Finding your father’s copy of Playboy. Playing two-minutes-in-the-closet. Wearing a bra for the first time. Buying your first maxi-pads.
Those were all of the things that made 11 year old Margaret Simon’s character so relatabel in Judy Blume’s ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’.
I can’t remember who lent me the book, but I do remember hiding it from my parents and older sister. Although the book was a decade behind (those girls had to wear belts with their pads), it was as a staple in my generation’s pre-teen reading diet. It was our porn.
Wanting to know about my changing body and emotions wasn’t easy. I was shy, a bookworm and a tomboy who was raised in a body-shaming-Baptist family. Ballsy Margaret who crushed on Phillip and bought her own pads from a boy cashier, was my hero.
How things have changed.
After having spent my adult years fully loaded up on contraception, today was the day that I would have my Mirena removed. This morning I stood in the drugstore looking at a wall of pads, tampons, and Diva Cups wondering just what the hell I was going to need. I would have loved to have had Margaret’s advice.
I no longer need birth control. What I need is to return to my feminine body. To experience the shift from motherhood to new-cronehood with some modicum of respect for the awesome female form that I inhabit.
I am from a generation of women who have been convinced that our natural cycles should be stunted. We are being convinced that unless we want to get pregnant, we need to saddle up on hormones and keep a constant, obedient level of functioning that does not include paying attention to the natural rhythm of our bodies to stop, rest, rage, weep and rejoice. We have been twisted into she-men.
If I could do it all over again, I would do it like a woman, and not try to be the she-man that our you-can-have-it-all-girl-boss-culture would like me to buy into. I would get pregnant again and rejoice in my body. I would revel in my sexuality. I would do so many things differently with regard to my divine feminine.
Much like young Margaret’s character, I’m wondering about what will happen next. Except I’m in my mid-forties.
I’m noticing changes in my body; less firm, more round, a greater comfort with my own self when I look in the mirror after I slip out of my clothes and into the hot bathwater.
I wonder what happened to ballsy, Margaret when she hit forty? I’d sure like to hear from her now.