Archives for posts with tag: women

Well… here I am. Menopause Day. According to the outstanding minds at Wikipedia, this moment is really ‘one year into post menopause’…but one can’t claim it until they’ve reached it, because how else can that precious ‘last period’ be identified as ‘last’ in the first place? I remain frustrated with the lack of scientific precision in women’s health, and laugh grimly at the statements about perimenopause being ‘6-10 years’… that’s a pretty broad range, and actually, in my own life experience of perimenopause, I found the experience, and period of my life (lol) actually lasted an emotionally brutal 14+ years. It sucked and I’m glad it’s over. Only…it isn’t, really, is it? I’m still female, and my hormones will likely be variable for many more years – hell, I may manage another period, no doubt completely unexpected, and poorly timed, at some future point.

Still. I’ll take the small comfort offered that I officially don’t have to argue with even one more doctor, ever, about whether or not I am ‘menopausal’.  I have finally passed their primitive diagnostic test. lol

A gateway on a journey, a window to another perspective.

A gateway on a journey, a window to another perspective.

I refuse to hide from this experience, or pretend it doesn’t matter to me, or to be ashamed in any way of this completely natural bit of biological change of purpose in life. Today I celebrate with a handful of the women who are my friends who could make it down to the Chinese Garden for tea today; we’ll share a moment and celebrate being women.

A lovely spot for a cup of tea.

A lovely spot for a cup of tea.

It would be so nice if this afternoon out for tea was the last stop ever on the train through Hormone Hell, but that seems a lot to ask of a cup of tea.

Today is a good day to celebrate being a woman. Today is a good day to change the world.

Today has pretty much sucked, subjectively, since I woke.  To be clear, there’s nothing wrong I can pin down. I slept well, and the one bad dream I recalled when I woke was more saddening than nightmarish. The day has built itself around a theme of frustration, and my tolerance for frustration today is so low that even the smallest success seems framed in associated failures. The sounds of voices irritate me to a point I can only describe as ‘near violence’. At this point I hesitate to undertake any task I had looked forward to, for fear of a moment of frustration turning to an uncontrolled outburst of anger. So far so good, but I am constantly vigilant and my mood is brittle and aggravated – with myself, with the world, with the details of living and loving, whether large or small.

Mindfulness, generally, has been helping with so much, so much of the time, I have grown to count on it. It isn’t helping me now beyond seeming to give me a moment to pause, and force a cease-fire internally. My outward facing behavior remains within the acceptable boundaries. Go me. I want to throw a really whopping fucking tantrum – with some screaming and crying, some inappropriate projectiles launched needlessly at things I actually value with predictably poor outcomes, maybe also some door slamming, feet stamping, and vile language used as emotional weaponry. Mindfulness is letting me put some of this into words – but it does nothing to prevent something as simple as a typo becoming a moment of real rage, with crying, and angry invective. I don’t like this. I don’t want this. I don’t need this. I want to enjoy a calm serene Sunday, getting a few things done. Fuck I’d at least like to get my damned laundry done today – and I just don’t want to actually do anything but burn the world down. (I’m not being literal – I’m menstrual, and my hormones are wreaking havoc with my comfort and my subjective experience. If this is new material for you, talk to more women in an open way about their experiences with hormone hell.)

I really wanted to get some things done today – I was looking forward to them, and ‘taking care of me’ seems to demand that I get them done – and I just don’t fucking care. I am just as angry and frustrated in advance in contemplation of doing anything at all as I am going to be in a day or two that I didn’t get them done.  It is aggravating as fuck and I just want to take my toys and ‘go home’ – but there is no home to go to, I take being a woman everywhere I go. 😦

On the other hand…I guess I can count today as a success. Aside from some tearful moments early in the morning, I’ve managed to force myself to comply with an acceptable standard of behavior. I haven’t raised my voice at anyone. I didn’t snarl at the hardware guy who ‘sympathetically’ offered to help me select a compound miter saw because he didn’t expect ‘girls to know enough about hardware to select a good tool’ – although I did very firmly and politely send him away. I didn’t scream at the woman who frustrated my first attempt to do an exchange on a different item, or cry over it when later the issue she had didn’t even come up with a different clerk. Small things just haven’t been going well. I feel… thwarted. Yep. There it is. My menstrual experience is that I am thwarted. By the world. By circumstances. By emotions. By inconvenience. Hopes, dreams, needs, desires – I can’t get a fucking thing to turn out well the first time, if at all, today.

I’m so done with Sunday, already. I feel cross and unreasonable. I know if I could somehow lower my resistance, feel less aggravated over small stuff, let things be small stuff… the day would probably turn around.

Fuck today. I give up. I’m going to lay down for a while and cry.


Today’s lesson plan in the school of life and love looks like it’s all hormones and headaches… And will begin with a pop quiz (you may be more familiar with the material under the heading ‘morning’), and will be followed by several hours of free study, and discussion groups. lol 🙂

So far, aside from this headache and the feeling I am much stupider moment to moment than I actually am, things are ok. Mindful menopause…huh. Every now and then, I’d really just like to give the universe the finger. lol  Hormones are the least humorous prank ever!

Onward with the day. More to observe, plenty to feel, and a lively brain happy to help me over think it all…practicing mindfulness really matters for me, and when I am mindful even the hormones are less troublesome.

