Ironic – An Ode to the Menopausal Woman

So I mentioned Alanis Morrisettes song Ironic in my last blog. And today I was wondering how old it was. Want to guess?

Answer: It is 22 years old!!!!! What happens to time? It drags until you are about 25 then its like you have skidded on some of the remaining snow (which I did this morning and was so pissed off I stamped on the slippy bit twice which I think will definitely teach it a lesson!) and can’t stop yourself hurtling towards old age.

While I was Googling it, I discovered Alanis is now hitting her late 40s so may well be perimenopausal herself! Further Googling found some potential evidence. She apparently ‘rewrote’ the lyrics of Ironic to support gay marriage. I had to read the revised lyrics twice to find the ‘rewrite’. Basically she had changed the line ‘It’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful wife’ to ‘it’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful husband’. Not exactly a huge effort put in there – so perhaps she was suffering menopausal brain fog and fatigue and thought ‘Fuck it – It will do!’ which is an approach to work that I am also becoming increasingly aligned to.

Then I discovered a more witty rewrite she did with James Cordon (though given evidence above I feel James may have done most of it while she picked out a woolly hat to wear on his show – potentially to hide the thinning hair that also accompanies ‘the change’). Lines such as ‘it’s like swiping left on your future soulmate’ and ‘it’s a snapchat that you wish you had saved’ bring it bang up to date. Further googling revealed massive debate of whether or not the situations she wrote about really were ironic – but it was too hard to follow and I didn’t really care that much so I found Ironic on Spotify and had another wee listen.

Then I got to thinking – maybe she could rewrite it to reflect the irony of the menopause. I was mulling this over then my effin train ground to a halt and a twenty minute delay was announced – so I thought Feck It – I am going to write it for her. So I did. Here goes…(you may want to listen to the song again to get the tune if you want to sing along):

Ironic – An Ode to the Menopause By Me

A Middle Aged Woman turned 51
Started the menopause and cried the next day
It’s an empty fridge when all you want is some pinot
It’s a big fat belly when you used to wear skinnies
Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think?

Chorus
It’s like chin bristles when you’ve lost your tweezers
It’s the brain fog when you are really quite bright
And who would have thought you’d ever get this old

Ms Menopause thought her periods had stopped
She kissed her towels and tampons all goodbye
She waited her whole damn life to save some dosh on ‘sanitary protection’
And as she noticed the blood on the toilet roll she thought
Well isn’t this nice
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Just when you think everything is OK and everything is going right
And the menopause has a funny way of fucking you up
And everything goes wrong and everything blows up in a rage

A hot flush when you used to be cool
An uncontrollable temper and intense irritability
It’s like 10,000 moods when all you need is some gin
It’s meeting the man of your dreams and then realising your libido has gone
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, yes I really do think!

Repeat Chorus

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
But friends and a sense of humour (and possibly HRT according to my poll) have a funny way of helping you out… helping you out…(fade to close)

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And isn’t it Ironic?

So I mentioned Alanis Morrisettes song Ironic in my last blog. And today I was wondering how old it was. Want to guess?

Answer: It is 22 years old!!!!! What happens to time? It drags until you are about 25 then its like you have skidded on some of the remaining snow (which I did this morning and was so pissed off I stamped on the slippy bit twice which I think will definitely teach it a lesson!) and can’t stop yourself hurtling towards old age.

While I was Googling it, I discovered Alanis is now hitting her late 40s so may well be perimenopausal herself! Further Googling found some potential evidence. She apparently ‘rewrote’ the lyrics of Ironic to support gay marriage. I had to read the revised lyrics twice to find the ‘rewrite’. Basically she had changed the line ‘It’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful wife’ to ‘it’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful husband’. Not exactly a huge effort put in there – so perhaps she was suffering menopausal brain fog and fatigue and thought ‘Fuck it – It will do!’ which is an approach to work that I am also becoming increasingly aligned to.

