Archives for posts with tag: menopause

What a week. Glad it’s behind me. Relieved to feel satisfied, pleased, and accomplished, instead of terrified, anxious and regretful. It could have gone differently. I am content with the outcome.

Stress is a weird thing, though, right? I mean… once I’m stressed about A, then it’s far more likely that unrelated experiences B, C, or D may also feel more stressful, or seem to be cause for concern. I crashed out last night feeling terribly blue, struggling in a sticky web of anxiety-lies and insecurities being launched at me from within, by an anxious, stressed, fatigued brain. I wept. For the world? It seemed so at moments. Other moments, I just felt “cracked open” and unable to hold anything back however small, however simple – even some lovely tender moments felt like pure heartbreak, and I cried, merely because there was too much emotion to hold back any longer. My executive function limitations hit me in my emotional life pretty hard. This week that was more obvious than most weeks in recent months. It’s been a peculiarly emotionally stable year.

I went to bed worried, even, about my relationship with my Traveling Partner. No reason for it, really. At least, nothing I could easily identify. I woke this morning without that insecurity or doubt, feeling rested, anxiety gone; I’m excited about the road trip ahead of me. 3 day weekend with my lover? Yes, please! Sign me up. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Fuck, I am so glad my “default setting” is no longer despair. I feel fortunate to have survived the first 50 years of my lifetime. Emotions come and go. Like weather. “Who we are” is less volatile, less mutable, and sometimes feels rather… permanent. It isn’t. It’s more like climate; tends to be what it is, but still changeable over time. We become what we practice. No kidding. It’s a slow thing to change the climate – but it can be done. Choose wisely. ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you unhappy? Make changes. There’s no map on this journey… it’s rather like setting off on a road trip to see someone you love, unclear of specifically where they are, but with a direction in mind… generally. lol This may help. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a favorite of mine for reinforcing healthy basics; do the opposite of everything it suggests. lol (Here’s a follow-up on that…)

Maybe something simple this morning? One thing that could be easily improved by one little change in your decision-making, habits, or actions? Start small – committing to a marathon, while breathless from walking across the street may be a bit unmanageable. It’s so easy to become discouraged. I’ve been there…

After years of frustration, despair, and inactivity, I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market, one year. My feet hurt all the time, stupefying medication and unmanaged pain had pretty much nailed me to my couch between work shifts. Doing so would mean a two block walk uphill (barely) from the light rail station. I look back astonished (because I regularly go to the Farmer’s Market quite easily and comfortably, now, and often walk miles, not just blocks) – it seemed hard then. It required effort. Commitment. Patience with myself.

I don’t look at it the same way now, at all. My perspective has changed with my experience over time. Incremental change over time; it wasn’t easy the first time, the second or third times, the fourth time… but eventually, it sure didn’t seem hard, and then… at some point… almost unnoticed, it became quite the natural thing to easily and comfortably do. (For my less physically able readers out there, I’m using an example familiar to me, only, and part of my personal experience, no intention of falling short of being inclusive, but I see where my example could be. I regret any aggravation, or sense of being left out of my consideration that this may cause. Start small, is all I’m saying. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

It’s a good reminder for me, too. There is further to go. There is more to do. I still struggle with my weight, health, and fitness. There are changes to make. There is future progress out there on the horizon to be experienced. Incremental change over time takes both time – and verbs. A lot of fucking verbs.

Oh hey, look at the time! It’s definitely time to begin again. This journey won’t make itself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have you ever noticed how time sort of “stands still” in those fully engaged intimate moments of connecting with another? I know, I know – those moments are so fleeting, so cherished, so hard to pin down, or duplicate later. I still find them “timeless”, at least in the moment.

That’s how it was last night. My Traveling Partner came over and hung out awhile, before he heads off for work elsewhere, far away. We talked rather seriously through the evening. The future is vast, and broad, and the choices on life’s menu seem to… breathe… expanding and contracting day-to-day, sometimes moment-to-moment, and I am having trouble choosing my adventure with any comfort or efficiency.

Sometimes life is uncomfortable – and inefficient.

We talked. We enjoyed a pleasant evening hanging out. No TV. No music. Just us two, talking about things to come, where we’re headed in life, what we each want – or need. As evenings go, it was intimate, nurturing, adult, romantic, supportive, practical, and connected. It met needs upon needs upon needs, no tears or tantrums required. No demands. No frustrations. Two people who love each other, loving each other. Sharing.

Sometimes it’s not about words.

