Laughing between the mood swings with Sandra Bell-Lundy:
And I have to wonder, will I ever get back the most important facets that once made up me?
In a way, all the many parts of us is like a jigsaw puzzle, one that took decades to fully construct. Once we’ve completed it, we step back, take a long hard look, and are generally (hopefully) satisfied with what we’ve managed to accomplish.
But then we collide with menopause, and for many of us, the pieces begin to disappear: the confident you, organized and level-headed, the happy and fun you, the witty and silly you, the sexy you – it all gets lost from the picture. Menopause surreptitiously robs us of our vitality, enthusiasm, optimism, passions, and even our sense of humor.
Not only do we lose bone density, muscle mass and skin elasticity, but it seems as if we are losing our minds. We cry and we rage. We spiral down into depression. We question our sanity, and we question our lives.
Reaching this crossroad, having more life behind us than we have to look forward to, we can’t help but ask ourselves – where is our life going, will it go anywhere at all? Is it rational to fear what awaits us?
More than anything, we just want our previous selves back – the ones we enjoyed being before menopause.
And IF I should eventually find any of those missing pieces, will they be chewed up, torn and faded – not quite whole?
It seems reasonable I guess, after all, we can’t really expect to come through such a life-altering event like menopause unscathed.
But we must piece our lives back together as best we can, otherwise the future seems unbearable. Perhaps, once we get back our optimism, we can become whole again, albeit a little tattered at the edges. We can only hope.
Why I Reported Menopause to the Police
By Donna Highfill Posted: 06/06/2013 3:07 pm
Menopause is a thief, and I recently reported the crime to the criminal division of our local police department. I figure that menopause must be an accomplished con and sociopath, since we seem to accept it so willingly into our homes. Menopause is nobody’s friend, except maybe the moisturizing industry.
Coming in like a lamb calling itself “Peri,” menopause dances around the possibilities of a robbery. It takes things from you for a while, and then returns them just when you start to panic. Like the kleptomaniac kid in your neighborhood, menopause knows how to gain your trust and rob you at the same time.
Then, one night, it goes for the big heist and you wake up a different person. And nobody believes that you used to be civil, and that you didn’t always flip off 80% of the drivers on the road and smell like sweat. Nobody believes you.
Tired of it all, I filed a report. Below is the information as taken by the officer.
Case Number: DH Meno/PauseU/7Bit/8ch
Reporting Officer: W. H. Officerwhohadbettertakethisseriously
At about 0600 hours on 5 June 2011, I met with Ms. Donna Highfill of 41 Hotflash Drive regarding a series of robberies committed by a suspect named Menopause.
The first theft that Ms. Highfill reported was the loss of her sense of humor. Ms. Highfill said her humor used to meet her every morning after her coffee, but failed to show up on the anniversary of a year without menses.
Ms. Highfill described her humor as sparkly in color with a slightly dark underbelly, and always reliable, sharp and on-time. Since the robbery, she has had to muddle through with faux humor that has a much darker underbelly also known as angry sarcasm. She reports that her faux humor is dark enough to scare children and pious people, and is often accompanied by language she doesn’t remember learning.
She mentioned that her language offended a teenager on twitter who described herself as a “whore with an attitude.” She also upset a sailor in Norfolk.
At or about 0600 hours on 5 June 2011, Ms. Highfill also lost her naturally blonde hair. Correction, she lost her dark-ash blonde hair that hasn’t been natural since 1982. She says that menopause came as a thief in the night and took her thick hair, replacing it with something gray and wiry and thin that makes her look like the child of Einstein and Phyllis Diller. She now has more hair on her bathroom floor than she does on her head, and wants her natural hair returned as quickly as possible.
At this point in the investigation, Ms. Highfill left the room momentarily to get a tissue as she began to tear up for no apparent reason. She quickly reported that since the robbery, she cries at movies like Beaches and Love Story. It appears that this is unacceptable to her.
She returned to report additional losses, occurring on or about 0600 hours on 9 July 2012. She started with the loss of her waist. While she says that her waist was not in tip-top shape when it was stolen, it was still a waist and she misses the ability to snap her pants. She states that menopause fooled her by making her think that her waist was going to be left behind, but one year after the initial robbery, menopause slipped back into her house and took it overnight. She went to bed a 3-hour glass (she is willing to admit that her figure was bigger than an hour) and woke up an apple.
