Middle-Grade Memories: Growing Up. The P word.


The word itself is embarrassing. Going through it? Even worse.

But we all experience it. We have no choice. It grabs ahold of each one of us and slowly transforms our minds, our bodies, our lives into adults. Or slightly older little people still with the minds (and let’s be honest, bodies) of children.

So many embarrassing moments surround my own puberty. Scoliosis testing. PE uniforms. My first period. Growing bodies videos. If I had to do each one of these now? Sure. They’d be slightly uncomfortable, but doable. Not life changing. Not torturous. Not embarrassing.

Unfortunately, we can only go through puberty while experiencing puberty. At an age far too young to emotionally handle what’s happening.

For me, I didn’t have sisters. I didn’t know how to change in front of another girl who wasn’t my mom. And even then, I liked having my privacy; my own space for things like that. So when I entered into the land of the PE uniform, and changing in a gym in front of fifty other girls became a must, I did my best to blend into a corner and swap my street clothes for gym clothes savvier than a magician.

And then there was the scoliosis test in the seventh grade. Walk into a room; remove your shirt; and allow a nurse to survey your back.


Yes. For only a few minutes. In the privacy of a room. In front of one other woman. However, it felt like the most intrusive, embarrassing incident one could think of.

Then there’s the changing bodies video. Now, not only are you subjected to watching terrifying images of uteruses and embryos and whatever the heck were in those clips, but you were forced to witness them next to your parents. GAG. SQUIRM. Parents then are gross like aliens. When they kiss, it’s what you imagine extraterrestrials doing in space. So to sit and watch something about the female body, the developing female body, with your parental aliens, life can’t get much worse.

I’ll spare you from detailing my first period. Just know I was such a reserved, shy, uber sensitive human being that my mother could only communicate with me through leaving pamphlets in my underwear drawer. Speaking about the subject matter face-to-face mortified me. Again, no sisters. No one leading the way in this; showing me how to talk about tampons and pads and spotting and bleck, gross, nononononono.

Thank goodness, life gets better. Thank goodness puberty turns into adulthood. And thank goodness we grow old enough to look back, laugh, and write a blog about it. Here’s to puberty. Thanks for the inspiration.


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