Dec 4, 2012

Is Menopause Some Kind of Crazy Cocoon or WHAT?

Last week was really stressful for me. It felt like Chinese water torture, trouble just kept dripping on my forehead until I thought I was going to go crazy.

Shadow had jumped up and broken a double paned thermal window in the basement, which I had to get out and take to be fixed.

I had a tooth dying and had suffered through that for about 10 days before I could get to the dentist.  Because of the pounding from my dying tooth, I was sleeping with my head so high that my back was starting to give me problems, causing me to take aspirin and antibiotics, when I have this thing about hating to take pills.  I have the best dentist in the world, and he gave me pain meds that worked for both problems beautifully.  The bad news was that I was little slower than usual.  The good news was that I didn't feel like crying or killing anyone.

I had a note on my door that I needed to have my gas meter replaced.  And of course I would have to be there when they came.  So the guy who changed it told me I needed to get it cleaned.  It occurred to me that I had not had that done in 11 years.  Thank God my ex-husband's uncle could do it that day, because it turned out the valve that keeps the gas from leaking out was broke and by some miracle my house had not blown up. Yet.  Seriously.  It cost me much less than it is actually worth, but then that cost cannot be calculated.

The car had to be inspected and had a bunch of stuff wrong with it and I had been trying to remember to schedule an appointment for that.  I figured it would cost me hundreds of dollars.  I was half right.

It's the end of the year and taxes are due.  More hundreds of dollars!

Christmas is coming.  Decided I had to spend too many hundreds of dollars and decided to do mostly homemade gifts this year.  HA!  We even got the crappy tree up once again, leaning it into the corner.  Go ahead and fall, Christmas tree.  WE do care, in fact, we designed you fall over this year.  Bring it.

We all need to get our eyes examined again.  Etc.  Sigh.

*Melinda looks off into space, wilts in her chair, distantly wishes she still drank.  Tells herself she still could.  Realizes this would mean going upstairs and rooting through her closet for her last hidden bottle of Kahlua, and thinks it not worth the trouble.*

I was down, you know?  In fact, I have been down for, like, quite a while now.  I've been sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I started to think that I was going to be like Weezy, in Steel Magnolias.  You know the one who's "been in a very bad mood for 40 years"?  With the big dog?  Who hates the only man who's really in the picture?  Ok, maybe she doesn't hate him, maybe they just have a mutual love of hurling verbal abuse at each other, but by now you remember Weezy, right?  Frankly, I was with this.

Then I got on Facebook Saturday night and the friends who were as depressed as me were almost equal to the friends who still wanted to kill somebody.  I did a blog post and cried like a baby and thought that would make me feel better.  It usually does.  But it didn't do the trick this time.

So I sat down after a slowly, emotionally draining period of time (6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years, depending on where you want to start counting.  But that's not the point) and I gave myself a talking to.

If adolescence is the cocoon before we "bloom" into the "butterfly" of full fledged womanhood, what would that make menopause (because it is VERY SIMILAR to adolescence, if I'm remembering correctly) and what comes next?  And while we're at it, will me face EVER stop breaking out?????  Can we just quit worrying about accomplishments after a certain age?  Is figuring out how to make your noodles and custard pie supposed to be a life accomplishment?  Should I have some awards for being able to quiet a fussy baby or help a teenager make a good decision?  Should there be a gold statue awarded for canning tomatoes?  Should I have been awarded big bonuses for going without in order to buy basketball shoes?   Is there actually anything more important in life than these things anyway?  Maybe I'm just supposed to keep being the me I am, but this new, improved version.  Why can't this be the answer?  Girls, brace yourselves and get ready to relax, because I think maybe it is, I really do.

What else are we here for anyway?  We are here to love, and learn, and pass what we learn on.  Our only hope is the hope of future generations.  Our work is right in front of us and has been all along.  We just had to slow down long enough to see it.

So I told myself that I got to decide what my life was going to be from here on out, and while I am extremely happy with some parts, there are other parts that need to be torn down.  I have to rebuild my life into what I want it to be, and I have to pay attention.  Because while I am caught up in my own misery and frantically trying to stop all the drips, in truth the house can blow up at any time.  

