"She didn't get manifestations, she got a moustache"

A. As of about a week ago, I have reached what a former close friend referred to as "the crone stage" in life. Ready to relegate fertility and such to the more youthful members of the stronger half of our humanity, and wisely tend to my herb garden and needlecraft and occasional sign-waving. 

It has been eight years and, well, about a week, since I knew perimenopause was beginning—it had a strong and distinct beginning. And at some point I think I clung to it hoping it would never end, because my pattern-driven brain tied the knowledge that a girl usually grows in height for up to two more years after her first menses to my mother's death two years after reaching her own menopause. I thought maybe I was counting down, had my forty or so years of usefulness, and that was that. And finally here I am now, though over two years older than Mom was at menopause, and it's been awhile since I had a checkup, because those cost money I don’t have, and always lead to further expense, yet I'm not too worried about repeating the rest of her pattern, at least not so far. E36feeffd4f6f160ada8fac8dd701bd6
This isn’t the post I intended to write to celebrate this auspicious moment in what will hopefully be a longer and healthier life than mostly baseless fear projects. That was all about the Bee Gees and Gary Numan, and, as this is the season for proclaiming our generation the way people were proclaiming their particular social disorder seven or eight years ago, let me just say that it was the most Gen X idea ever (which I will probably still do.) We are our music, after all, far more than we are anything else that’s ignored about us by the ones who came before and after. But I have something else on my mind, tied to that, though you can see it only if you squint. Bestcorner
B. I learned only a couple months ago that the hot flashes will hang around for several more years. This shocked me; there’s so much I was never told! TV taught me to expect angry moods and wanting a baby. For me, the former didn't last too long, the latter was utterly non-existent. Medical people warned me of weight gain, though I loftily and incorrectly assumed that was for other people who already struggled with it to begin with. No one told me about years more of hot flashes and no one discusses the real problem with no longer being fertile. At least, it’s no longer looking or feeling fertile that bothers me most. Mainstreet
I don’t mean needing to feel sexually desirable to whoever out there thinks his best shot is with youthful women who fit a math formula. Who needs that guy around? I mean, well, I never felt dainty or pretty most times anyway, but I liked putting a bit of effort toward enhancing whatever of that I did possess. And the idea that it was all driven purely by a very specific combination of hormones kind of upsets me. I loved that energy and used it for painting pictures and writing stories and sewing crazy things together once it was no longer in service for other kinds of physical intimacy. I mourn the loss of that additional burst of creative energy, like a food I can no longer ever have, though that isn’t truthful. Creativity is still there, just not like a B12 shot in the arm. Truth, well, "truth" is a sort of screwed up thing just at present anyway.

C. There are three women older than me at my job. They all have short grey hair and slightly androgynous faces and pretty good teeth. I have terrible teeth, so I feel I’m starting at a deficit anyway, and I don’t want to look androgynous because I’m not. I’m all for it for people who are; I feel like we’re making real progress on that front. But I love being a girl. AND I AM NOT cutting off my hair. Soho
No one but me, I think, thought I was a very “girly” girl, and it’s way out of fashion to be one, at least among my online peers who are mostly around ten years younger than me. To me, that was not about whatever people define concretely with a pink bow on top. It was about walking on bare tip toes through mud, and light and sunshine, and noticing, but never being able to adequately draw, the negative space between the rain-brightened fronds of the plant I was just staring at through my window, and, yes, being irresistibly drawn to the color pink in winter time, which is when, honestly, it is needed most. 

Of course those things aren’t inherently girly at all. They are me things, just as they might be you things whether or not you are also a woman. But right now they’re a bit cataracted by so much money worry and money tension and health concerns and exhaustion, tired feet, and all these hot flashes that will not cease. And I don’t want them to disappear the way other aspects of my once innate youthfulness have. We’re constantly redefining ourselves, but our core doesn’t really change. Mine’s girly, and I like it that way; so I want a bit of the illusion of it to remain, as well. Lilies

D. I read East Asian women have the fewest hot flashes, so there might be something in that whole soy-estrogen thing I should explore, but it is also a fact that we are bombarded with processed soy extracts that might create imbalances, instead. They eat a lot of sweet potatoes, too, though, and those are easy to come by in their natural state.

As a side note: estrogen is a good leveler; the next time some illogical male who blames your estrogen for whatever traits in you he finds not to his liking asks you if you’re cranky because it’s “that time,” you can draw him a little chart on a whiteboard and explain that the decrease in estrogen at this time is what brings you down a little, and then you can hit him with it. 

