I briefly mentioned Menopausal Tourette’s in the January 15th blog entry "Things Got Hairy, Then They Didn’t." Judging from the comments and mail I received, it would seem that this menopause symptom has afflicted a number of my sister goddesses.
We all have an internal censor that most of the time keeps us from saying stupid, hurtful, or outrageous things in social situations. Sure, we THINK these things all the time – thoughts like "Wearing that color green makes you look like you have hepatitis" or "Is that your wife or your daughter?" or "You are boring the crap out of me right now."
Your "censor" is like a little imaginary person who keeps you from making a total ass of yourself. However you imagine your censor in your mind (mine wears pinstriped suits and sensible shoes), she is responsible for rephrasing inappropriate thoughts into words fit for human consumption. She’s your very own Miss Manners. She also is in charge of helping your facial muscles reflect, if not interest, concern, or delight in the appropriate situations, then at least impassiveness, so that all your thoughts of horror, disgust, or impatience aren’t visible for all the world to see.
Come menopause, however, all bets are off. Something terrible happens to our internal censor. She loses her ability to help us be mannerly, polite, and kind. Clearly, she is hormone dependent and now she is worse than useless. I find myself blurting out inappropriate comments faster than a manic Tourette’s sufferer. And the excuse "oh sorry, it’s just my hormones today" doesn’t cut the mustard.
More than once, in the middle of some endless, circuitous, waste-of-time meeting or appalling display by an acquaintance, Rae-Venus has had to whisper in my ear "Do something with your face – you look disgusted."
Without the help of my censor, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut longer before responding, nodding sagely in order to make sure I don’t blurt out the first thought that comes to mind. While this has helped in many ways, it also tends to make me look like a middle aged bobber doll. (Material adapted from our upcoming book "Venus Comes of Age: The Wit and Wisdom of Menopausal Goddesses".)