The M-word – Menopause

Nothing could have prepared me for the profound impact of the menopause. The all-encompassing effect was certainly not something I’d anticipated.

I know I’m not the first, or indeed the only, female to have experienced this hormonal Armageddon; the surprise was due to my own ignorance (or, more accurately, arrogance). I’d assumed the menopause would be different for me. I naively assumed that as I’d coasted through the menstruation years (that’s a whole separate blog) I’d do likewise with the menopause.

This is just how my logic works, (or not as it turns out), I figured it would be a breeze and that I’d be immune to the ravishes and destruction of the menopause. BIG mistake

 

Having come out the other side of menopause I’ve found a sense of liberation in accepting I have absolutely no control over anything.

I recall a visit to my long-suffering GP where I sat and cried, nah wailed, proper snot and tears stuff, because my body had changed shape and there was naff all I could do about it. I was killing myself with combination of near starvation and brutal sessions with a personal trainer (sadistic bastard), all to no avail.

I didn’t like myself very much; I was a living manifestation of the 7 dwarfs of menopause – itchy, bitchy, sweaty, sleepy, bloated, forgetful, and bonkers – and there didn’t appear to be very much I could do about it.

Happily, I’m now feeling less out of control, I’m far more accepting of myself, and I no longer believe I’m going crazy. And do you know? I put this down in large part to my new philosophy of applying the EFF to situations, people, things and stuff; it will either be F*** it, F*** this, F*** you, F*** off – try it. Worked for me …..

The M-word Menstruation

This appears to be the last bastion of taboo subjects; although the situation is changing rapidly there remains an intake of breath in certain circles at the mention of a woman’s monthlies. The dreaded periods.

Thankfully my days of waking in the middle of the night looking like I’ve been attacked by a grizzly bear are well behind me. And good riddance I say. The whole experience was a total bore, although I consider myself fortunate. I didn’t get hormonal breakouts, or cramps, or mood swings (I was a grumpy bitch every day!) but I did have to make conscious wardrobe choices (light colours? Ha, in your dreams sister), I did have period pants, and a paranoid compulsion to check seats after standing up. Mother Nature, I decided, was a total bastard. An opinion that changed little over the years.

I do remember, aged about 11 or 12, attending a lesson in school when the nurse came to tell us about the ‘beautiful gift of becoming a woman’ (silly cow) and thinking “f*** that for a game of soldiers, I don’t want a baby so I’ll just skip periods thank you very much”.

The ‘beginners’ pad resembled a small pillow cushion, while the one reserved for ‘heavy days’ had the width and depth of a small mattress. No siree, not for me. Not interested in becoming a beginner or having heavy days thank you very much. When the inevitable happened I was too embarrassed to buy sanitary products so I’d plead with my Dad to get them for me, and love him, he did right until my 50’s ……ha! just kidding, until I left home at 18. Thanks Dad x

There were some fabulous synonyms invented by my mates to describe being on your period – I’ve fallen off me bike, I’m on the blob, the Russians have invaded, I’m living in the red tent this week, the uterus demon is home, and finally, I’ve got me pyramids (this same friend misheard the greeting ‘peace be with you’ in church as ‘pleased to meet you’ so it figures she thought they were called pyramids. Although….the Egyptians built the pyramids??) Mind well and truly boggled.

The two most embarrassing events of my life involved tampons. The first was a friends’ puppy, who’d slyly investigated my bag and then took itself off to quietly chew on an ever expanding Lil-Let before being discovered. I vigorously denied he’d got it from my bag, despite it being obvious to all concerned where it had come from (aside from the red face I was the only girl in the room!)

The second was worthy of a scene from a Bridget Jones movie….. I was being chatted up by a particularly gorgeous guy at a bar (like you do) and I nonchalantly lifted from my bag what I thought was a lipstick but which turned out to be a Lil-Let, a mistake only discovered once I’d put it to my mouth…..not so nonchalant now are we?

As a final thought, if I were prime minister I’d insist tampon producers put little gifts in every box of white cotton mice (tampons) with the message ‘here’s a voucher for chocolate you cranky bitch’ – now, that’d be worth paying the VAT for wouldn’t it!?!