Becoming a woman

I remember the first time I used a tampon. It was a hot July day between 6th and 7th grade. I was visiting my cousin and we wanted to go swimming in the apartment complex pool. We swam like fish in those days every chance we could. We took turns changing into our bathing suits. He took off as soon as he was ready so I was still in the apartment with my mother and aunt. I came out of the bathroom with my bathing suit on and a thick maxi-pad taped to the bottom of the suit. They looked at each other and told me that I couldn’t go swimming like that. That I’d have to sit quietly and read a book on the sidelines with them. I didn’t understand why and begged and pleaded with them to let me go swimming but they said it was out of the question. My aunt suggested that if I wanted to try a tampon, I could wear that while swimming. I’d never used one and was scared to try. They told me how to use it and showed me the diagrams of the lady in the blue box and I set to giving it a try. After probably a good ten or fifteen minutes, I came out and we walked down to the pool. The tampon was very uncomfortable but I really wanted to swim so I carried on. I played in the pool for five or ten minutes but something did not feel right. It was tugging on me and pinching on me on all my tender parts and I eventually ran out of the pool and down the steps of the clubhouse. I asked one of the adults to get my mom and told her how bad I was hurting. She asked what was wrong and I told her that it felt like it was tugging and going to come out. She walked with me back to the apartment so I could remove it and get dressed to sit on the patio with them. My mom didn’t understand how it could hurt so much and she asked me exactly what I did. I told her that I inserted it as I saw in the pictures. The problem was, they did not show how to remove the applicator so I had left it inside me. The plastic prongs/teeth were poking me in very uncomfortable areas and it was too much to bear. She told me how to take it out and told me I could insert a different one if I wanted but I was in too much pain to try again. It was several months before I did.

I got tired of wearing sanitary pads. They were bulky, noisy, messy and gross and I absolutely hated them. My older sisters and their friends used tampons and I wanted to be cool like them so I decided to try it again. I inserted it right this time but found it uncomfortable. The Tampax design at the time was a long, thin core that stretched when you removed it and it pulled on me and was extremely unpleasant. Even the cotton string was coarse and hurt so after a few tries, I gave up.

My mother had subscribed me to several young adult magazines back then and I had seen Playtex magazine ads. The box was a pretty pink and everything about the tampons seemed soft, feminine and cozy. I asked my mother to get them for me and she did. They were so much better than Tampax. I mean the difference was night and day. The applicator had ridges where the two pieces met and it was so much easier to use. Tampax was just straight cardboard so it was difficult to plunge. Playtex’s unique design opened up like a lotus flower with the base of it forming a cup that prevented leaks and made me feel more secure. Even the string was softer. The Playtex tampon was comfortable, reliable and enabled me to go about my day like it was any other day and not a day when I was on my period. I would sometimes wear a minipad or pantyliner if I was having a heavy flow but even then, there would be a few drops at the most. I would put in a tampon before school and remove it after with no leaks in between. I could #PlayOn and nobody knew my secret. Gone were the days of my mom having to write notes to excuse me from gym class because I “was not feeling well.” I could participate and run, jump, tumble and exercise as much as the guys. And in the summer, I went swimming with my cousin and never had to worry about sitting it out on the sidelines because it was that time of the month.

Three generations of my family have used Playtex. We all tried other brands when new designs came out and promises of big changes were made but we always went back to the one we trusted and knew. I received a box of @PlaytexSportandGentleGlide in my @Influenster #SpringVoxBox last month. The days of my needing tampons is over so I took the box to my family’s house knowing that someone would want them. An old classmate of mine, who lives next door to my parents, came over to visit and we talked about cosmetics, nail polish and all things girly. I asked her if she or her teenage daughter ever tried Playtex tampons and she said it was the only one they ever used. That they tried the others but because they’re both petite, the only thing that fits their bodies well and are comfortable are the @Playtex_Sport Fresh Balance light tampons so she was happy to take the box off my hands, along with a dozen bottles of pretty nail polish and several tubes of lip gloss. It seems we never grow out of the novelty of all things glittery and girly.

I guess the point of this is that it is possible to still be active throughout all the days of the month. No sitting on the sidelines for us anymore. #PlayOn

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