Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The tip of the spear

Sometimes it feels like this
"If you think aging is bad, consider the alternative."

That's what the AARP volunteers I worked with used to tell me. The phrase sounded to my twenty-nine-year-old ears like something old people told themselves to stave off the ice-cold finger of impending death.

Now perpetually thirty-nine, I believe it. Mostly. Lately my humanum corpus has made it just a bit harder to buy into the notion that all this physical change is better than the eternal nap. Death, lacking aging's ability to surprise and sense of humor, may be dull, but it will never give you hot flashes and back acne.

Before I go too far, I should warn you. This is going to be one of those posts about what it's like to be a woman in transition. The Change of Life. The Change. Mentalpause. Mean-o-pause.

So if you're squeamish, you know the drill. Scram.

See - that's why some people aka my children call it mean-o-pause. Not that I'm mean enough to influence their behavior. I suppose that's because technically I'm experiencing peri-mean-o-pause.

I'm also in peri-mentalpause resulting in mental lapses. I can't find the words I want to use. Simple words, the names of things. It's frustrating. I'll start a sentence and then --- nothing. The word won't gel.

Tired of waiting out the long pauses, MathMan and the children finish my sentences. 

"Doug, do you know where I put the -----"

"Elephant? Geiger counter? The check for Karl Rove's PAC?"

"American Crossroads?" I frown.

"See! You remembered that."

But really, this is about me. And my nipples. My very erect nipples.

It's not enough that I have to lug around large breasts, the word overripe rattling around in my head. Now I have spear points. Pointing out all that is wrong with the world.

Taking off my bra is dangerous.These things spring forth with such ferocity I imagine them boing boinging like Susan's curls in Ramona the Pest.

But listen, Ramona, tugging them could be fatal.

"Look at these things," I whine to MathMan.

He tries to be kind, but his amusement is nearly impossible to hide. "I don't see what the problem is."

Of course he doesn't.

He smiles. I think he's enjoying the view. "Hold still. I want to practice my ring toss game." He giggles at his own joke.

That's fine. I'll just stab him in the back later when he's asleep. I'm armed after all.

I have yet to try to scratch glass with my painfully hard nipples, but when I'm ready to, I'm going to scratch the words Go away onto the passenger side window of my car. Can you believe that last night on my commute home, Black Truck ended up next to me again? That moron was there with his antics - tugging on his shirt, fanning himself, mouthing the word hot and praying at me.

I could have killed two dirty birds with one stony nipple. He'd get a peek at my breast and I'd get the satisfaction of flipping him off with my third finger.

Aside from being painful and weird, these constantly and seriously hard nipples are also embarrassing. I don't want to wear breast shields because they'll just add more bulk where I do not need it. And I can't call in sick to work due to hard nipples.

I took a risk and Googled painfully erect nipples and found I'm not alone. This is a recognized "symptom" of menopause and perimenopause. Symptom isn't the right word though, is it? Menopause isn't an illness. It's a condition. A rite of passage. Another pain in the ass part of being female.

I suppose the silver lining is the fact that women typically get to live longer than men. If we can survive menses, childbirth, and menopause, we're rewarded with a few years to enjoy watching our tits sag, our skin turn to crepe, our upper arms morph into bat wings.

My eyes are getting into the act now, too. While not directly connected to menopause, it's another reminder that my days of being a young, supple creature full of promise are behind me. My decay is quickening.

Come to think of it, the weakening eyesight is almost a relief. 


  1. Talk about coincidences -- I was praying for menopause and cursing my malingering fertility all day today. I seriously can't wait for menopause.

    I'm no longer pondering the possibilities of pattering little visitors and the very few people for whom I'd agree to surrogate have made better arrangements, so I neither need nor want to change the sheets in the spare room every damn month. And my eggs are too old and too genetically questionable to donate.

    Bring on the power surges and push me on the mood swings. I'm ready.

