Here I am getting older and wiser, or maybe just wiser. I’m just an average fish, swimming alongside the rest of you. I had heard some things, mostly scary stuff about growing older as a female. There is a plethora of information out there, charts and graphs, statistics and studies – all doing their best to explain exactly wtf goes on before, during and after the looming “Menny-P”. It all looks horrible, nothing any sane individual would sign up for. On top of that crap, there seems to be a shitload of shame surrounding this most transformative time in mid-life. Yes, shame for having an aging body. WTF. So I am beginning to dip my toe into this middle aged black hole…
My body is freaking out just a little. I usually feel pretty agile and thin – even though I’m 20 pounds more than ideal. But these strange sensations tho. Like being pregnant all over again. Yes, this is it. An abdomen that’s bloated for no reason. Less of a “looking” big than a feeling of literally, a stuffed sausage that has overstepped its casing boundary – huge. Waking up distended, going to bed still large. Expanding inside and no matter what you do, the feeling of hugeness it still there with you to lug around on hot June afternoons.
Clothes don’t feel right. Elastic waistbands are blissful. Nothing without give. Nothing constricting. Great theory….but brand new problem – underwear and waistbands roll down when you bend. Well, isn’t that fucking grand? Nakedness works but is frowned upon by the police. So here I am, just feeling enormous. From sternum to pelvic bone, completely disturbed. Uterus, ovaries, cortisol pumping, dancing, singing their ritualistic, ancient songs. Oooo, here comes my period, nope, just kidding. Here it is, nope, note this time either. Cramping, bloating, feeling – pull the covers up to your nose – gross. Abdomen and pelvis working overtime to figure out the hormonal changes and bring me back to homeostasis.
Well, hurry the fuck up. Then there’s the mental fog – sometimes it feels like just too much to figure shit out. Should I wear clothes today? lol I try and combat that and take on the ever popular addiction -coffee- So now I still realize that I can’t/don’t want to figure shit out and I realize that FASTER. Funny, but not terribly helpful. Caffeine welcomes back an old friend, Anxiety. (I refer to it as a friend just so it knows it’s time with me is limited and it’s not staying, shhhhh, pinky swear?)
So I’m bloated, foggy and anxious. DELICIOUSLY attractive no doubt. Anxious because I know I should be doing much more daily. But what was I supposed to be doing and why was it important and why am I thinking about this anyway? lol Round and round I go, my roly-poly, cobwebby, agitated self. It’s got to get better, right? Well, yes, I’m glad you asked. Some days, my hormones take a break and I feel like “me” again and I should celebrate the shit out of those days. Party! My stomach flattens, I’m so sharp mentally and calm, peaceful and grounded. Bliss
And then, Menopause speaks again. This time it’s my thighs and my hips. Exhausted is the word. Absolutely not a drop of stamina for climbing stairs, walking uphill, riding a bike. I’d rather lie in traffic. Seriously, I could just drop to the ground and give up. GIVE UP????? I
was (still am) in good shape, always was. Kick boxing, boot camp, weights, cardio, you name it, I was down. This FATIGUE bullshit is not me, at all. Suddenly I feel antiquated – Good God, not that.
And Christ, is it hot in here? Haha. Seriously tho – the fluctuations, only at night (thank God) are enough to drive you nuts. Blankets on blankets off. Bundled up, then naked. Don’t touch me, then keep me warm. Bloated, sweaty, agitated – How sexy am I? (don’t answer that) Morning arrives to greet your wet, mental fog… who’s popping up out of bed to start the cheerful day? NOT ME. I roll over onto a dry spot on the sheets, back of my hair wet, clothes damp. Oh, that reminds me… who doesn’t want to make this all go away? – don’t, whatever you do, think you’re going to add alcohol to a hot mess such as this -in an attempt to improve the situation. I think not – Exacerbation city!!! It’ll make Menopause symptoms look like a picnic.
I start thinking – This is some dumb shit, really asinine. Everyday, heading into your late 40’s and early 50’s, if you are not “in touch” with your body and listen to what it needs, then Menopause is going to roll you. Ever meet Flat Stanley? you will. Blindsided by a hormonal steamroller is what you’ll be. I’m late to the party with all of this so I’ve had longer than the average Joe, to get my mental shit together so I wouldn’t enter into this milestone already a hot mess. I wonder how many women start with these symptoms and run to the Dr. thinking they’ve got early dementia, chronic fatigue, fibromialgia, heart problems, thyroid issues… seriously!
You may want to punish your body for not functioning at 100%, I get it. Common I suppose. I seriously started to think something was REALLY wrong with me until I was able to put the pieces together. Menopause is different for every woman but there are some common strands. Instead of getting angry with the temporary upheaval – I will treat my body/mind like I would an old friend and show compassion, patience and understanding. Just because I accept the ridiculousness that is upon me does not mean it is here to stay.
So today, I rest when I can and care for myself. Enjoying the nurturing only I can give my changing, maturing body. I push a little with exercise, mostly gardening, loading rocks, digging holes, running the wheelbarrow up my steep embankment, easy shit like this, ha. All the while cognizant of what my body will agree to that day. Resting when I need to, connecting with the earth energy and the support of the heavens. Stopping to observe the changes in my body and not fighting them but accepting the wisdom they bring.
Whatever needs doing these days….I may show up foggy, bloated, sweaty and anxious. And I will not make this a problem. I got this.