As an adult, the confusion and horror of puberty is a part of the distant past, thank goodness.
But for one young woman, those strange days continue to be a regular topic of discussion.
Believe it or not, she'd rather that wasn't the case.
Redditor stewiebooie is a woman at the end of her rope. She has an admittedly caring mother that delights in nostalgia and enjoys a good laugh about the old days. For stewiebooie, some tongue-and-cheek humor is all well and good. But a problem arose when her mom latched on to one old story in particular.
The repeated roasting produced some mounting frustration. What began harmlessly grew into a larger and larger sticking point.
So large, in fact, that stewiebooie turned to Reddit for guidance. She posted on the "Am I the A**hole?" subReddit, the place where past behavior is placed under the internet community's microscopic. In the AITA world, moral judgments abound under the posted anecdote, the culpable parties are identified and the innocent ones are reassured.
stewiebooie, a forward-thinker, posted her story before making any move. She brought the Reddit community up to speed, explained what she'd like to do about her problem, and in a less frequent modification to the age-old question, asked, "Would I Be the A**hole (WIBTA)?"
The post begins with whiplash, the backstory coming hot on the heels of a generous disclaimer.
"Let me preface this by saying that while this story might paint my mother in a bad light, she did have flaws but was also a very supportive and good mom."
"I'm 24 now. My mom loves to tell embarrassing stories from my childhood to people. I don't mind most of them but there is one in particular that really makes me angry every time she tells it because of the backstory."
"I was probably 12/13 and near puberty, my mom was always very open about the changes I would be soon experiencing and bought me everything I needed for when the day came. I was nervous about it but not really embarrassed."
Positive puberty vibes established, things looked good.
Until a phone call disrupted the peace.
"My mom had a shower with a clear glass door that I would use because it was a lot nicer than mine."
"One day she's in the shower and her phone rings and it's her boyfriend. He was nice and at that point I had met him a few times and liked him. From the shower, she says go ahead and answer and say hello."
"As I go to answer the phone stops ringing so I unlock it and it opens to the screen of text messages with her and her bf. The most recent text is her saying that she had seen me getting out of the shower and due to the development of some hair in that region, she thinks I'll be getting my period soon. And she ends it with, 'Ugh. Not ready for that.' "
Horrified embarrassment set in immediately.
"I was f*cking humiliated that she would discuss that with anyone, let alone her boyfriend who I had met a few times."
"Her bf did end up becoming my step dad and he is a good man, so I don't want to paint this in a super creepy manner, I think she was just venting? Idk but regardless it was f*cked up in my opinion."
The event caused some very real trust issues that directly impacted how the actual onset was dealt with.
"I don't know if it's normal for parents to talk about their kids like that to people. My stepdad does have children, two girls and 1 boy. One of the girls is in the same age range as me."
"After this I became very secretive and eventually when I did get my first period, I hid it. For as long as I could. Just because I was embarrassed and didn't want her to tell everyone."
"She ended up finding out I got it about three months after and flipped her shit that I hid it from her but she didn't know why because I never told her I saw what she texted about me."
But the past is the past, after all, right?
Not for stewiebooie, who found herself as directionless as she was angry.
It was that uncomfortable mixture that brought her to Reddit.
"Now for whatever reason she thinks it's a funny story to tell to people. She told my boyfriend (now fiancé) and I ended up telling him the story behind it afterwards and he was shocked."
"I'm not embarrassed by periods and puberty now OBVIOUSLY but it hurts every time she mentions the story."
"WIBTA If next time she says it, no matter who is around, I say, 'Well maybe if I wouldn't have caught you texting your bf about me getting pubes for the first time I wouldn't have been so humiliated.' I think this will really make her upset but also feel like it needs to be said."
"Also, let me know if I'm overreacting about what she texted."
Most Redditors in the thread threw their full sympathy behind the narrator's discomfort and anger about hearing the story so much, and so publicly.
