Two months ago I went to the lady doctor for my yearly check up. I had been experiencing some symptoms so I told her about them. I had (obviously) googled the symptoms and self diagnosed myself with Ebola but I figured I should check with a professional just in case. This bitch looked at me and said “oh…you’ve entered menopause”. To which I said “uummmm WHAT” then turned around to see why she was speaking to my Mom who clearly wasn’t there (sorry Karen). I’d like to say I handled the news well. Id like to say I was mature about it. Id like to say I didn’t cuss at my doctor……I’d also like my little boobs to be 3 inches north of where they are now….but…..life aint all roses and rainbows.
Im about to tell you a story that is literally TMI. Turn away. Stop reading. If you ever wanted to look at me with dignity again please.
Ok when I was 13 years old at North Carrollton Junior High on Valentines Day of 1985 I started my period. In white pants. Yes. Im serious. I went to the nurse’s office and she started calling my Mom (who was in college classes at the time), my Dad (who was on the road as a truck driver), and then…..my Nanny (who was at work at the library). But guess who answered? Yep- my grandfather. He’d recently retired as an air traffic controller at DFW. He answered questions “affirmative” or “negative”. He had a bumper sticker that said “Burn the judges, save the flag”. He was ex military. And as I sat on that chair in someone else’s too big gym shorts (a donation to the clothing bin for kids who had “accidents”) I heard the nurse say “Ok Mr. Ellis we will see you soon.” And I felt my entire body crawl into a fetal position and just want to disappear. I hated my Mom for being in college at that moment. I hated my Dad for being on the road. I hated my Nanny for working. And I hated God for making me a girl.
Pawpa was amazing. He took me home. He asked very few questions. He told me to take aspirin and get a heating pad. And we never spoke of this again. EVER. Good man. Im sure he has some deep secret military secrets buried with him. None of those were as important as this one.
The second my doctor told me I was entering menopause I had a flashback to that day I started my period for the first time. It seems like a million years ago. A different lifetime. And yet it seems like yesterday. I finished having children at age 29. I have wanted my monthly cycle to go away ever since then. But like clockwork…every 25 days she showed up. Proving I was still female. Still able to get pregnant. Still fertile. Still bitchy. I’d done NOTHING but wish her away for years. And now my doctor tells me that time is coming. And Im sitting with that news. And not really sure how I feel.
Dont get me wrong- Im elated about the good side of this. No worries about planning vacations, cramps, packing Midol and lady products.
On the other hand- my memories on FB keep popping up and 2 years ago this week I was in INCREDIBLE shape. I was eating whatever the fuck I really wanted, working out a LOT and feeling great. My body does not look like that today. It was one of the first symptoms I noticed- weight gain. I was still working out a lot but my body wasn’t really responding the same. I can’t really sleep all night some weeks. I sweat…at night…a LOT! Im extremely moody (fuck off yes there’s a difference). I have these strange headaches I never had before. I have awful vertigo at times. And a list of other pretty unpleasant symptoms. But its not cancer. Its not Brain Rot. Its not anything severe. Its fucking menopause. I was 44 and looked good and felt good and slept well and had muscle definition and one day I woke up and didn’t.
I do have mixed feelings about all of this. The support group I joined has been amazing. You feel so “normal” when you realize other women are going through the same things. I miss my taught skin, my toned muscles, my lack of serial killer type mood swings, my ability to eat whatever the hell I want. But my tubes were tied 16 years ago. Ive known I couldn’t have kids anymore for a long time. So Im not really mourning the loss of that idea. Im not sure WHAT Im mourning. Or if Im mourning.
Honestly- today I feel like celebrating. The doctor told me menopause might last 5-8 years. Awesome. Im sure Dude is thrilled. Great timing there buddy. But there is just something about getting older I really like. Its not the wrinkly skin, age spots, cellulite, or vision loss. Its honestly nothing physical. Its truly a feeling. I feel so much more peaceful, settled, comfortable with my self, lack of caring what others think. I have less desire for things. In fact, I know less is more. I appreciate my kids as the people they are. Im learning to forgive myself ;). Im learning about love and happiness and letting go and being who I was meant to be and I wear my Nanny’s pearls with jeans and boots and I wear crazy leggings and I dont wash my hair for a week at a time and I don’t feel bad saying NO. All of that comes with age. There’s things I KNOW now that I couldn’t know at 25, 35 or even 40.
45 is technically a tad young to enter menopause according to statistics. But Ive never really been one to follow the rules anyway. Im sure there will be days I cry, feel old, look old, can’t workout as hard, and NOTICE this aging process. And thats ok. I look at this as just another reminder to LIVE. Buy the shoes, eat the cake, travel the world, climb the mountain, zipline the Gorge, write the book, and say YES. I reserve the right to change my mind about all of this tomorrow and HATE life, my body, my mood, my age, my weight gain, etc. But for today- I am happy. Im currently planning my summer trips which include but are not limited to camping/rock climbing/biking through Moab in May, Indianapolis and girls week in June, possibly a trek through Ouray, a backpacking trip through Wyoming and a ton of other little mini trips.
I am not the same girl I was on Valentine’s Day 1985. Im not the same girl I was on July 6, 2000 and March 7, 2002. Im not the same girl I was when I left Texas 5 years ago. Im not the same girl I was yesterday. I guess now I get to say “woman”. I think Ive earned that.
Grab the adventure by the testicles and GO. GO! And don’t stop. We all are very different in many many ways. But theres one thing we all have in common. You are older today than you were yesterday. And tomorrow is coming……fast. Time is a bitch man…she doesn’t discriminate. So buy the shoes, eat the cake, climb the mountain, backpack across the country, buy the land, build the house, pet the alpaca. And do it NOW.
I’ll CHOOSE to embrace this beautiful change in me. I’ll choose to celebrate that I GET to be a woman. That I GET to wake up each day. That I GET to do the things I want to do. And if that doesn’t pan out….I’ll eat an entire chocolate cake and start again tomorrow.