Archives for posts with tag: I am woman

The week finishes with the work day ahead, and then it’s the weekend. The clock seems to tick at a much faster rate working this particular job… Wasn’t it just Monday morning a couple days ago? There is so much in my subjective human experience of life that is so very relative.

Monday already seems so long ago...

Monday already seems so long ago…

I had a delightful lunch conversation with a departing colleague yesterday. I’ll miss her greatly though we’ve really only just begun to get to know each other; she has a “quality of mind” I find engaging and nurturing even to be around. She has a studious gentle wit I greatly enjoy.  Lunch was excellent.

The delights of lunching with a friend were followed by spending the evening with my Traveling Partner. He was waiting for me when I got home, and coming home to his warm smile and his embrace felt so… oh damn. Words fail me. I love coming home to his smile. I don’t know what made last night specifically so special… somehow it was. I’m still smiling. I have a weekend ahead of house-hunting, he has a trip away coming up early next week. Chances are, we won’t see each other again for some days… I’ll probably still be smiling, thinking about last night. lol

Life can be very simple, seemingly effortless, coasting on what is enough, enjoying what feels best, avoiding what is uncomfortable… I like those moments. I cherish them. There is, however, so much more to learn from the hurts, from what is uncomfortable: awkward moments, real talk, hard choices, tough times, books… and each other. I’m enjoying the morning and the week, and it truly seems filled with delights – I’m also aware that life has more to teach me, and that there is more to know. Have I finally grown enough to move beyond crashing on sharp rocky shores of disappointing moments? Will I no longer feel devastated and bereft to face losses? If I catch myself expecting that to be easy, I know I am not paying attention at all. Change is. Tough times occur. There will be losses to face. Disappointments to bear. Moments of struggle. Feelings. There will be all the feelings. All of them.

I smile for a moment, thinking about my 20-something self of long ago, and her unyielding rage and cynicism, wrapping herself in emptiness saying “I feel nothing.” I laugh gently to myself from a perspective of greater understanding, years of experience, and think kindly “Oh, baby girl, you only feel too much. You’re drowning in the feelings. Stop fighting them. Just let go.” Her tears well up in my eyes and spill down my face many years too late for her to heal. I feel the feelings now – and that’s okay, too. It’s even more than okay; it’s enough. What a powerful thing, to feel. Healing takes time. I didn’t understand then how very much time that might be… a lifetime. A life of time. All the minutes I spent on healing – and all the minutes I spent fighting the work involved in that process – and all of the other minutes, too.

I’m still not done growing and learning. There always seems some bit more, just out ahead…  How did I end up here, this morning? Thinking about Women’s History Month, actually. For Black History Month I read about black lives, in the words of black authors, about black life experiences I cannot fathom from my vantage point mired in white privilege.

To educate ourselves we have to step out of our comfort zone.

To educate ourselves we have to step out of our comfort zone.

I do my best to learn and to grow and to be kind and to be understanding – which means learning some things, and exposing myself to discomfort. I read James Baldwin. I read Martin Luther King Jr. I read Malcolm X, which I first read at the tender age of 9; I understand it all quite differently at 53. Now here it is Women’s History Month and I caught myself giving it the brush off “I’m a woman myself… I already read books about women, by women… Nothing to see here…”.  It isn’t the truth of my experience though, in a very important respect; I am only one women, living only one woman’s experience. (And by percentages, I don’t actually read that many books by women.) What about black women? What about Muslim women? What about immigrant women? What about women in science? What about incarcerated women? What about trans women? What about women living in dire poverty? What about women from countries and cultures I know nothing about at all? What about the meta and the metaphor of other women’s lives, experiences, and voices? How dare I look into the eyes of the woman in the mirror and assert a claim that I know enough – even about her?

However many books, however much experience; there is more to learn.

However many books, however much experience; there is more to learn.

There is more to learn. Always more to learn. At no point as it ever been demonstrated that there is an end point to learning. 🙂

This weekend I’ll make a short reading list for March reading. Women’s words. Women’s lives. Women’s greatness. I’m eager to get farther along in our stories – will we change the world?

