Woman cheering on athletes - "A Big Fan"

I’m A Big Fan Of Stuffing.  Just Not When Emotions Are Involved.

Our libidos take a hit at every bend in the road of life and the switchbacks intensify during midlife.  As does our stress.

First of all, most of us are so overextended we don’t know if we’re coming or going.  We say “yes” too often to keep in line with our role as the “put-er of all others first”.  We plaster a smile on our face because God forbid if we don’t look like we’re happy all the dang time.  

To add fuel to this dumpster fire, we are eating stuff passed off as food that is anything but…and washing it down with alcohol.  “But it’s just wine.”  And such a slippery slope.  (Ask me how I know…)

The proverbial cherry on top?  We rarely, if ever, get a moment to reflect.  Let alone a moment to sit with our thoughts and feelings as a kind of check-in with our own selves.  We’re essentially on autopilot, which is no way to live.  Another way to phrase it is that we’re numb.  We don’t feel the bad, nor the good.  We’re in this middle zone of complacency.  A middle zone that is becoming narrower and narrower in perimenopause.  

The Prongs

Perimenopause is an unraveling unto itself.  Simply put, our unraveling is an opportunity for us to examine our lives as objectively as possible given the tools and skillsets we possess.  During this transformative phase, we come face-to-face with a proverbial “fork in the road”.  One prong leads to more of the same; the other leads to the unknown which is always accompanied by fear of some magnitude.  

I see the unraveling we experience as either proactive or reactive.  We can go into this phase proactively with eyes-wide-open; knowing full well we have work to do as far as coming to grips with our past while grounding ourselves in the now, and ultimately designing a future we want to bring to life.  

Or we can opt for the reactive approach to our midlife unraveling, which could also be called the “hope and pray way”.  In other words, we hope and pray our past doesn’t catch up with us, we don’t sit still long enough to actually feel our feelings in the now, and we keep living the life others have chosen for us while longing for a life we so desperately want to live.  This option results from not making a choice and letting the chips fall where they may.  Not the more empowering of the two options, but it is an option nonetheless.  

The Great Reckoning

Unless one is comfortable with being uncomfortable, the fear of the unknown keeps many a good woman stuck.  She’s often locked in a tailspin that she gets rather used to, therefore she sucks it up and accepts that “this is just the way it is”.  

This great resignation (unrelated to her employment status) is the most stifling of all resignations.  It is the true loss of libido that plagues many perimenopausal women.  

Menopause is the great reckoning, also known as the “I no longer give a f*ck” stage of life.  Watch out for this one.  When done well, it is liberating.  When done poorly, it is dangerous.  And a source for many a woman blowing up her life instead of dismantling the ticking time bomb that’s been swept under that fabulous throw rug for far too long.  The dismantling is the unraveling.

More often than not, the vast majority of our to-do list items are anything but enjoyable.  We procrastinate.  We bitch.  We moan.  And we often find ourselves in a doctor’s office asking if there’s anything we can take to make that which pains us go away… ”Sure. Here, try this.”  

More deflection.  More covering over.  More lipstick on the pig.

An Un-Freaking-Bearable Proposition

We stuff our emotions because we know that if we examine one we have to examine them all, and that would be un-freaking-bearable.  So stuffing is the only viable option

When our stress is dialed up to *TILT*, our fear center requires so much energy that it empties our intuitive center, our heart center, our communication center, and our higher thinking centers just to make it through the day.  We are anything but grounded when we are stressed.  

To round out this topic, I feel called to call out the fairytale hype we watched as girls.  That nonsense doesn’t help things one bit.  The maiden.  The wicked woman in her life (reinforcing the setup for competition with other women). The prince. The distress.  The rescue. The “happily ever after”. 

This storyboard sets us all up for failure steeped in stress as most of our lives in no way reflect what we viewed all through our formative years.  

Marie Kondo The Mental Condo

I find writing rather therapeutic.  Giving a voice to my emotions as well as how I feel about things I’ve held close to the vest helps me sort through emotions previously unexamined.  (Unacknowledged is probably more accurate.)  

I’ve gone all Marie Kondo on my emotions as well as the memories accompanying them.  

“Does this emotion-memory combo bring me joy?”

When the answer is “yes”, it gets to stay.

When the answer is any variation of “no”, that memory along with the emotion in tow gets dragged to the “learn from then delete” window on the ol’ mental browser.  

Over time, this has resulted in a crowding out of the ones I don’t want to keep calling up by the ones I want to retain and revisit time and time again.  

She’s My Wing-Woman

Though I’ve not reached my Pause Day, I’m embracing her wing-woman, “I don’t give a f*ck”.  I’m talking about the things we just don’t talk about and are in desperate need of a space in which we can do so. 

I will hold that space for us here and anywhere you find me.  I think I’m walking that line between liberating and dangerous rather well…most days.    

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