Until I Saw Earth From Space

"I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space." —  Aleksei Leonov, first human being to walk in space

until I saw Earth from space
A person's perception of their world can change instantly based on their point of view. I felt an immediate shift in mine after making the decision to change the direction my midlife was headed. That looming sense of impending misfortune was fading quickly. Every bad feeling was not because of “The Change”. I took responsibility for the choices I was making and how I was feeling. Taking inventory, I became quite curious about what was happening in my body in a different way than before.

It was at this time that I underwent a span lasting two weeks where I experienced a concentrated increase in menopausal symptoms. I had 5-10 hot flashes during the day, every day and hot-cold sweats 2-3 times each night that woke me up soaked. This was accompanied by my heart pounding and fluttering at random times during the day and night. I had also gone two full months without having a period. I felt strangely elated that all this solidly confirmed to me that I was actually in the transition, not just the faint beginnings.

At the same time I knew it could get much more intense. I decided to start talking. Choosing who to talk with was not difficult given that I live with my friends, people who want me to be happy and care about me.  However, I was not sure what I wanted to say or how to say it. The tumult in my mind had settled down so recently, and I didn't think anyone had really noticed anything too unusual. Bringing up the topic might seem like it was coming from left field. I wondered is there a graceful way to broach the subject of menopause?

From experience I know the power of saying what is without embellishment or diminishment.  Drawing upon that, when we were all together, I simply started by saying "I am definitely going into menopause." Abrupt or not, it didn't matter. I had the intention to open the door for communication and intimacy. Talking with them was the best thing I did to improve the quality of my life. They listened with approval, knowing there was nothing wrong, nothing to fix.

I communicated specifics about what I’d been experiencing over the past nine months, the anxiety, changes in my period, the hot flashes and night sweats. I filled in the blanks, clearing up any mystery about what was going on when I had been so silent and down. I told them about the embarrassing, fearful, mixed up thoughts behind the emotions I had stifled. I related the realization that I had come to when I made the turnaround from being a victim of nature.  As I spoke it was the truth. I felt known and happy. I came to a new perspective.

I view menopause as a natural part of a woman’s life. What I experience is not inherently negative or indicative of my declining value as a human being. What I experience is an indicator of changes happening in my body. There are things to pay attention to, things to adapt to just as there have been in other parts of my life. It is my choice to have it as bad or have it as good. Through communication, I experienced the perfection of menopause, the perfection of being a woman and the perfection of life.

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