I told myself to quit worrying about the world ending so much.  If it does end, there is nothing we can do about it.  Besides, if it does, my troubles will be over!  If it doesn't, I won't go down without a fight and we'll just cross that road when we come to it.  I told myself to quit worrying about Israel getting attacked and be glad instead that at least Israel is a country where they are all on the same side.  I even shut myself up when the person in my head made remarks about how :"nothing would put you on the same side as quickly as having rockets attacking you ceaselessly", and they shut up!

I told myself to be more grateful for the drudgery of my life, because I am healthy and able to take care of myself.  It's part of my job as a mother and a woman.  I vowed that I would view the drudgery of my life as a testament to sacrifice and find a way to enjoy it - even the dishes!  In fact, I have dish soap that smells very wonderful.  I'll just try to hold that thought longer.

Then, because I was stuck in my house supervising teenagers (for the last few years of my life, probably)  I picked up the phone and called some of my friends.  I spend the whole weekend visiting with old friends.  Some are doing great, some not so great, but they are all still here and isn't that all that matters anyway?  These are people that I do not have to explain anything to because they were there.  They already know.  It was so uncomplicated and wonderful!  I even got to know some of my favorite cyber friends even better and was not disappointed.  I realized that I actually know a lot of really great people and they are all around me.  I just have make the time to talk to them once in a while.

I had lunch with a one of my other-mother's (people who are not your physical mother but are your spiritual mother) and she made me feel so relieved when she said "You are just stepping back and finally seeing the big picture.  It's not all about you anymore."  In short, I am officially a grown up.  For real.  I'm coming out of this last cocoon and becoming me again, but improved.  Smarter, more wrinkled, and braver.  It's not a bad trade off, in my humble opinion.

Guess what?  Monday morning I realized when I woke up that I felt happy.  I felt happy!  I felt like me again.  I felt that old effervescent happiness that kept me bubbling along for so long that I took it completely for granted--until it was gone for so long.  I felt hopeful, and I smiled a lot.  Without having to think about it, I mean.  I felt........happy.  I am back!

Now, this could just be a hormone surge or something, but I think it's more.  I think that sometimes we get in a place where God kind of makes us slow down and pay attention. We will try to keep going but the drips just keep piling up until He gets our full attention. Sometimes, when your back is about to go out, you realize how grateful you should be for just getting up and moving without thinking about it.  Sometimes you just have to make some decisions, even though you don't want to.  I was lucky in that I got to do a lot of this in my fluffy wonderful bed with a sweet dog or two beside me.  If it turns out to be nothing more than a hormonal surge, I will not forget the lesson and I will still be grateful I had it.

We are supposed to tell our troubles to God and then leave them with him.  The "leaving them with him" part is hard, no?  I have struggled with this for a long time, but it's time to take the next step.  I'm taking this bull by the horns, turning this train around, and getting my house in order.  I really mean it this time.  Anybody who doesn't like that can find another train.  This time I"m laughing instead of crying when I blog!  Why?  Because I'm happy.  Such a simple thing that I have missed for so long.

I just needed to realize that I have everything I need, nothing is perfect, and everything is still fine.

Just in case you needed a reminder, because sometimes we do.  I did.

I don't know what I'm supposed to be next, but I'm going to be the best whatever it is that I can, and I'm going to be more grateful.  I'm going to take more time and go more slowly, and I'm not going to worry about meeting a schedule.  I'm going to keep an open mind and see what God wants me there at that moment for, and act accordingly, from my heart.  I'm going to speak my mind respectfully, but I'm not going to spend time on people who do not cherish me, because there are simply too many who do.  I'm going to let more people figure stuff out on their own because that's the only way we ever figure anything out for good.  There will be less whining from here on out, both from me and at me.  There will be more laughter, both from me and at me, too.

Instead of missing people who are gone from this earth, I'm going to picture my life as a soap opera in Heaven, and live my life in a way that will make them proud and hopefully make them laugh.  We could all use more comic relief, don't you think?

I'm going to be happy and I'm going to be what I'm going to be and that's it.

I'm simply not going to worry about it, anymore.

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These are my thoughts, which sometimes drive me crazy and sometimes keep me sane, but are always entertaining. I call this Lace Your Days With Hope because I can't find enough hope to make an entire quilt out of. Stay tuned, and add your own!