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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

The Joys of Menopause – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

By Rosanne Barr 

More than a few times recently, as a verified old woman, when I’ve been tempted to view life as a swirling, chaotic rush from the womb to the tomb, I’m brought to my senses by the unshakable feeling that something sure as hell seems to know what it’s doing.

Just as the acceptance of rot and death sets in, the funnier things get. When all is done and said, my body, not my mind, was truly my destiny after all. ROFLMFAO.

Sooner or later, we’re all made aware of the über-politics of the body. The real deal that’s never stopped churning away down in the engine room is the physical reality of our marvelous, mysterious, meat-puppet bodies in all their accident-waiting-to-happen splendor. Of course, splendor isn’t the word that leaps to mind when the average hapless 12- or 13-year-old hears and feels that first all-consuming full-body “uh oh” that marks what the happy-talkers love to romanticize with commencement-speech rhetoric as “the entry to womanhood” or some other shiny, sugared-up BS. Maybe they mean well, and figure that such a euphemism sounds so much better than “40 years of blood, sweat, and depression bordering on occasional madness.”

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Of course, again at the back end of the long road that is the tyranny of reproductive biology, the colorful language folk start up with their whiny crap about feeling less like a woman. Hey, for starters, we only get old if we’re lucky! Can we let the logic of that sink in, sisters? Yeah, you’re not going to be taking home any more little bundles of joy from the hospital, and maybe you won’t be getting quite as many lascivious glances from the males of the species (if you were ever the type to get lots of those), but guess what? You’re free, goddesses! No more “time of the month” or “curse,” no more “on the rag” with all its attendant hassles, no more “riding the cotton pony”… in fact, take a minute to stand in the winner’s circle as the cotton pony is led out to pasture, for good.

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Menopause is the victory lap over the curse of being born female!

You can bet that a realist like moi isn’t here to take up your time pretending that menopause is a walk in the park. I’ve heard that close to a third of women find menopause to be, at worst, a temporary and fairly inconsequential passage. To those women, I’d like to say: congratulations, and I hate you! My experience was a raw and often torturous ordeal. And about the only two factors on the upside were the just-mentioned no-more-periods, and also the chance to occasionally pitch a major, flaming bitchfest without being (or needing to be) sure that it was my biological transition and not just me being myself in high gear.

Sometimes, as the months whip past now, like telephone poles from the window of a bullet train, I continue to realize how much of my life I spent firmly under the thumb of Mother Nature, that inscrutable Boss Lady. I can still hear my biological clock ticking, but it’s a calmer rhythm. Without being one of those happy-talking, sugar-coating types I can’t stand, I just have to say it’s so much easier living on this side of menopause, even with my high-mileage body.

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On the far side of that long passage, I’m sailing on much calmer seas. I’m not exclusively under the flag of any of the titles that womanhood bestows on those who choose (or are pushed into) the familiar roles: mother, grandmother, wife. Although I am, of course, a mother and a grandmother, which is a stone-cold blast.

My family is close, but I have more me time—there, I said that too! And what do I do with some of the time I don’t spend being whipped around by the desperate process of staving off the appearance of aging and all the rest of the crap we’re sold 24/7? For one thing, I meditate, and for another, I think. Let me elaborate (after I meditate, and then think for a bit). Ah, OK, I’m in full Crone mode now.

 

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Depending on who’s defining the word “crone,” it can be a really wonderful gem of language. Crone got saddled with the role of synonym for hag, an old grizzled woman who’s often bitchy at best, malicious at worst: the sinister, old, gossipy type who sometimes had magical or supernatural associations. Luckily, intelligent women, and some men, have begun returning the word to its rightful definition: an experienced, mature woman who’s arrived on the north shore of the raging seas of this largely corrupt planet.

We’ve run the gauntlet and we stand, battered, bruised, and perhaps even worse, some of us, but we’re consciously here and mostly intact.

And, with a little luck, we have some time to affect things. Some sources cite Crone as the third stage of goddess formation: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Well, I like the goddess part, but I don’t mean to insult or diminish women who aren’t mothers. In fact—after holding the world up to the light and subjecting it to a quick exam I call “Do the math!”—I’m here to say, we could use a lot more women who don’t become mothers of their own offspring, but instead Mother the world in a more expansive way—and help to alleviate some of the misery and need of countless millions of people who are here already.

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But, let’s get past the idea of things we have to do, breathe a sigh of relief, and remember that there’s probably more time to do things we want to do. Form or nurture a few good and real friendships, and silently observe the world. You don’t need a young athletic body or piles of money to read some of the world’s great books; or to soak up brilliant music and art; or to grow something beautiful (and edible?) in a little garden spot. May your uterus remain relatively undisturbed during these, your glorious turban years!

 

 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

 

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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The Joys of Menopause – Part 1

posted by Donna Henes

By Roseanne Barr

Sure, menopause is hell. It saps your sex drive and puffs your ankles. But when it’s over, you’re calmer and more connected. Embrace it, sisters!

After menopause, I discovered the joy of drinking wine, and of sinking deeply into writing and time alone. These things replaced the sex drive I had thoroughly cruised down as a youth, exploring one dead end, detour, and unpaved dirty road after another. I have refused to take the libido-restoring male hormones constantly proffered me by this culture and Suzanne Somers and her hordes of apologists and postmenopausal cougars. Being 53 and having sex with folks in their early 20s is just so Norma Desmond. There, I said it. I can dig the dead writer in the pool thing, though.

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I am more of a badger. The sex drive is that dark continent that I see now receding in the distance, behind me and the ship that has sailed with me at its helm—and I am no longer feeling mixed about seeing it go; I am actually relieved. It produced so much pain, really, so much wear, tear, and worry, not to mention the work, and sweat of raising the kids that come from it, who roll their eyes at you when you say things like these things I am saying in this article. My three daughters are approaching middle age themselves, the age when the libido of a woman speeds up for a time, just before it has a stroke, goes blind, and dies.

