You knock things over from growing too fast, or feel left out because you're growing too slow. You get erections in class. Your boobs grow too fast or too slow. Your voice cracks. You get zits. Your hips widen. Your vulva changes. Your sexual feelings amplify. People look at you funny or treat you differently. Either everyone notices when you want no one to, or no one notices when you'd prefer that they did. You're a late bloomer or an early bird.
Puberty can be a serious rollercoaster, and can be hella stressful for anyone going through it.
So, what's it been like -- or was it like -- for you? What's freaking you out or making you crazy? What's not so bad about it? What words of wisdom can anyone in their twenties finally done with it pass on to those in their teens still in the thick of it?
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 63426 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I'm still going through puberty seeing as i'm 14. Yet it's already been a heck of the rollercoaster. My emotions go all over the place, one moment i'm happy, then horney, then angry, then tierd. I'm angry alot of the time which causes me to argue with my mam alot.
I remember when i had my first period, when i got my first boyfriend too, i was so scared, not of it but of telling my mam, i was embarrased but in the end she found out and it was all ok. But if i could give a girl advice i'd say if you have a problem, ask your mother, they know all about this stuff, and if you cant then ask here.
I'm starting to settle down [as in emotions wise] but i still have the occasional fit of rage or laughter or anything. Erm yeah that's the main part of my journy so far my emotions, my body hasn't really effected me, My boobs are size 30 DD, but i don't really mind that, and i've stayed in good shape, the worst part is spots, i HATE all my spots, luckily i havnt got too many.
I was one of those early birds, and I remember how awkward I felt in forth grade, when I realized that my B cup boobs were bigger than my teacher's. They grew a cup size a year from age 9 onward, and by the 7th grade I had DD's (which do look a bit strange on my tiny frame). In many ways that was really horrifying to me, being the only girl I knew with HUGE breasts when I was 12/13. My mom offered sympathy, stating she was exactly the same way (and she's even shorter/tinier than me).
The sort of funny result of all of it, though, is from the time I was about 13 or 14, I've looked like I was 18ish. Looking at pictures of me, aside from hair style changes, I don't look like I've gotten much older over the past 8 years. When I was a lot younger, people treated me like I was already an adult, which was pretty awkward. But now that I am an adult, I'm worried about taking high school teaching jobs when I graduate, because I won't look much older than my students (middle school teaching, here I come!). It was just very strange to be in a position when I was 13 to see how I was treated differently than my peers because I was post-pubescent and many of them still looked like children. The differences evened out by sophomore or junior year of high school, but there were plenty of times when I was 10-14 when I wanted to scream at people and say that I was still a little girl, not a woman they could hit on.
My advice for someone going through something similar is to talk to a parent or teacher about it. I tried talking to older peers who pretty much said "Oh you're lucky to get all of the attention so soon" and age-mates who pretty much said that my body was just weird and that I was lucky to have big breasts. Adults were better able to grasp that I was in fact still a child in many ways and that it wasn't so fun having adult men whistle at me. They had a perspective that other young people just didn't.
Posts: 2262 | From: in transition | Registered: Apr 2008
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The worst part of puberty, for me, was that I was lagging completely behind for the longest time. I have a chronic illness which was not diagnosed until I was 14, and while it went untreated it kept my body from developing. So while seemingly everyone around me was growing taller, developing breasts and starting their period, I still looked like a ten year old. It was incredibly awkward - the boys in my year teased me and I always felt left out with the girls. It wasn't even just that I looked different - it was also a matter of my simply not having the same issues and experiences as them, so I couldn't participate in conversations about that. I remember one sleep-over when I was 12 or 13, and all of my friends were swapping first-period stories, and I just sat there mutely and wished I could be part of it.
Then at 14, I was rushed to the hospital one night with excruciating stomach cramps, and left two weeks later with my spiffy diagnosis and a bag full of medication. And they helped immediately: within half a year, I grew a few inches, went from AA to B, and started having my period. While it lasted, my warp-speed puberty made me feel almost at awkward as my pro-longed pre-pubescent stage, especially because the medication (Prednisone) also made me break out in acne, which I'd never had a problem with before, and caused my face to swell up.