    1. Sarah - I'm looking forward to the other side. As someone who luckily had easy, breezy periods, I wonder if a difficult menopause is my payback.

  2. Replies
    1. Thunder, absolutely related. Consider my post the sequel to that post.

  3. Re: Nipples. Bragging or complaining?

    If you're seeing that same annoying dude in the black truck and he keeps following and ogling you, I'd suggest you vary your routine. He's sliding into stalker territory.

    1. Nan - Painfully erect nipples. That's complaining. The breasts I would brag about would be mere rises with dime-sized nipples. To not require a bra is my idea of great breasts.

      The odd thing about seeing Black Truck again is that I rarely take I75 and this time I only did it because the ramp from I285 onto 20 was jammed up for over a mile.

      I couldn't believe the odds of seeing that moron on the way home. It was coincidence. Thankfully his exit came before mine.

  4. Re: the black truck. Make up a sign that says, "Nice Penis Extender" and if it shows up again, hold up the sign and point at the truck!!

    1. I'll do that, Kulkuri. That would probably end this nonsense should it happen again.

  5. I breezed through menopause with nary a symptom, but I can relate to the lack of finding the right word at times. I always think "oh god, it's Alzheimer's!" But that's all the symptoms I had. HOwever, I can attest to the fact that my arthritis is awful and I now walk every day and do pool aerobics twice a week. It really does help and frankly that is enough to keep me doing exercise which I thoroughly detest. The water aerobics are actually fun, and cost me a mere $1.60 per visit as a "senior". lol.

    1. Sherry, you were lucky physically then. This memory thing is crazy. I've been worried, too that it's early onset of Alzheimer's. I've never experienced anything like it. Sometimes my brain is a vacuum.

  6. The truck dude is starting to worry me. Did you note the license plate number? I think you should report him to the police.

    1. Susan, Black Truck is a weirdo for sure, but I'm more disgusted than frightened. I don't take that route very often and he doesn't know what exit I take.

      He is clever though. He never gets ahead of me where I can get his plates and GA doesn't require a front plate.

  7. Peri-mean-o-pause also affords Not a fan. And I am so with you on the small breasts.

    1. Jen - Oh man. Dryness. I can't comment on that yet. Here's hoping I won't have to.

    2. I upped the HRT which seems to be helping.....I'd take the erect nipples over that issue.

  8. I'm older than you (39 1/2) and I never had spear nips when I was at the starting line of menopause. I DID have mental lapses and resorted to sort of playing password with people. Once I was trying to tell Bing (partner) about something and I said, "You know, it's what we call the money that we are paying of the house..." She gave me a curious look and finally said, "Um, I believe you mean the mortgage, yes?"

    Yes. I have also forgotten my dogs name several times. So, I just called him "sugar foot" a lot. This seemed like such a disrespectful thing since he is an Ernest Borgnine sort of dog, not a Channing Tatum sort of canine.

    I have had so many hot flashes that my partner no longer thinks I just enjoy flashing the neighbors when I stand on our back steps in -20 below weather in my bra and skirt for a few seconds since sweat is rolling down my back.

    I kid you not, though...I actually went in and talked to my doctor about early onset Alzheimers. I was scared that it was happening to me when I couldn't think of the word "shoe" one day when I was trying to find mine.

    1. Maria, you crack me up.Yep - right there with you on the memory issues. Simple, common words. Mortgage, shoe, cookie, the kids' names, the cats' names. Car. Library. Bowl. And irony of ironies, I couldn't find the word "bra" the other day.

    2. Wait - I'm 38 years old ... am I in peri menopause? I thought I had ten more years!

  9. Ow. Seriously. Remember milk engorgement? Like trying to sleep on two boulders.

    Do you think god hates chicks?

  10. LOL! I just read "I'll just stab him in the back later when he's asleep. I'm armed after all." - and I almost choked on my lunch! You crack me up, lady!! :)


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