Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rebelling Against Time

"You are never going to believe why I'm here," I told the nurse who came into my room at the doctor's office. "I think I'm going through menopause stuff! I mean isn't that crazy?" 

The nurse did not look shocked, not shocked at all. She smiled kindly, nodded and then typed something into her computer. "The doctor will be in to see you soon," she said and then left. She did not say "oh my gosh, no way, you look so young, menopause? No way, it's probably something else, because you are so young, I mean weren't you just in here having babies? I'm sure it's something else that isn't scary or for old people..I mean you are so young." Nope, she didn't say that. She was not shocked.

The doctor wasn't either. She listened to me talk about how hot I was getting at night and how my anxiety was getting worse and how my metabolism stopped altogether and that my hair was thinning and how I overreact even worse than I used to and well, she listened to a lot.  "Can you test my hormones, because something is going on," I begged.

"I could test your hormones but they would be different tonight and then different tomorrow," she explained. "It sounds like you are experiencing peri-menopause and well, it's just a really hard time."

I was shocked. "But, um, wha....," I stammered. "How long will this last?," I asked.

"Two years or 10, it's different for everyone," she informed me.

What the fuck? Are you serious? I just spent a decade having babies and gaining weight and losing weight, managing high hormones and low hormones, bouncing back, getting in a groove and now I have to spend a decade doing it all over again? And  I have to do it while having teenagers going through their own hormonal struggles. Are you serious?

It seems ridiculous. My teenagers and I will all be raging together and bonding over how to deal with our acne, except I will be having a hot flash and wishing I could Botox my forehead wrinkles because I'm old and not a teenager.

"Who do I rebel against?," I asked my doctor.  "It's not like I can steal the car and smoke cigarettes and get drunk on peach wine coolers like I did when I was going through puberty. How am I going to deal with this? I'm the mom."

My doctor told me I will be okay. She suggested I try journaling and meditation and exercise. Ugh.

I left still in shock. I almost stopped at the 7-11 to pick up a pack of Marlboro's and some Seagram's wine coolers, but I didn't. Over the next couple weeks, I talked to friends....friends who had gone through menopause or are close to it. One friend told me that a woman in her book club had said "in this day and age, there is no reason a woman should have to deal with menopause." Amen! Another friend described estrogen as the "give a damn hormone" and without it she really didn't....give a damn.

As I am being dragged down the hot, sweaty path of peri-menopause, I refuse to go quietly. I kind of dig the idea of not giving a damn and rebelling. I choose to rebel against age and stereotypes and ridiculous expectations. I hope I put my loss of estrogen to good use--fight for more causes I believe in and not worrying about what people think. I hope I won't get embarrassed about my aging or my thinning hair, or too hard on myself. 

I still think I'm young-ish for all this peri-menopause stuff, but I guess not. I'm 42, but still feel 35. lol. 
I bought this mug last year when I was all "let's do this 40s!" I'm not so pumped now. But I am going to look at this whole getting older as a new beginning. It's what it's all about right beginning again and again and getting smarter and stronger and softer and more vulnerable and compassionate. 

Being a woman is not for the weak. We go through a lot. We really are badasses. I am going to journal about that. My meditation mantra is going to be "I am a badass mother who can do anything." My doctor was right, I think I will be okay, maybe better than okay. A little rounder, a little tougher, a tad moodier, but okay.

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