Ms. Highfill also would like to have the moisture in her skin returned that was taken by menopause around the same time. She reported that she spent many years fighting acne and survived only because she knew the excessive oil in her skin would allow her to age well. Menopause came in and took all of her precious oils, causing her to start wrinkling immediately. She describes her skin as looking like that paper upon which the Declaration of Independence is written.
This new skin is the reason she cannot get the tattoo of her grandmother’s smiling face that she has always wanted. She fears the combination of thin, loose skin and gravity will cause the face of her grandmother to droop, make her look less like Nanna and more like the character portrayed in Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream.”
Most of all, Ms. Highfill would like to have her memory returned. It took us in excess of four hours to fill out this report because she kept interrupting the process with the following questions:
“What was I saying?”
“What is that word for the stuff on the top of your head that is like blonde, brunette… you know!”
“Why in the world was I telling you about my high school prom?”
“It has impacted my family, especially my son and daughter, you know, those two, they were born a while back, I forget their names but I can describe them. Will that help?”
“I’m sorry — why am I here?”
Ms. Highfill is tired of menopause getting away with robbery. She calls it the “Grinch Who Stole All of My Shit.” She followed that statement by saying, “See? I used to be clever. Now that’s the best I can come up with. The Grinch Who Stole All of My Shit. Effin’ pathetic.”
It became apparent that at this point Ms. Highfill was becoming extremely agitated, verified by the fact that her face grew a deep shade of red. I left the room to get her a cup of water. As I handed it to her, she threw it on her face, slammed the table with her fist and quickly regained control.
I had a doctor give Ms. Highfill a physical and psychiatric exam so that we could survey the crime scene, but found no items of evidence. I saw no sign of a break-in, nor did there seem to be anything of material importance missing other than her waist, which is definitely gone. At one point we did determine that it might be hidden under her breasts, but even after lifting her breasts to their pre-breastfeeding position, her waist could not be located.
Once Ms. Highfill rejoined us in the interrogation room, we informed her that she did not have enough evidence to prosecute menopause for robbery.
Her face turned red again, and she looked up, infuriated. She then replied, “What am I doing here again?” and asked for a piece of chocolate.
I’ve heard that age is a state of mind, and for the most part, that’s been true for me. As I have ‘matured,’ I haven’t felt old – at least not mentally. Even in my forties I still felt quite young. And through my forties and fifties, I’ve mentally yo-yoed through time. Sometimes I’ve felt like an insecure teenager (which lately seems to happen more often than not). Other times I’ve felt like an optimistic and energetic twenty-something, ever the idealist and romantic, and somewhat naive.
But, mostly, I’ve felt as if I were still in my thirties, when I was most sure of myself, confident I guess; I was at my peak, and mentally, I’ve never really progressed beyond it.
One of those things is seeing one of my own children in their thirties! How can my kids be the same age as me?!? As a result, I’ve come to dread their birthdays more than my own. And I can’t help but ‘see‘ my children as still in their teens or early twenties.
Another thing that makes me feel old is seeing myself unadulterated in the mirror, before putting on my makeup, with all the blotches and lines than can’t truly be camouflaged.
I’ve never been attractive, but now my face has become a work of art – specifically, Dali’s Melting Clocks. In the past several years, I’ve witnessed my face slowly begin to melt downward as it lost muscle mass and volume, creating gaunt cheeks and the beginnings of droopy jowls. And the rest of my body has that same Dali quality – with a touch of Ruben around my midsection and rear end. At this rate I’ll soon be positively priceless! Now, if I could only find myself an art lover…
But probably what makes me feel really old is how invisible I’ve become, especially to men, as their eyes gravitate towards the twenty-something girls.
It’s depressing how society reacts as women age and lose their youth and attractiveness. It’s like we have to be ashamed for something that is not our fault. Something that is the natural result of aging and loss of estrogen. We become androgynous non-entities.
And as we women lament the loss of our youth and looks, we also tend to accumulate a bunch of useless platitudes to make ourselves feel better. Here’s one of them: true beauty comes from within. The problem, as we all know, is that men can’t handle the truth. Why take the time and effort to find and appreciate that so-called ‘true beauty’ in older women, when there is so much instant gratification available to them from attractive young women?
So, no matter how young I feel, whether in my teens, twenties, or thirties, reality is always there to knock me on my butt. But I’ll keep getting back up. I guess the key to maintaining that youthful feel is to avoid men and mirrors. And pretend your kids are your younger siblings. :)