Tag Archives: midlife

Hormones and Whore Moans

_20170131_080930I’m in hell (not literally, although that might explain my absence). They don’t have Wi-Fi in hell. They also don’t have ice water or chocolate. I don’t want to be here, but I’ve wound up here, despite my good intentions. It’s not that I’m evil, it’s just that lately I’ve had an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch someone – with a baseball bat.

It’s possible that my agitation is a reflection of all the hatred and anger that’s out there right now –but I don’t think that’s it. I think my violent urges can be blamed on the fact that I am a “woman of a certain age” and that I’m going through the dreaded M word. The word that-must-not-be-named (with apologies to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter). No, not marriage, although the thought of marriage can cause dread among a select (mostly masculine) portion of the populace. And not Maternity, although that can cause dread, anxiety and flat out fear (and rightfully so – children are assholes! I would know, I used to be one).

I’m talking about Menopause. My friends and I prefer the phrase “mental pause” (for good reason. Ever since it started my brain has been permanently paused). TBH, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve only had a few “personal summers” (during the summer, which seems incredibly cruel) and zero night sweats. I gained 10 pounds, but that could be due to my newfound love of Modelo Negra.

negra_modelo_demo_5-640x6701

One of my biggest issues has been hair loss*. Then there’s the newfound sleeplessness associated with shifting hormonal levels (granted, mid-life insomnia is not unique to menopausal women, but I’m including it here because it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want, so there ;-P). According to an article on WebMD, a study published in the journal Menopause in 2001 observed that “insomnia is a frequently reported complaint in menopausal women.” The reason: You may be sleeping – or wanting to sleep — but your estrogen levels are still up dancing all night long. And that continual action can interrupt healthy sleep. I’d really like to know why, when I’m too tired to stay up to watch CSI, my estrogen levels have the energy to stay up dancing all night long. Ah well, I’m using the extra free time to power through my reading list.

I consider myself fortunate in that I have friends who have battled the M word. Women with whom I’ve been able compare notes and commiserate over a glass of wine (or three). I want to take this opportunity to let them know that I’m unfriending them. They failed to properly prepare me for Menopause Mood Swings. In their defense, NOTHING can prepare you for MMP. Severe PMS? Nope, not even close. Pregnancy hormones? Close, but no cigar. As my sister-in-law Jasmine put it “These hormones are no joke – I can want to kill someone and then sob uncontrollably at my own crazy in under five seconds.” I have her beat. I can go from upbeat to homicidal in 2.3 seconds, and I’m buying Kleenex by the buttload (damn those people in advertising anyway).

There are definitely things you can do to offset “power surges”. With two hormonal females under one roof, my husband learned fairly quickly that the best thing to do when someone you love starts riding the hormonal rollercoaster is throw chocolate and hide the pointy objects.  I’ve found that a glass of wine takes the edge off (added bonus – red wine has health benefits!), and that the aforementioned chocolate releases endorphins. I’ve heard rumors that endorphins are released during exercise, but that seems like a drastic measure. Experts recommend offsetting hormone surges with visualization and breathing exercises. I’ve found that this one works well for me:

stress_feb21d_25042181

When all is said and done, I am forced to admit that menopause can be fun (trust me – menopause puts the f-u in “fun”). If nothing else, I’ve learned brand new games I can play by myself, including “Where did I put my___?” and “Why the hell did I come in here?” It’s because hormones create something known as “brain fog”. Evidently hormones, like zombies, eat your brain. Unlike zombies, hormones do not eat other peoples’ brains and cannot be killed by an arrow to the eye or a knife through the head (well, they CAN be, but it seems like a permanent solution to a temporary situation).

I’ve been told that, as I move further “post” my “post-menopausal” stage, things will get easier. In the meantime, I’m keeping Nathanial Parizek’s quote in mind:

thunxr3mqz

*Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m losing hair from my head, but I’m growing it in fun new places. My sideburns are particularly lovely.

So, tell me – how do YOU handle your hormonal shifts? Chocolate and wine? Meditation and yoga?

P.S. for those of you who have waited patiently to know the difference between hormones and whore moans – Both can be fake, but one responds well to chocolate, and one will cost you a little extra.