Another side note: biological evolution being what it is, we all end up looking more alike as we age, since men have less testosterone and women have less estrogen, altering the balance we share with each other. I expect it has to do with having or needing less energy to fuss with and make up with each other in order to make more of each other. (The increase in stds in retirement communities is tied to various emerging factors: their generation grew up in a culture which worshipped youth, plus they have access to medication previous olds didn’t have, and, of course, there is no longer the taboo against sex outside of marriage that their parents were expected to adhere to. There's something to mull over another time.)
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E. I’ll probably just become more hermit-like (and finally pet-free.) Let me make it perfectly clear that I find this a desirable state of being and do not appreciate being told I could do otherwise. Of course I could. But anyway, I want to be a semi-hermit while retaining some softness of features and not too much softness around the middle. Poised barefoot, contrapposto, observing the world as it perpetually changes costumes without ever changing the play it is putting on.

PS: here’s a good essay at the New Yorker on this subject which reminded me I hadn’t yet written my own, which this is not, but it will do for now. The New Yorker essay somewhat focuses on the rage I’ve maybe been too tired to have much of except right at the beginning (or else it is the extreme introvert situation; far more internal existential grappling than external lashing out,) and mentions a new book on the subject as well as others. I think I might read the newest one; the others don’t sound like my kind of thing. But I can be the plant far better than I can draw it. Firstfruits


Speaking of obsessions…

I love this, you know. I love it so much.

And lots of other people do, too. I feel they are my tribe on this big strange planet.

I feel a little bad about it, but my favorite is the only one on here sung by a man; the Polish one. I just do respond to a man’s voice, and I like his. I mean, I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t good. But for me, he’s almost the new version of original Dutch Guy, except Polish. Very pleasing. 

(This is original Dutch Guy.)

My new favorites otherwise are: Arabic, because the language is neat fitted into that space and there’s extra groovy harmony, Chinese (Mandarin,) because she is awesome and could sing me into a calm dreamy place, plus there’s a fun vocal background bit, and Czech, which is maybe how a woman would sound good to me if I were attracted to women. 

Apparently, the German version is also sung by a man. Let’s hear it.
Ooh, these lyrics are way different than the original German version. They make a lot more sense now for the show, though the original sounded pretty fun. 

The Latin American Spanish was also left out of the collection.
That’s pretty cool. I like the pacing.

 

Speaking of obsessions and my tribe, the Wall Street Journal posted a fluff piece on how people are going out in winter with no socks on. As it was posted at Facebook, naturally there were people snidely decrying others who do things purely in the name of fashion. Like, your choices are facile and stupid because they aren't the ones I make. 

But then I saw this and responded, and the world felt better, and then the DuckTales thing turned up, so today is not too bad so far. Sensitivetypes(I removed the names even though it was a public post, since people have odd illogical ideas about how that works.)

I do own socks. First, my oldest daughter sent me a couple of funny pairs that go up past my ankles and are just right with boots, and then one of my sons gave me a large package of thin, cute, “no show” ones for Christmas year before last, which are good for the suede oxfords that need light cushioning and for when I have a cold or etc. Between these two sets I am set for a long time to come.

In general, though, ugh. Socks are the clothing equivalent of crumbly meat mixed into in smooth food or raisins in cookies, or bubble tea. Life is far more enjoyable without them. The person who mentioned foot odor should probably just take better care of her skin or shoes or both. It’s generally avoidable. 

 


Hard Drive (LCARS) Revue 1: trust, truth, logic, and a bit of nonsense

Here is the first in a series of blog posts that will be partly serious and partly crazy, culled from my hard drive (LCARS) as I attempt to put it in some better order, and also just get rid of some of it. There will be no theme, no order, and little to no sense to the imagery. There will be photos and materials extending back at least to 2003.

The text here is from February 16, 2017.  Little has changed in two years. The photos and images were taken or collected in 2011. The photos of me are from February, so just about eight years ago, shortly before I would leave my east coast home for...this place, and also shortly before peri-menopause began. All indications point toward that being over after exactly eight years, in June. A lot of me has changed since then, but I plan to at least get my 2011 figure back by the end of summer. Reflection
"Last night when I pointed out one small but important distinction between our former president’s immigration policy in 2011 and the one employed this weekend, the reply, from a complete stranger with whom I’d had no previous discourse, was “you hate trump so you want to believe wrong things!” That’s nearly an exact quotation. Probably you said a different word than things, which is a habit word of mine.

"To my way of thinking, this is akin to me saying, “Well, some ketchup doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it,” and you replying with, “you just hate hot dogs!” Funandgames
"At first I dismissed the idea that we could have any sort of rational conversation, you being a little keyed up and unwilling to consider some middle ground or examine motivations objectively.

