• Felicia Banks

The Menopause Chronicles

In 2021, I received a full hysterectomy and was not prepared for the menopause that followed. I had some fantastic images of what menopause consists of—I was very wrong. Television has a very limited conversation about menopause based on the shows I watch related to the "Change."

The only depiction of menopause that I recall, consists of a very mature woman with a lack of emotional control. I think I saw this on the Cosby Show some time ago with Mrs. Huxtable. The women were prone to anger and fits of tears with no understanding of their source. I knew that wouldn't be me because my reactions have always been justified. Yet, there are some things that have been downright ridiculous.

In my personal life and experience, I have only heard of hot flashes. I admit that I thought the old women were being extra and exaggerating the result of the flash, but Baby Jesus, the hot flash is very real. I didn't think that hot flashes could possibly be that bad. The being perfectly fine one minute to being drenched in sweat to the point I have to wear pajamas to bed to catch the sweat. One minute it's 60 degrees and the next it's 125 degrees. My experience during menopause is nothing like what I have seen or heard.

Due to the hysterectomy, I didn't get a build-up or gradual transition. It jumped out of the closet like, here I am. I went to the hospital on a continual period and came home in full menopause. However, I don't think I have irrational mood swings. :) From my point of view, they are perfectly valid and justified. For example, my daughter who is my youngest child telling me that my ponytails are ugly is a very good reason to not speak to her for three (3) days. That would be a usual reaction for me from someone talking about me.

Another totally rational reaction is within my home. My house has a no-outside-shoe-inside rule that goes back as far as I can remember, carried over from the Smarts. I got my outside/inside shoes mixed up one day. When Rajah brought it to my attention, not only did I go off, I purchased six (6) pairs of inside shoes so that wherever in the house I happened to not have on shoes, there was a pair available. See! Perfectly sane. No extreme behavior here.

On television, the women were upset because they were going to lose their femininity. I disagree with the storyline completely. I finally got breasts without pregnancy. I went from an empty cup to half a cup and I'm a little thicker and rounder. I am a Black woman so that just goes with the territory. I appreciate the maturity that my body has formed but would appreciate twenty pounds less of it. Don't get me wrong though, I love the shape of my menopausal body.

I have always been a little moody, but them damn hot flashes are the only part of this new part of life that I have not adjusted to no matter what I try. Each and every wave of heat brings a new exclamation of whew baby Jesus. Having the internal HVAC system that kicks in when it likes is making some adjustments.

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