a feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness: I turned red with embarrassment.
So here I was, travelling throughout Central America as a tour guide, taking groups of young adults throughout Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama on backpacker style trips. One of these days, on one of these trips, we went on a catamaran booze cruise in Gigante Bay, Nicaragua. Captain John (who is a beautiful, tall, dark and handsome man with the beard of a pirate and the body of a god) is a man who supports all the fun activities on board and on the beaches and is straight up - just a gem of a human to spend time around.
But naturally, Captain John being the dreamboat that he is, makes any girl excited to be on board and brings out the high-school butterflies in your tummy anytime he looks your way. So after being on the water with him for a few hours, having a few drinks and catching up on the past few weeks, I’m just all caught up in his stories. Leaning on one of the ropes as we’re in the middle of a conversation (thinking I’m looking super cute in my bikini) when all of a sudden I feel the slightest tickle between my thighs. I thought to myself “huh that’s a strange feeling” and didn’t really pay it much attention after brushing the area with my hands and not feeling anything.
A moment later, Captain John just kind of looks down at my legs, back up to my eyes and in the most nonchalantly unbothered way says: Uhm, MJ? Your tampon string is hanging out and flying all over the place.
Needless to say, I paid more attention to that tickle between my thighs instead of a slight brush of the hand after that comment.
I ran to the bathroom with a loud laugh and a “be right back!” and fixed myself accordingly so I was able to resume my public bikini appearance. Walking back out to the upper deck, brushing the hair out of my face with another laugh stating “well, there’s a first time for everything!”.
As the afternoon went on, more pirate rum punch was consumed and more laughs were had. We made our way over to this beautiful beach where we floated along the shoreline, played some beersbee and jumped from a few cliffs. After we had spent some time enjoying the beach and cliffs, we decided to swim back out to the catamaran and move onwards in our adventure.
Sitting on the top of the back steps of the catamaran laughing with Captain John who was standing at the bottom step in front of me, it was one of those deep laughs where you feel a little gush followed by a sheere moment of panic where you usually waddle to the washroom as fast as possible -- ladies, you know the moments I’m talking about. I did sighed with an inward “oh no” and looked down. Captain John’s eyes followed mine and we both witnessed the scene unfolding before us.
Being on a white boat... that red looked all the brighter as it flowed from where I was sitting, in what seemed like a colossal unceasing rush from the top step and streaming all the way down to where Captain John was standing. Washing around his feet and being taken out into the open ocean with each wave that crashed on the bottom stoop over his feet.
What else could I do at this point but cover my face and laugh out loud? I won’t say I was completely embarrassed, but I’ll definitely say it was one of those moments that solidified this friendship and really made me realize how amazing of a man Captain John is. He laughed and just kind of shrugged and said “whatever girl, it’s a natural part of life, you’re all good” and didn’t seem phased at all that my Aunt Flo was splashing all over his feet.
So as a gentleman would, he put his hand on my shoulder in a consoling kind of way as he walked past me and said “I’ll grab one of your girlfriends to help ya out so you don’t have to walk through the boat and pass everyone” and tried to protect my dignity so all the guys on the boat wouldn’t be witness to this bloody massacre happening on the back of the boat.
One of my girls came over, had a solid laugh with a few oh poor you’s in there and went and grabbed me a new tampon. And as classily as I could have possibly been, I had to make the change there - on the back of the boat, on the bottom step - when all of a sudden, as my luck of the day was going… a big, beautiful boat pulls up next to us and of course - everyone on that boat is waving at us... and NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING is left to the imagination at this point for these poor souls.
Me, sitting on the back of our boat, in the process of the lady product exchange, trying to figure out what I’m doing with the old one and how I’m using the new one without getting it soaked from the ocean waves prior to insertion, with a look of what I’m sure was complete confusion at this point when this boat full of random humans zips past and gets full view of my efforts.
Oh, and have I mentioned yet that I’m also completely topless this entire time?
There ya go. Full visual for you right there. You’re welcome.
But alas, as the sunlight was dwindling into a beautiful night sky, everyone was back on the boat, and I wasn’t bleeding all over the place anymore… the need to get back to Gigante Bay to anchor the catamaran and say goodbye to beautiful Captain John became the moment that was happening.
After we returned and I left with my group - Captain John pulled me into a big hug (one of the really great ones) and said with such sincerity “don’t ever change MJ” and I returned that with a “same to you Captain John”.
He really showed me that day, that even though I thought I should have been embarrassed and I wasn’t, no female should ever be made to feel ashamed about something their body does naturally and they can’t overly control. He was so downright respectful and unbothered by what almost every other guy gets squeamish and squirmish about - periods and tampons.
I should have been so embarrassed on so many levels, but I really wasn’t. I’m comfortable with who I am, comfortable with my body, comfortable with the things my body does (granted it’s not always the most convenient at certain moments) and because I’m comfortable with all of that - I really want to show others (men and women) that there’s nothing wrong with any of it.
Although Captain John was wonderful and helped me not have to walk in front of everyone while this fiasco was happening, it was definitely something I ran back to the group telling as soon as I was able to. Tears streaming down my face and a new drink in my hand, and made a toast to living life at the end of story time.
All in all, that day was so much fun and full of so many little moments. Moments that most will find cringe worthy, moments that most will find painful to hear about and moments that should have been utterly embarrassing - but all of the moments from that day, are moments that I will never forget or smile about anytime I think of them. For as long as I live.
Love yourself, love your moments, laugh with it all.