Then I discovered a more witty rewrite she did with James Cordon (though given evidence above I feel James may have done most of it while she picked out a woolly hat to wear on his show – potentially to hide the thinning hair that also accompanies ‘the change’). Lines such as ‘it’s like swiping left on your future soulmate’ and ‘it’s a snapchat that you wish you had saved’ bring it bang up to date. Further googling revealed massive debate of whether or not the situations she wrote about really were ironic – but it was too hard to follow and I didn’t really care that much so I found Ironic on Spotify and had another wee listen.

Then I got to thinking – maybe she could rewrite it to reflect the irony of the menopause. I was mulling this over then my effin train ground to a halt and a twenty minute delay was announced – so I thought Feck It – I am going to write it for her. So I did. Here goes…(you may want to listen to the song again to get the tune if you want to sing along):

Ironic – An Ode to the Menopause By Me

A Middle Aged Woman turned 51
Started the menopause and cried the next day
It’s an empty fridge when all you want is some pinot
It’s a big fat belly when you used to wear skinnies
Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think?

Chorus
It’s like chin bristles when you’ve lost your tweezers
It’s the brain fog when you are really quite bright
And who would have thought you’d ever get this old

Ms Menopause thought her periods had stopped
She kissed her towels and tampons all goodbye
She waited her whole damn life to save some dosh on ‘sanitary protection’
And as she noticed the blood on the toilet roll she thought
Well isn’t this nice
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Just when you think everything is OK and everything is going right
And the menopause has a funny way of fucking you up
And everything goes wrong and everything blows up in a rage

A fat girth when you used to be slim
An uncontrollable temper and intense irritability
It’s like 10,000 moods when all you need is some gin
It’s meeting the man of your dreams and then realising your libido has gone
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, yes I really do think!

Repeat Chorus

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
But friends and a sense of humour (and possibly HRT according to my poll) have a funny way of helping you out… helping you out…(fade to close)

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The Curse

I was supposed to go swimming today. The one exercise I actually enjoy. But I am not going! Not because I am a lazy person (thought tbh I am).

And not because I am barred. Though I nearly was!!! I had a nightmare swim last week when 10 zillion school kids descended on the pool meaning us adults were all corralled into two lanes and the guy behind me was so far up my arse he may as well have been my gynaecologist. I had to kick frantically to go faster and unfortunately ‘accidently’ kicked him in the face.

This in itself might have been enough to get me barred as it is possible his nose may never be the same again. But he did not grass me up so I left the pool rather relieved as Google has advised me on the numerous times I have checked that the menopause is not a justifiable defence for Actual Bodily Harm in court.

I was almost barred again as I enquired at reception for the times the school children came in to use the pool. The receptionist looked appalled and asked why I wanted to know. Snotty cow I thought. But realisation dawned just before she called social services and I frantically explained I wanted to AVOID the children so I could swim in peace.

So nope – not barred. The reason I am not going is because my friend has come unexpectedly. Do you know what I mean? I have the painters in. I’m on the rag! It is star week! I have ‘womens trouble’.

There are so many ways of describing your period. Germany calls it Erdeberwoche which means strawberry week. I particularly like Finlands description of Hallum Lechman Tauti which translates to Mad Cows Disease. This is most appropriate as I am as mad as hell. Four feckin months with nothing – NADA – and I had been lulled into a false sense of security.

I know this is normal – I know that fluctuating hormones interrupt the ovulation cycle. But this doesn’t make it any easier to to back to the start of the countdown to the magical year of no periods when I can officially declare myself post menopausal. It is a bit like when I spent 7 weeks losing half a bloody stone at Slimming World only to regain it all back on one all inclusive week in Tenerife and so it was right back to the start. FFS. Some women dread this moment – a realisation that they are no longer fertile (though my pal who smugly hit 12 months with no such incidents was less smug when she discovered the last four of those months she had actually been pregnant – her baby girl is beautiful and will celebrate her 3rd birthday at the same time as my friend celebrates her 50th, Turns out fertility does not disappear neatly with the onset of perimenopause as she had originally thought. Her 16 & 18 year olds are great babysitters though) But I cannot feckin wait to be shot of my periods. No more spending money on sanitary products instead of gin. No more paying VAT because someone somewhere declared them a luxury. No more wondering when it will appear from nowhere. Bring it on.

