Woman 5.0

I remember every detail about the day I got my first period. I can even smell the slight mold of our suburban, ranch basement bathroom. But what I most remember is my mother.

“Congratulations. You are now a woman.”

My mother has never been prouder of me than this particular day.

Hooray.

I was a woman.

Along with Kotex pads that required a belt—yes, I am that old—I was now applauded for a simple biological act…

My body functioned as it should…

How proud we should be over that! Cue the confetti. Let’s party. Woo-hoo. Yay, biology.

But along this same path, my body functioning normally, what do you say to a woman who no longer gets her period?

I’m waiting…

If when you get your period you become a woman, what do you become when it stops?

Are you no longer a woman?

Technically speaking, the opposite of “woman” is “man.” But if you search hard enough at synonym.com, you get a plethora of interesting opposites: emotional person, immature, unsexy, unattractiveness, ugly.

Congratulations.

You stopped getting your period. Your body functioned normally.

You are not worth recognizing. You are no longer attractive nor vital. You are no longer worthy of a name. Boo, biology.

Is this how we should treat ourselves? How we should let others think of us?

Why don’t we think of menopause as a reboot? Our body got an update. We restarted it. And now, we are better than ever. We are Woman 5.0.

LA

Why don’t we think of menopause as a reboot? Our body got an update. We restarted it. And now, we are better than ever. We are Women 5.0.

Just to remind you—let’s look at the history of our software:

  • 1.0: pimples, self-doubt, SATs
  • 2.0: career chutes and ladders
  • 3.0: wedding chapel, divorce court, or singledom
  • 4.0: parent-self-children … who comes first?

Were any of these stages of womanhood all that awesome? Maybe our upper arms didn’t jiggle, but how great were the menstruation years anyway?

What does Woman 5.0 have to offer?

  • confidence
  • innate sexuality
  • resilience
  • attitude

Maybe we should put on a black turtleneck, stand on a stage in Silicon Valley, and shout to the world: All Hail Women 5.0!


LA is a New York-based armchair philosopher, armchair therapist, and armchair quarterback. She excels at asking questions and telling people that they should think outside of the box. Her proudest accomplishment is that she refrained from locking any family members in a closet during the pandemic. Feed her ego and catch her at Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50.


Write for Navigating the Change.

Wellness Wednesday: Foodie Shack Podcast

For today’s Wellness Wednesday, the hosts of the Foodie Shack Podcast, my good friend Lisa and Chef Cedric interviewed me about foods that are best for women who are “navigating the change.”

Check it out here: Food and Navigating the Change (Buzzsprout).

…or here: Food and Navigating the Change (Spotify).

And be sure to like, subscribe, and listen to the Foodie Shack Podcast for other interesting takes on eating all of the things.

Dementia?

There are sixty-seven menopause symptoms of which I’m aware; however, one shook me so hard when it appeared.

Ten years ago, a change in my skin was the first indication something was changing in my body, although I put it down to stress and a history of eczema. What can I say? I’m a medical marvel.

The second and more startling symptom came not far after. I stood facing my husband of twenty years and couldn’t say his name instantly. I knew his name but had to pause for ten seconds before I could say his name. I had the same experience looking at a knife and fork and couldn’t clutch the word fork instantly.

I was scared out of my mind. My father (not by blood) had started showing signs of dementia, and I thought I had early-onset dementia at thirty-nine, as I was showing the same kinds of difficulties.

As ever, I took to the internet and searched for all the information I could read. Do you know what I didn’t come across? Any link to menopause. All the links went straight to dementia.

And I believed it.

My doctor should’ve been my first port of call, but I’d been burned. In my late twenties, my doctor wouldn’t help me with my pelvic issues. She would only prescribe antidepressants and wouldn’t investigate why I couldn’t stand up straight or sit down comfortably. I had to seek a second opinion.

I had endometriosis.

So, you can understand my wariness of rocking up at the doc’s office wanting answers.

I did the dementia test and passed with top marks.

I wasn’t losing my mind. Well, I was. It just wasn’t dementia.


I covered up my pausing for words in various ways. I preferred emails to phone calls, texts to phone calls. Staying on mute in conference calls. I hadn’t noticed I’d done these things consciously. Only looking back do I now understand I was protecting my mind and avoiding being called out on my hesitancy.

More symptoms followed, which I put down to my endo. But the more indicators that appeared, the more I started to research. Then I got annoyed I didn’t know half the stuff that showed up. Then I got upset that I felt alone trying to manage these changes—at times, hideous symptoms.

The image of menopausal woman is seen as something to be laughed at. I can laugh at myself in some of the situations I have, but you’re not allowed to laugh at me, unless I invite you to laugh, as I stumble through why I’m in the kitchen when I should be in the living room.

Now, I am so driven to talk about menopause. Half the population is going to experience it to some degree, even they are in denial.

My passion is to help others and to engage with others who can help me. Never have I felt more inclined to use the word sisterhood as right now.

Oh, and what I thought was dementia was just brain fog…it’s one of the sixty-seven symptoms of menopause.


