Last week my friend was on her period and she decided to try out a tampon. I was with her at the store to help her choose which tampons to buy and guiding her from outside the bathroom door when she was putting it in. It took her five tries, but she did it. After I while I was inspired to share my story of when I first used a tampon. I was twenty-one at the time and I decided to try a tampon. Usually, I wear pads, but at that time I was also starting to get into the leggings trend, so I wasn’t comfortable wearing pads. It was because the first few days of my period can be heavy, and I had to wear the thicker pads. Plus, it was during spring and I had a gym class. Upon my decision to try a tampon I went to the bookstore and just bought what was available.
Now, my whole entire family used pads. Additionally, both my parents are conservative, and I didn’t want them to know that I was inserting something into my vagina. I was convinced that they wouldn’t like the idea of it. Plus, I can’t really hide anything in my family. Just imagine sharing a bedroom with three sisters not that much privacy. In high school, all the Hmong girls never used tampons. In fact, I would hear them say stuff about how putting a tampon into your vagina is so disgusting and invasive. One specifically said:
“If you want to put a tampon in, why not just find some dicks.”
Yep, even though I never joined the conversation I would hear things like that. In which made me intimidated. What if they knew that I was starting to use tampons? Would they think differently of me? I knew most of them don’t even like me, but what about the very few Hmong girls that I’m still close with? So many scattered thoughts in my brains.
Anyway, I went on to college for my undergraduate degree and my last year I decided to try a tampon. I contemplated a lot, but I somehow bought the pack of tampons instead of the pads at the bookstore. The directions were confusing and even though I was majoring in biology, I was never that close to my own body. However, I tried by myself and I thought I was successful. I was SO WRONG.
I can feel the tampon when I was standing and walking around so I thought that was how it was supposed to be. It was so painful and uncomfortable when I was sitting down that I had to call for help. Ashley, one of my friends, who was on campus, came by my room. She looked at the packaging and told me that since it was my first time maybe it was better for me to get a smaller size. I didn’t know tampons came sizes.
We went to Walmart and I got a smaller size which Ashley helped me picked out when I told her how heavy my period was. We came back from Walmart and Ashley was outside the toilet door. The bathroom was huge that even the shower room has its own door and there two sinks. So, she was telling me to take my time finding my vagina, she even gave me a small mirror for me in case I needed to see where my vagina was. In addition, to telling me that I need to try different poses to see which one I’m more comfortable putting in the tampon. The entire time I was nervous, couldn’t properly put it in and because I was so tense my muscles weren’t relaxed. So, Ashley told me a few jokes and stories. Before I knew it, I became relax and after calming myself down from all the laughter, I succeeded. However, I went through eleven tampons, which was almost the whole entire box.
All those scattered thoughts I had about wearing tampons went away. I felt very comfortable. Of course, I heard about toxic shock syndrome but that is caused by bacteria. Its association with tampons is that it is possible to get it if you leave in a tampon for so long. Which I never had and none of my close friends never experience it. I’m not sure if young Hmong girls these days are more opened to using tampons, but when I hear my younger cousins or younger sisters of friends I encouraged them to give it a try instead of judging. Of course, I get this weird look from most of them, which I don’t even mind now. With that said I still used tampons these days, but I also remain loyal to my pads. I have days when I want to use tampons and days when I feel like rocking a pad.