I’m up all night hot flashing and using the bathroom. Because I’m up so much, insomnia steps in. Stupid stuff swirls around in my sleepless brain like leaves in a wind storm. Did I turn the stove off after dinner? Are the garbage can lids secure enough to keep the raccoons out of the trash tonight? Did I remember to pay my out-of-control water bill? Oh, why did I eat that last meatball? I didn’t need it or want it, but it was just sitting there by its lonesome self on the plate and it was calling my name…
At 5:30 a.m., I decide to get up, slowly shuffling through the house like a disgruntled zombie. After drinking mass quantites of caffeine, the sun is not so offensive anymore, so I hit the walking trail for a few laps. When I get back home, my legs ache and my skin is sore under the bra line. Why? Because I’m chafed. Chafed! I’m too young to get chafed, even if it’s humid and 95 degrees out.
The thought of chafing leads me down an unhappy trail of self-consciousness. I’m cresting on another wicked mood swing and have no clue how long it will last. My daughter whispers to her younger brother, “Don’t bug Mom today, she’s in her dark place.” Time for me to retire to my bat cave and ponder the meaning of life. Alone. My inner wiring has fritzed out, and my behavior has become erratic. Yesterday I cried over a Humana commercial. Today I’m obsessed with Hershey’s Kisses. Last week I went nuts because there were no clean towels left for me to take a shower. I think they sprouted wings and flew the coop because they couldn’t handle my mood swings, either.
After brooding in my cave for an hour, it’s time to join the land of the living. Music is drifting down the hall – Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Born to chafe and sneak Hershey’s Kisses? Oh god, I hope not. I want to start over in a world where menopause does not exist, or at least has an entirely different meaning, such as “pause for a vacation”, “pause for a Mai Tai”, or “pause for cake pops.” Anything but this, a perspiring woman in an “I’m Nuts For Squirrels!” t-shirt, fanning herself with a pink dust pan.
The kids scatter like frightened mice when I emerge from the bedroom. My husband eyes me warily from the couch and quickly flips the channel to something more soothing than MMA cage wrestling…like polar bears circling a seal. No, no, no! Change the channel quickly! Wait a minute. What are those weird people doing on TV? They’re dressed up like dairy cows in a bar and…are you serious? On cable TV before midnight? I don’t think I’ll ever drink milk again. Now I know I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight. What is this world coming to? Right now the world under my comforter looks a whole lot better, mood swings and all. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m a conglomeration of Snow White’s dwarfs: Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, and a few of their cousins, Bitchy, Bloaty, Sweaty and Weepy…because baby I was born this way.
Read more from Marcia Kester Doyle on her blog, Menopausal Mother