It’s 4:08am. I’ve been awake for almost two hours. It seems to be my new routine. As I lay here with a million things running through my mind, I suddenly remembered something I’ve been quietly excited about for months:
Yesterday marked one year since my last “monthly visit”, “that time”, or as I came to refer to it as “my monthly hell”.
It was never an easy road. I started when I was 12. I remember waking up one morning, seeing the evidence, and being angry. This was not something I ever wanted to deal with. I certainly had never looked forward to it. I had awful cramps all day, and I had to go to school and suck it up. I remember being so nauseous and in so much pain I could barely concentrate. I was miserable.
When I get home, the mother had called EVERYONE she knew to tell them “the exciting news” – I was woman!
Actually, I was humiliate. She became irate. She told me I was being stupid, that I should be proud of “becoming a woman”.
H U M I L I A T E D.
I told her that it was nobodies business and she had no right to announce it to the world. It was my personal. It was embarrassing and I was miserable. She told me to grow up. She told me I was a child and had no rights. I told her I was supposedly a woman. She told me to shut up before she slapped that look off my face. Oh the warm memories…
The next 39 years were mostly hell where this was concerned. Severe PMS hat dragged on for two weeks. Extreme cramps that often left me sick for two days every month. Heavy flow that left me exhausted and wondering how people ever survive such blood loss.
In high school, the cramps were so bad my doctor prescribed Vicodin. Yes, I said Vicodin! WTH?? Who does that???
I was never allowed to stay home with a migraine or cramps. I was told at an early age that I had to learn how to live in the world with these things, and that I was never to use them as an excuse. I won’t say as an adult that I followed that advise. Rarely did I call in sick, and if the mother got wind of it, she gave me hell.
I had an abnormal pap about 19 years ago. Precancerous cells were caught early and dealt with. I asked for a hysterectomy, and was told no. I was serious, but the doc didn’t take me seriously.
At this point I will mention that I am the only female on the mother’s side of the family to have a uterus after the age of 30. There was no family history to compare me to. There was a lot of cervical cancer, cysts, hardening of the uterus, and generally not healthy female parts.
In my late 30’s/early 40’s I asked again for a hysterectomy. I was told that would be “elective surgery” and insurance doesn’t cover that. Instead she put me on the Depo Provera shot and for four glorious years I had no “time of the month”.
H E A V E N.
The PMS was gone. The severe nausea and other symptoms that arrived on day one were gone. It was amazing. Then my job situation changed and my insurance changed and they were no longer covered. Heavy sigh.
Then they got sporadic for several years. Every two weeks…every six weeks…every few months…every two weeks…you get the picture.
Finally, I skipped several months. I started keeping count. On month six? Surprise. Mother Nature did that to me three times.
This time, I wrote the start date down and forgot about it. A couple months ago I checked to see what it had been. June 19, 2016. It had been heavy, ugly, made me sick as a dog, and lasted a full seven days. Then nothing.
It is now 4:45am on June 29, 2017. One year has officially gone by. One year, which marks the official start to menopause.
Perimenopause has been here for several years, as have hot flashes, night sweats, and the like. I can live with that.
I will make a doctor appointment to get checked out and make sure all is well. Then I may call my friends and suggest a celebratory drink.
This bears celebrating. The horror that began 39 years ago is no more.
Welcome menopause!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival!!
June. Officially summer. Hot days, warm nights. In Florida, it’s not even the hottest time (we’ll revisit that in August/September!) when we were kids it meant pool time, motor home vacations, reading a LOT of books and vegetating until the school year began.
I woke this morning feeling like time has swept past me and I’ve not moved. Ever feel like that?
I have a problem you see, a very big problem. I live as I was trained to live. I wake up, I go to work, I work hard, I come home, I eat dinner, I go to bed.
Trained since birth!
Now, that’s not to say I don’t socialize. I go out to dinner, meet up with friends, all the fun things. I don’t do that as often as I probably should. You know, the balance thing and all. Balance? Yes, it’s a thing. I’m told it’s an important thing.
I find myself in a rut this first day of June. I just don’t make enough time for me. There, I said it. It’s out in the universe.
I need more me time.
Sounds simple, yes? No. It’s my age old struggle.
What to DO?
I declare today the first day that I purposefully spend a little more time on me. This month I will do more things that benefit me, my life, my future. Wow, that sounds incredibly selfish! How DARE I think such a thing? Another part of the training. Oh, that damn training to be content with nothing, to not over reach, to not dream of a better future, to not be selfish. I may need a detox of some kind…
I want to better serve the people around me. Friends. Strangers. I want to make a difference. I want to be someone who can make someone smile, even if they don’t realize it. I want to bring forth joy.
