An onslaught of cramps at home on New Year’s Eve (ideal), an exchange of condescending smirks between my older sisters and a huddle in the toilet, followed by a graphic but informative chat, prepared me for what would be the start of my "menstrual journey".
My first period was a moment that will be forever ingrained in my memory, upon which I was lucky enough to be able to look back fondly and discuss openly at home. However, like many young teens in school, I stayed silent while crippled with cramps at my desk and squirming in my seat, fearing that when I stood up everyone would know.
In 2019, one in 10 girls are still unable to afford menstrual products and many are still scared to discuss a natural bodily function in school. Hoping to change that and the pervasive stigma around periods, award-winning Italian director Giulia Gandini came up with a clever short film, My Time. The short explores what happens when a 12-year-old girl, played by British actress Clara Read, gets her first period in class.
During the course of the five-minute film, Read honestly depicts the young woman frantically texting her best friends for back-up.
With My Time the aim is to encourage a conversation around periods and reinforce the narrative that they are nothing to be ashamed of. Ignoring snickers and cackles, in the film we see the young girl standing up to deliver a class presentation, blood-stained and prideful as she reads out her essay 'Wonder Woman'.
I distinctly remember feeling a rush of embarrassment concealing my pads in a small makeup case, trying to discreetly slip out during class, but had I seen a film like Gandini's, maybe I would have felt less alone.
Watch an exclusive extended clip here: