I’ve just finished my first “Abs, Butts & Thighs” class. You know you’ve had a good leg workout when you have to hang on to the handrail to get down the stairs. Tomorrow is going to be interesting, to say the least.
I love feeling physically fit and being physically tired, it’s one of the reasons why I’ve exercised my whole life. When I did the interview for the Daily Mail recently, about women who’re the same weight now as they were in their 20’s, the quote about me was that I “take inspiration from Kate Moss”. No, I don’t. What I said was that I relate to what Kate Moss said about nothing tasting as good as skinny feels. I’m at least 15 years older than Kate Moss, how can I possibly used her as my inspiration since she didn’t come onto the scene for years after I was on my path to health & fitness?
I had a surprising conversation with a friend yesterday when she said, “How are you? And I mean, how actually are you, with the whole menopause, hormonal thing? We say ‘how are you?’ but we never really get specific.” And she’s right.
Here I am, probably past peri-menopause and fully into menopause (maybe… I’m not sure) and someone asks me how I am. It stopped me in my tracks; I had to really think about it: how am I? How am I really? Am I hormonal? I have no idea. I feel like I’m possibly beginning to come out of a hormonal fog. Maybe. Sometimes it feels like that, anyway. I’m sleeping better than I was, I’m not bursting into tears at the slightest provocation, I’m not biting people’s heads off, ripping them apart and chewing their shredded and unrecognisable remains before spitting them out and wandering off feeling all misunderstood while crying to myself about how unfair the world is. There is that and I’m grateful for small mercies.
The unfortunate thing is that because of my age when I had my youngest children, I’ve been going through the menopause as they’re going through their teenage years. It’s not a good mix and I’m absolutely positive that it made their experiences as teenagers so much more difficult. I had absolutely zero interest in their hormone-driven emotional roller coasters because I was on one of my own. The best I could manage sometimes was to go and lock myself in my room. I occasionally dropped them at home and went for a long drive by myself. One on particular occasion, sick of the teenage bickering that continued despite my increasingly impassioned pleas/demands for it to stop, I kicked the two protagonists out of the car, leaving them to walk the last 3kms home. They apparently continued the bickering throughout the walk home, each blaming the other for upsetting me and not shutting up when I’d asked.
One of my children spent a good three of her teenaged years crying. She’d cry at anything: her best friend “being mean” to her, a dead roo at the side of the road, the fact that summer was over and the leaves were falling from the trees, that kind of thing. I made the mistake one day of letting her watch the film, “A Bridge To Terabithia”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a great story but very, very sad. We’d watched it a few years earlier and Kira wanted to watch it again. The other kids and I were reluctant because we wanted something happy to watch, but she insisted, assuring us that it wasn’t that sad, it was basically a happy film and she remembers it quite well. Obviously, she’d gone to bed and missed the end of the film the first time she watched it, because she sobbed – heartbroken, shoulder heaving, gut wrenching sobs – at the end of the film, saying they must have refilmed it because it didn’t used to end that way.
On this particular occasion, I couldn’t stop laughing at the poor girl, which, of course, only made things so much worse. Her younger sister amused herself by making fun of all these hormonal sob fests, when her brother and I started laughing too, she cried even more.
Now the fun-poking, finger-pointing, sniggering pre-teen is the hormonal and emotional teenager; the tables have turned. The eldest daughter has the opportunity to do to her sister what her sister did to her, and make her teenage hell-on-earth life more miserable than it might be. Only the older sister is much more understanding than the young one having gone through it herself, and she hasn’t the heart to be mean to her.
In this world where the media and businesses seem to venerate youth and all things young, I’m quite happy in the direction that I’m going: away from my teenage years and all the heartache, stress and hormones that it involved. Like I said before, you couldn’t pay me enough to be a teenager again.
PS It’s now a few days after the Abs, Butts & Thighs session; walking has been... interesting in the last few days.
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...