What was that?!” I asked myself.

There I was in my third hour, middle school science class. I probably wasn’t paying that close attention because, ironically, science was never able to capture my attention very well back then.

“There it is again!”…an intense and starling pain piecing me right in the gut.

I didn’t know what else to do except run to the only safe place there is in a high school. With the hall pass firmly in my possession, I scurried down the hall to, where else but the girls bathroom.

I was lucky because the girls room this particular hour was unoccupied. Once I was concealed behind a bathroom stale’s not-so-sturdy lock, I discovered the reason for this deep-gut-pain…something was seriously wrong!

There I was, alone and scared in a scuffed and dirty, school bathroom. Completely horrified, I absolutely positive that this was it…

I was dying.

Since one can’t hide in a school bathroom for long without being discovered, the school counselor eventually entered my toilet hideout to quietly insist I follow her. Without meeting my eyes, she produced an aspirin followed by pixie cup of water. She lead me to her office where I was promptly and without question was given a phone to call home.

This normal body function amplifies the differences between boys and girls–especially during the teen years. This place of mystery often includes dramatic horror stories about a teen girl’s identity being held captive by this mysterious thing we call “our period”. Boys joke about it, older women hint at it, which often results in teen girls becoming embarrassed or ashamed. Thus the labeling of this monthly time as something ugly and dreaded begins a vicious cycle:

“My curse has arrived”, “Auntie Em is visiting”, “The rag is here”.

What did you call your monthly menstruation? I’d tell you what my gang of lady friends in middle school referred to our “time of month” as but…well…actually it’s not polite, to say. You understand.

How does our language invite young girls to view their menstrual cycle?

The truth is, women, we have a responsibility, an opportunity, dare I say it—an obligation for how we name this very natural function of the body. Whether we realize it or not, we literally lay the foundation for how young girls will view their body’s flow. Are we laying a foundation where young girls could be willing or able to see this “flow” as something good, something life giving OR have we passed on this mysterious body function as a shame-filled thing that must merely be endured each month of their life until…{gasp!}…menopause…??

What would it look like if our language invited young girls to honor their body’s rhythm?

Women, I’d love to hear from you. How was your menstruation, your “time of the month” presented to you? How would you have a desire to pass on something different to our daughters?