Down for the Count

Down for the Count
Instantly I’m awake, aware that I was deeply asleep moments before. I don’t know why I'm awake now – is it morning or night? I’m not entirely sure. 

It’s dark. I can barely discern the difference between having my eyes open and closed. I open up my senses, scanning to identify the cause for my waking.  I hear the soft hum of faraway kitchen appliances. Only white noise, no one else is stirring. I snuggle in against the plush down of my bed, bundled against the cold of mid-winter reassured that all is well about to fall asleep again. 

Then I feel that telltale sensation within my core. Something I have only noticed a few times before and only when I've been still and quiet. It’s a vague foreshadowing, yet undeniable in its meaning. Time slows down. I realize what is coming and my brain races. “Oh NOOOoooooo!” that first reaction despondently echoes within me. I brace for what I know is next. The first rumblings make themselves known. I don't like this. I feel myself going down, slumber erased from my world in a snap. I don’t have much time. My heart is already racing.

Quelling my sudden compulsion to make a preemptive strike and throw off all the covers, I decide to do something different. I have new goals after all. I lay still. The silence outside my body remains unbroken, but inside there is an outcry, “Arrrrgggghhhhhh.” For whatever reason, that thinking, judging part of me does not handle this recurring event very well.

I switch my attention away from those struggling thoughts. I decide to feel my body, pay attention to it. I'm naked, lying on my right side, hips and knees curled. My body is tense. One hand grips the corner of my pillow. I relax, letting my fingers unfurl. The cotton pillowcase and feathers plump up giving them a buoyant lift. I relax even more and Lub-WHUMP a single robust heartbeat reverberates loudly in my chest. Seemingly in answer, a new thought pops into my consciousness. “Count the seconds” and so I do.

“One one thousand, two one thousand…” time slows even more. I feel thick fingers of building heat push outward from deep inside. The dense force of heat expands, moving between my shoulder blades to spread up my back and envelop my neck. Moisture springs from my pores. I notice it at the nape of my neck first, then up the hairline. Drops emerge and multiply across my shoulders and throughout the center of my back. There I feel a single rivulet fall from the dip of my spine and roll around the curve to my waist where it meets the bed. 

The blaze spreads further filling my body. Just under my skin the hotness exerts its pressure most insistently. If I could see it now, I’m sure my face would be brightly colored in the flush of this wave. I am so very, very hot now. But I stay put and with the least movement possible lift the covers away from my body. I am still counting. I’ve only reached nine.

I am in awe at the capabilities of the human body, at my body! The movement and release of energy continues and I am like a kid looking forward to what will happen next in a new action flick. I want to feel and experience the entire ride. I am radiating heat and my brain feels keenly aware. Sensations are amplified as I hone in on each.  Eleven seconds have passed and I note that my ankles break out in a sweat; the bottoms of my feet dotted with tingling vibrations. I hear a ringing, a sustained note bringing to mind chimes resonating in a great hall. 

The temperature peaks and I feel the beginning of its rapid fall. At fifteen seconds there is so much perspiration happening all at once that the surface of my skin feels dewy, glowing as if I just stepped out of a steamy shower. Vapor rises, a layer of tropical atmosphere hovers around me. The pressure from the inside subsides. I am aware of the rhythm of my heart, slower with each beat. Inside my body the roaring heat has dissipated. I breathe in deeply. Calmly I bring the covers back over me. Suddenly goose bumps materialize and chills blanket me all at once. I feel the last remaining threads of heat waft from the top of my head as I whisper the count to myself – “Twenty.”  

In the dark, motionless and silent, I reflect on what just happened. I experienced so much. Whew! This was an intense one. Only twenty seconds had passed, plus a few seconds dedicated to rearranging my prejudices prior to the count. It was fun to find out just how fast this tremendous shift in energy can be. Moreover, once I let go of disapproving and felt what was occurring in my body in such detail during those twenty seconds, the hot flash itself was fun.

As that sinks in, my critical self attacks conjuring up a dramatic scene. Legions of menopausal women, who weirdly all happen to look like some version of me, call out "What do you mean your hot flash was fun??! Them are fightin' words!"  I cower realizing that this unsettling mob would love to go a few rounds with me in the ring for stating something so outlandish, so ludicrous and contrary.

Whoa there! I stop myself and give no more attention to that fabrication.

During those twenty seconds, I'd crossed the line. That hot flash was fun. Pleased, I turn over, fluff up my pillows and drift back to sleep. 


daisy said...

Whenever I've thought about menopause in the past, I put it off, I felt relieved to think it wasn't time for me to inform myself about THAT, not yet...

Reading your blog, has changed my point of view, now I think, this is something to be interested in, something to learn about and explore, an opportunity rather than an unwanted event orchestrated by chemistry. Thank you!

I love your fresh perspective about having this life transition be fun.

Yvonne Wray said...

It great to hear from women of all ages here. Thank you Daisy.

I'm going to be on a live radio show today with Rebekah Beneteau discussing the pleasures I'm taking advantage of in menopause. Join me. You can even call in and ask a question.

Details: Ask Me Anything Love and Sex Show
Hot Women-Navigating Menopause
Thursday 1/31 at 5:30-6:30 PM PST
Call in (347) 838-8931

sheri said...

"once I let go of disapproving and felt what was occurring in my body in such detail during those twenty seconds, the hot flash itself was fun."

"I am in awe at the capabilities of the human body, at my body!"

What a fun read. I so enjoyed your description of experiencing a hot flash, how you deliberately decided to see it through approval of your body and really how fascinating it is!

wendyt said...

Now that has got to be a first...a woman recounting the moment by moment effects of her hot flash from the standpoint of noticing, of being a "sensual researcher". I enjoy how you tell us what you feel from our cultural viewpoints and from one that is pleasure-based. Thank you, Yvonne, for turning us on to how "fun" menopause can be. Has me look forward to that next hot flash!

Mz Zoomer said...

I know that I am one of the lucky ones! I rarely have noticed much more than the occasional hot flash (and minor at that). Don't hate me. I have watched friends struggle with it. This is a great read and puts some fun into it. You go "hot" momma :) Good luck on the radio tonight.

susan tarantino said...

What a great read. Now that hot flash was fun. I look forward to the next installment.

Veronica Monet said...

Reading this brought on a hot flash! And for once I chose to enjoy it. Thank you!

Yvonne Wray said...

Thank you all for stopping by.

Mz Zoomer - I surely don't hate anyone for their easy transition. Each woman is unique. It is important for us to keep talking, doing what we can to change the way our culture views menopause and women. It's all good.

Veronica Monet - Happy to hear it. Very fun.

Anonymous said...

When I was experiencing the "fun" of hot flashes a few years ago, I would comment to my husband that I was hot. He would suggest turning up the AC, trying to fix it as men are wont to do. My response was "You can't fix it; I just need you to sympathize." So then his response to my statement of "I'm hot" became "I'm sorry, honey!" It made it all better. :o)

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