Monsoon written by Glenna Brucken

UPDATE: Glenna performed this exact experience with The F-Word Ladies show: Story Time with F-word. To see Glenna perform this piece check out the Youtube video here.


Sonja has inspired me to share the story of my very first period. I wonder who will end up reading this. Like most of my work, half of me hopes that no one will ever read this. And the other half really hopes that everyone will read this.

I've always been a very slow person. Slow to wake up in the morning, slow to get out of the car, a slow runner, a slow reader, a slow eater. It only makes sense that I was a "late bloomer." I found the startling smear of reddish brown in my underwear at the age of fifteen years, five months, and twenty nine days; just one day shy of being exactly fifteen and a half.

That night, I mistook my menstrual cramps for the need to poop. Upon seeing the unfamiliarity on the toilet paper in my hand, I burst in to song.


No one was as excited as I was. If only I'd known what the next eight days had in store. That's right-- my first period lasted eight days. EIGHT FLIPPING DAYS!

With the heaviness of my flow, I couldn't ignore the convenience of a tampon. That's not to say I wasn't totally freaked out to use it, demanding that my older sister aid me on the other side of the bathroom door. She was a pro, having gotten hers at the age of twelve. It wasn't putting it in that scared me (although it was almost six months later during my second period when I discovered I'd been putting it in wrong... so THAT'S why it was so uncomfortable) but rather pulling it out. I had horrific images in my head of the white cotton absorbing the monsoon that had formed in my uterus and swelling to the size of a baseball. I wasn't ready to pull a baseball out of my vagina! However, once I had worked up the courage to just yank it out, through my tears I could see that it was nothing more than what Sonja brilliantly describes as a "dead mouse." I had never been so relieved to see such a gruesome sight.

Unfortunately, even the toughest of tampons couldn't help me through this week of hell. To this day, I do not wish this experience upon anyone-- even my worst enemies. Within one hour, I could soak through a maxi pad AND a maxi tampon. I distinctly remember shifting in my seat in geometry sophomore year, and being able to feel the warmth slip out past the tampon and in to my pad. In the same day, I was in the bathroom after school, trying to clean up before play practice, a rather involved and lengthy task. As soon as I'd finally finished cleaning myself up in preparation to insert my last tampon, a huge clot of blood plopped in to the toilet, settling in the bottom and revealing itself to be about the same size as a china saucer.

I lost it.

Sobbing, I called my sister Charlotte, and she picked me up from school. I can't remember if she later returned me to practice. But that night, my mother insisted on taking me to the emergency room. She was convinced that I was losing an unhealthy amount of blood. I was all for it until she informed me that a resident might have to do an examination. Even though I started crying when she told me this, to the emergency room we went.

After a night with a needle happy, blood thirsty, yet very jovial phlebotomist and NO examination (phew!) I returned home with the doctor's order to take the following day off. I was glad to do so, considering I was literally sore just from all the times I'd twisted around to get toilet paper while on the toilet. I finished out the week and my second period was not to come for another six months.

Now, almost five years later, my period is no where near this horrific. As to why it was so incredibly heavy the first time, I still don't know for sure. But as for bursting in to Chaka Kahn's 1978 hit for that special time of the month? Well... that's hardly changed.


Be sure to check out Sonja's first period experience here. Also submit your own stories to The F-Word Ladies at thefwordladies@gmail.com


  1. I appreciate SO much that you finished out the story with Chaka, full circle.

    I'm also glad that you can revisit your pain as comedy.

  2. Lawdy, Glenna, that story made me nearly faint! So proud that you could share that. I wish I had your courage to use a tampon and sing some Chaka. I usually thank God I'm not pregnant than say, "fuck" remembering that I'm a super bloated and emotional Godzilla for the week. Love ya!

  3. I tried leaving a comment already but it didn't work. Thanks for sharing, Glenna. Period clots are a rough time but we all get 'em. I totally related to your story! Miss ya!