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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.