It's a sight I never thought I would live to see - the mainstream media running photos and videos of teenage girls posing with period products.
They were words I never thought I'd hear a politician - yet alone a male MP who doesn't have daughters - utter. But Palmerston North MP Tangi Utikere didn't miss a beat when he spoke last Thursday at his monthly coffee and politics evening about free period products being now available in schools. Utikere said it was a significant form of delivery for wāhine.
In my day, we talked about sanitary products and surfboards in particular. In my day. I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am menstruation is a thing of the past for me.
As a society, we've become much better at talking about family violence, rape, mental health and discrimination. We've got some way to go to talk more openly and supportively about periods, a fact of life for half the population.
But positive signs are there, not least the media happily running photos of period products.
I was 10 years 10 months when I had my first period. I know this because I recorded it in the notes section of my 1981 diary, between that I planted a rimu at Kakaramea School (it died soon after, if I remember correctly) and the results of the general election.
Unlike my poor grandmother, I knew what was happening and didn't think I was bleeding to death. But I was the only girl at my school who was menstruating and I remember Mum having to talk to the (male) principal who was also my teacher. The shame. No swimming.
Mum had stopped menstruating when I started but she had a few leftover products. With a belt you attached the pad to it was like something out a Victorian novel. Thankfully, she soon bought me adhesive pads, which would be wrapped in newspaper before being handed to us.
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My friend had three younger brothers and when one of them found their mother's sanitary products, the mother called them ladies' toilet paper.
A few years later I was at my friend's birthday party thinking I was the height of sophistication in these pale pink shorts you could adjust the length of. Then my period started unexpectantly and I never could get the stain out. Another time I remember standing up from a science lab stool and seeing - with horror - red fluid on the seat.
Living on a farm, the only way to get rid of used pads was to burn them. It was with great satisfaction I would set fire to the newspaper-wrapped parcels. It's a wonder I didn't become a pyromaniac. I don't remember how we got rid of used pads at school, but I still recall the horror of finding a soiled pad on top of a wardrobe on school camp. At first I was horrified, but looking back the poor girl must have thought she had no other choice.
At boarding school, the shop was well stocked with sanitary products but I don't remember us girls talking about periods much. I had a tough time with severe cramps on the second morning of each period. I would rest in the morning and walk down to the classroom for afternoon lessons. The joys - or not - of being a boarder.
What I don't get about men burying their head in the sand about periods is without girls and women menstruating, men wouldn't be here. Period.
Talking is good. It makes you feel like you're not the only one struggling with the inconvenience and discomfort of what we Patea High students called George. (I have no idea why). You can swap notes on the best products, painkillers and coping strategies.
In her autobiography To the Is-land, Janet Frame wrote about waking to find blood between her legs and panic seizing her. Here's to raising a Bloody Mary to the end of mystery, shame and poverty around periods.