I woke this morning with something out of the ordinary I think–I had a zit. A zit on the age spot in the wrinkle on my forehead. Looked at it with wonder and disbelief. Apparently the intersection of puberty and menopause is on my T-zone. I know–I am insane. I have looked at my face and body differently lately…have you heard the saying that you “know something like the back of your hand?” What if you don’t recognize the back of your hand, what if it looks more like your Mother’s or Grandmother’s?
I have gone through more changes than the average gal I think. I was a premie baby–barely 5 pounds at birth. Then for reasons only God knows for sure, I grew and grew and grew. When I was 5 I wore a size 5 shoe, by the time age 11 rolled around I was over 6 feet and wore a size 12 shoe. If you don’t believe me I have plenty, PLENTY of awkward photographic evidence. Puberty was rather uneventful. I wasn’t really informed ahead of time to any of the changes I would encounter and I was so busy growing it all seemed part of the chaos. It was really one of the only “normal” things I experienced growing up.
Last Sunday when I was getting ready for church I was putting on my make up and I started thinking about when I was a teen and learning how to apply makeup. I remember being at a Mary Kay or Beauty Control pushy “sale“–oops, I mean “make up class” one of the “desperate housewives,” oops, I mean “consultants” told me the art of make up at my age was to look like I wasn’t wearing any. I spent my youth trying to learn that lesson and now… Now I am trying to use makeup to make me look youthful! The bloom of my youth has faded!
In my 20’s, rather than “peak” I spent them overweight, depressed and ill-equipped to navigate adulthood. I saw a dermatologist (and a therapist thank goodness) and he was sorta shocked that the majority of my sun damage was top of my feet, top of my head and ears and my arms and hands below the elbow. This is my reward for staying inside, covered most of the time doing no physical activity.
My 30’s found me really overweight, divorced, alone, in a job I hated and ready for a change! I had gastric bypass and it was the best thing I ever did (Oh yes, that whole story is a post for another day)! SO, I melted and lost more than half of me! That is a change my friend–A big Change and it happened so fast (in about 8 months)! I met my hubs after the melting had slowed, now 6′ 1″ and 149 lbs. He is sweet and tells me he would have fallen in love with me if I were still a ‘big girl’ had we worked together or otherwise become acquainted…I smile but doubt it!
So I married that nice Norwegian man who doesn’t seem put off by my height or history and I become pregnant 4 months later. If you read my Pulitzer Prize-worthy posts “Grim, Bleak and Barren,” or “Woman Of Advanced Maternal Age” then you know a lot of that story. Now girls, being pregnant the first time and having your last 9lb baby after 40, are big changes. Parts you never knew you had grow and swell and your hair is great, your nose super sensitive and your skin soft and pink…then there’s the birth…. You morph from ripe and full to sore and deflated in a matter of moments! That is a big change. Heck, becoming a mother is like the biggest change I ever experienced! I changed how I slept and ate and played, I changed my view of the world, the music I learned and the TV I watched. (insert da da da da da Dora) I changed most of the diapers too! I gained weight and lost weight before, during and after and like every other average mom out there, I kept a few pounds from each one.
Ok, here I am in present day, 41 and realizing that I need to come to terms with these next 10 years. I have a strong history of breast cancer in my family–I have to get those parachutes checked often. I have had some trouble with my girl parts, baby makin’ quiver is full and I have to prepare for this next change, MENOPAUSE! I hate that word, it scares me. I would rather have a pause to eat, a pause to rest, or a pause to write than a pause from that…not that I enjoy Aunt Flo’s monthly visits but really? Never ever again? Besides, the word ‘pause‘ implies that there will be a time of ‘resume’.
Who am I here? I have just filled my nest when most women my age are emptying theirs. I have little kids, babies still…where do we go from here? Honestly, have you every heard anyone say anything good about the pause? So the next 10 years I am to be hot and cold and wet and dry and happy and sad all while my face sags slowly downward everyday until I resemble a tired ol’ coonhound who has to tuck her jowls into the turtleneck? Will the kids at school always think that my stooges brought their grandparents for a field trip? What is my identity these next few years? Am I ready for that change?
So here I am at the intersection of puberty and menopause–just like in driver’s ed with Mr. Mulligan. I take a deep breath and put my foot on the gas…the light is green–this is way better than being a teenager! Right?!
(and you can keep the change)!