[I only have this day and this moment.  It will never be again nor is it guaranteed that I will have an endless stream of them yet to come.]  

I tell myself that a lot some days.  It's a sort of a reminder-a Jack Handy moment-a bit of Matt Foley motivational self talk.  I say it because it is absolute truth.  But, I also say it because my menopausal mind doesn't feel as rational as I remember being previous to this metamorphic journey. 

If there are men reading this, you may be tempted to stop reading right now.  Maybe though there is a small part of you as a man that is curious as to what really goes on in the mind of a woman in menopause.  Maybe men want to know why their woman seems troubled or uptight at times with no apparent reason [ok, we as women want to know that too!].  If you don't want to know, you should!

My daughter and I were lamenting periods, menstrual cycles, Aunt Dot, menses or whatever you want to call it.  We were discussing how you just don't feel the greatest for a couple of days during your period.  It's as if some alien has come to dwell inside your body causing your back to scream in pain, your uterus to throb, your abdomen to appear puffy like a marshmallow, and your digestion to be totally disrupted.  Despite all that, womankind on a whole carry on with all the regular things in their lives despite this highly uncomfortable and inconvenient flow of menstruation.  Keep the she-ate-the-apple first thoughts to yourself men!

Recently that same daughter of mine was trying to articulate to her husband how uncomfortable those couple of days every month are.  How she physically and emotionally feels.  When it appeared she wasn't hitting a chord he could fully get, she explained it this way to him.  How do you think you would feel if every 28-30 days blood came pouring out of your penis?  Brilliant Hannah!  Bravo! Take a bow for that concise summary that nailed it!  He completely got the word picture.  No doubt compassion flooded his every cell.

Oh I have read those menopause books.  The ones that try to concisely tell aging women what is happening to their reproductive systems, how to combat this natural but uncomfortable progression of life, and how to recognize it as it is occurring.  It is merely words on a page.  It's like reading birthing books BEFORE your water breaks and you are 8 cm dilated - useless!

I don't like the changing morphiness of my body structure.  Despite the same extreme habits of diet and exercise, I can see the tides of change.  I don't like it is an understatement!  I don't like that my mind seems not as steady, not as level, not as clear as it once was.  I don't like freezing one moment and then wanting to risk being arrested for indecent exposure because I am so damn hot I want to take any clothes off that are blocking the air from hitting!  I don't like that I just feel off kilter.  I don't like that I wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.

Mostly I don't like that my monthly cycle, my regular 28 day visit from Aunt Dot is not steady, predictable, or normal any more.  All that does is make me feel even more hormonally dysfunctional.  It's 50 days, 40 days, 28 days, 4 days.  There is no rhyme or reason to its schedule nor can I anticipate its arrival or departure.  It seems to be this physically gray area. 

I am not mourning the passing of my child bearing years, but rather the steadiness of estrogen in my body.  I am angry that menopause comes and rearranges order and systems that make me feel more normal both mentally and physically.  I would gladly will my ovaries and uterus to a younger woman that wants children.  I am done with them for that purpose.  I am though not done with the workings of estrogen!

Hormones fluctuate as they attempt to realign themselves without Estrogen.  That clearly describes the yo-yo ness of menopause and why you are now an alien of sorts in the body you once knew so well.  I hate having a monthly period.  Most of the female population does.  But I think I hate the process of losing it even more.  I have made peace with the enemies before, I think I will have to do it yet again.