|Sometimes it feels like this|
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.