That was part of my ignorance about menopause and perimenopause. Hell, until 3 years ago I had never even HEARD of perimenopause until a woman I know mentioned that she had been perimenopausal for 8 years as she was approaching her 50th birthday. How do I know this? We are only just coming around to openly discussing menstruation without using code words and hiding tampons. There was still a minor hoo-ha when an advert showed red rather then blue menstruation blood on the TV last year. But this is a big fucking deal — it , like menstruation, will affect half the bloody population!
Where is all the chat from our elder women about The Change? There are some women now starting to use their voices and internet platforms to share their own experiences, but the over arching theme in all of them, this one included, the the sheer lack of information about menopause, specifically peri menopause in our general knowledge about our own bodies.
Tag: Midweek Musings
What do you know about menopause? Before I started looking specifically into it last year, my knowledge was thus : menopause means the end of periods, happens between ages , you get hot flushes and sweaty restless nights, mood swings and for some people, depression too. Oh and HRT of course. That was my understanding and extremely scant knowledge of what was to come in my menstrual future. As someone who considers themselves fairly well versed in the workings of the womb and menstrual health, having had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix at 30, a miscarriage at 32 and a run of tests taken last year, I take the health of my lady parts seriously.
Early I started experiencing changes however. The Dr ran blood tests and sent me for a scan of my ovaries. Nothing more from GP was said, I got my iron pills and carried on with life. Of course, not all the changes in my body stopped, some in the past year have increased! Through my own research I have come to discover that while my GP told me that the UK average for women going through the menopause was there is a younger and older range to the spectrum, as required in order to ascertain the average , she at no point mentioned perimenopause and that the start of this phase is perfectly normal for women my age!
Why is Menopuase not a hot topic of conversation? Why is it, when it is in conversation, regarded with doom and gloom and scorn? Why is HRT to immediate go-to cure? Why do people think it needs a cure? Why is it to be hidden? Yet another taboo of the female form! First of all, the word symptoms. Do you see my point? Perimenopause and menopause is NOT a disease nor a health problem! Language is important. It devalues women, in particular our mental health and emotional strength and belittles what our bodies are experiencing; effectively our second puberty!
Or at least it ought to be. Instead we may find crippling insecurity and anxiety, long unexpressed and suppressed rage and tension working its way to the surface accompanied by tears. Yes, we are hormonal but not in a bad way, and yes, some people are actually depressed but how many woman are told they are when all they are truly feeling is the release of toxicity that they had held since their maiden years, bursting its way through?
Oh, really? I have already been told that HRT is the way to go by elder women. I want to feel what my body is experiencing not numb it out and effectively be punished by being silenced for it. This is a rebirth, one I am not stifling to accommodate the delicate expectations of those who are uncomfortable with a woman in her power. Resting bitch face? Nope, regular face where every wrinkle has earned its right to be there, where aging has its own beauty and is a privilege.
If however, my experiences cause me issues and problems in myself, then I will seek advice from my GP so will not rule out HRT altogether at this point — who knows what the coming decade holds! Only then are we considered to have reached menopause. UK average is 51 years old We are no longer fertile.
All the perimenopausal changes we experience leading up to the menopause can start in our 30s! Once the body has gone through the menopause, the changes can still be experienced for a further 4 years or so, when we are then referred to as post menopausal. I have self diagnosed myself through my research as perimenopausal, but am going to see GP to make sure and to rule out anything else untoward, just incase. I feel this is the most sensible approach to take particularly due to my age being in the younger end of the spectrum. What are your thought and experiences with perimenopause?
There are not enough conversations and discussions around this — sharing the good and the bad, empowering and debilitating and educating the next wave of women and men and future generations in what it is to experience this transition as best prepared as possible. In the midst of the pre-festive revelry, Christmas trees going up and homes being festooned with an assortment of lights, I am in a contemplative mood.
Assessing and thinking about is occupying my mind. As Winter Solstice draws closer, I begin to journey inwards, feeling the draw go deep and hibernate. I feel very protective of my truth and want to keep it hidden, private and away from others. Choosing with whom to share and spend my time, is crucial. The busy, exciting merriment of the season MUST be balanced with the quiet solitude I need to process, recharge and unwind. My Word of was Change. And that was something I certainly embraced this year with a milestone birthday and moving house.
Two big changes as well as several minor ones. Changes that continue to evolve as I do, some that have long lasting effects and far reaching ripples. I decided to follow my instinct and start the work, which has been interesting. Does anyone else do that burn or destroy completed journals or do you keep them for years?
I have no journals from before the start of I prefer to focus on going forward rather than holding on to the past. Although sometimes I think it might be nice to look back to see how far I have come if at all in some instances. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively…By taking a whole year to go deeper instead of wider, you end up with a rich but carefully curated collection of personal interests, rather than the hoard of mostly-dormant infatuations that happens so easily in post-industrial society.