Fearless Flowers

Fearless Flowers

Today feels strange. Mindfulness feels difficult. My heart wants to run away from home. I don’t mean to hurt inside. I don’t mean to ‘be bad’ or be broken or be less than I could be or to hurt unexpectedly over something good…but sometimes I do. Today, I am feeling incredibly grateful for the new trend toward providing ‘trigger’ warnings. I see more bloggers doing it, more documentaries that have them, more popping up here and there all the time. It’s a huge value add for survivors of trauma who still struggle with their pain in their ‘now’. I’d love to see more trigger warnings, because it can provoke hours or days (or weeks) of pain and emotional turmoil to be taken by surprise by a triggering event, or sound, or phrase, or experience…and if you are fortunate to have the emotional resilience that you just don’t understand what I’m talking about, please take a moment to appreciate that.  Me personally, I have several triggers that are pretty close to ‘everyday things’ – difficult to avoid, harder than hell to explain to someone else when it comes up. Some examples? Sure, why not – some of my triggers include the sound of footsteps on a hardwood floor outside a closed door, the sound of a loud aggressive knocking at the door, being awakened from sleep by a question, the sound of a woman screaming or crying, the sound of yelling from another house during the wee hours of the night, being prevented by another person from leaving a room, a hand being raised suddenly seen out of the corner of my eye, being asked to take off my glasses, excited unleashed dogs, being mocked when I am angry, seeing images of domestic violence, seeing images of torture… those are just the obvious things that occur to me without taking time to consider the question. There are more. I imagine it must be very tough to live with me.

People keep writing about rape. It keeps hurting me. Every time I read another article it re-awakens old pain, throws me off balance, leaves me vulnerable to a level of emotional volatility that carries a loss of dignity I can’t adequately describe, and pollutes my experience with fear. Fear sucks. Little girls are born fearless. The world, society, our cultures, our religions, and some very bad people take turns teaching them fear, by hurting them, by demeaning them, by continuing to infantilize them well into adulthood, by robbing them of free will, by reducing them as beings to physical bodies and demanding a standard of perfection that isn’t achievable, and by sending a pretty steady message that rape is their own fault.  By the time I was ‘an adult’ I wasn’t even sure any more what ‘consent’ meant for me, since it didn’t seem to me that saying yes or no was actually up to me at all, much of the time.  I definitely got the explicit message that nice girls don’t get raped, that choosing to be sexually active means anyone can have some, and that if I think I got raped I must have chosen the wrong clothes – and by the way, how can I put that man’s future at risk with such an allegation? That’s just not ok. Hell, I get angry thinking about it, and feel like I should apologize for that. It gets ugly in here, sometimes.

I keep dragging my feet on doing the paperwork for my MST claim… ‘MST’. What a relief! Conveniently I don’t have to say I was raped in the military! I can fall back on a politely sterile abbreviation that doesn’t force other people to think about my rape! I think I may be angry about that…but I don’t want to think about it, either.  I don’t want to think about any of it, and can’t figure out how to write about it without thinking about it…and certainly don’t want to acknowledge that mindfulness – which I am practicing and committed to – is the opposite of ‘not thinking about it’.  I don’t want any of this to be part of my experience, or part of who I am – I didn’t choose it, and I’m angry as hell every time I try to think about it, and that anger never seems to dissipate.  So…I’m looking at making reservations somewhere close to home, to hole up alone with my pain and my rage to write about rape.  I don’t know how else to approach it candidly, openly, accurately and with vulnerability, and not risk laying waste to the emotions and hearts of everyone dear to me while I do.

I need to be alone with my rape history.  That’s a hell of a thing.  The enormity of what is stolen from us when we are raped is hard to share.

Soon I’ll go to lunch with one of my partners, and this will fade into the background again, to be considered further later. Like it or not, even in the background, these experiences are part of who I am as a whole being.  I will keep practicing mindfulness, and perhaps someday the meaning and value of these things that hurt so much will be more clear, and maybe I will even move on from the pain and the rage.  I sort of have to, don’t I? It isn’t as if I can really talk about it.

Did you miss me? Ran out of internet while I was gone? Printed word long forgotten in the wake of local political scandals, fear-mongering news-media, and the impending zombie apocalypse? It is possible, perhaps, that someone out there in the wide world rolled out of bed, flipped on their technological connections to the world, and felt bereft of this fleeting handful of words we share between us so regularly… I might have doubted it, but for two things that were delightful reminders that we do indeed make our presence felt in the world, however small our piece of that puzzle happens to be; an email, and a conversation.

Saturday, as I rode the train home from a visit to a lovely big local farmer’s market, I had a casual meeting with a young man who, as it turned out, reads my blog. That was a little odd, and very serendipitous – what a privilege and an honor to see and connect with someone unknown who reads my words, and gets his own value from them…a stranger on a train…a moment of connection. I felt so open to the world, to my experience, to all the potential that exists for each of us as we move through the connected spaces in our lives.  It was profound and moving. [And hey, please thank your Mom for me for sharing my blog with you – and good luck with life and tough choices!]

Sunday a simple email from a cherished friend; a playful inquiry and a loving reminder that there really are people out there, reading my words, hearing me, and preserving our connection through this space.  I felt, for a moment, a tad neglectful of friends and loved ones, and let that go quickly; it was a wonderful weekend of connecting with people and experiencing moments.  It was a weekend rich with love, Love, fun, humor, and a very good slow roast of beef, and I can’t find fault with myself for enjoying that with my whole heart. 😀

Now, Monday arrived rather gently, and I woke slowly to a later alarm and enjoyed a solitary coffee as the dawn broke. I took time to meditate, and it seemed only moments had passed when the rest of the household woke, too, and we shared a few minutes of smiles and harmony before I headed to work. Even the walk in seemed gilded with love itself, and the birds enjoyed it with me, sharing their songs of morning, losing my attention only now and then – I am sometimes distracted by the sparkle of frosty dew on blades of grass.

I am finding today to be a very good day indeed.