Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hot Lava

Menopause has not been kind to me. Right now, today, it's been going on for 5 years, although it does seem to be slowing down some here lately. Hot flashes for me used to be so bad, I would tell my family members that if I ever went missing, they were to look for a big pile of ash somewhere. Ever heard of those people that burst into flames while walking down the street?? You can read about that phenomena here.  I truly felt like I was about to burst into flames some days. Like I was roasting to death from the inside out. Felt like I had hot molten lava in my veins. My winter wardrobe was simply this -tank tops, flip flops and baggy sweat pants. I could barely wear jeans...they felt so restrictive! No socks or boots or turtle neck sweaters. No cable knitted anything. Nothing tight or hot or made from man-made fabric. Some days I tried to layer on clothing like maybe a T-shirt with a cardigan but that F-ing, hot as Hell sweater would be ripped off before the first hour was up! Now, I live in the upper Midwest if you recall, so I must have looked a little nutty in my Summer attire when it was January and snowing. (Nothing like announcing to the world that you are having a hot flash.) And I betcha I could have melted the snow in our driveway if I had simply walked down the middle of it. Memory lapses have also been particularly hard for me cuz I used to be able to remember everything, right down to the tiniest detail.
Exhaustion, painful joints(especially my knees and hands), dry skin and my fancy "lady parts", well, I won't tell ya the particulars but really it isn't a big deal anyway since my libidos been on vacation since then too. Weight gain...OMG...did I mention weight gain?! Oh, and before I forget to mention it....weight gain. My clothes didn't fit me anymore. And it's not like I was pigging out on junk food. Seemed like every week I added on 2 more pounds. And the weight gain went right to my pooch. And my fanny. And my thighs.
So here's my "dilemma".....For years my identity has been tied to my thinness. Thirty years ago when my husband and I were first married I was skinny. Real skinny, as in 105 pounds skinny. And I love, love, loved being a size 4 ! People would compliment me on my weight. They were shocked and amazed that I had given birth to 4 children and still wore a size 4. Twenty five years out of high school and I hadn't gained an ounce. They would ask me what my secret was and I would tell them that I must have been blessed with a good metabolism. I never exercised...not a day in my life. Ate what I wanted and never worried about getting that "spare tire" around my middle like other adults I knew. And if I'm being truly honest here, then I have to admit that back then I often compared myself to others and found them lacking in some way if they weren't as thin as me. What a jerk I am. And was. Like being skinny is some sort of contest that only skinny winners can win! Well, menopause put an end to that part of my life. I am no longer skinny. But the saddest part is that I no longer feel ok about who I am.  And I am surprised about that. Who said I wasn't ok once I got fat?? Whose voice is it that I hear in my head, telling me that I need to feel shame or that I need to hide out in my house or that I need to make up an excuse as to why I now weigh 145 pounds?? And why am I listening to that voice? I think I know whose voice it is. Haven't we all heard that nasty, unbelievably mean and cruel voice in our heads that says we aren't enough, or that we are stupid or fat or that no one wants to hear what you have to say anyway?? Or the voice that says I can't believe you said that or did that, can't believe you wore that or that you showed up here. The voice that says who do you think you are anyway,  nobody's listening to you, she won't remember you from high school anyway so don't bother waving to her. It's a voice that I need to stop listening to. It's the voice of the evil one who would like to keep me feeling bad about myself. The one who likes to see me fail. The one who likes it when I cry about being 35 pounds over weight. And this evil one is always trying to sabotage me. The other day my husband and I were out running errands. Driving down the main thoroughfare in our town, I see a fast food joint that has a sign very near to the edge of the roadway. It is these words on the sign that catch my eye.
                                              We now have
                                        Hot Molten Lava Cake
                                             Try some today

I say to my husband "See that Arby's sign? Just goes to show you that there is indeed evil in the world."
He says evil? What's evil about that?? "OMG!" I says to him. "Hot molten lava cake! In case you don't know what that is, it is warm, gooey, fudgey like sauce that pours from the inside of a piece of chocolate cake and then is topped with vanilla ice cream." I wanted to screech at him to STOP THE CAR! I knew....I just knew! that if I went in there I would have ordered me all sorts of fabulous things to eat that are sooo horribly bad for me. Beefy, cheesy, fried and icy carbonated things. Followed by that hot gooey molten lava cake (they refer to chocolate cake as devil's food cake for a reason).  I thought about eating that all the way home. Gosh, but it would have tasted good. And the evil one would have rejoiced. So glad that I didn't listen to that voice that told me it was ok to have lunch there. Small victory for me. Big victory for me actually. Please God, help me to not listen to that voice anymore when it comes to the rest of my life. Please help me to remember that I am 50 and fabulous and not really fat. Help me to some day feel like this. Amen.

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