Except my body keeps playing tricks on me. Months pass with nothing and I think i am almost there. Then Mother Nature sends her guest down and pisses herself laughing at my distress. Especially today – when I have my best knickers on (£8.99 from Autograph!).

And of course I have nothing with me – no sanitary protection at all. Good news though – our forward thinking employer has installed a machine in the toilet where for 50p I can have a nice sanitary towel.

I wrestle with the machine and finally manage to get one of the most massive bulky towels I have ever seen out of a very tiny tray. But needs must. I think of Alanis Morrisette’s song ‘It’s like ten thousand knives when all you need is a spoon’. Well this is like ten thousand pads when all I want is a tampon. Though it is possible my fanny might have closed up due to lack of action – with my current bedroom fantasy is listening to Desert Island Discs on catch up while eating a galaxy. I had a scone once but the crumbs went everywhere so it was straight back to Galaxy.

The bloomin pad is huge – and has no wings to keep it in place. I walk gingerly around with this monstrosity balancing in my lovely knickers with the lace edges that are not designed to keep towels safely locked in. For the first time, I am glad to have pudsey thighs rather than a thigh gap coz there is less chance of it falling out. I don’t get embarrassed easily now. I used to – in second year at school Mark Nimmo saw a tampon in my school bag and took it out and threw it across the classroom, I thought I would have to leave school and never return, such was my mortification. But over the years I have been significantly more embarrassed by a number of events and so nowadays very little embarrases me – but even I might be somewhat abashed if I am queueing up at the canteen for a galaxy and the towel was to fall down my trouser leg onto the floor!

I remember the days I looked forward to my period coming – proof that all was in working order and i was most definitely not pregnant. Now I just want shot of them for good.

Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t you think?

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Menopausal Shopping

March!!! How did that happen? January lasted for ten zillion years…. then February lasted about as long as a Family Sized Galaxy in the possession of a menopausal woman.

I decide to consult my weight loss spreadsheet I set up 6 weeks ago when I decided to lose 44lbs so I could be classed as overweight rather than obese. After various calculations it turns out I now have 50lbs to go!. I am good at sums but even if you aren’t – you can tell this is not exactly a success story. Oprah won’t be coming knocking asking me to be a poster girl for Weight Watchers. My underactive thyroid diagnosis with the related medication was supposed to spur on my weight loss – but despite monitoring things closely by jumping on the scales six or seven times a day – nothing! Nada!!. Am fecking raging – and a little concerned as have googled more on an underactive thyroid and it appears it is not simply a cause for celebration and weight loss as I had originally thought.

More googling tells me that it is the Menopausal Monster who has some responsibility for stealing my figure as well as my sanity (it is possible my addiction to wine and chocolate has also contributed – but lets face it, if losing weight was as simple as giving those things up then we’d all be bloody doing it!). Apparently lower estrogen levels make gaining weight much more likely – and also changes the distribution of weight as the fat all gathers round your belly in the menopausal years. Well I could be the feckin perfect case study for that!!! I was blessed (and I could cry with how much I took it for granted) by being fairly slim til I hit my forties. I did get fat once for a few months when I was much younger after a particularly pleasurable 6 months in the States living off pizza and ice cream. I came home with a pot belly and was so upset about it (despite the fact I was still three stone lighter than I am now) but one benefit was that so many people would gave up their seat for me on trains and buses believing I was pregnant. On one memorable occasion I got upgraded to first class on a mobbed train as the guard said he could not leave someone in ‘my condition’ sitting on the floor. It was slightly marred by the fact I could not take advantage of the free alcohol being served as I feared disapproving looks when I was younger (don’t give a shit now though- in fact I almost revel in them). But now I am way beyond child bearing age and my this combined with my invisibility as a middle aged woman means I don’t even get this benefit.

I am further thwarted by this bloomin snow. Can’t get to the supermarket for fruit and veg so having to live off kebabs and chips from the place at the end of the road supplemented by some galaxies from the local newsagent. Two of the very few places still open and both owners probably planning a few weeks in a five star hotel in the Maldives once the weather passes.