These comments routinely began with "NTA," short for "Not the A**hole."
"NTA. Honestly it's fine for her to tell her boyfriend if he's someone she trusts, as long as she makes sure you don't see that message. But she's so TA for continuing to bring it up. So yeah 100% NTA" -- Aleximo27
"NTA Duuuuude, who discusses their kid's pubes with another adult?" -- PuffyPinkCow1
"NTA. God, that was so disgusting and creepy of her to talk to her guy about your pubic hairs, it's beyond words. I don't even know if you fully realize how sick this was." -- Korlat_Eleint
But for many, the support came with a caveat.
They advocated a different approach to confronting her mom.
"NTA, but I would say it would be better to bring it up in a more direct fashion without bystanders. Say, 'I really don't like you telling that story and it hurts every time you do. The reason is because of why I was hiding it," and then explain the story."
"That way neither of you are humiliated but your mother does not continue to hurt you by telling it." -- poillord
"I'm sorry that your mom did that to you and I can understand from experience how embarrassing it must feel for you, but she obviously doesn't realize the extent to which she is affecting you."
"To purposely humiliate her without first having a talk with her to get her to understand why she's embarrassing you would be an [a**hole] move and pretty childish. You are 24 just as I am, so we are both old enough to realize this."
"If you talk to her and she refuses to stop, then do with that what you will." -- milkywaes
"This is a conversation you need to have with her now, and in private. Tell her that your feelings are hurt when she tells that story, and why. Ask her to stop telling it."
"If she tells it again, leave. Remove yourself from the situation so that she, and everyone in her presence, learns that you really don't like her telling that story. This ought to work without making you the [a**hole]." -- DIADAMS
"I hate hate hate how some parents will share personal details about their kids with pretty much anyone who will listen."
"But humiliating her is not the way to go. Sit her down and explain to her how it's 100% not okay to tell that story. And yeah, tell her that if she tells the story again you're going to speak up. At that point, if you do have to speak up, she's brought the embarrassment into herself." -- relinquishthedonuts
Others offered solace in a different way with some horror stories of their own.
"NTA. Been there. The SAME DAY I got my period my mom told family and neighbors. Followed by several weeks of "welcome to womanhood" comments. Still makes me cringe to this day." -- MyOhMyItsTY
"NTA. Had a similar situation, got my period and hid it from my mom because she was ALWAYS telling ALL my family EVERYTHING because she was a gossip like that. I'm not that embarrassed anymore, but at the time I got a lot of locker room bullying for that mess."
"Managed to hide it for almost two years, had to throw out a lot of bloody clothes because she hadn't taught me anything because she didn't think it mattered yet." -- RadiantCutCTs
"NTA - When I was young, I started getting hair down there. I asked my dad about it, who I lived with and was not very open about puberty... I was probably around 12 years old and am a guy btw."
"Anyways, that day we went to my uncle's house. In front of everyone, including my cousins, he and my uncle started calling me 'bushboy.' I was more than embarrassed."
"After that, I really didn't ever bring up personal things with my dad. He broke that trust." -- d1g_n1nga
After taking those comments in, stewiebooie responded to several Redditors' pleas for clarification.
"When she goes in to the story, I would usually just keep my mouth shut and try to change the subject. The most recent time I told her as she was beginning that I did not want her telling this story again, and when she continued I told her to stop, and she continued."
"However, I have never sat her down and told her the details mentioned in my post."
She then went on to share her plan for confronting her mom and threw in a little tenderness to close it out.
"Seems the best course of action is, like most of you suggested, to just have this convo with her one on one. Maybe I was feeling a little bitter and just wanted to embarrass her like she has me time and time again."
"Point is I love my mom regardless of her flaws and handling it this way would do nothing but cause hurt and more anger. Thanks everyone."
Evidently, a Reddit thread can have positive, direct impact on at least a couple of people's lives. Pour one out for the internet, people.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the WIBTA link below.*