We talked – and we also just chilled with each other, hanging out in my somewhat too warm apartment. He shopped and talked about things he needs in life. I went over recent changes in thinking, and discussed the profundity of change. We shared pictures. We shared anecdotes. We shared concerns. We shared hugs and kisses. The evening was quiet and relaxed. We’d thought about going out for a movie, we could have done it, we didn’t need to “do” so much as we needed to “be” – together. So we did that.

This morning I’m smiling. I slept more deeply, and woke feeling more rested, than I generally do. I grin at myself to notice the quality of my smile. I “hear” a Nicki Minaj track in my head, in the background, it’ll probably be there all day (or at least until a love song replaces it). ๐Ÿ˜€ I find myself wondering about the connection between feeling so well-loved, and sleeping so well… Is that a thing?

Lovely moment. Lovely morning. Lovely day. Loving love… so… loving life, too. Funny how hard it was to find my way to this place. No idea how long it may last (it’s not really a helpful question). I let the cool morning air fill the apartment, sip my coffee, and smile. There’s nothing to add to this, really. Life is no less complicated, busy, or challenging, just because there is Love, but the love does seem to make all the rest less… troublesome. It’s enough.

Love is enough. Loving starts with me. Starts with the woman in the mirror and how I treat myself. What a strange puzzle. There are definitely verbs involved.

We become what we practice. โค

How much of our perceived experience is mangled in translation as we struggle to make sense of who we are, ourselves, in the context of all of the everything else? Probably most of it, I suppose, but it’s what we’ve got to work with. lol

Spring, almost summer, plenty of flowers to see, to smell, to touch, to pause for.

Late in the day, yesterday, I received an anguished text message from a younger female friend. It was an emotional soup of self-denigrating words and phrases, and simultaneously angry and despairing, and somewhat nonsensical in the context of my recollections of my friend, and known details of real life. I dislike being the one to call it out, but couldn’t help noticing that the timing was almost precise; four weeks after her last major “life is shit” meltdown. Hormones. She’s in her 20s, so that’s an experience that hits hard in her life, and at a point when she may not yet have figured all of that out, herself. Fuck I hate drama – but I do love my friends. I search for calming words, something to put the emotional blast on pause, or at least assure her she is not adrift alone. The work day was nearly over, but I felt very far away.

It was still a very good day for flowers.

No kidding, when I got home I actually invited drama to come over to a cup of cocoa. LOL Yep, brought it right into my safe haven, my drama free zone… held the door open, even. ๐Ÿ˜€ We chilled together – things were already some better. That’s the way of it, like any other sort of storm, bad weather passes.

Some flowers are small….

The three of us (me, my friend, her lover) chilled in the quiet comfort of my place, talking. Sometimes there is no perceptible difference in our ages when we hang out…we’re just people, there are more important things to be aware of. Last night, I felt that peculiar sympathy and tenderness of the elder “wise woman” in the company of youth; so much of what was troubling my friend is no longer commonplace for me, but recognized, familiar, and mostly relatively (subjectively) well-understood. I shared what I learned over many years of screaming and crying on a cycle, the things I found that worked, the things that did not, and continued to reassure her that she can be okay and learn to manage this bullshit that curses us all. lol I was going for offering more hope than I ever felt myself; I didn’t have me as a mentor, or friend.

…some flowers are more complicated…

I looked back on the woman in the mirror, and recalled all the things I wished I’d understood sooner, all the many times I learned something more. I tried to share those things with calm conviction and reassurance. I served cocoa.

…some flowers decorate vegetables…

I talked to him about little things that really do make a difference, openly, comfortably, together, because this ought not be secret knowledge! The biggest thing I have to share with him? Ease the fuck up on being right while the hormone thing is going on. It’s hard, but seriously, just stand the fuck down, back off, and revisit whatever on some other day, when everyone is “feeling better”. lol How many fights wouldn’t be fights at all if lovers would let bullshit go when one or the other is hurting, and tend to wounded hearts as lovers can? The hormone thing is just not a personal attack, the experience can feel really shitty and lonely, and more than anything it’s nice just to feel loved, and feel that our lover “is there”, and understands we feel shitty.

…others are on trees…

Then I called bullshit on her bullshit, too. It’s a hard thing, but as bad as the hormone thing can be, legitimately and truly bad behavior remains bad behavior. Unacceptable behavior is no more acceptable when driven by hormones. Being a nasty mean bitch still isn’t okay just because being female has some really shitty irritating unpleasant painful aggravating experiences that push us past our personal breaking point. We still have an obligation to do our best to choose our actions and words with great care, and with mindful awareness that the person we’re interacting with is every bit as human as we are, ourselves, and also someone we love. Including the woman in the mirror.