But I cannot give up. You see – they are knocking my school down. And they are doing an open day in 3 weeks time for a last look round and loads of my old classmates that I haven’t seen for over 30 years are going. My pal from school asked me to go but I said No coz I feckin hated school. Plus I was pipecleaner skinny at school and now I am a blancmange. And I don’t want everyone saying – ‘oh look at her can you believe what a fat arse she has now?’ Or ‘feck how did she get pregnant at her age – HAS to be bloody twins, maybe even triplets’. But then the Facebook posts and groups started and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) struck. Also, my pal who is in touch with loads of people from school emailed me a list of all the ones she knew who were fatter than me, and it was quite a big list. I got her to cut and paste some of their photos from Facebook just to makes sure she wan’t lying – and it’s true – a number do look rather chunky!. So now I am going. And I will just make sure I stand beside the Chunksters for photos coz that will make me look much slimmer than I am.

I have accepted that I won’t be skinny in 3 weeks. Indeed empirical evidence suggests I may be even fatter than I am now. But a new outfit may just make me look cool for school. So I decided yesterday when we were sent home from work due to the snow (hooray) to stop and find a trendy outfit. One like I saw this cool girl on the bus wear. Jeans….Big Biker Boots…. plain white top…..and a nice smart leather jacket….gorgeous tousled hair. I watched her in awe til I noticed she could see a reflection of me staring at her in the window and was looking a little concerned for her safety.

My usual outfit since hitting my menopausal years has been leggings and a flowery smock – bought usually from Asda as I to the shopping – or Sainsbury’s which is so much better since they stopped selling that Gok Wan shite). And I have to be honest – I have fallen into a bit of a rut in terms of making an effort. Not quite at the going to the Kebab shop in my pajamas stage – but starting to feel like I have gone the extra mile if I go to work with my hair down. (Always with a scrunchie inside my bag though in case I get the sweats and have to tie it up after blasting it dry under the hand driers in the toilet). But I truly believe this is not me. There is a cool girl like on the bus that is just screaming to get out. (Actually, it is possible there may be three of four of them).

Suffice to say I did not enjoy my shopping trip. Hot flushes are not good when you are trying clothes on and mortified that you may have to hand the clothes back all covered in sweat…. Stupid changing rooms where the curtains don’t shut properly and all the young and the beautiful can see your not so young and beautiful body as they walk past And the rooms are too bloody small – so your arse sticks out through the flimsy curtains as you bend to pull jeans on. Couple that with an irritable disposition and it all gets rather messy.

Shops need to cater more for the menopausal woman. Toilets in the shop for the continual need to pee isn’t much to ask. Maybe some nice tunes from the 80s instead of the utter shite that passes for music these days. A quota of sales assistants must be over 40 or above a size 16. Feckin sizes need to go up way higher than a 16 too. Those bottle things that spray cool evian water should be in each cubicle. And maybe a wine dispenser too. And some beds to take a short nap on when the exertions of taking clothes on and off combined with menopausal fatigue get too much. And maybe most importantly – a therapist within each changing area. There could be a button like in the posh shops that you press for another size, but this one is an urgent alert for that therapist to rush to the cubicle and support you as you sob at the loss of your tiny slim firm body that you never feckin appreciated at the time. It is true – you don’t know what you have til it is bloody gone.

I did get my biker boots but they are the wide fitting ones from Marks and Spencer and strictly speaking not really biker ones – but they have a big buckle on them so I don’t think anyone will be able to tell.

And I discovered pregnancy jeans!!!! They are great – perfect for the menopausal middle.

And a nice loose smock over the top covers that elasticated waist perfectly!

Spreadsheet is now readjusted – 50lbs WILL go by 1 March 2019 .

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To HRT or not to HRT

To HRT or Not To HRT.

That is the question I have been asking myself for a few months.

I have pored over the evidence. Well, if I am being totally honest I have been checking what celebrities have been on HRT then watching programmes like Loose Women and This Morning carefully to see the effects. So it is research, but perhaps not as, say a Medical Scientist, would recognise it.

Andrea McLean, Davina McCall, Lorraine Kelly, Jane Moore – all take it and all looking utterly fabulous and don’t forget what they are saying every day – so they make me feel very pro HRT. Gloria Hunniford boasting that she didn’t also made me very pro HRT.

