“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.
So said Virginia Woolf.
“A menopausal woman must have money and a room of her own”
So said Me.
In fact, at times I feel not just a room but perhaps a whole house or a nice sunny island. But that perhaps is a little unrealistic.
But a room – it’s a start.
This is a fairly standard night for me:
10pm Go to bed and fall asleep in six seconds flat due to being exhuasted
11pm Wake up to go to toilet. Return to listen to snoring from partner and despair of getting back to sleep
11.30pm Google ‘number of snorers killed by their partners’
12.00am Get up to go to loo again. Fall asleep again
1.30am Night time Hot Flush kicks in (coz obviously 3 a day are not sufficient) – kick covers off. Partner helpfully rolls up into the kicked off quilt in sleep
2.00am Hot flush passes – attempt to get quilt back. Mini argument over quilt and percentage coverage we both have of said quilt.
2.10am Google ‘menopause as a mitigating circumstance in murder of spouse’
2.15am Fall asleep
3.45am Wake up and worry about all or some of the following: getting old; lack of pension; nagging pains anywhere in body that might be a sign of a terrible illness; what might be the cause of the lump on Sweet Dogs leg. Then I wonder if I switched the oven off. Go downstairs to check. Its fine but Sweet Dog looks sad and lonely so worry more that lump in leg is terrible thing and give her a biscuit. Go back to bed and worry that Sweet Dog is sad and lonely. Wake partner to check if appointment with vet tomorrow or day after. Partner not as understanding as I would like about my forgetfulness. I offer to perform a frontal lobotomy (with a rusty knife) on them so there can be full understanding of what menopausal brain fog feels like. The offer is declined
5.30pm Check fitbit and worry about the lack of sleep it shows.
5.45am Fall into a marvellous deep sleep.
6.30am Alarm goes off for work
This had gone on for some time – so at the beginning of the New Year we decide it is time for both our sanity to sleep apart. I try very hard to match my partners disappointment while secretly (and joyously) planning the decor of MY new room and wondering how quickly the painter can come in and get it done for me.
The last time I decorated my very own room without having to consult with anyone was when I was 13 and very into Pierrot Clowns. So I got a pierrot carpet, a pierrot rug, a pierrot lamp, pierrot bedding, pierrot curtains, pierrot pictures, pierrot music box, pierrot mirror, pierrot dolls to sit on everything; pierrot stickers to round my window and much more – but you get the general picture. My parents were dubious but the agreement was this was it til I was 17 at least. At 13 I was not good at looking forward so I of course totally agreed, unable to visualise a time where I would not totally love pierrot clowns.
That time did come – approximately 8 months later – when I became a goth and my pierrot clown bedroom became a total embarrassment. I was stuck with my black hair, black eyeliner and black clothes listening to moody heartbreak songs from the Cure while all around me hundreds of clowns stared disapprovingly at me.
I have learnt from that – so I clear the spare room and have it painted in nice neutral shades. I spend a large amount of money on arty prints and hide the receipts so I can pretend I got them from the charity shop for 50p each. And then last night I ‘moved in’. I started in our shared bed and did the cuddly thing and had the ‘yes it’s for the best but so sad’ conversation. We talk about Steph and Dom in Gogglebox and various other couples who have separate rooms. Finally I judge I have spent enough time looking sad and it’s time to go to my very own bedroom.
I try not to skip as I go down the hall and go into my lovely quiet beautiful room. My night goes as follows:
11.00pm Climb into lovely clean bed
11.30pm Listen to Woman’s Hour on Catch Up on my Ipad while simultaneously doing ‘snow angels’ in my bed revelling in the space.
12.30am Go to toilet. Partner shouts – ‘I miss you’. ‘I miss you too’ I lie back.
1.30pm Fall fast asleep.
3.00am Wake with hot flush – simply roll to the cool side of the bed, choose one of my ‘menopause playlists’ from Spotify and wait for it to pass. Fall back into deep lovely sleep
5.00am Wake up and worry for a bit. Google divorce rates in couples who sleep apart. Worry a bit more.
6.00am Fall back asleep
6.30am Alarm goes off – hit snooze and do some more snow angels.
We have breakfast and look at our fitbits. I have slept about half an hour more than normal. My partner has slept an hour less and is mournful. But happy for me though because I told a bit of a white lie and said I got three hours more and feel amazing.
Because a room of one’s own is a wonderful thing and I ain’t giving it up.