A right of passage involving a bathing suit and a loaf of bread. Otherwise known as junior high.

I believe I have mentioned that I’m writing a book. And if you want to try something hard and confusing, then this is it. So it’s kind of like my life, which is good, because that is what my book is about. My life. Or at least a little section of my life right before we had kids.

Anyway, last night when I was writing, I came across a dusty and water-colored memory that I wanted to share with you. Because it makes no sense to me, in part because it has both dust and water on it, which usually makes mud.

I was thinking about junior high. Yes. This, too, is a bad idea. And I was drinking vodka, which in spite of being a clear alcohol, never really makes anything more clear. But on with the story.

In physical education in junior high, we used to have swimming class once every so often. It was not on a regularly scheduled day, at least not that I could tell, so that added an element of surprise to the whole thing — sort of like Sacha Baron Cohen dropping from the ceiling onto your head.  And the girls in the class were not allowed to swim if we were having our period. And we were all issued a bathing suit by the school. It was like a school uniform in that it was navy blue, but it was not like a school uniform in that it was a bathing suit.

So, on this one sacred and powerful day of the month, I went to swimming class where we lined up in front of a desk to check in and get a suit. And since I was in possession of menstrual blood, I was not allowed in the pool and had been instructed to tell the teacher that I was “off floor.” This term was code for “standing around in the pool area in a bathing suit wearing a huge sanitary napkin that feels like a loaf of bread between your legs hoping that a velociraptor will show up and start eating people so at least a few people would forget about your sanitary napkin.”

junior high bathing suit + period = public humilitation

And really this story has no point, except that I was completely traumatized, and I thought someone should know about this tragedy. And because it didn’t fit in the book in any way. At least not yet. And most important of all, why is it called OFF FLOOR? What does that mean? I was on the floor by the pool. I remember it well. It was made of those tiny waterproof tiles that are all over including on the walls and in the pool. Why couldn’t they just call it “out of the pool?” Or “unavailable.” She’s unavailable, wink, nod, check out the loaf of bread. And why did I have to wear a bathing suit, if I wasn’t going to swim? And seriously, who would let their child these days wear a bathing suit that was owned by the school? This is tax dollars at work, people. Or at least it was.

So, help, seriously. This is really weird, right? Please tell me something equally weird happened to you in junior high. Tell me! There is a comments section below for that. Write something!

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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