Thursday, February 10, 2011


It happened twice yesterday. One moment fine, the next in tears. This has got to be the mood swings of menopause. I have felt nothing like it since pregnancy, and if there are some women who are subject to this sort of bumpy ride their whole life, then I feel for them. Do we all go through periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium like toddlers do? We may fool ourselves for a few years that we've got it all figured out, we're over the hump, should be smooth sailing from now on in! Then--this.
Is it writing, discovering what I think as pencil presses into paper, that has made me all trembly, emotional and adolescent? Is this the way all writers feel? Or just all menopausal women? For some of my age cohort, I believe it is the growing conviction that they have made a bad bargain--they have put others' needs before their own for so long, they don't even know what they want any more. And they're furious at the whole world for not having mentioned this would happen if they waited so long . . .
How can I scientifically discover if it is writing or menopause or the stress of the sandwiched generation? If I stop writing and it continues, is it menopause or generational stress? Since I can't remove menopause or escape the sandwiched situation, perhaps writing is the only release valve available to me, and if I stop doing that, I may implode. You can only live your life in one direction. No do-overs.
Also, I find I have no peers. I have not had many over the course of my lifetime, but at this moment: none. I know no one who has been mated as long or as fruitfully. No one with both a teenager at this time of life and four aging parents who are as demanding and emotional as teenagers. Who vacillate between shouting for my help like toddlers and pushing me away to regain their adult autonomy. All of them believe I should just be able to intuit which they need when. I continually miscalculate and am blamed for not helping them the right way, for not allowing them to be masters of their own destiny.
For my friends with no children, any word I utter about my son is a squirt of acid in their face. If I complain about his behavior, I am ungrateful; if I praise him, I'm bragging, rubbing their nose in their lack. For those with no husband, again if I complain (even humorously), I don't know how lucky I am. If I praise him, I am preening and showing them up for not ever getting that perennial female brass ring: a man. Or not being able to keep one.
No, no, and again I say, no. I am only seeking to share my version of the human comedy. We all need to hear one another's stories. This is the only way any of the crazy things that happen or we do or we do to or for each other will ever make sense, fit into the chaotic puzzle we all live inside.

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