The Game of Life

unnamed[1]My 15 year old played The Game of Life the other day*

“It’s really fun – we should get it.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Life is nothing like life. Life is a lot of things, but (mostly) life is a four letter word.

 

Those who know me know that I swear like a sailor, like a shipload of sailors, like a fleet of sailors. For those of you who don’t know me, welcome to my world! I’m Tracey, and I’ll be your guide. I grew up in Camarillo, home to the old and insane.** Being neither, I moved away to seek my fame and fortune in the wilds of Los Angeles (I didn’t find fame or fortune, but I did find a big bear who followed home).  Being both, I returned to Camarillo. I live with two kids (the one I birthed and the one I married) and no cats, because they make me sneeze and wheeze. Plus, they’re cats.

Where was I? Ah yes, swearing. I’ve been a fan of four letter words since I was young and thought I knew it all. Now that I’m not and I don’t, I have learned some brand news ones, which I would love to share with you.

Today’s word is life

From Miriam-Webster

Life noun \ˈlīf\

  • : the ability to grow, change, etc., that separates plants and animals from things like water or rocks
  • : the period of time when a person is alive
  • : the experience of being alive

That’s the dictionary’s definition.

Life is so much more. Like most four letter words, it’s messy and foul, and I often find myself using other four letter words when it doesn’t go the way I want it to. It’s also amazingly beautiful, if you know where to look.

I think I’ve discovered the secret to life – she’s a BITCH (Beautiful, Interesting, Terrifying, Childlike and Hard) who wants us to grow and change. She’s a fierce teacher, who will knock you down if you’re not paying attention. She’s also an amazing companion who can take you for a wild ride, if you let her.

I made the mistake of letting Fear scare me away from living last year. This year, I’m getting in the car, taking the top down, and letting her drive.

I think Vivian Greene put it best:

viviangreene

So, tell me. What life lessons have you learned? Did you choose to learn them the easy way or the hard way?

 

*Ok, it was last month. Time is a wibbly-wobbly, timey wimey thing

** Camarillo used to be home to Camarillo State Hospital (now CSUCI) and Leisure Village (Leisure Village is still there. I live down the street)

 

 

Happy New Year!!!

imagesCA5RG2LUMy new year’s resolution for 2014 was to become a better writer – if not a better writer, than at least a more frequent one. Alas, time has gotten away from me, and stress has eaten my brain. Actually, I think that stress has eaten my brain and disrupted the space-time continuum – how else can you explain the fact that I closed my eyes on January 15th, and woke up July 9th? (No, I haven’t been in a coma).

In my ongoing effort to become a better writer, I discovered the “Writing 101” series from The Daily Post. The series is from June, so I’m not as far behind as I could be. Besides, I adhere to the idea of “Better late than pregnant” – especially at my age. Today I’m supposed to write for twenty minutes without stopping – a free form jazz poetry stream of consciousness piece, and I didn’t even make it out of the first paragraph without going back to correct a “mistake” – damn you inner critic/editor! Damn you to hellfire and back! I’d much rather damn you to the place where socks go, because you keep coming back, and those socks never do! Or if they do, they come back AFTER I’ve either thrown their partner away or used it to clear the dust bunnies from under the couch.

Speaking of dust bunnies, do you have any idea how quickly they multiply when you’ve been sleeping for 6 months? Which reminds me – who kept Sleeping Beauty’s room clean? Slept for 100 years, and when her handsome prince showed up, the room was spotless – no dust bunnies, no spider webs – and her makeup and hair were PERFECT. No drool stain under her pillow, either. I take a nap, and I wake up looking like this

10310622_10202638688706120_4691273213818244861_n[1]

with a wet sponge for a pillow – evidently I’m not a princess after all.

I may not be a princess, but I am definitely a queen. An evil queen. Evil may be a four letter word, but it’s one of my favorites. I’m not talking “take over the world” evil (even though the world would be so much better if everyone did things my way, without questions, after I tell them the first time…..), I’m just a little evil. The little bit of evil that keeps my sense of humor twisted and sarcastic as opposed to sweet and light. The little bit of evil that allows me to eat the last cookie without a twinge of guilt. Well, maybe a twinge. Maybe I’ve gone out and bought a brand new box so nobody would know that I took the last one. The problem being that you have to eat ALL THE COOKIES in the second box so that nobody knows you ate the last one in first one. No wonder my pants are tight. I’m eating a box of cookies and sleeping through exercise time.

