A Case of The Menoblahs

Menopause is not a disease, but it sure feels like one sometimes. One with no end in sight. Today, I have the "menoblahs", a sort of undefinable lethargy that has struck all of us goddesses at one time or another. We joke about taking short personal vacations in the tropics (hot flashes), however it’s less humorous when you actually live in the tropics! And working on this book, it seems that my life revolves around the Change and the changes it has wrought. But I know that this is NORMAL and I know that this too shall pass. Most important, I know that I’m not alone; that my sister goddesses offer support, understanding, and chocolate when they are most needed.
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The Heat is On – And We Can?t Turn It Off

PMS. The bloating, the cramping, headaches and irritability – who could have known that it was the barest hint of what was to come?? Who imagined that we could and would feel so so so much worse? Hot flashes may be the most intense of physical changes symptomatic of the Change. When your body temperature goes from 98.6 to 3098.6 in the space of a heartbeat, your attention becomes solely fixated on that HEAT! No matter what clever euphemism is chosen to describe these incendiary bursts: power surge, short personal trip to the tropics and the like, the fact remains that they peg the discomfort needle well into the red zone.

The word "Flash" is actually a misnomer except in relating the intensity and speed of onset. It can be likened to a strike of a lightning bolt. Flash conjures up images of "short", "burst", "over with quickly". But alas, that is rarely the case. A flash can last 5-15 minutes, or more for some of us. A menopausal theory of relativity applies here. (As so much with womanly experience, this is scientifically unproven, but anecdotally FACT. Just ask a group of midlife women.) As we approach the heat of light, time slows down and that five minute hot flash seems like a blazing eternity. Telling us to go to hell is an empty threat. Been there, done that.

Our Goddess group ultimately have agreed that the next person who tells us that they think of hot flashes as wonderful ‘power surges’ gets the full brunt of our fury. Power surges are a serious hazard. Ask any electrician. We need industrial strengh surge protectors – we are frying our circuits!

(excerpted from the upcoming book by and about the Goddesses.)

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Hitting the Pause Button (Menopause Button, That Is)

Just about the time that ‘miss’ became ‘ma’am’ and compliments took a backhanded turn, (gee, you look good…….for your age), Menopause burst through the door like an unwanted guest. As it turned out, big M had come for an extended stay.

She is not a low maintenance, easy-to-be-with visitor. On the contrary, she has been intrusive as hell. She fully disrupted my life and that of my spouse. The only good news? Her sisters were moving in with my girlfriends.

So a group of us would-be goddess girlfriends have bonded together, trying to find a way to deal with the new guest taking up residence in every facet of our lives. Meeting for the last 3+ years, we’ve laughed, cried, cursed, and celebrated. We needed sanctuary from the profusion and confusion of information flooding bookshelves, media, and the web. Wisdom is what we sought. Real women sharing experience, sister to trusted sister, has helped us make some sense of the changes, and allowed for an uneasy truce with Big M. And now we are reaching out to expand our community of midlife goddesses through this blog, because the most important thing we’ve learned is that WE CANNOT DO THIS ALONE! (Soon to come: a book of our adventures confronting not only menopause, but midlife and beyond. Stay tuned.)

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A New Kind of Goddess

Why Menopausal Goddesses? Well, our core group of midlife "sisters" decided that we were certainly becoming ‘something’ with all the changes besieging us at this time of life. Werewoman felt like a possibility; some of the changes so altered our physical, mental, and emotional makeup. In the long run though, that image didn’t appeal to us, so we decided with our tongues stuck to the inner lining of our cheeks that we were becoming a new kind of goddess. Not fertile, not lissome and youthful, certainly not a siren for the male species. We were Menopausal Goddesses.

Since there didn’t appear to be a model for this new goddess, it seemed we’d have to make up our own rendering. As official Scribe for the Goddesses, I was assigned the task of honing in on the description of who we were becoming.

I found the word goddess in the dictionary situated between goblin and godsend, pretty much how I feel about myself these days. There were three definitions to ponder:

1. female deity or god – that certainly didn’t fit.
2. A woman of extraordinary beauty and charm – well maybe…….
3. A greatly admired or adored woman – hmmmmmmm

My desire is to be goddess # 3 – admired and adored, primarily by the one person whose affections I haven’t sought: ME. This may be the one of the biggest changes of menopause and midlife: a switch from a primarily external focus on others to one which begins to create a new and significant relationship – with ourselves. Embarking on this new relationship will likely be equal parts exciting, challenging, and scary. But like the rest of this journey, it probably won’t be dull!

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Shades of Gray – Aging Gracefully

"I’d just like to age gracefully," so many women I know have said. What exactly do we mean by that? Does it mean being completely ‘natural’, leaving our hair uncolored when it loses its pigment? The Menopausal Goddesses discussed ‘shades of gray’ hair in one of our meetings. We realized that while most women we knew (including ourselves) waxed rhapsodic about the beauty of allowing our hair to go gray as a sign of graceful aging, these same women all colored their hair. When queried why, they responded that silvery, moonlight hair is beautiful, yet so many of them/us ended up with a muddy or yellowish gray. And that’s a color that we just don’t want to see in the mirror looking back at us!

Does aging gracefully mean celebrating our wrinkles, without intervention? Well, hardly. We run the gamut from merely tolerating them to trying to smooth them out with creams, emollients, injections, or lifts.

Upon reflection, maybe aging gracefully simply means being comfortable in our own skin, whether wrinkled or smooth. Perhaps aging is graceful when you like yourself enough that you’d enjoy having yourself as a friend.

Unafraid, unashamed, unapologetic – most of the time anyway. For the other times, we have our girlfriends to help us through.

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