By the time I started high school, though, I was pretty much caught up with other girls my age, and I was off the Prednisone, so my skin was looking much better.
I think maybe the single most helpful thing to keep in mind is that you can save yourself at least half of the stressing that you're doing. You can be fairly certain that YOU are the only one worrying about your small breasts/obvious erection/huge zit, because everyone else is too busy worrying about their OWN small breasts/obvious erection/huge zit to pay any attention to you.
[ 01-14-2009, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: September ]
-------------------- -joey Scarleteen Volunteer
"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand Posts: 8424 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005
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I remember feeling like Alice in Wonderland with the "Drink Me" and "Eat Me" treats. When I hit about 10 or 11 I hit a massive growth spurt and suddenly got REALLY tall. All my arms and my legs felt way too long, and I felt really awkward because I was taller than everyone at school. I was super shy (still am), so I would usually hunch over slightly to try and hide a little bit. But on my first day of high school I remembering ducking and dodging around people in the hallways and usually making eye contact with their elbows, haha. Everyone had someone caught up and THEN some. I ended up pretty average height I suppose, but to go from gangly goofiness to a shortie was fun...ish
I also remember that my left breast started developing first, and I was self-conscious about the lopsidedness for awhile. I also ended up with acne that never went away, just migrated. It went from my forehead to my jawline.
Oh and the first day I noticed that my vulva had changed was really exciting and weird. I was in the bathtub, and I looked down and was like, "Wow, so, I think THAT'S all new" and felt proud and very female.
I guess my words of advice would echo Joey's, but I'll add in some of my own. Everyone goes through puberty and some of it can be weird and stressful, but just remember that EVERYONE goes through it. Just put your throw your shoulders back (don't hunch like I did), and be yourself
-------------------- "It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees" Posts: 117 | From: SLC, UT | Registered: May 2006
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My budding breasts were really painful, I have never felt that much pain in that part of my body before or since, but I seem to remember that they didn't take too long to stop hurting. Acne was everywhere, but I've long since stopped worrying, it doesn't hurt or bleed so I don't mind having it. My first period was kind of exciting... until I got my very first cramps, I'm OK with my periods now, but was a little nervous about them initially, as I'd never really gotten to know my body all that well before the age of 12, I have a lot of sympathy for my sister, who's periods are painful, tiring and involve throwing up and fainting occasionally (she takes meds for them). I didn't grow that much, which bothered me initially, because my sister had always teased me for being shorter and fatter than her (now I'm happy with my height and my weight). Body hair was first greeted with delight, which quickly replaced itself with shame, then delight again (within the space of a year or two). I remember drawing pictures of naked women and determinedly adding in pubic hair, underarm hair, because these were pictures of adult homosapien bodies, not feminine ones. I remember the smell of my body becoming wonderful to me (though it could have been before had I not been taught to think that it was not), and thinking how no-one ever talked about the distinct smell everyone has, that you breath in when you hug them. My vulva changed, I had my first look in the mirror and was fascinated by it, that my genitals looked more mature than before (also I'm a poet and I didn't know it). I remember, for the first time, knowing what it was to feel strongly aroused, which was almost confusing, because I had learned, unfortunately, to define my sexual responses in terms of being with one guy with a magical penis who would wait with me until we both reached the legal age of consent and then give me ecstasy even though I had never masturbated (note to all: this is unrealistic and also a restriction of one's own rights over one's body as an attitude) and all of a sudden my still 3 quarter child's body was a rush with hormones and sensations, that overwhelmed me with giddy delight and desire, I thought about my body and sexual activity constantly, I gave up on my notions of masturbating being immoral (well, at least a sizeable portion of them, that bull is hard to chuck out of your head), for me or anyone else, or of holding off from it, within about a week of first feeling the urge to do so. It was also when I discovered that I, having spent years standing up against homophobia expressed by classmates but always insisting I was straight, discovered that I really, really liked women too, and actually, anyone who wasn't too old, too young or anti-feminist. I gave up on gender roles at this time, adjusting to the changing body that was mine with a desire not to have it's shape be regarded as a generic symbol of my supposed feminine otherness.
