Fortunately for me, my mother concentrated all of the awkwardness of teaching me about sex and puberty into one painfully detailed Q and A at home, complete with book and pictures, about three or four years before I had to go through sex education at school. I learned all about the changes and the cramps and the hair and the hormones in advance. I knew what to expect and was prepared when my body began to mutate into Teen Wolf’s pimply girl twin.
But neither my mother nor my school warned me about puberty sequels. I had to go through that trauma on my own.
They did not teach me that contrary to popular belief, puberty is not a finite one-time horror that ends when you think it ends. Rather it is a continuous process, revealing horror after new horror in a gradual yet abrupt manner. I was so ignorant to the existence of puberty sequels that I when I hit Second Puberty, I didn’t even recognize it as such. In my first three months of living in the dorms at university, I gained 21 pounds. I attributed this to the cafeteria food, not realizing that it was a permanent change in my body size. I had to get rid of the loose “comfy pants” that I allocated to long airplane trips when I wanted to lounge in something baggy because I could not zip them shut. These days, they wouldn’t go over my thighs.
Around Third or Fourth Puberty, I began to realize the existence of puberty sequels. I never lost the weight that I put on, but I did face more horizontal growth spurts indicating that my body is striving to eventually be spherical. I used to be able to wear long sleeves. Now I can’t handle anything more than a bustier, and since I won’t wear that in public, I just resort to sweating profusely. The unexplained weight, new sites for hair growth, body temperature fluctuations, all seem to introduce themselves in the same imposing way the first gray hair in your junk will show up and say “hello!”
When I reach the point that my nose hair is as long as my ear hair, I will not have my parents or education to thank for warning me that before death, physical human existence is basically just a forward-hurtling race toward becoming a decrepit bearded lady version of Cousin It with a thinning gray perm. And if no one warned you, well, you read it here first.
*Altered photo originally from Do Not Feed the DJ.