I don’t need pomp and circumstance. I just want to give back to this world of ours, and be a brighter spot, a positive spot, a good person.
I will work on me, body and soul. A healthier me is better for everyone.
I think it’s doable. I just need to start.
I drive past 12 osprey nests on the way to and from work. Most are within a one mile stretch of road. Every day o see the nests, and often times I see the birds, beautiful, magnificent creatures that amaze me.
I wish them good morning each day. I count how many I see. They make me smile. I know it will be a good day when I see them. How can it not be?
Friday night I happened upon an Osprey Cam for one of the nests. According to the blog, there were two babies and a third egg waiting to hatch. My bank has adopted these osprey and had ensured them a safe home. The story of this family is heartwarming.
Saturday I tuned in periodically throughout the day. I saw the mama and the babies, the papa bird bringing them a fish, the feeding. It was magical.
When I got news that a wonderful person I know received a devastating cancer diagnosis, I pulled up the osprey. When the work day ended and I was tired and overwhelmed, I pulled up the osprey. It was then I noticed one baby was motionless. I cried. The other baby was active and I clung to the idea that it was the bright spot of the day. New life, so cute, so sweet. Hope in a nest.
Over dinner I learned that a second wonderful person’s husband received a devastating cancer diagnosis. No way! Back to the osprey. As the sun began to set, mama and baby were settled in, and again, the adorable life in that nest was a bright shiny spot as I thought of my friends.
Sunday morning I tuned in. I couldn’t see the baby. My heart dropped and I became concerned. An hour later I saw the Facebook post: both babies had passed.
Mother Nature let me down.
I cried for an hour. I assumed the fetal position, snuggles with my cat and cried the loud, ugly cry. I cried off and on the rest of the day. I have tears now, even as I type this. What happened? Why? How do the parents feel? How will we go on?
Mother Nature had other plans for those sweet babies. Mother Nature can bite me…letting me fall in love then ripping my heart out. Heavy sigh.
Some days you need more baby osprey and less real life.
I checked the Osprey Cam yesterday evening and the mama was eating a fish. The nest looked so…quiet. Sadness washed over me again.
Today I will see the 12 nests I’ve become an expert at spotting. If I time my commute right I will see 4-8 osprey hanging out watching commuters go by. Eleven is the record.
I’m not sure my heart can take more bad news right now. May today be free of death and disease.
If you’d like to see my friends the osprey, you can tune into the live feed anytime. They are fascinating creatures that will continue to enchant me.
I’ve been “radio silent” for a bit (according to a few friends.) It’s been rather nice! What happened? I achieved an amazing sense of overwhelm that allowed me to step back, breath, and regroup. I’ve never in my life disengaged and taken time to take care of me like I have the last several weeks.
I gave myself permission to stop and simply BE.
My day job required everything I had in me from November through a good part of March. Things ramped up like I never thought possible at the beginning of February. It became grueling, day in and day out. Not the job itself, but the people. I rarely speak of the day job, but I will here to help paint the picture.
We made a change in January that upset many who frequented one location. I can only describe the daily interactions with angry people as often bordering on abuse. Every. Single. Day. Soul sucking.
I was filled with dread when I woke up and had to go there, and beaten down when the day was over. Then I tried to do everything else in the evenings and on my days off. I wasn’t doing anything well, and I couldn’t get ahead of anything. Worst of all, I was changing. I didn’t like the “me” that all this was creating. I stopped recognizing myself.
At that point, I realized that I had nothing left to give. Once I made peace with that, I stopped trying to do it all. Some interesting changes have taken place as a result.
Sleep. I’ve begun sleeping better. To know me is to know I’m sleep in snippets, and am tired a lot of the time. Now? I’m in bed between 9pm and 10pm most nights, and falling asleep. I wake less, and am sleeping more. Most days I feel refreshed when I wake. That’s new!
Friends. I am socializing a bit less, but it’s more fun. My head is in the experience, rather than in 100 different places. It’s quality time, and I’m enjoying “being fully present” for the first time in ages.
Work. Things at the day job are calm again, and I’m happy again. I’m managing my time better, and am more productive. I’m not tired all the time, and I can focus.
Direct Sales. I’m getting back into the swing of things, and I’m reminding myself that I need to maintain balance. I’m also evaluating and trying to decide exactly what I want from a direct sales business and how to get it. With a clear head, I can do that.
Entertainment. My DVR is empty for the first time in years. I’m listening to podcasts I enjoy, and reading. There is TIME to unplug and just BE.
Kitties. My cats have loved the extra time they have with me. We have more quality time than we did. Happy kitties are a good thing!
I’m reminding myself to…