Relax, it's really not that bad! Sure it hurts a little, you will experience cramping in your abdomen and sometimes your vagina will be sore. But it's nothing to be scared of. The first time is a little weird, but just take some ibuprofen
Pads aren't that bad, but seriously, I used pads for YEARS until I discovered the blessing that is tampons. I know it seems weird to use them, but if you use them correctly they are wonderful!! You never worry about your pad being uncomfortable... and it is a little gross to have the pad with your blood on it sitting against you. Just practice with the tampons and you'll get the hang of it. You'll know you have it right when you can't feel the tampon, but you can still see the string hanging out. And don't ever leave it in for more than the recommended amount of time (about 6 hours).