We all want to sit at the cool kids' table. It's just human nature to want to feel like part of the majority. I prefer pads to tampons and sometimes that doesn't make me feel like part of the “in” crowd.
When I was in high school, I tried tampons for the first time. I had no clue what I was doing and I didn't know who to go to for advice. Subsequently, I wasn't inserting them correctly and, while they didn't hurt, I was acutely aware of it anytime I wore one. At the time, I just thought that's how they were supposed to feel. I couldn't understand why everyone thought they were so great! So I kept my pad preference quiet — it just seemed like everyone else was using tampons and there was something uncool about using pads. Even after I finally learned to insert a tampon comfortably, I still found that I preferred pads.
Not too long ago, The Tyra Show had a great episode all about menstruation and vaginal health. At one point, Tyra looked to the audience and asked for all the tampon girls to raise their hands. All around the room, hands proudly shot up like lightning bolts. But when she asked for the pad girls to do the same, far fewer hands raised and the ones that did were more tentative. I couldn't figure it out. Do the tampon girls sit at the cool kids' table and the pad girls are relegated to the table right near the lunch lady? Pads and tampons are simply different methods of managing your period. It's just a matter of preference and personal need — neither is better or worse than the other.
Personally, I choose pads more often than not. I have endometriosis and sometimes I flow quite heavily. I find that pads do a better job of controlling my flow and they're just more comfortable for me. Some of the overnight varieties are a bit bulky, but never once have I felt like I was wearing a diaper. There are crazy heavy days when I'll wear both a pad and a tampon for extra assurance. And there are days when a tampon works better for me for one reason or another. But nine times out of ten, when I reach into the cabinet where I store my pads, liners, and tampons, I'm going to reach for a pad. They're my choice. They're what works best for me.
I think any girl who wants to try tampons should. They're nothing to be afraid of. We have lots of choices and it's a good idea to explore them all and find out what works best for you. But there's nothing wrong with being a pad girl. So if you prefer pads, shoot your hand up like a lightning bolt and be proud of your choice. There's nothing wrong with choosing pads over tampons and we all deserve a spot at the cool kids' table.
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