It was in 1966 that HRT started to come to prominence with Dr WIlson, in his book ‘Forever Feminine’ describing the menopause very much as a disease that could be treated. He advocated HRT as a way to keep your husband happy. My Menopausal Monster hackles rose reading this – and tbh reading many articles written even in the last year or two which seem to think that the driving force for all women seeking help is to ensure their husband/partner can get a good shag. Indeed I have yet to read anything that says if you can’t be arsed (due to sweating your tits off, being utterly exhausted and worrying about the possible consequences of telling a work colleague this morning to feck off) then you should just say you can’t be arsed, go to bed and tell your partner to bring you some wine, a bar of galaxy and a cool compress then feck off to the spare room so you can watch Netflix in peace.

In fact how about GQ mag or one of those Gadgety Mags that men read having a wee article on how to look after a menopausal woman. And they maybe explain that when a menopausal woman is lying in bed and suddenly rips off all her clothes it is unlikely that his luck is in and instead of leaping on top of her, he should open a window, bring out a large fan then go and get some chocolate for her.

Anyway back to the point – it turned out his book was funded by one of the biggest manufacturers of HRT – which pissed me off even more than the content of the book. Though tbh my socks were really pissing me off that morning – so it doesn’t take much.

I have played about with fanny magnets and magnesium but tbh I have pretty much been self medicating with Jack Daniels, white wine and Family Sized Galaxies. And I have to concede that this does not seem to be helping my ‘disease’. So maybe it is time to try something else.

I expand my research outwith the confines of OK and Closer – but end up more confused than ever.

‘Go on it’ advocates say. ‘Your risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer will reduce. Your insomnia and hot flushes will go. You will be a sparkly happy sexual being again’.

‘Don’t go on it’ say the detractors. ‘You may end up with endometrial cancer, gallbladder problems, breast cancer and dementia’.

I mean – talk about a rock and a hard place.

I am not sure how I feel about pumping my body full of unnatural hormones. And I suppose if I am honest – it feels like a ‘failure’ to start taking them – after all, isn’t this just another phase of life?

I told that to my friend and she asked me if I could remember what I told her when I visited her after she had her first baby. I can’t actually remember what I had for my breakfast – so unlikely tbh.

She reminded me that she had been devastated as she had to have a c-section and had cried her eyes out to me explaining she felt like a failure for not having a natural birth.

I am still looking blank and panicking slightly that I have no recollection of this.

‘You called me a fuckwit and told me I cooked a gorgeous baby girl and who gave a shit if it came out my fanny or belly button or even got delivered by a bloody stork’

I still don’t remember.

‘You also brought two fantastic chocolate eclairs’. I have a glimmer of recall now – I do remember them. They were fantastic.

So she calls me a fuckwit and tells me that no one gives a shit if I take something that isn’t natural. She also reminded me that it was synthetic cream in the eclairs coz neither of us liked ‘natual’ cream.

So I decided i was doing it – HRT for me. I want to be gorgeous like Andrea McLean and springy and jumpy like Davina and have a big smile like Lorraine. And I have a pal that claims her marriage and job and sanity were all saved by HRT which made her feel herself again. And if HRT can make me feel like me again – then I don’t care if it isn’t natural. I miss me a lot. (though Google says that some HRT has the Urine of Pregnant Horses in it – and that seems fairly natural).

So off to the Doctors I go, happy that I have made a decision.

Except I haven’t. In the five minutes I take to get there I change my mind. I absolutely don’t want to go on them. But when I arrive – I am absolutely sure that I do. Then I am not sure again. Then I decide absolutely not. I do some googling and find some information on Menopausal Clinics who can give you more in depth help than a 10 minute consultation with a GP. So I decide to ask for a referral.

In I go – but the GP isn’t for it, She is super keen I try HRT before referring me. But now I don’t want it. So the Menopausal Monster decides it is time for me to cry. I try to control it but the Monster is too strong so I cry quite a lot. This leads her to suggest anti depressants. Between sobs I tell her I am not depressed but can understand totally how she may have drawn that conclusion. She looks at the clock and clearly thinks ‘fuck it – lets get her out of here’ and finally does the referral. Then insists that I get all my bloods done at least to rule out anything else. I nod happily.

