Humor, Menopause, Soul Homework

Your Own Little Masterpiece

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of when I entered menopause, which means I haven’t had a menstrual period in two years. You may read about my entrance into menopause here.

My book is about my five-year experience with perimenopause and how I felt entirely unprepared starting it. But it’s also my way of beginning a conversation about perimenopause and menopause and reducing the stigma associated with them. The stigma is a large part of why I felt unprepared six years ago.

In the middle of perimenopause in 2017

I feel considerably better now that I’ve been in menopause for a year than I ever did in perimenopause. I’ve gained 30 pounds, mostly as a result of my antidepressant, but I’ve come to terms with it. Over the summer, I had a moment where I wanted to cry as I gazed down at my larger belly. Then I realized I couldn’t recall the last time I had experienced a migraine or a hot flash. Then I laughed, pinched that belly, and went on with my day.

I’ve discovered a happy medium in my life, which means I’ve let go of long-held beliefs and a values system that didn’t work for me at this phase of my life. I’m focusing on quieting external voices and trying hard not to shame myself on a daily basis. This year has been unlike any other in terms of awakening.

Two months into menopause, November 2020

This isn’t to say that everything is rainbows and unicorns now that I’m in menopause. I, too, have my share of bad days. I’m not a fan of toxic positivity, so I hope this doesn’t come across as such. But for a long time, I felt like shit, and I frequently vented about it on this public platform. It’s only fair that I share when I’m feeling good.

The other day, I was watering this girl:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_6032.jpg
Meet Fern, the fiddle leaf fig

I told her, “You and I, we’re not that different. Look at us! We made it. Better than ever.”

She is one of two fiddle leaf figs that live in our house.

She looks so good, doesn’t she? You’d never know she was close to dying last summer.

I’d taken her outside to enjoy some sunshine, and unbeknownst to me, a mosquito service we tried temporarily came to treat our yard, and the spray got on Fern’s leaves. A week later, I discovered brown spots on her leaves.

She had been in and out of existence all summer after that.

Kind of like I was.

I made the decision not to give up on her. As a result, I ignored brown leaves. I addressed her politely. I made sure she was watered and well-fed. I bathed her in plenty of sunshine. I sang to her and played music for her. I ignored the experts in favor of following my intuition.

Then something extraordinary happened.

She came back to life.

After a long period of dormancy, my plant resurrected.

Since becoming a plant enthusiast, I’ve heard a lot of advice on how to care for fiddle leaf figs.

Make sure you don’t move them!

Rotate the pot once every week!

Give them the same amount of water every week!

Allow for proper drainage!

Give them plenty of natural light!

But not TOO much light!

Two months before entering menopause, July 2020

Fern has been in nearly every room in our house.

She’s been sprayed with mosquito repellant.

She’s never been rotated; well on purpose, that is.

She never gets the same quantity of water, and she definitely isn’t in a window with lots of natural light.

But just look at her.

She’s lush and green and majestic. She’s her own little masterpiece.

Nine months after entering menopause, June 2021

It made me think about perimenopause and menopause in the same way.

There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all guidance or care.

Not all of us require the same amount of water, the same amount of sunlight, or the same amount of rotation each week.

Every being is unique.

Each of us heals differently.

Each of us must choose a healing path that works best for us in our own time.

There is no doctor, book, or plant expert on earth who can predict how long this stage of your life will last.

Bloom on your own schedule.

And one day, you’ll be your own little masterpiece, too.

August 2021

32 thoughts on “Your Own Little Masterpiece”

  1. Awww Kari! You got me this morning! This tugged at and filled my heart at the same time.
    I love that both you and Fern are thriving! I have a gig at home that might just need YOUR care; I’m afraid to see it’s condition when I arrive home late tonight.

    On another earth saving note, those mosquito soaring services are not so friendly to the birds, bees or butterflies. We got a Dynatrap to help with the pesky biting critters and it works pretty darn good. I need to blog about it.

    Anyhoo-I’m so happy that you’re being more gentle with yourself; this is something I’m also working on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a plant hospice, so if you have a plant in need of help, I am willing. 🙂

      No, they are not. We will never use them again. We had planned to get a Dynatrap this year, but our mosquitoes weren’t as bad this summer due to the drought.

      Being kind with yourself is SO hard, isn’t it? Keep working on it, and I will too. XOXO

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bloom on your own schedule…. I love it.
    That being said, menopause has wrecked me. Weight gain, fatigue, lack of energy, hot flashes, joint pain, belly fat, face flushes, … body is not my own and I haven’t felt like myself in 5 years. It’s a cruel thing being a woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is very telling. Just look at Fern. I feel like maybe I need to be rotated sometimes – hee hee. Seriously great parallels between a person’s journey and that of a plant. I’m thinking even when we don’t get we need, we somehow manage to get through it all and look fantastic. Of course how much better is it when we get what we need? Searching out our own path takes energy and dedication, but it’s possible. You look great in all of these pics. So happy for you that you are feeling better – that’s the goal, right? If I felt lousy all the time – yikes. That’d be a disaster for the people in my bubble. Love the light shining in through the window in the last pic – very artistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps you DO need to be rotated?? Maybe we all do, lol.

      You make an excellent point regarding how feeling bad affects the people in your bubble. Yes, exactly. So much of this past year and my healing has been for the benefit of my family as much as myself.


  4. Thanks for writing about the “unmentionable.” I found perimenopause much more difficult than menopause. I had migraines, hot flashes, night sweats and I couldn’t sleep more than two or three hours a night. UGH. I’m thankful to be on the other side. I’m glad you and fern look so happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this so much! I love seeing the pictures of you from before and now, you look so happy and healthy. You are the light that fern needed, and the one that I needed as well. You are doing so well, and your light is shining so bright!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great to start convos… about all things. Mine is telling 20-somethings that pubes go grey… cause no one prepared me for that!!

    I didn’t experience any peri or menopause symptoms. But I had a scare this year when I had a full period out of nowhere… 5 yrs after my last. Fortunately, all is fine – it was some weird fluke. But the pelvic biopsy triggered some sort of horrible primal pain reaction that I hope never to experience again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s something I haven’t heard before; gray pubic hair! It’s funny you bring that up because a pubic hair discussion is in my book. So this feels very full circle. 🙂

      I experienced what I thought was a period this summer, five years after my last! It turned out it was something I required surgery for (not a period), but I’m all good now.

      I know how painful an in-office biopsy can be. I’m glad everything is fine.


      1. I’m glad you’re okay too!!

        I’ve also been stunned to see some of my eyelashes starting to go grey. But that’s far less upsetting than pubes and is happening far later in life.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve never heard of any other body hair changing color as we age. This is fascinating to me. Of course, this could be common knowledge and just another part of the stigma I mentioned in the post.


      3. Could be because I was a natural blond. My pubic hair went grey in my early 40s. Eyelashes just started, at 58. Grey arm hairs started appearing a few years ago. Facial hair.. eyebrows, chin, and moustache areas, are also rapidly converting from black to bright white.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this post. It has been so great to see you find your way to greater health and happiness. I have some similar belly issues, and I’m handling them the same way you are. I would so. much rather be fat and.happy than thin and miserable. I am so glad you’ve found migraine relief. I’m still having them, but nothing like I once was. I’m figuring out how to take better care of my body. When I do have one now, I can often pinpoint choices I made that contributed to it. I’ve begun thinking of water as my preventative.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kari, this is just the absolute sweetest post. I am so glad you aren’t struggling with migraines like you were. That’s really, really wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s