There are books on my shelves I want to read, projects I want to finish and business plans I want to focus on and give my full attention to, without the distractions of the new shiny thing that catches my eye. Of course being the professional procrastinator that I am, means I have my work cut out to ensure that I do actually do all the things that I want to do. I am keen to get cracking and see how unfolds, to see what is uncovered and discover what has outstayed its welcome. But first, I have my tree to decorate and Yule and Christmas to celebrate with friends and family.
Free from rules, shoulds, judgement including self imposed , standards and expectations in my day to day life, my online life and in my spiritual practice. To be fair, I have cast off many of the shackles holding me down and back, but I still feel stifled, suffocated, stressed and overwhelmed. I have written before about the need to simplify and slow down. In my efforts to do so I seem to have picked up other rules and must dos to replace what I let go! Having moved house in the summer I wondered if the feels and energy lack were to do with that.
In no particular order, under the microscope so far are:. This list is not finite and I may add more as I see fit. Simplify my practice, just going with my internal calling and needs. Heeding our intuition is a super power! I want to break free, let go of it all and start a-new, with clarity, purpose and a healthy dose of realism inorder to be the best version of myself for me and my family because currently I know I am not! Earlier today a friend sent me the quote below which summed up exactly how she was feeling. Talk about synchronicity!
Image and quote uncredited from Pinterest. The clocks went back at the weekend and so too did my mind and imagination! How young we were, just at the threshold of life. I replied with the following :. If I could have my time again what would I do differently; answer is pretty much everything! It was then that I realised that conclusion was was a pretty sad state of affairs, because the my choices have led me to where I am now. Remembering back to when I was 17, who I was and what I wanted, and reflecting on the path that has led me to today, I can see that very little of what I have done and achieved has really been in line with that girl.
I wanted to travel. Up until I was 17 I wanted to go to Glasgow School of Art and from age 10 I wanted to be an interior designer, but then self doubt made its presence known along with the comparison to other people. From then I wanted to be a woman with power and authority. I also harboured dreams of being arrested! I hated societal confines and knew there had to be more; I was capable of more, but more of what?? I loved most things alternative but was chained to convention, a chain that took years to finally break.
Now forty and I am once again taking stock and reassessing where and who I am. I know what I want to do, am just finding the confidence to push past the inposter complex to achieve my dreams. A lot! I am who I am because of me. This second half of life will be all the richer for it.
I like love me and who I am today, and I love my family. Who is to say I would be that lucky if I had taken a different route. The world has become a melting pot of traditions and blended ways; a global village of sorts. Well, no actually. Many cultures, including my own, have been through years of persecution and oppression, some to the point of being classed as criminal. And it needs addressing. This is a matter that I have been sitting with for a long time, trying to figure out why I believe what I do, where does that come from, why I am passionate about certain issues or lifestyle choices that seem to bear no connection to my upbringing, why I experience physical reactions or strong emotions to certain historical events.
I want to know what truly sits with me and what it not mine to take but instead may appreciate and respect from the outside. I want to know what and who runs through the blood in my veins. What memories am I holding at a cellular level? Who are my ancestors, where were they from?
Who am I and where am I from? So many questions. Earlier this year I started to trace my family tree. I knew very little to be honest, nothing further back than my grandparents, on either side of my family. As I stand today, I am one quarter English, three quarters Scottish, based on my grandparents. I know that from somewhere way back down my paternal line, some Welsh too only because my birth name is Welsh. Tracing your ancestry is a rabbit hole I heartily recommend falling down! My Mother line is the branch that I want to explore further. It is my life blood, passed down through the generations, Mother to daughter.
This branch is the one that shed light on so many of my questions and wonderings about myself. It is also where the blood line ends; both my sister and I have sons. Let me introduce myself; I am Lissa, daughter of Florence, daughter of Margaret, daughter of Susan, daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of Margaret, daughter of Janet. At some point the family moved to the west coast of Scotland and over the following years, they moved from Argyll to Perthshire then to Stirlingshire, where both my Mum and I were raised.
A culture so rich in history and language and folklore. It is of no surprise that my lineage is of the British Isles; I am proper peely-wally white and burn in the sun, with fair hair touched with red ginger. What did surprise me though, was finding out that my entire line from my maternal grandmother, back to Janet, were Travellers.
Not Gypsies, but Travellers; tinkers and hawkers. The Romany Gypsies are a completely different race that need to be recognised as such. The Romany people and their culture are often romanticised for their colourful lives and beautiful wagons, completely ignoring the difficulties and hardships these people faced over the years; demonised and degraded. Every year I went to the museum with my art class to draw and paint for a school competition and every year I went straight to the vardo and fell more in love with it each time.