Ugh. If ever there were a word that should be a four letter word, it’s that one. The dreaded E word. I’m aware that there are some people who would disagree with my belief that exercise is evil. They think that exercise is not only good for you*, but that it’s fun too. I think exercise is fun, but not the way they do. I think that the dreaded E word puts the F-U in fun.

In any case, I’ve heard that every day gives us a chance to begin again, so I am choosing to make another resolution – one that I can keep. My New Day’s resolution is to write on a regular basis.  It may not be every day, or every other day, but it will be more frequently than it has in the past, and that’s good place to start.

*these are the same people who love brussel sprouts and kale smoothies. I choose to believe that these misguided souls aren’t truly evil, but that stress has melted their brains…..

Life and other four letter words

thCAIX8RTOWhen I first started blogging, I had every intention of writing on a regular basis. Of course, we all know where good intentions lead us. I anticipated struggling for stories, but I did not think that my biggest roadblock would be….life.

The past three months have been hard (to be completely honest, the past 3 years haven’t been a lot of fun). In the past few months, I’ve lost several friends to cancer, and I am on the verge of losing another. Last month I almost lost my daughter. I know that loss is part of life – and that they are both four letter words. I also know that if this cycle of loss continues, I may never write again. The loss eats at me, tearing little pieces of my soul away. I’m trying to maintain my sense of humor, but it’s become work (which is yet another four letter word). I have a potty mouth, but life, loss and work are my least favorite four letter words. I’m tired of all three.

My question is – how do you write when just signing on to the computer is a huge effort? How do you write when all you want to do is climb under the covers and watch telenovas (which is weird, since I don’t speak Spanish)? How do you write when you’ve lost your funny, and where do you go to find it? imagesCALL7SS5

I am not my mother

momandmeToday’s post was inspired by the Daily Post’s writing challenge: Golden Years. This week’s challenge was to come up with a response to “What does age mean to you?”

I have to admit that, until recently, I didn’t think about aging at all. I joked about it, but it didn’t really bother me – probably because I’ve never looked (or acted) my age. When I was younger, I looked older than I was. I never needed a fake ID, because I never got carded. Then I turned 22. Once I was old enough to drink, they never stopped asking for a photo id.  My favorite “Older than she looks” story happened when my husband and I went to brunch for my 48th birthday. The waitress took a look at my driver’s licensed and gasped “OH MY GOD!” I’d like to believe that her response was because I looked 29, and not that she was afraid I’d drink too many mimosas and fall and break my hip.

Motherhood changed things. When I look in the mirror, I look the same (one of the benefits of having poor eyesight). I don’t seem to be aging, but my daughter is. She will be fourteen this month. I’m not quite sure how it happened. It feels like I had her two years ago. My theory is that Mom years are inverse dog years (two mom years = fourteen RT years), but my grant hasn’t come through, so I haven’t been able to fund the testing to prove it.

The fact that my baby has become a teenager overnight is not the only reason that I have become acutely aware of my age. I have reached an age where my occasional church visits are more likely to be related to funeral services than weddings. There’s nothing like a funeral to make you face your own mortality. I look at my life, and think “How can I be halfway through my life when I’ve only just begun?”

“Not halfway through.” A voice whispers to me.

I smile in relief.

“Not halfway through,” the EIC sneers “your mother was only fifty-seven when she died.”

When my mother died, fifty-seven seemed old. She’d had a good life – with kids grown and married and thirty-three years with a husband who was ready to retire. Nineteen years later, with fifty-seven just a handful of years away, it feels much too young to go.

Intellectually I understand that we are two different people with different health histories, that her passing has nothing to do with the length of my life, and yet I’ve come to dread each birthday since hitting the big 5-0. I feel myself counting down to fifty-seven, trying to prepare my daughter to become a strong, independent, fearless woman. Trying to prepare her to ride the rollercoaster of life with hands in the air and a laugh that can be heard in the next room, just like my mom taught me.

Huh. Maybe I AM my mother after all. meandlna