A woman can treat her changing menopausal body with many new targeted products, but there's little talk on the spiritual journey.
I listen to women from all over the world talk about the change that take over their bodies and mind and how out of control they feel. I hear women talk about depression, anxiety and all the surprising and unwanted symptoms of menopause. I'm not hearing women talk about how they see themselves after the changes occur or how they move forward into a new self.
Now in my sixties, I had the roller coaster of peri-menopause that started in my early fifties. I'm over the hump and in the plateau, and I try to take as much control back of my body as possible. The weight, muscle mass loss, thinning hair and skin dryness that has occurred are a constant, whereas, in the beginning, they were phenomena. Those conditions were strange happenings that I didn't understand. I thought it was stress-related until I started researching and finding answers in posts, blogs or podcasts that reported that they were, in fact, symptoms of menopause, but what isn't is the relationship with that person that has changed in appearance within a seemingly short space of time.
The things that I would pride myself on that were genetically inherited: were my thick hair, my slender frame, and my smooth, flawless skin, had changed dramatically. I felt I wasn't the same person I had been used to for over fifty years. A new person was emerging, and I had to find a way to get used to being her. Because if I didn't, I would be in trouble. I was fortunate not to be in a relationship throughout the journey. Perhaps some may think it odd to say, but the reason is that I found relief in not feeling the pressure of dragging someone else through my trauma. I didn't want to feel the anger or guilt that can come with losing control, and I didn't want to hide my constantly shifting moods. I didn't have children or partners, so I battled through it on my own, and that's when I found a warrior in myself. Sure, it wasn't foolproof, my mood swings would find their way in a group setting, saying things that were a reaction or that offended people, but thankfully I didn't have to live with those people. I could go home and bury my sorry head in a fluffy conciliatory pillow for as long as I wanted. But if you have compassionate partners that have ridden that road with you and have supported you, I have immense respect for them.
After the dust and debris of confusion through peri-menopause, I feel a calm has settled within me, like nothing I've felt before. It's not necessarily blissful, but rather a quiet, restful calm one that anticipates a new future and the unknown. The world can be very unkind to mature people of the west. And being of this tribe, I understand the issues: Not being seen as relevant and feeling the need to prove yourself constantly, being patient with people who address you as if you are mentally impaired, or people bending down to talk to you as if you are a child and cannot comprehend or even hear clearly. I want to smack those people, but I hold back, and I hold back my anger and my vengeance, but not all the time. I'm a warrior now. I want to stand up for my change. I want to prove to people that our bodies and mind had to go through a process and that now we have emerged from the cocoon into a being of great inner strength.
Fighting for your rights is an ageless and timeless pursuit. The right to be boundless, loved and respected is universal. Unfortunately, we live in outdated constructs that wrongly define who we are, and being over fifty or sixty or seventy and so on should not limit our contributions. I'm saying all this because after the libido has waned and the wrinkles have spread, it's a challenge to enter a new phase of life without communal support for the multi-layered challenges: Such as pride in our appearance, mental acuity and energy levels, to name a few. We have a lifetime of experiences and stories that need to be shared. History informs us, as do the old and wise in our communities. And I leave this entry here for all ages to ponder the importance of honouring the journey that we all take, will take, and one that is inevitable.