My advice would be, always remember your body is yours, so there's no need to feel bad about masturbating or engaging in mutually consensual partnersex or about having periods or erections or acne, or if you don't get off from a particular kind of sexual activity, or do get off on a kind of sexual activity that everyone says that you wouldn't enjoy because of your sex or whatever, or if you don't ever want to be pregnant and take active steps to avoid becoming or remaining so, or about the size, colour, shape or weight of your body, also don't worry about your genital odour unless it indicates you have an infection according to a reputable medical textbook...
and read up using websites like this one, you don't have to put up with your parents foisting their hangups on you.
-------------------- Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see. Posts: 839 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008
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Although I'm 18, I think I'm pretty much done with puberty. I started out pretty early. I got my first bra when I got home from summer camp (a few girls already had them, so I felt a little immature but not too bad). I think I was nine or ten. At about fourteen or fifteen my doctor told me I wouldn't be getting any taller. That really bummed me out because, even though I'm 5'6, I never thought that was tall enough for an adult (my mom is 5'8 and my dad is 6'2). Also, my little sister is taller than me (5'9) and I have two younger brothers who will also likely be taller than me. I'm still pissed that I'm the oldest kid and I'm going to be the shortest! >:[
My period came a few months before my eleventh birthday. I didn't recognize it at first, because no one had really properly explained it (our first discussion in school literally came a few months later). I remember seeing discharge and thinking I was wetting my pants a bit or something, only to have my mother tell me it was completely normal. When I got my period a little later, I thought it was diarrhea at first (it was pretty brown). When I figured out what it was, I was shocked to find out that it wasn't going to last only one day! No, I had seven to nine day periods. I remember telling my best friend at the time, being all secretive and feeling like a woman because I could, technically, now get pregnant. I remember the horribly awkward discussion I had with my mother about sex after she learned I had my period. She asked me what I thought it was and, mortified, I said 'you put your butts together,' even though I knew a whole lot more than that.
I didn't start getting cramps until about six months later, but that was definitely the very worst part about having my period. By the time I was fifteen they'd gotten so bad I had to miss school the first and sometimes second day of my period. I would spend the whole day curled up in a ball next to the toilet (the pain was so bad it made me throw up sometimes) with a hot water bottle on my stomach. My doctor had me taking naproxen for a week before my period started, in the hopes that it would help my cramps (probably just helped me build up a tolerance...). I actually got to the point where I looked forward to menopause and sometimes I would think 'I would gladly give up my ability to have biological children if it meant I never have my period again' (I STILL think that sometimes...). Eventually, at sixteen, I just told my mother that she needed to put me on the pill (the same thing happened to her when she was younger, and the only solution was birth control pills).
I do remember feeling a lot of embarrassment about my period, probably because I got it fairly young. I tried to hide it as much as possible when I was at sleepovers and stuff until I got to high school. In my state in middle school we had required swimming classes and my mom wouldn't let me use tampons, so occasionally I had to deal with that. I also remember twice in a row being asked to go swimming by a friend, getting super excited, and then tearfully having to get my mom call her mom to tell her I couldn't because I'd forgotten I had my period.
But honestly? It got a lot, lot better. Once I got on birth control pills, my periods got infinitely less painful (now there's just the occasional abdominal twinge), and since I've been using them for ACTUAL birth control and making sure I take them on time, my periods have also been cut down to five or less days and are a whole lot lighter. Too, using tampons has made my periods so much easier because now I can exercise, or go swimming, or even just lie down without worrying about leaking everywhere.
Sorry this was so period-intensive, but that was really the major part of puberty for me, since it was such a pain in the butt!
Posts: 222 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2008
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