MenoPAUSE? How about MenoSTOP!

By Nicole Harding

Hit the road Jack, and don’t cha come back no more, no more, no more, no more!

After 40 years of ups and downs, wins and losses, there’s nothing left here to do. The time to go is now. It’s been time. In fact, it’s overdue.

When we first met, you showed up at my door like a shock to my system. Full force. Unexpected. I got crazy butterflies in my stomach. It took a few months but I had kinda gotten used to you, and just as fast as you came, you left.

Abruptly! 

I cried and I begged for you to return. You didn’t. Not for a while. I should have known then that you were a problem!

Years later after we had gotten into a routine, I cried and I prayed for a break from you.

But you came back again and again unwanted.

Scorned.

Despised.

When I needed you to show up when I was just a young teenager you didn’t and when I was finally grown and had my shit together there you were at my door! Ugh.

At that time your return was so traumatic it sent me to the doctor to get some help. I did not want to see you, damn it! I actually needed meds to keep you away. And you stayed away just long enough for a miracle: A beautiful baby boy.

Shortly thereafter you were back. Same old demands. Headaches. Terrible timing. A real pain in the ass. But, the house was full of activity and I had little time to think about you or the regular problems you caused. We learned to coexist peacefully. And we did. For two decades!

Recently something strange happened. After not paying you any attention for years, you quietly stopped coming around. Clearly we had grown apart but you just slipped away so discreetly it took me a while to notice . I did a personal inventory and everything looks great and works great. Honestly things are better than ever. I can definitely live my best life without you.

Stay gone.

Six months. Seven months. Eight. This is really it. It’s over. I pull out my gratitude journal and pour onto the pages words of strength and empowerment.

Real gratefulness being this happy and strong at this time in my life. I really can thrive on my own! Yeeeesssss!

Noooope! Just that fast the dream is more of a nightmare. And I can hear that good ole Freddy Kreuger song playing… One, two he’s gonna come for you. Skip right to Nine, Ten…

HE’S BACK AGAIN! ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? GTFOH!

Mena PAUSE? MF’er how about Mena-STOP!? Enough is enough. What is the end game here?

I am seriously leaving my gratitude journal and starting the sequel to “Are you there God?” It’s me, Margaret. This is that lil ole book that as pre-teens we glamourized “getting it” in the first place. Oh how we hoped, and shared, and waited. Please. Those days are a fading memory. My novel is aptly titled, ‘You’re here AGAIN? GOD! It’s me, Nikki! ‘

Who could have predicted 40 years later I would be using an app to mark your visits?

That this would be a “thing” again? I mean I get what’s old is new but I am not here for any of it. I am done. I am not happy to see you. These red cheeks are a flash not a flush, OK? I am lighting candles, watering my plants and singing that old Rose Royse song, “Love don’t liiiiiive here anymore!!!!”

Yet here I am. Figuring it out. For so long I associated these changes with really old people. Something that happened to “them” not me. I listened to stories shared around a plastic covered table in a too small kitchen with Newport smoke billowing and Pokeno chips clanking into small Lenox bowls. I thought the fan in the window in the middle of an East coast winter was to blow the kerosene smoke out, not cool the necks of my aging aunties. Ahhh innocence. And ignorance.

So little was shared and of the crumbs tossed from mother to daughter or picked up when a little girl’s ears were definitely listening to grown folks business, even less understood. Functions of the body were shrouded in mystery and fable and often viewed through a lens tainted with shame and connected one way or another to sex.

Early conversations about periods included jokes telling all you were putting on your “coat Mr. Tex” (Kotex), no swim class for girls having their “Curse,” tampons being the number one cause for losing one’s virginity (I am not making this up) and escalating though adulthoods that included hysterectomies before second opinions and clip on fans bought from the Woolworth’s  across town.

The walk down memory lane comes with a large dose of nostalgia and an even larger dose of pain.

The lack of information around our bodies cost many women in my community great losses of time, productivity, and in too many cases life. And now, even in the age of information, bad habits and misinformation pass down from one woman to the next like a winter coat or old handbag. Really not in style but I take what I can get.

Ahh but the tide, it is a changin’!

I woke up feeling a bit warm and wrote this thinking about 70’s blue bathroom cabinets with that matching blue and white crocheted Barbie toilet paper cover on the back of the toilet and feminine products behind a closed bottom door and my mother’s even more tightly sealed mouth on 1000 thread count sheets wearing overpriced loungewear on a very well loved 50 year old body thinking, what a time to be alive.

My accommodations have changed dramatically but so too has my medical care and my mindset. I know that the old ways are not the only way. I know that this body is stronger than it has ever been. It has given me beautiful children, loved on a beautiful man, climbed mountains and walked beaches all over the globe.

This new season is met with some humor but even more understanding and knowledge.

And while most of my mother and auntie’s musings were so steeped in wrongness and old wives tales I’m not gonna lie, I may have to search Amazon for a clip on fan.

 If this is the only problem that I have… a little insomnia and amusement creeping past the irritation that comes with the unpredictability of this next season, so be it! What a time to be alive….Point blank, Period!

Nicole Harding is an expert in leadership development, a wife and mother, who is focused on spreading positivity, one conversation, one home project, and one dynamite deal at a time. Check out her latest creation, Brown BabyCakes and follow her on Twitter @RealTalkNic.

Nicole Harding is an expert in leadership development, a wife and mother, who is focused on spreading positivity, one conversation, one home project, and one dynamite deal at a time. Check out her latest creation, Brown BabyCakes and follow her on Twitter @RealTalkNic.

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