Three days later I get a call telling me to come into the surgery. Oh no…. OH NO… What is wrong with me? There must be something. I go into meltdown and try to call the surgery back but it is closed. I try desperately what all the blood tests were for but I have forgotten them all. I call my nurse friend in panic.

‘Did they ask you to bring someone with you?’. ‘No’ I reply. ‘Well it probably isn’t that bad’ she reassures me.

Next day I go back and am advised I have an Underactive Thyroid. I almost leap out my chair and punch the air. The Doctor asks me if I know what it means. I am so excited …. ‘it’s why I am fat and knackered’ I explain ‘and you just give me tablets and I will be thin and energetic again’. The Doctor says this is a bit over simplistic and not 100 percent accurate and proceeds to give a more medical description because she needs to prove that she has done 7 years at medical school. I barely listen as I imagine joining the world of the thin and wide awake club! I bounce out of the surgery clutching my prescription with the GP no doubt writing ‘possible bi polar’ on my notes.

I have 3 months til the Menopausal Clinic – and I have decided if I still feel this crap even with the thyroxine then I am most definitely going on some kind of HRT.

I get my prescription then nip in to Greggs for two massive Chocolate Eclairs filled with synthetic cream. I try to give the impression that one is for me and the other is for someone who has just had a baby – but I know she knows that I know that one is for now and the other is for when I get home to have with a cup of tea.

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Speccy Four Eyes

As well as being menopausal and all the associated crap symptoms., it turns out I am also half blind. The joys of getting older just keep coming! Dodgy Knee, Arthritic Finger, Sore Lower Back and Short Term Memory Loss all come out in force to welcome Dodgy Eyesight.

The opticians diagnosis was not a complete surprise. For a few months I have had to inch the menu in restaurants further and further from my face. I have to finally concede that my arms are not long enough to keep going with this strategy. I’d also dialled in to the wrong conference calls at work, having not been read the number properly.

I did find out some great gossip though as it took about 15 mins before the organiser realised they had a cuckoo in the nest (clearly I was not going to drop off as soon as I realised… this is the closest I have come to being a fly on the proverbial and it was intoxicating. (ps – soz team but Shazza was right – the ten zillionth restructure of the year is on its way).

But of course, it could not be as simple as just a pair of reading glasses. Turns out I am long and short sighted so need two bloody pairs. Twice the bloody expense. I had kind of guessed that too though – driving was becoming an issue especially at night, with the cars all merging into soft amber lights ahead and behind. The deciding factor was running as fast as I could to platform 6 for my train and leaping on it, only to hear the announcer declare it was going in completely the opposite direction. WTF – I leapt off quickly and berated the Railway guard about wrong platform information. He kindly pointed out that my train was on Platform 8 – then more smugly than kindly pointed out I had just missed it!! Had to wait another hour which meant breaking my attempt at sugar free February again (I really do want to give up sugar but for just a pound I can get almost ten minutes of sheer happiness with a Family Sized Galaxy…if anyone can tell me what brings more happiness for a pound then I am all ears (so far Deafness hasn’t joined my ‘getting old party’ but give it time)

So £800 quid later (coz no other speccy four eyes fecker told me just to get the prescription and go on the internet for much cheaper glasses until after I had coughed out to a rather surprised but happy optician – of course since doing that every bloody specky four eyes has told me. Horse. Stable Door. Bolted. Anyone?), I left with two pairs of glasses. Having spent £800, another £80 on a handbag seemed a snip. And I did need a bigger one now that I have two pairs of glasses to keep in them. I remember the days of youth where I would head out with one small bag with cash and a Body Shop strawberry lip gloss. With each passing decade, my bag gets bigger. As well as glasses, I now have tweezers, small magnifying mirror to use when using the tweezers (just as an aside – either those bloody hormonal chin bristles have doubled overnight or my glasses plus magnifying mirror are a reflection of the bearded lady everyone else has been seeing when they have looked at me) ; water bottle (which is always heavy as I keep forgetting to drink the recommended 2 litres); diary (coz I forget everything and can’t figure out the calendar thing on my phone); a notepad (to write things that I need to remember – coz if not written down now – it ain’t happening); tissues (to mop up the sweats); nuts and seeds so I don’t binge on chocolate; chocolate wrappers coz I don’t really like nuts and seeds very much; tampons all the time coz the days of being regular as clockwork are well gone. So with all of this and the glasses – a much larger bag is a necessity rather than a luxury. And it can almost be described as a medical purchase as it assisted with the depression as yet another part of my body gives up.

