Sunday, October 4, 2015

File this under "over-sharing"

Knowing what to share (and what not to share) on my blog . . . it's a fine line sometimes. There are lots of intensely personal thoughts and events that I certainly do not share here. I'm sure I am guilty of sharing too much at times. I know my daughter wishes I'd keep more of her escapades to myself. In many ways, I consider my blog to be a chronicle of her early years. Even now, it's fun to go back to the early entries (written when she was two) and remind myself of just how fun it was to housebreak a toddler. I am capable of keeping some things to myself, though.

In this case, I couldn't decide. But, here goes.

A few days ago, a blood test confirmed what I have basically known (or at least strongly suspected) for a year. I'm in menopause. Not perimenopause or some other cousin to menopause. I'm in full-on menopause. Part of me was comfortable with the idea. Now I don't have to wonder. Part of me felt like it was just one more "fuck you" from my body. I feel like my body has been betraying me my entire life. From growing up with various auto-immune disorders and later suffering through multiple miscarriages . . . I couldn't help but feel a little indignant towards my own flesh. "Early menopause? Thanks for nothing, jack ass." Fortunately, I have experienced exactly zero symptoms that are often associated with menopause. I read that a vegan diet can be really helpful in this regard. Score one for the tofu!

My brain also veered off in another direction, though. The other day I passed a Lane Bryant and saw this message in the window (in very large letters): #plusisequal. And I thought, "Empowerment for all - that's a good thing." I read an article a while back that explored how American women have gotten larger, but fashion models have gotten progressively smaller. A size 8 or 10 model is considered plus size. Crazy. Why is there no happy medium in the world? Lately I've been hearing a lot of buzz about model Tess Holliday. The girl, simply put, is stunning. She's a size 26.

So here is where I have to confront my own baggage. I look at Tess Holliday and I think,"Beautiful!"  However, I also sort of wonder about how her knees are going to hold up over time. I know from spending the last decade at Weight Watchers that knees hate extra pounds. I've seen a lot of women who struggle mightily with this.

Then I remember that Tess Holliday's health is none of my beeswax. None. Also, she's under no obligation to be a role model. She seems very confident and rocks the tattoos like nobody's business.

Last Sunday, a good friend of mine spoke at my church. She's heavily involved in roller derby. She talked about how going vegan, participating in derby, and running long distances helped her to quit smoking, get healthy, and lose some weight. She also talked about how the roller derby world is full of small women, large women, strong women, and bad-ass women. Being part of that world helped her to reject body shaming and to feel more comfortable in her own skin.

I wish I could get in on that action. Not the roller derby action, because I can't see me doing that. I can just picture me trying to knock an opponent on her ass. I'd be like, "I'm just going to scoot you out of the way now, and I'm really sorry about this. Please don't unfriend me on Facebook or anything." No, I just want to get in on the whole self-acceptance thing. Like exactly when do I get to stop worrying about losing 15 pounds? On my deathbed? ("Sweet! I'm finally off the hook. Please add dark chocolate to my IV - stat.")

I want to be a good role model for my daughter. That's why she and I participated in a 5K and a 10K over the summer. I'm the world's worst runner but by gum, I got out there and tried. So, as tempting as it is to say, "I'm menopausal, my youth is gone, and I'm just going to let myself go," the truth is that I'm too vain to do that. Plus, staying healthy really is important, too.  I owe it to myself and to my daughter to keep an eye on my health and make sure I keep chugging along for as long as possible. After all, her dad and I are planning to do the robot at her wedding and I can't let them down.

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