It has crept up with all the stealth of a nasty ninja. There are nights spent sweating profusely, mornings where your hair is standing on end because you’ve sweated out of the top of your head all night, days when you’d cheerfully rip someone’s head off and back fat that never ever ever shifts.
I’m not sure really when it all began, but begin it certainly has. As someone who has always been a chilly mortal, at first the radiator like nights were quite pleasurable. Well they were during the winter at least. Not so much in the summer though. The Husband is now completely fed up with the covers on / covers off scenario after many months and can usually be found in the morning in the spare room having disappeared sometime in the night moaning about duvets and wives under his breath. Of course, sweaty nights lead to knackered days and hours spent at three in the morning fretting about everything from shopping lists to whether you really should bother trying to squeeze yourself into that size twelve dress any more or just give up and go for the kaftan instead.
I am the same age as Cindy Crawford and there indeed the similarity ends. I watch her on Instagram still looking fabulous in her jeans and pristine shirts and wonder if her hair is falling out, her boobs are going south and she frets sweatily whilst wishing she could bury her husband under the fish pond because he never finishes the washing up properly. I have done a straw poll amongst friends of my age to see which words they use to describe how they feel menopausally. The perspiration thing is top of the list, followed closely by the word ‘grumpy’. I wonder if Cindy is ever grumpy. I suspect not. She doesn’t look the sort. I’m not so much grumpy as incandescently furious on a fairly frequent basis and find myself, for the first time in my life, sometimes telling people exactly what I think, which is clearly a shock for them as this has not been something that is normally in my nature. I don’t want to become one of those terrible judgemental old people who says exactly what’s on their minds without a thought in the world for how that might impact on the other person as they tell you how fat / grey / boring you’ve become, but I might.
Age is a double edged sword really. When you’re young no one takes you seriously. When you’re in your thirties and forties you haven’t got time to care about what people think and when you menopausally are in your fifties you have two choices: become invisible or stand out from the crowd. I’ve gone for the second option but in a considered way. Thankfully the hairdresser stopped me from going the full Annie Lennox and instead has given me some flattering platinum highlights (“oh you’ll look so old,” said my mother) which seem to suit me rather well I’m told. I’ve ditched the baggy, the unflattering, the sale ‘bargain’ and the mutton and have pared myself back to a wardrobe that I feel comfortable in and which doesn’t scream either old or ‘what were you thinking’ and I’ve finally, after months of trying, lost some weight. I still have back fat, have to cantilever my chest into place in the morning and lose at least five pints of liquid through my skin every night but do you know what? I’m happier about myself than I’ve been in a long time. And I think that I owe it all to the menopause…
Words: Amber Beard