I have a strong wanderlust pull and a craving to travel since I was little, a yearning for freedom and independence yet I am not well travelled, far from it infact. I looked into living in a narrow boat on the canal and am desperate for a Bell Tent to go off camping in and holding circles in. That feeling or notion is in my blood. It is a part of me. Discovering that my not so distant relations and for many a generation, were actually Travellers, makes so much sense and I felt a piece of my inner puzzle click into place.
As a reader of the Tarot for 22 years, it was a thrill to hear that my aunt was also a reader — I have started learning the leaves too, and revisiting palmistry which I have gotten rusty at. I used to practice my arts in secret, for fear of ridicule or scorn — a feeling that runs deep. Just need to get my tongue around the language — Travellers speak Cant, which I have been trying to pick up, through reading the many books by Jess Smith and Sheila Stewart on the lives of Travellers.
Knowing that another branch of my ancestral tree hails from the Gaelic speaking Highlands, I also want to learn the language. I got a cd and book to learn it when I was pregnant — I was going to use my maternity leave to learn Gaelic — what was I thinking??? I ended up using my maternity leave to learn how to live with and keep alive, a small human! I am fluent in Scots though. The Highland Clearances also displaced people when the crofters were ruthlessly evicted in favour of grazing sheep.
Many of these people became travellers, not through choice and tradition but through necessity. Travellers were seen to be illiterate, dirty and untrustworthy, living on the fringes of society and heavily persecuted. Even today the stigma is still firmly attached.
But now there is a recognised need for being proud of our culture and heritage. Ahh, be still my beating heart. There was also an exhibition on in Stirling last week showcasing the lives of the Scottish Travellers — what an insight into the live and culture of a minority people. Witches have been my love since a young girl. I even struggle with Greek and Roman Goddesses. Asking myself who I am and where I come from has been enormously satisfying as well as eye opening. It has also given me a starting point from which to grow and learn about my own culture and heritage and to incorporate that into who I am today with who I want be and where I want to go.
The use of smoke to cleanse is used world wide, but the act of smudging is actually a sacred ritual practiced by the indigenous people of America. Cleansing is fine, smudging is not. My preferred Tarot deck and the one I have been using for 22 year is the Native American deck full of beautiful imagery and symbolism of the different tribes. Not my heritage, but I appreciate the beauty of the deck. However, a Native American person may feel that this is appropriation of their heritage — who I am to argue with that? I cant, nor should I.
The surnames of my ancestors are clan names although in my research it seems that Ireland had tribes and clans, although I am prepared to be corrected in that. The issue of cultural appropriate is huge and I am not in a position to cover it in depth or with any authority. I can however, recommend delving into our own unique histories and herstories to understand what is in our blood. Autumn is upon us.
The summer sun had peaked and the descent into the dark half of the year has begun. The natural world thrills us with the stunning jewelled landscape of purples, oranges, rusts and gold. The scents in the air tantalize us and the desire to turn inwards with cozy woollen layers and hot chocolate at the fireside increases with each darkening evening as the nights themselves draw in. Ask everyone you know, I would confidently place a bet that the majority of people would agree, that their favourite season is Autumn.
The transition season between the sizzling joy of summer and the cold dead of winter. Everything is changing and evolving; shedding and letting go, preparing for the next stage. The wheel turns; the cycle continues. Birth, blossom, fruit, seed, rebirth and so it goes. Autumn, the season of abundance. Enjoying the fruits of our labours, the sweet and the juice, the preparations for preserving, baking, sharing and appreciating the harvest. Thankful and grateful for our good fortune.
Can you tell Autumn is my favourite season of the year? I adore this picture I saw on Pinterest last year declaring:. This rich time of year is not purely about the falling leaves and rejoicing in the need to wear to tights again, oh no, it is SOOOO much more than that. This is the season of Wild Woman. The season of the witch honours the the waning phase of the moon, the acceptance of the journey towards the end which is inevitable in all forms of life. The energy is introspective and contemplative, assessing what has gone before and what is yet to come, meeting and facing the shadows.
We meet our shadow where it forces us to see what we would rather not and either hide from it or face and deal with it. I personally love this phase, in my inner cycle despite the cramps , in the annual cycle outside in nature and in the great life cycle of being a woman. Life is such a celebration and our Autumn years are no exception. I turned 40 earlier this year and I have to say, so far it has been worth the wait! It is a true saying that Life Begins At 40 — there was for me, a distinct shift inside that went from self consciously hiding my truth, people pleasing and a need to be liked, to being thoroughly honest with myself, unapologetic in being exactly who I am and stopping pussyfooting around others so as not offend them, or make them uncomfortable at my expense.
And yes, it has been both noticed and not always liked.
