Menopause – Cloudy with a Chance of Enlightenment

Who am I?  Now there’s a question I’ve been trying to answer since I made my way out of the birth canal and into my mother’s exhausted arms.  Five minutes into a workshop last weekend, the leader asked all of the participants the following three questions:  where did you come from originally, where do you reside now, and, drum roll, please…who are you?

“Honey,” I thought, “if I had that figured out, I’d sprout angel wings, prepare for take off, and head home to the astral realms where love reigns supreme, egos are strictly forbidden, and our souls are “free at last, free at last, thank G_d almighty, free at last.”

Who am I?  The answer to that question seems to change with Yankee punctuality each and every day.  At this very moment, I’m a middle-aged woman, shrouded in fog, with a chance of showers; in other words, I’m menopausal.  I’m not peri, nor post, I am in the throes of, which literally means “in the middle of doing or dealing with something very difficult or painful.”  (Think, Maria Shriver…oy!)

I used to be rather ingenious, and my multi and tri syllabled words were peppered with wit, and wisdom.  I possessed a razor-sharp memory, which was constantly honed, as a child growing up with a mother whose drug addiction seemed to twist and bend reality.  I was always an emotional little girl; I still haven’t seen Bambi or Dumbo in its entirety, and in high school when “Old Yeller” was required reading, well, I got the cliff notes.  But, with the onset of Ms. Men-oh-pause, I find myself crying at the slightest provocation.  I’m constantly upset by the life choices Lindsay Lohan is making, I cry oceans of tears when anyone is voted off Dancing With the Stars, and when Donald Trump announced that he would not run for the office of President of the United States, I had to schedule an emergency session with my therapist!   It’s all so painful, really.

Thanks to the majesty of menopause, I find myself at a loss for words.  My husband and son are ecstatic with that turn of events, but when you’re trying to ask the young man at Starbucks for “a tall drip,” and all you can say is that you’d like a cup of, cup of ‘em, and three people behind you shout, “coffee,” well, it’s unsettling, to say the least.  Unlike Little Bo Peep, my words ain’t coming home, waggin’ their meanings behind them.

Here is a list of other things that the magician of menopause has artfully vanished into thin air:  my keys, my glasses, my cell phone, any and all interest in sex, sleep, dreams, short term memory, synaptic ability to send messages to my brain regarding body temperature, my ‘B’ cup breasts (now you see ’em now you don’t).

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I see the world with “the glass is a little more than half full” consciousness, so I want you to know that my menopausal life isn’t all about loss. There are some gains:  abdominal fat, irritability, vaginal dryness, increase in allergies and mood swings, to name a few.

So, who am I?  I am a woman who is learning how to open up to the abundance of love that exists inside of me.  I am a woman who is melting the armor of fear that imprisons my heart.  I am a woman who believes that every moment of life, menopausal or not, teaches us about love, forgiveness, and the balance of being both human and spirit.

Embrace the miracles of being a woman.

Lions and tigers and blogs…oh my!

I can’t believe I’m doing this…blogging, that is.  I feel like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz.  I don’t have the COURAGE it takes to reveal myself; to show up, so to speak.  I was amazingly good at hide and seek as a child.  Who knew, I’d use those skills for most of my life.  It’s hard for me to even fathom that what I actually believe or have to say is relevant.  I Am the cowardly lion.  No, wait.  Not the cowardly lion, no, I Am the tin man.  DO I HAVE THE HEART to blog?  I had a heart when I was young.  It was alive and well and living in the San Fernando Valley, a long time ago.  It pumped joy, play, and wonder.  If I submerged myself in the bathtub, held my breath and lay there quietly, I could hear it.  No, wait, I’m not the tin man.  I can definitely hear my heart beating.  I think my neighbors can hear my heart pounding away in my chest because this is my very first blog and I’m terrified.  It’s just that my heart feels more like a hard hat heart, just doing its job — the joyful, playful, awestruck heart is hiding in a very safe place.  Wait.  I’m not the tin man; he was my least favorite character of the three.  Seriously, I liked the flying monkeys and the wicked witch better than the tin man.  I Am the scarecrow. I love the scarecrow.   I used to have a BRAIN.  A pretty good one, if I say so myself. It was witty, wise, whimsical and sometimes downright insightful.  But the fog of menopause rolled in and took all of that away.  My brain is on pause…If I can just get through this never-ending, 24 hour, 7 day a week roller coaster ride of hot flashes, (Is anybody else sweating like a long distant runner in the Mojave Desert?), mood swings, (I love you, no…I hate you, I really, really hate you!), weight gain (I do believe the dry cleaner is shrinking my clothes), insomnia (My beloved dog, Eli, refuses to sleep with me because I have restless sleeper syndrome) I know my brain will reveal itself to me.  Olly, Olly, Oxen free!

I just realized I Am Blogging…I do have courage.  I do have a heart.  And, I do have a brain.  And I have many, many things to say.  Of motherhood, marriage, family, near death (not once, but twice), dis-ease, spirituality, friendship, animals, books, cooking, movies and menopause aka mind-on-pause.  I hope you’ll read my blog. Perhaps together we can enlighten, ease the feelings of aloneness, step into our magnificence, sit with the fear, frolic in the poppy field, and find our way home.