By Menopause Goddess, Lynette Sheppard
Early in my Menopause transition (euphemism for hellish maelstrom of horrifying hormonal events), so many things bothered me that I couldn’t keep count. As the preliminary WTF freakouts of perimenopause and volcanic upheavals of The Big M are now mostly in my rear view mirror, I realize that some irritants that used to upset me simply don’t any longer. And that’s a real blessing.
For example, I used to be confounded and annoyed by the backhanded compliment “You look good…for your age.” Now, heck, I’ll take any compliment I can get without overanalyzing it for nuance or even honesty. I’ll just focus on the “look good” part and thank the complimenter with sincere gratitude.
Being called ma’am initially was both disconcerting and horrifying. My mom is ma’am. And she just barely. I felt old and frumpy every time I was addressed in this fashion usually by someone only recently out of diapers, waiting on me in the store or bank.
But now, I gotta say, I’m okay with ma’am. You might say I’ve grown into it. Ma’am. Short for madam – now there’s a racy little thought. And when someone calls me “Miss”? I know they’re just sucking up or trying to sell me something. I no way qualify for “Miss” anymore. Another thing in my rear view mirror and I don’t really miss it.
I’ve heard some of my friends and sister goddesses over the years complain about being invisible. And I’ve certainly experienced that evanescence myself when a clerk looks right past me to wait on some hot young woman. “Hey!” I’d want to yell. “I”m right here taking up space. Service me – or at least wait on me.” (No I never did yell, I’d just clear my throat and say, “Excuse me, I believe I was here first.” Which either worked or didn’t.
However, now in my post menopausal incarnation, I find that I enjoy a certain anonymity, thanks to this decreasing visibility. I can slip in and out of places faster than a greased pig. Hawkers on the street miss giving me flyers. I love that.
And if I’m having a bad hair day? Or a fat day? Who cares? I’m invisible in the very best way and can just go about my business, carefree and happy. I don’t have an image to keep up. I’m ma’am now, remember?
No, I’m not letting myself go – just letting myself be. So much easier when you aren’t noticed that much anymore. Whew, what a relief. Forgetting things drove me absolutely stark staring mad in the beginning of my transition. Not so anymore. I’m used to it. I have workarounds to make my life work. I am the Queen of ritual and OCD in organizing stuff.
I just can’t trust my formerly prodigious memory any longer to pick up the slack. And honestly, I can’t get all worked up about it anymore. I exercise my brain as well as my body but neither are going to be in Olympic condition any time soon. Or ever. Hence the workarounds.
Lastly, not knowing the why of things sent me into an info gathering tailspin. Not all bad. I’ve learned (and shared) so much about the crazy Menopause journey through my incessant desire for understanding. And while I can learn and understand a lot, some things will remain incomprehensible. Maybe forever.
Like why I had hot flashes to the point of nausea and my friend Susan had nary a flush. Or why black cohosh works for some and not others. Or why I and others lose our hair while some women boast luxurious manes all their lives.
Overall, I’ve come to an acceptance that some things may never be clear. In a sense, I’m on a need-to-know basis – and apparently the great mystery has decided that I don’t really need to know. So be it.
Maybe the biggest change is this: I’m just going to enjoy the Mystery, however it plays out, whatever challenges or wonders await me ’round the next bend. That might be one of the secrets to aging gracefully. Maybe not. Then again, maybe.