‘It’s possible that I have the World’s Worst Menopause’
Narcisse: A Bacchante, Léon Bakst, 1911
From The New York Times:
For some women, menopause is no big deal. Some say they barely notice it. My mother, long ago, described her menopause this way: “My periods just started gettin’ lighter and lighter, and my harmones settled down, and then one day … pfft! It was over.”
Not me. Not only did menopause change my life, it changed me.
Before I was laid low by hot flashes, panic-inducing adrenaline rushes and the constant oscillation between morbid sadness and killer rage, I’d prided myself on being fearless. I’d screamed obscenities at the masochistic nuns at my Catholic school, kicked undercover cops in the groin and once threw a chair at my abusive fiancé’s head while Allen Ginsberg read poetry in a room below.
And suddenly, I was a person to whom sitting quietly with hands folded, ideally in a dark room with the shades drawn and maybe “The Lawrence Welk Show” playing low on an old TV, seemed like the best plan ever.
I wish I’d been better prepared. I wish I’d properly celebrated the last time I’d canceled plans to spend all morning soaking in a lavender-scented bathtub with a bottle of Advil. I wish I’d noted down the date when I’d dug that last extra tampon out of the bottom of my purse and thrown it away. I should have marked the event in some way, maybe even performed a personal rite-of-passage ritual: taken that tampon out to the woods, placed it upon an altar that I’d fashioned out of ancient glacial rocks, and set it ablaze while I chanted an invocation to whoever the crone-goddess of menopause is.
I am now well acquainted with that goddess.