I’ll just give you the TMI warning now, okay? If you are squeamish about the biology of women, I understand; please stop now and read something else. 😉  If you choose to stick around, welcome – we’ll resume after this lovely metaphor about women and medicine…

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

It says something about the state of medicine, where women are concerned at least, that the medical industry has yet to develop a simple, reliable, accurate test to determine whether or not a woman is ‘menopausal’, heading toward menopause, or dealing with some other variety of hormonal weirdness.  Seriously. Women have existed alongside men as medicine developed and progressed, and as far as I know the experience of our reproductive life-cycle hasn’t really evolved much… so what’s the hold up? Currently, the most reliable criteria for determining whether a woman has ‘gone through menopause’ is – and this is not the punch line of a cruel joke, it’s quite literally what we’re told – “once you’ve gone a year without having a period, you have gone through menopause”.  Um…what? Yep. That’s it. “Wait and see” is the best we’re offered.  0_o

I am counting down the days. Again. So far, 101 of them – and that beats my last count down, earlier this year, when I got to 92 days, then faced the ‘joy’ of disastrously and unpredictably heavy (and irregular) periods and the associated random opportunities to spot clean, or do extra laundry at a moment’s notice for a handful of months.  Now I am counting again.

I’m also wearing pajamas. Well, ‘sleepwear’ of some sort…  I’ve always preferred to sleep nude, as an adult. I find it more comfortable.  I like the feeling of sleeping nude… but I dislike the experience of waking abruptly in the night to find that linens need to be changed, the mattress needs spot cleaning, and a shower has become an urgent necessity; so, sleepwear has become practical beyond the sensuous preference for nudity. lol.  I find myself considering how nice it will feel to return to sleeping nude once I’m past the ‘pause… but I’m also sort of growing to enjoy the fun of sleepwear… is it an age thing? Is it vanity? Is it a good excuse to think of lingerie as ‘practical’? My taste is a bit toward soft and pretty, although in the dark…? lol.  I definitely don’t prefer long pajama pants for sleeping, though – I love the feel of smooth legs on clean sheets. 😀

I miss the clockwork regularity of my cycle in younger years… I do not miss the threat of fertility, though.  I’ve had a good cry or two over ‘I’ll never…’, that’s a pretty human experience, isn’t it?  Motherhood hasn’t been an aspiration for me, though. I’m not that woman; I have walked a very different path all along.  A brief period in my life – between about 27 and 32 – I had an undefeatable urge to reproduce.  It was an experience that felt very biological, and rather beyond my control or understanding.  At 50 I remain satisfied with a childless life, with choices other than parenting.   I’ve only ever met one man who moved me so, heart and soul, that I grieved openly in his arms that I would not ever bear his child – and although neither of us wanted children at that point in our lives, he understood me so well.  He held me while I cried, and said the soft tender things that lovers know to say, and the moment passed.  No doubt that will be one nagging regret I will have… one moment of poignant longing… one missed experience that will hold a tiny bright flame of wistfulness and sorrow that I feel now and again; to have been a mother, to have born his child, to have loved and shared and built someone new together to carry who we are in their heart and in their memory, would have been remarkable indeed.

Motherhood is not my path; I chose differently very early on, and I do not regret that, even a little bit.

That’s one promise menopause holds for me that means a lot; no more stress about unplanned pregnancy.  Sex without anxiety about reproduction is a very big deal in a very good way.  😀  Like it or not, most of the available options for birth control are actually pretty awful; powerful drugs with nasty side effects (including ruining a woman’s sex drive!), condoms (and the associated loss of sensation, inconvenience, and loss of powerful biological effect on mood from contact with flesh and bodily fluids), an assortment of grim options that involve inserting bits of metal, plastic, or other foreign objects (many of which can be felt by a partner, and not in a good way), or the last worst option – going without sex.  Medicine really hasn’t done women any favors with the crappy options we have for birth control – and society doesn’t do us any favors by playing head games with us about the ‘moral’ consequences before, during, or after.  It has gotten very tedious over 50 years being bombarded with constant reminders that sex isn’t okay (when it is) that my decision-making isn’t my own (when it is), or that I have some obligation to bear life in my body (when I don’t).   Yep – I’m more than ready to reach a point in my life when my ability to reproduce is behind me, and ‘babies!’ is not longer any element of a discussion about me, or my sexual decision-making. lol.

Menopause. There’s astonishingly little real research – or support – for this element of female experience.  It still surprises me. I mean – this affects all my partners, too, not just me. My emotional reactivity, my unpredictable hormones, my everyday health and well-being don’t exist in a vacuum! I keep expecting more from the medical industry… but in a culture where it’s okay to call a scientist who won’t work for free a whore, because she is a woman, why would I be surprised?

Anyway… the count down continues, and only 264 days to go to get my final test results back determining whether I’ve reached the ‘pause.  Most accurate test available!