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But too bad! My transition phase started with the shedding and letting go of outside judgement and placing my value and worth in those external hands. The Wild Woman Autumn age spans years with, of course, plenty room for overlap from the previous Mother phase. Many women find that this is also when they become more interested in a personal spiritual practice or are curious to find out what it means to them; including understanding and learning to trust their own intuition or tracing family lineage for example.
I found that need to know where I came from incredibly powerful, and the answers I found were both surprising and yet made so much sense to who I am leading me to understand the blood that runs in my veins. We can reclaim who we are. This phase covers our blood-rite, or second puberty; the transitioning peri-menopause years leading into menopause. We are not allowed to feel and experience this natural change in our bodies without being told we need Hormone Replacement Treatment. While HRT works for some women, just like the pill, it is not for every woman.
According to the NHS website, the majority of women move through this stage around age but some begin much earlier or start later — there is no right or wrong time, just as there is no predetermined timescale for the peri-menopause. Sadly, it is during this time when we are most likely to be called hormonal, hysterical, possibly even bi-polar! Because women are meant to be and equally not meant to be everything except for who we are!! Because middle aged women are viewed as less than the Mother but more than the crone and vastly diminished and practically worthless compared to the Maiden.
Over 40 or worse, over 50, no no no, that wont do. The Maiden is idolised for her youth but not her experience. Oh Pu-lease!! Autumn is so glorious from all its facets, can we please embrace and give reverence to women in their own Autumn too? This is truly a spectacular age that is not to be feared or disregarded, but celebrated for the wise, wild, unabashed, unashamed, knowledgeable and powerful woman that has come into herself.
How different might the world be if Wild Autumn Women took their place, sat in their power, and got on with living, without the prescribed should and expectations? They are as abundant in support and love as Autumn fruits and give you the necessary hygge coziness you need to sustain you through the deepening darkness into winter. Mother; we all have one.
Of course, there will be an overlap between the phases for many women as some will be Mothers at 16 years old or not until 45 years old, and some either through choice or otherwise, never become a Mum. The Mother phase may not seem applicable to some as they have chosen not to, or are unable to have children, but that does not rule out the Mother in all of us.
She is the Creatrix of life; be that children, career, project, self, garden, however you choose and what ever you create in this life. You are the Mother. But is that really who she is? I think not.
Your choices here are up for discussion and scrutiny whether you like it and know it or not. But why is this the case? Society and of course, Patriarchy. Our fertile years carry an expectation that we will reproduce whilst at the same time judge us for staying at home to raise our own children or pass comment that we have returned to the workplace instead of being at home.
I had it just a while ago. Solving a problem. P for purity but rather. It seems to me. If there is nothing else. I neither know or understand. I hope. Eating Turtles and lazy times. At the end of a journey or rest stop of a longer one. Things will never be the same again. Just fine. Beginnings of poems and books are. Making life out of nothing. No need for glue. If there is a way. I will find it.
No load. Each day. Nobody is off the hook unless. I know this. I know that. I know as well as anyone. I feel closer than ever and I credit her. Memories made every day. Future imagined is just candy floss for idle-mindedness not reality.
Were it not for feeling something. Saying hello is like. If we knew the answers. Thinking about. I wonder. Short or snappy. You would probably not be surprised. Some combos. Time taken to solve a problem. Important stuff. Congenial seems to be. I want to create abundance bundles in my life. I know I will succeed.
I can overcome adversity and adversaries. I have one. I truly believe this. At the same time. I need interrupting.
I get so wrapped up. I often miss those cues. I need to pause more. Having our way. Any way. I know the score. What does one write. I can do that. That which we sew we know. They say. On the road. There is time for pulling close. Face this day. Just amazing. Voiceless pathless ingress. What path is this. This table speaks to me. I bought it again.
Wandering blind in our search. Lisbeth and Mikael. I know better than this. I ate late. I knew it. I would have rushed. My life is lived. We cannot ignore. How we feel about change is. As we get older. I know this to be true. Please self. Count on it. Stress addresses messes. Life passes for pastime. This belief set. Life begins every day. I never will.
Given time. What a. To me. These dreams. These days begin. There is no tall happy or. I never found it. That chair. There is no such thing. Heart ache. Of a situation. Someone told me they believe. I have feelings. I have knowledge. I'll have experience.
I have these feelings. I think. Informing ourselves. I thought I was. I know! I have an itch. I cannot. To write it. One of the most difficult. Good ones do. Like those forks. Strewn in my drawer. What we would do. Sleep eludes. Sunshine punctured it. Stay close. Purfled edges. Old stuff collides.
Tell me. To be sure. Comes around. In youth we see the world. Standing by. Statement rather than question. With another. I stroke her head. To write a poem. I want to know better. I know. Worth it. I spent. I was away. I knew.