All I wanted when I got into my forties was the body of Madonna, the flawless skin of a 20 year old, the sexual stamina of a bunny rabbit, and the awe-inspiring energy of a Navy SEAL. I mean, what woman wouldn’t want that? Instead, I got the surprise of my life.
I saw my ass and it was fat. I’d been watching a home movie one evening, scrutinizing this flabby middle-aged woman as she slumped across a room with her back to the camera. I was about to say to my friend, “who’s the fat ass?” when I realized in a flash of heart-exploding panic that the fat ass was me. My friend tried to reassure me that the camera adds weight. “It doesn’t need to,” I screamed, as I ran to hide in the closet, under those clothes that didn’t fit anymore.
Sometimes it takes a cold hard look to really get that you aren’t the 20-year old college dorm queen you used to be—all giggly, firm and fabulous. In an instant, I saw myself the way everyone else does: a sloppily aging woman skidding into fatigued obsolescence. I felt like I’d been dismissed from the gene pool, left to watch from a frayed deck chair while all the other lithesome reproductive beings copulated with Darwinian intensity. They mattered. They belonged. They weren’t in menopause.
Is there a woman among us who is ready for menopause? I don’t know about you but I was raised with the reigning expectation that aging, menopause, and even death are all optional. It‘s just a matter of time before they find cool new pills, injections, and surgeries to make it all go away.
Talk about being delusional. A rear end expanding to mythic proportions was just the beginning of my menopause. In the time it takes to say, “I’m a little homicidal this year,” I acquired a beer belly, lost all interest in sex, and took rage and anxiety to a whole new level of expression. Ah yes those were the days. A roller coaster of moods and tears keeping me company, while alternately irritating and terrifying anyone who got within a one-mile radius.
How I handled menopause is best left to another time. Please, tell me I’m not the only one who got way more than she bargained in menopause. What does menopause mean to you?