I am old now: gray, wrinkled, tired, and bloated, and my joints ache, too. But I am ready to come into my full destiny—as my childhood dreams predicted—as a Neo-Amazonian Pirate Queen of my own vessel: firing cannonballs at the worldwide culture of patriarchy in the name of all that does not suck. I no longer fear moving on to a better existence than this one, which is, of course, no existence at all. Oblivion will be fucking sweet after a lifetime at the mercy of my hormones and my biological clock and the twisted logic that produced the craving for a dominant male sex partner. I’m quite thrilled to say that at this late hour, in my autumn years, I have at last found a man who is more savant than idiot, and with whom the sparse occasions of physical enjoining of souls is quite sublime.

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Ahoy, matey! Hail, hail, all ye who enter here! You have arrived! Congratulations, sister!

You have made it through the grip of Nature, and the attack on your intellect that began at your first breath as a female on this spinning sphere of waters, and you are still here to tell the tale—the tale of the Queen of Swords alive in each of us who navigated her way through those most dangerous Matriarchal Waters and Emotional High Tides. Sailing through the dictatorship of the body, the pulsing, plodding meat machine of it all, from that first shock at puberty, through birthing, nursing, raising, and letting go of grown children, you have reached uncharted territory, dangerous and mysterious. Brain space seems more liberated now. Time to kick back a little, to observe more, to feel less fear and more connection.

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…..To Be Continued on Friday

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

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Mom Dreads

posted by Donna Henes

By Tracey Barnes Priestley
For the Times-Standard

Dear Tracey:
My only child leaves for college in a few weeks. I couldn’t be happier for her. She has worked hard in school and is going off to the college of her choice.

But my heart is breaking. How’s that for a drama queen? I can’t imagine this house without her around. I’ve known this day would come for years. It’s what I always wanted for her. But now that it’s only a few weeks away. I find myself dreading her departure.

I’ve been divorced for years, which I’m OK with. As long as I was raising her and working, I didn’t think too much about being on my own. I just did what had to be done. But when I think about an empty house, I can’t imagine how I am going to fill up my time. I have friends and all but they aren’t going to be here to watch bad chick flicks and eat popcorn with me. Doesn’t that sound silly? I hope you understand what I mean.

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Surely there are things I can do to make this aching stop.
–Dreading the Future

Dear Reader: While there are those who actually look forward to their children leaving home, I wasn’t necessarily one of them. I’m sharing this with you so that you can begin making this transition with the knowledge than many parents experience loss when their children leave home. While the severity and length of their reactions vary, it it always an adjustment.

Naturally you are sad, your heart even “aches.” Why wouldn’t it? Clearly, you are a woman who has enjoyed parenting. Given the fact that this pivotal role is shifting, it’s little wonder that you’d feel some real pangs of loss.

I appreciate that you are reaching out for support. You and your daughter will benefit from your ability to manage this transition. Remember, that while you may feel your parenting role is coming to an end, it’s simply being redefined. So here’s a gentle reminder; it’s always up to parents to be a positive model. The last thing any kid needs when they take off for college for the first time, is a parent who is struggling emotionally. To help you stay positive, reach out to family, friends and other parents who have adjusted to their own empty nests. Not only will this help you manage but it will take pressure off of your daughter.

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Begin planning now for those first few weeks of your empty nest. Make “dates” with friends for coffee, the movies, anything that will get you out of the house and connected with others. (I’d even make a invite friends for an “chick flick” evening — you may be surprised to discover how many people would love to share in the silliness with you.) Not only will this carry you through your initial adjustment, but it will also serve to strengthen existing friendships while helping you recognize what other activities you might want to include in your life.

Talk to your daughter about arranging a weekly “Skype” session together for the first few weeks. Undoubtedly she will be riding her own emotional roller coaster. Regular connection will do both of you some good.

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Take time to begin identifying how you will want to spend your time. Make a list of the things you used to love to before becoming a parent. How much does each thing cost? Is it a solitary pursuit or one that involves others? Slowly begin to add these activities to your social life.

And finally, I hate to say it because most of us hate to hear it, get some exercise if you aren’t already. Not only will a good cardio workout improve your spirits but it may also get you connected to others. Consider it a great “two for one” deal!

Sure, there will be days when you may have to concentrate on simply pushing through but in time, the aching will stop. Both you and your daughter are on the verge of creating new lives. I hope you can ultimately embrace the opportunities you have, just as as your daughter is embracing hers!

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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Witness

posted by Donna Henes

By Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Inside of you 
is radiant luminous code. 
Ciphers ripe for deciphering. 
This seeing is what I came here for. 
Some might call me an artist, 
and a poet if they favor me. 
I am merely a witness 
to your potential beauty.

Inside of you 
stardust is begging the seams 
to cross the veil of form. 
Reach through 
and take hold of the tail 
of particle and wave 
and pull it through to this place 
where we hearts can witness you.

Inside of you 
there is something sacred. 
That which I call “content” 
which belongs only to you, as you. 
Sometimes you don’t see it, 
I see it, we are all witness to it. 
We have need for your gifts, 
place them here on the altar.

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Inside of you 
there is a great longing to be seen 
but only you can fill this longing. 
We already see your radiance, 
yet your longing persists. 
Now you know you must see yourself 
to be fully seen in the way you seek. 
You are your own witness.

Inside of you 
a great call is calling 
a great wheel is turning, towards you. 
That which is yours to do is at the threshold, ? 
beckoning for you to witness with your yes. 
There are many ways to say yes. 
Here take this pen, this brush, 
and give yourself 
as a love offering to your own life.

 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

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