from happening, my body changed and I still did not understand what was going on; no one told me it was normal that I gained almost 20 pounds or that my hips expanding was actually something beautiful; I just believed that now I was fat and ugly.
Then that dreaded day came, the day actually started out as a really awesome day. I arrived for Girl Guide camp in Northern Ontario, a whole week with other guiders I had never met, to play, have fun and sing songs around a campfire. It was the best. Until, I said goodbye to my Dad, walked into the outhouse to go pee expect that it was not pee. I did not know anyone and I did not know what to do. Luckily, my Mom had made a pencil case with a fresh pair of underwear and a pad in it, that I was carrying with me everywhere; I got that and tried to figure out what to do with the pad.
I am introvert, and at age 12 I was so shy and timid I barely spoke to anyone, unless I knew them very well. So I waddled (literally waddled) over to my Guide leader that I had not even met yet and whispered, “Hi my name is Janice, I think I got my period.” I was painfully embarrassed, bright red and wanted to cry in the corner I was so upset. She had shocked look on her face, I knew she was not prepared for this, neither was I.
She took me for a walk and told me that now I was woman, I did not understand what the difference between before this happened and now. Then she told me one of the leaders would go to town and get some pads for the week for me – you have to tell someone else what’s going on, was my first thought, I really don’t want anyone else to know. With reluctance I let her tell he other leaders and so when they returned the next day with the supply I was waiting. The pads were so large and thick they barely fit in my tiny underwear and that uncomfortable waddled I had before now lasted all week. I was so embarrassed and uncomfortable that is one of the only weeks of camp I do not remember.
This transition was painful and awkward; it was acknowledged but not celebrated. The beauty of puberty was not shown to me and so I fought against my body for almost 10 years. I fought against my hips, my weight, my alignment – I develop hip problems, chronic pain and hated who I was.
I was given a beautiful opportunity to begin healing and letting go during a healing ceremony at Rhodes Wellness College. As I started along my path of healing I began to reconnect with this young girl inside of me who was excited about life, who loved to dance and wanted to save the world. She was kind and loving and cared so deeply for others. She observed and listened, she was capable and determined.
I stand before you now, finally able to be that girl again; without shame, with compassion and with the understanding that my experience was beautiful, magical and something that was absolutely normal. I hope that by volunteering for G Day I can help another young girl discover that her experience is beautiful, magical and something to be celebrated!