Preface . . .
I pride myself on writing a blog that is appropriate for all ages. And I will maintain that standard here, but I offer a caveat to you women: This one’s for the girls. Not the boys. Not the men. Content isn’t salacious or R-rated; it just won’t interest them. And to be completely honest, they wouldn’t understand it anyway.
A woeful reader e-mailed me two weeks ago, discouraged and concerned that the beginning of the end is near. That her body is trading in a little PMS for full-on menopause. This was not necessarily a surprise to her–she simply wanted a forecast. She just wanted a little glimpse into what she can expect and how she might better prepare herself and her family (because she is caring that way), and for some reason, she is under the false impression that I am a gynecologist or that I have any experience at all with menopause. Or psychotherapy.
An excerpt from her inquiry:
“. . . I wonder, when one finally gets through the change, what are you left with? The normal you or the PMS you? Because now my hormones are all over the place. One minute I love my husband and the next I can’t stand to hear him breathe. Or scratch his itchy dry winter skin. Or laugh. Or make the same dumb (expletive censored) joke he has been making for 25 long years. As a journalist, I think you should do an investigative report on post menopausal women. Will life ever be normal again?”
This is a tall order, I thought. But maybe I can help. Despite the fact that “PMS” remains my middle name, I know this change is imminent. Heaven help us all. So I offered the following response, which wasn’t an answer, really, but a show of solidarity.
I’ve often wondered what happens after the change, too. Like, are you left with the personality you have when it ends? It could go either way. If so, it’s like musical chairs. The music stops, and that’s your lot. And the husband is left to wonder, “if only she had stopped two days ago.”
I was lying on the floor in front of the TV, and everything the kids said made me laugh out loud. Craig asked if I had taken any medicine. Sadly, I had not. The day before, I screamed at him at top volume for opening the oven door with two hands. Go figure.
She responded with this:
Surely we aren’t the only two in the world who act like this. I swear I wanted to mutilate (name omitted to protect the innocent) last night when he was scratching his leg. How much trouble is it to rub on some (expletive censored; heavens she’s a potty mouth) lotion?
You tell me. I don’t know how hard it is to drink tea without ice. That clinking is going to put me in a home. And don’t even get me started on the way he stirs pasta. I have to leave the room. But not before announcing, “I can’t sit in here while you stir that.”
And on we went, neither one offering any real advice, but instead, stories in which we threw log upon log of hormonal tales and emotional indiscretions into the Scary Story Fire.
In the end, I guess we were too cranky to help each other.
Which begs this reader’s initial question: “Will life ever be normal again?”
I am sad to report that, despite advances in women’s medicine and the wide availability of psychotherapy and electric shock treatments . . . I can’t even hear myself think because of that annoying clink, clink, clinking of the ice in the glass . . .
I’m sorry, what was your question again?