…some are potted…

How is it I think I can say these “terrible:” things that may appear to lack compassion? Well… I just haven’t ever seen a woman treat her boss the way she treats her lover when hormones flare up – have you? I mean, seriously, full-on raging tantrum, screaming at them irrationally, or being overtly willfully nasty to them using hormones as an excuse? Acting out? Breaking shit? Weeping apathetic pessimism that halts all productive effort? I’m betting you haven’t. lol So. Some choice and freewill are clearly still available. Just saying. Feel your feelings. Take care of you. Do what is right, nonetheless, and treat your lover with an assumption of positive intent, and an awareness that they are having their own experience and would help if they could.

…their colors vary…

Not one bit of any of that is “easy”. It takes a lot of practice. Results vary. Adulting can be hard. lol ๐Ÿ™‚ Begin again. Practice more. Say I’m sorry” when you’veย hurt someone – right? The basics.

how we tend the garden of our hearts determines what will blossom.

It was still a beautiful evening shared with friends. Drama left way before they did. No idea how they ended the evening… I woke wondering, and hoping they are okay. Young is hard… I’m sort of glad I’m not that, anymore, at least… this morning, on a lovely quiet morning, over coffee, watching the sky lighten to a cloudy spring morning. Being where I am in life is enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

Love matters most.

Music starts the morning. Dancing to ease arthritis pain before beginning the work day makes sense today. The music I chose is, for me, emotional and value-connected. It’s all very subjective, of course; I may listen to rap tracks that are implicit attacks on some other rapper, but I focus on the meta-message of the words, finding profundity in my subjective listening. I may listen to EDM and hip-hop, house, and funk tracks that may have little in the way of lyric content, but some short phrase or another, or the images in the video, communicate something of value to me. It’s a small thing, but it puts music to work for me cognitively, reinforcing things I want to reinforce, and undermining old out-of-date programming.

What is “sacred music“? Whatever music moves you in a sacred way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I found my own. You probably have your own, too. Maybe it really is “church music”, maybe it isn’t at all. All of those things are completely okay; we’re each having our own experience.

As I dance through the morning, managing ferocious pain, still smiling, I find myself just a little astonished by this woman in the mirror. When I did become her? Me. I sometimes find it disorienting to read old writing, or look back on very old Facebook posts. Some things still resonate with me in a way that feels aligned and familiar, but very commonly I feel more than a little out of sync with that other woman in the mirror… and old mirror, a reflection on a woman I am not, now. I have grown. Maybe a lot. I sometimes wonder, when I write, or post or share something, if friends of old “get me” now… and whether they understand. I wonder if the differences are jarring, or cause irritation or resentment; I did not always think the way I do now, or have the values I now hold. I’ll likely spend a lifetime making amends for some of the choices, words, and actions of a much younger woman I no longer am… or for being someone different now.

My consciousness is pulled back into the here and now by the music. Track changes sometimes seem peculiarly well-timed. I recognize this as a “feature” in my consciousness, attributing significance to things and moments that may have none, in order to “make sense of things”. I dance on through the morning, through the dishes, through some tidying up before work.

Yesterday’s only a memory…and it is a happy one.

I enjoyed a quiet evening at home with my Traveling Partner yesterday. He was at my place shortly before I arrived. ย It was tremendous and warm and connected and lovely. We hung out with friends for a while. We chilled alone together another little while. I was in way too much pain for romance, but the intimacy and connection are welcome and profoundly significant in a lifetime that has held so little authentic intimacy between lovers. I used to complain a lot about “not getting enough” sex…but… being real about it for just a moment, I’ll admit that I’m pretty certain I was using sex to meet needs that were emotional (and specifically not actually sexual) for years and years. Being both “past menopause” and more emotionally intelligent than that much younger me, I am comfortable noting that the non-sexual emotional need for connection and intimacy is likely the deeper and more important emotional need than the primate need for sexual contact. I’m not dissing sex – hell, I enjoy it quite a lot, and sufficiently so to inconvenience partners with less appetite for it, even now, but… yeah. Those quiet connected minutes with a lover that are intimate, close, comfortable, and nurturing, turn out to be a way bigger deal. I wish I’d understood sooner; it’s probably a great deal easier to satisfy emotional needs with truly relevant emotional connection, versus insisting that sex do all the emotional heavy lifting in life. lol

I wonder what today holds?

The morning continues, track by track, and I dance on to another thought, another moment…

Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!!

Today is a good day to dance. There’s more than one way to deal with pain. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ย 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:ย 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.ย 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… ย 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…”. ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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?