I’ve noticed a few things lately about myself. When I say I need to drop a few pounds, forgoing my daily candy bar and glass of wine doesn’t cause the scales to nudge south.
My skin is extremely dry and seems to be revealing crevices where smoothness used to be.
And I can never get warm, especially my hands and feet.
“Just you wait,” a lady warned, the voice of experience. “That will change and you will have hot flashes so hot you will think you are having a nuclear meltdown.”
I would love an occasional hot flash. I worry I may lose a finger I get so cold most of the time. A hot flash in the middle of the winter would be welcomed.
“You think that,” she said.
Apparently I am wrong about this.
“Just wait,” this woman continued – she was an acquaintance, a woman I had seen a few times and was friendly with on a social level and here she was, prophesizing how my life would be when my hormones finally changed.
“You will think you are consumed by an eternal fire all of sudden,” she continued.
She paused long enough to give me a firm appraisal.
“How old are you anyway?” she asked.
I love how people who are just acquaintances can get all up in your business and ask personal questions.
“Forty,” I said.
Her eyes squinted and she gave me a grunt. “Oh yeah, you’ve got about two years before you start dealing with this, but you just wait.”
“I am looking forward to the hot flashes,” I said honestly.
I was. Really. I am just that cold natured that a hot flash would make me feel like I was beach side in Bimini.
The lady let out a raucous laugh.
“You don’t just have hot flashes, sweetheart. That’s part of it. There’s mood swings, crying, weight gain, gravity … oh, honey, you don’t have any idea!”
Actually, I did.
Mama went through the change my senior year in high school.
She yanked me out of the passenger side window of my friend Ginny’s car once.
Problem was, Ginny was trying to get down our driveway at the time so the car was still moving. She had charged the thing full force, running up the driveway, red hair flying, Virginia Slim 120 in her fist.
It wasn’t the first time Mama had done something like that. Usually, I just thought she was possessed and needed a priest until Granny told me what the real problem was.
“Your mama needs her some hormone pills or I need some nerve pills. When I went through this, I wasn’t this bad.”
“Went through what?” I asked.
“The change,” was Granny’s answer.
I didn’t know what change she was referring to. All I knew was Mama was scary. Very, very, very scary. One minute she was about to kill someone, the next she was crying over the letters she got in the mail about saving baby seals.
I hid in my room with my Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx posters. Even with their makeup and heavy metal they were less scary than Mama and this “change.”
“When is she gonna be done changing?” I asked Granny.
Granny frowned. “Lawd have mercy, I don’t know – she’s been a going through this for a while … she needs to hurry up and get this over with. I can’t take no more. I am gonna slap her silly.”
I thought back over the previous years. Maybe the process had evolved over a few years. Her moments of “normal” had seemed like a distant memory.
She had showed up at friends’ houses, demanding to know what I was doing there when she knew I had been going to their house. She had yanked my phone out of the wall and hid it under my grandfather’s chair.
She had a fit one day because we had broccoli and no cauliflower and that’s what she wanted for her ranch dip. She was so upset, she sat down and cried. Cried – over cauliflower. A clear indicator her hormones, and maybe good common sense, were at war.
As I neared the home stretch of my senior year in high school, I had determined she chose my 12th grade year to go through this transition just to make my life miserable.
Senior year isn’t challenging enough, no, she chose this to make me live in perpetual fear.
“How old was your Mama when she went through the change?” the lady asked, breaking me from my estrogen reverie.
A quick addition of math – Mama was 28 when she had me, 18 years later was 46.
“You’ve got a few years then,” the lady said, then reconsidered. “Or you may be already starting now … you may not have been having the flashes but have you been moody and overly emotional lately? Have things started moving south that used to be … maybe further north?”
She gave me a once over as she asked that. I saw where her gaze paused.
Maybe it’s time to start facing the change after all.