So I rock up at work with my fab new bag (after driving half way with this bloody annoying beeping in the car and not knowing what it was – then finally working out the stupid car thought my bag was a person and wanted me to put its seatbelt on). It’s not that heavy ffs. So I had to pushed it onto the floor to stop it – and of course all my crap fell out all over the footwel). I fish out my specs and am feeling happy coz I am now seeing them as a fashion statement.

One of my colleagues looks at me, head tilted to the side. ‘They are OK’ he says ‘but you do look better without them’. Fucker!

I’You look better without them too’ I responded, internally giving myself a high five for such a witty reply – with brain fog these are few and far between. My satisfaction with this is short lived as he turns back to his spreadsheet. I resolve to use this line again in the future though but not with people who look at spreadsheets all day.

‘They are cute’ laughs another colleague, looking up from her spreadsheet. ‘You look a bit like a Harry Potter’

I don’t laugh, partly because a 12 year old boy wizard was not the image I was aiming for when I paid £800 for my designer glasses – and also because she didn’t laugh at my earlier witty comment.

So after three days of being a glass wearer, I have to conclude it may take some time to acclimatise to them. I used to like lying on my side in bed reading – try doing that with specs! They dig right into your head and ear. So have to sit up with a shawl now looking like my old Granny. I can’t drink hot tea when I am reading as they steam up.

And they are never bloody clean. I wipe them constantly but always there is a mark. Yesterday I was ready to go to the Doctors convinced I had glaucoma but it was just a finger print on the (twice cleaned) lens.

I don’t need them all the time – so when I am not reading at work I stick them on top of my head in what I consider a rather intellectually fetching way, but then I forget and lean forward and they fall off.

I continually lose them – though now I always check the top of my head now before looking further.

And what is with people wanting to ‘try them on’ then making comments about how blind I must be. I am sure this is against one of our disability policies. I mean, you couldn’t ask someone to borrow their wheelchair and talk about how crap their legs must be without HR sending you on a four day Diversity course. And then Big Fat Freda borrowed them and gave them back with the arms all stretched. I am a fatso too but so far my head has not increased in size so I had to mould them back into my face shape. She has tiny feet though – I am tempted to ask to try them on and stretch them all to buggery. See how she likes it. But she does have a bit of an odour problem there so I probably won’t. Don’t want to add smelly feet and veruccas to my problems. Actually – my feet are really good with no problems at all now that I think of it. Probably due to giving up on heels and living in sensible sketchers helping there.

But you gotta laugh. Coz where would you be without a sense of humour?

Working opposite me on spreadsheets probably!

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The Invisible Woman

I have discovered that the menopause gives you a superpower. I have become the Invisible Woman. Which is ironic given I am bigger than I have ever been in my life.

And this isn’t just me being maudlin. A recent poll found that 46 was the average age that women start to feel invisible.

Take today for example. I am waiting to get on the tram and a man steps practically through me and stands one inch in front of me so he can get on first. He didn’t see me at all as he rushed for the last available seat. He didn’t quite knock me over as I am a bit like a weeble in that I wobble a lot – but I don’t fall down. He didn’t seem me in fact til I ‘accidently’ stood on his foot. At the next stop though he leapt off the seat as if there was firework about to go off up his arse so he could help a gorgeous 20 something woman off the tram with her bag. I nicked his seat quicksmart.

