If there’s a stage in menopause where you wake up in a body not your own, I’m in it.
I’m not talking about the digestive issues, either, though part of me wonders if that wasn’t influenced by my hormonal upheaval. No, I’m talking about these pillows on either side of my waist. My upper arm flags. The bags under my eyes, and the matching bolsters on my jawline. The overall jiggliness of myself when I attempt (badly — really, you do not want to see this) to have a dance party with my kids.
I was prepared for grays. For wrinkles. For my bra to wander towards the floor (which, thankfully, is not an issue, at least at present). I was not prepared to look like my grandmother. But here we are.
It’s been a chain reaction of self-loathing. I hate my body, so I hate how I look in clothes. I buy clothes that work better for my body, but I hate them too because they look so…old. I hate my hair, and my face, and I contemplate drastic revisions to both. A new haircut, or maybe hair color. Taking a laser to my face. Or maybe I should focus on my body — have some fat sucked out. Only I’m broke, squeamish, and have seen that episode of X-Files one too many times.
Think smaller. Like anti-aging serum I’m not sure I even needed that — after three days! — left a red, scaly chemical burn-style rash all over my face and neck. Oh, right: I have sensitive skin. I forgot that in my desire to blast the top layer of it off.
So now I’m pudgy and flabby and gray and wrinkled AND red and scabby. Nice.
I’m not opposed to aging, and I’m not a fan of trying to look 30 when you’re 70. But I guess I’m also not ready, mentally, for the age I am. It’s the back bookend to the feeling I had when I entered puberty: I wasn’t any more ready for boobs and body hair and armpit odor than I am for the changes I’m going through now.
Once again, my body is not my own. And I do not approve.