I am lying in bed, almost asleep. It starts; the heat creeps up my body from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. This isn’t a flash this is a tsunami! In minutes I am drenched or dripping, uncomfortable and irritable.
I am at a party. I’ve just been introduced to someone new. Polite conversations begins, I sip my wine and suddenly, I am wiping my brow, the back of my neck is dripping and I find myself fanning myself with a cocktail napkin and apologizing embarrassedly.
I am at the store. As I check out, I am convinced that the salesman thinks I am stealing because, out of nowhere, I turn bright pink and start to drip.
Menopause, the gift that keeps on giving! I don’t know when it will end, no one does. The cures are often riskier than the symptoms. And if the hot flashes aren’t enough, there are all of the other “changes” that come with the end of Menses.
I look in the mirror and notice I have my mother’s knees. The skin sags. I recently noticed jowl-like droops on my face. Out of nowhere, the eight (yes) pounds I gained over the holidays settles in my belly, when it used to distribute all over. My skin is suddenly dry where it used to be supple!
Honestly are these the badges of honor bestowed on me for being a woman? This is not some fun secret club or sorority; this is awful! When we run into folks that we haven’t seen a while, I constantly hear how distinguished my husband looks with grey hair. On the other hand, I try to hide my roots until my next color. I had to buy a dress recently. Designers are deliberately shortening the lengths to remind me I no longer have the legs of a 30 or even 40 year old.
I am not disturbed that I am aging. I look at my daughters and feel pride that that we (have to give the husband credit) have raised such smart, self-sufficient, wonderful women. It took work to have them and raise them. The stretch marks from their pregnancies (not the ones from weight gain-how do you tell?) are sort of like proof that long ago, I incubated and nurtured these beings to life. But, let’s face it, we finally reach the pinnacle of female success. We have raised kids, nurtured careers, saved for that retirement (one, all or none, you pick) and this is when my body starts to shortchange me?
I remember the horror/excitement of getting my period. I was thirteen. The only ‘drag’ was ‘equipment (Remember pads and belts?). To be honest, I was looking forward to Menopause. No more periods, no more birth control, no more elasticity in my skin!
Enough, I say! I can no longer stand to look in the mirror and see only what has changed with age. I must find a better way. I need to start to see the ‘wisdom’ in my jowls, the knowledge in my under eye circles, and the miles tread on my thighs and knees.
I will embrace my body and it’s changes, rather than it’s flaws. At least, that’s what I’ll do today!
One day at a time!