The Meno Lady wants menopause education for women and men to be more accessible at any age. She’s at the beginning of her campaign to remove the stigma of menopause. Her hope is that with many voices, menopause will become normalised.

Follow The Meno Lady here:

Instagram

Facebook

WordPress


Photo Feature: Ariel Blue

Ariel Blue

Ariel Blue, age thirty-six, is a performing artist with a degree from Stetson University. She has fourteen years in performing arts experience and is a company member of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) in Sarasota, Florida. She is the creator of the blog The Blue Print and co-writer for the music group RAD. 

Follow Ariel on IG: @simplyarielblue


Navigating the Change has partnered with photographer, Sorcha Augustine to curate images of women who are thirty-five or older being their full selves.

Sorcha Augustine is a dance and theatre photographer from Sarasota, Florida. She creates dynamic stage and promotional photography for performing arts organizations, as well as authentic portraiture of performing and visual artists, helping them communicate their skill, personality, and passion to their audiences.

Follow Sorcha on IG: @sorcha_augustine

Book Sorcha for your photos: https://sorchaaugustine.com/


Hell Ain’t Hotter

When I was forty-one, my brother, mom,  and I went on a birthday road trip.
Our birthdays fall within two weeks of one another.
We had gotten onto the highway: mom driving, the brother sprawled out in the back seat (as he does not drive), and I in the passenger seat.
As always, we were yammering away, laughing and talking about road trips taken when we were kids when I began to realize I was getting warmer.
 
It began slowly: a noticeable increase in my temperature and I was shifting around in my seat when mom noticed.
She asked me what was wrong and I told her I was on fire.
Mom laughed and teased me that I was having a hot flash.
I was shifting forward on the seat. My butt was getting hotter and hotter, and I was desperate to figure out the air conditioner when my eyes alit upon the seat-warmer button.
And it was lit up.
 
Me (screeching): Why the hell is the seat warmer on???
Mom (laughing): Oh yeah! Yesterday, your niece was cold she put the seat warmer on. I guess we forgot to turn it off.
Me (turning button off and immediately feeling relief in my posterior): Ya think?
 
I began having mini hot flashes in 2018.
It is also when my periods began stopping for a few months and then came back.
Those hot flashes were easy to handle.
I warmed up and would kick off the blanket.
In a minute it was over, and I was back to being cold again.
This continued for several years.
 
That is, until now.
2021.
What I thought I knew about hot flashes turned out to be totally false.
 
Take this morning.
I had to run into work (Loki knocked over three plants, and I was replacing them) and dropped a plant behind the cooler while putting it back.
I was trying to get it out when I began to have a hot flash.
I immediately was on fire.
Sweat popping out on my forehead.
My clothes suddenly sodden.
 
I turn a lovely shade of pink.
Not a gentle pink where I look beautiful, but a neon pink that suffuses my face and neck, causing people to look at me in askance as I am holding my hair up and away from my neck fanning myself with anything I can find.
I have been known to jump into the freezer/cooler or run outside in the snow/rain to cool off.
 
I was asked by someone who has never had a hot flash what it was like.
My equating it to being hotter than hell was met with scoffing.
I had to be making it up; nothing could be that bad.
 
Nothing could be that bad?
 
Let me describe one of my hot flashes for you.
And it does not start with my rear end.
 
I begin to feel a little prickly.
A little bit of warmth begins to make itself known.
Oh yep. Here we go.
Off comes the sweater.
If my hair is down, I clip it up.
The fire has begun to surge through my veins, and I can begin to feel the heat rising up my chest and neck.
Ick! My body is now popping with sweat.
And yet my temperature continues to rise.
You know in the cartoons how they depict heat with little wavy lines rising upwards?
Yeah, I swear that is me.
My forehead is beading, and it is running down my cheeks. (Okay the last little bit is an over-exaggeration, but still).
And still, up goes my internal temperature.
I stand there not daring to move, because if I do, I am confident the dragon whose mouth I am standing in will in fact consume me in fire.
After a moment or so, I can begin to feel the heat slowly leave my body as I am sucking back cold water to freeze the internal beast.
 
Now here is the funny thing that I have noticed.
I do believe my hot flashes are coming during the time that I would normally be having my period.
I noticed this last month and this month as well. I was paying attention.
Sure enough as I was becoming more and more irritable, I was also becoming hotter and hotter.
I am now in experiment mode.
Will it happen again next month or am I full of hooey?
 
~ 6/26/21
 

Jay-lyn Doerksen

Jay-lyn is a woman who is in her late forties, who was thrilled to discover that she’s in menopause.

Tired of the bloating and emotional turmoil, the thought that it would be gone was most welcome…until she discovered that neither one goes away. They just get worse.

Jay-lyn is also the mother to a wonderful young man who is twelve going on twenty (but really only thirteen). Her son’s impending teenage years, mixed with her midlife change has her thinking she’d better prepare the fallout shelters now.

She’s also the mom to three fur babies.

Here’s to normalizing menopause as another cycle in life 🙂

Follow her blog, The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom.

The Tides of Menopause is a medical explanation for what Jay-lyn describes here.

%d bloggers like this: