The Menopause Lady

Featuring a podcast!

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This was not my plan. I did not want my name forever linked with my menopause, didn’t want to be the poster child for midlife unraveling.

And yet, here we are.

I have written many things, about many things. Essays and poetry, musings on our shared, weird human experience and the scary world around us. However, the thing that has resonated the most, the work that has garnered the most attention and response, is my writing about the female, midlife landscape: Menopause, perimenopause, a woman’s aging in what is still — unbelievably, infuriatingly — a man’s world.

As much as I resist being defined by my experience with peri/menopause — a thing that has made me feel, at times, weak and messy and less-than — I’m learning that it is much more-than. It is life in a female body, a reality for more than half the world’s population. Menopause is not an illness, it’s not a thing to be fixed. It is more difficult for some, often in cultures that don’t respect or support women. Often in societies that shuffle the aging off the stage and spotlight the young. But it is a transition that each and every female body will encounter.

We need to talk about it. We need to share our stories, educate the young, stockpile the menopause narratives so there is a store of knowledge, an archive of experience from which we can draw in the tough times. Not unlike the period shaming that we’ve all experienced — protect the secret of your menses with your life! — our silence around this perfectly normal and possibly enlightening experience robs us of support and community.

I’m a woman who has struggled mightily with this chapter of life and I can’t stop talking about it. Talking, writing, listening to others — it’s been my lifeline and I can see the barn now. The light at the beginning of the next chapter. If you’re a woman, or even if you just love a woman, pay attention. There’s a rebirth of sorts in the middle, and birth is fucking hard! But it’s absolutely worth the struggle.

The lovely Allison Behringer discovered my midlife/menopause series here on Medium, The Long Middle, and asked me to be part of her wonderful podcast, Bodies. Allison and her team are doing wonderful work giving voice to women and the stories about their bodies. I am featured in the latest episode, “Unraveling,” an inquiry into menopause, because of course I am!

I am The Menopause Lady now.

Enjoy and share and listen to the other episodes in Bodies. We have these bodies, we use them our whole (hopefully) long lives — we should understand them. Even when they’re unraveling.

Especially when they’re unraveling.

Today, October 18, 2018, is World Menopause Day. I’m not sure what we should be doing, but happy WMD! I see it — how morbidly appropriate. Bottoms up!

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