My mother used to call it ‘the curse’ when referring to periods, but she didn’t go into specific details about why—thank God for small mercies. The sheer inconvenience of having periods bothered me more than moodiness or cramping. Not saying I wasn’t moody—but perhaps didn’t take the time to make a logical connection to monthly hormonal changes. However, the blissful part of getting the monthly visitor was the aura connected to being amongst the fertile of my gender. The period introduced me to a reproductive phase of my life, and with it the novel idea that I was a sexual creature: more than a mere collection of random body parts.
After enjoying/enduring approximately 35 years of fertility, one would assume that I’d be ready and prepared for the next phase of my life: menopause. Negative. I don’t know how long I was in denial—blaming my hot flashes on the latest heat wave or a faulty thermostat. Not keeping track of period dates—or lack thereof—had never been part of my routine; I wouldn’t miss it if it didn’t pitch up.
Besides the hot flashes, women get to go into even sharper mood swings, insomnia, the skin loses its elasticity, and of course, the loss of fertility. It’s not as if—single and 45—that I was ripe for pregnancy. It was rather the dull realization that not only was I once again just a collection of ‘random body parts’–but wrinkled, deteriorating tissue. Yep, acceptance of being OLD was difficult. During menopause, not only was my mirror a daily reminder of the aging process, but just in case I forgot—WHAM! Have a hot flash!
Someone close to me asked why I couldn’t grow old gracefully—and give up on denial, anger and ineffectual rebellion. The quality of grace has eluded me my whole life: how would I become a graceful geriatric? What, enroll in charm school?
So, how is being post menopausal working for me? I continue to make short term and long term goals for health and happiness; don’t ever give up on aims and dreams. Accept cottage cheesey flesh. And I’ve got three words for the reflection in my mirror: cream, concealer, and colour.
[Img.Src: Susan B. Anthony, 1898]