At the lift at work two people just pushed straight past me, not even interrupting their conversation to acknowledge me. They didn’t ask what floor I want to get out at and just hit Floor 6 for themselves. They notice me though when I pressed all the buttons from Floor 1 to Floor 5 then departed on Floor one happy in the knowledge it will jolt up one floor at a time.ha ha. (I was going to take the stairs every time I was only doing one floor but I am going to wait til I get a fitbit so that I can officially record it each time). I go to the shops for some chocolate and a guy comes in and shouts over my head for fags – ’20 silk cut mate’. The shopkeeper also can’t see me as he goes to serve him first. But they see me when I say ‘EXCUSE ME I think you’ll find I was here first’ because invisible women aren’t supposed to speak up for themselves – they are supposed to accept their lot.Well I beg to feckin differ! Not me. Not now. Not ever. I’d recommend it – speaking up for yourself becomes easier and easier the more you do it. The snotty woman who told me not to take two of the (postage stamp sized) towels at the gym – I told her I was taking them and to have her manager waiting for me when i came out to discuss further if it was a problem. The shop assistant who gazed above my head while holding her hand out for my money – she finally saw me after I just stood still refusing to be ignored – and finally asked me for the money and even said please. The guy who marched past me when I stood aside for him who turned in shock when I shouted ‘you’re welcome’. The young woman who pushed up against me on the sale rail and looked at me in shock when I said ‘I think the phrase you are looking for is excuse me’. She was so stunned that I had a moment of horror thinking she was maybe deaf and mute and I had just been disabilityist – but turns out she was just totally shocked about an invisible woman actually talking. My friends 17 year old who said that Kim Kardashian was a feminist because she earned lots of money and did what she wanted with her body – who had the good grace to look embarrassed when I fell about laughing explaining to her that getting your arse and tits out is fine if you want to but for god’s sake don’t call it feminism.

I mean I know I’m not exactly Rosa Parks – but there is a thrill in small moments of being very visible – and giving zero fucks about what anyone thinks about it.

The list goes on. Doors swing back in my face. Bar people ignore me as the young and the beautiful walk in front of me to be served first. I am only represented in Tena lady and nutritional supplement adverts – I don’t exist to the sexy car adverts. Nobody stands up for me on the bus. Hairdressers gaze at themselves in the mirror as they work on my hair. Construction workers don’t lift their eyes from their doughnut and newspaper when I pass. On one memorable occasion I had my hair darkened and cut and felt most self conscious the next day til I realised not one fecker had noticed.

I can’t decide if this is a good or a bad thing. I go running sometimes (well I shuffle round the park with the dog about twice a month) and no one shouts ‘cor look at the arse on that’ because I am an invisible woman. I sit in Starbucks with a book and a latte without having to endure some fool ‘talking’ to me about what I am reading/why I am there etc. No more unwanted attention. Because I am an invisible woman. And often, I am grateful for the silence.

I wonder how much further I can take it. Would I be invisible to the John Lewis security guard? I wondered as I fingered their lovely but very expensive silk scarves. I resist though. I am waiting til I am in my 70s before I start properly shoplifting. If I don’t get caught I will sell my gains for cash to buy butter and chocolate and big purple hats. If I do get caught, prison is likely to be an improvement on the only care homes I will be able to afford (because the government took all my money away and won’t give it back as a pension til I am 107 which was NOT the deal I signed up to). Three good meals a day, lots of company; my own room with telly; access to education etc. My mum is a little concerned about this retirement plan and thinks I should up the pension contributions instead but I am not convinced my idea is not superior.

I was talking to a 50 year old head teacher friend of mine about this last week – and she was feeling rather pleased with herself. She had discovered an on-line poll her pupils had put together – rating her and the other female teachers out of 20. While having to be outwardly disapproving of the poll which objectified women – she was pleasantly surprised to find she had scored 19 as many of her younger and, as she perceived, more attractive colleagues had scored much lower. She put it down to her healthy vegetarian lifestyle and regular exercise plan with occasional shots of botox.

However… her joy was deflated the next day when it was uncovered that the score was the number of pints of beer the boys who had created the poll felt they would have to drink before ‘shagging’ the teacher in question.

When she told me about it we both laughed so much we wee’d a bit. And we realised that if she had been given that score at the age of 25 she would have been devastated. But with invisibility comes a subtler and stronger power than sexuality. An ability to laugh at yourself. An ability to speak up and be heard because you don’t really care any more about what people think.

Try it – it’s addictive… All hail the Invisible Woman!

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