"But what if we could do that? Here are some ideas and points I’d like you to think about and consider. Kellyprofile
 "Suppose you learn of an important event in world news and you want to learn more about it, so you Google it and see a list of links to read. If you are an objective curious person, you’ll choose several of them, and not just the one at the top, as someone likely paid for it to be there. But you won’t just launch into reading the page. First you’ll see who wrote it, and who sponsored that writing. What do you know about them? What is their background in policy education or journalism? And then as you read the material, you’ll think about whether they are citing what we call “primary sources,” with links to those sources, or whether they are repeating words written by someone else who got them from someone else. EgyQJ
"You’ll also think about whether the language in the piece is objective, or whether emotional or inflammatory words and phrases are used. Is the writer attempting to make you believe something, or is he or she stating facts backed by primary data? Has the writer also drawn from more than one source of information? Are conclusions drawn at the end of the piece, or has the writer concluded only with a summation of what he or she presented? If there are conclusions, do they logically reflect the information offered? Do they insist that you draw the same conclusion, or do they leave it for you to decide on your own? HQKIa
"In reading the several pieces you’ve chosen, do you find yourself searching for a point of view you’d like to see represented? Do you automatically dismiss writing which indicates either a different point of view, or facts that would negate the one you wish to be correct? 

"How do you decide who to trust? Are you generally a trusting sort of person, or do you tend toward suspicion of others, particularly others with a different point of view from your own? Wasabibaconmartini
"There are two very general reasons people mistrust others. First, because the others make them uncomfortable. This might be due to previous experiences that ended badly; we’ve all had our share of those. The brain employs a defense mechanism when it perceives a threat, warning us against it, and that is a good thing. But sometimes our brains are kinda superficial excitable organs, picking up inessential details and forming a picture with them that isn’t really very accurate or that doesn’t leave room for variables we don’t yet know. It’s being overprotective, and that isn’t a good thing. When that happens, we have to slow down our words or actions and make sure we’re not letting confused feelings get in the way of critical thinking. But how do we recognize when that’s happening? Back to that in a minute. Funny_wonder-woman
"The other general reason people might be mistrusting of others is because they have a habit of being untrustworthy themselves. It’s not nice to say, but it is a reality. If you steal things or tell lies, you will decide other people do, too, because you want to not be the only person who does these things, and also because you spend a lot of time covering for your words and actions, and you are always looking to see if anyone else is suspicious of you. You become suspicious of them, as a result. You might even end up seeking out other people who do lie or steal, because you’re more comfortable with them. Then as a group, you might collectively decide that’s just how most people are. We prefer to think most people are like us, because we want to like ourselves as we are. Merbelle
"I would prefer to think most mistrustful people are like the first group, instead. I like to think well of people. I don’t think poorly of people because they look different than me, as a simple example, and I wouldn’t want them to think poorly of me for looking different from them. I can understand that if someone who looks different hurt you, the scared overprotective part of your brain might wish to assume others with a similar appearance are also dangerous, but you have a rational side, too, which should tell you that different appearance wasn’t the reason you were harmed.

"Knowing that, rationally, would you choose to harm someone merely because they look different from you? We know the sad truth is that people sometimes do. It is an irrational behavior. Allkindsofwrong
"So how do you recognize when you’re letting emotion or your brain’s overprotective prejudices override critical thinking? I’m not an expert in these matters, but I’ve thought about it a lot as my kids grew up. We have likes and dislikes, formed from what we’re exposed to, what appeals to our senses, and our natural inclinations, of course. We don’t think about why we love a certain food; we just do. If it’s a “treat food,” which is how I’d describe it to a child, we know as adults we should have only a certain amount of it, or at certain times. We negotiate with ourselves; I will have a piece of cheesecake because I ate a great kale salad and a hearty but lowfat soup for lunch. Most of us don’t always get it right. We’re impulsive, and easily enticed by the sight and/or smell of something rich-tasting, but nutritionally unsound. Longing
 "If you are biased, as we generally all are, you will, just like the liars and thieves, seek out others who share your bias. Do your biases lean toward negativity or positivity? Then so will the mood of the group you’re sharing them with. But if you are also committed to objectivity, you will seek out others who try to be that way, as well. And those are the people who can and maybe should influence your biases the most. You must be honest with yourself for this to work. You must be prepared for the point of view you prefer to be sometimes wrong or even harmful to others, and you should be willing to change your mind when that occurs. It requires a degree of humility."

So here you go, this is what you're going to get from me for the next little while, though mostly on not at all serious topics. I just had that one sitting nearby and wanted to attach it to something. Maybe it'll help you talk to someone or idk, anyway. Atpeace