During the month of May 2020 I once spent a week and once a few hours in fear of having some horrible disease or ailment. In both cases it turned out to be hormonal, most probably signs of my body transferring to not being (in theory) capable of reproduction anymore. Menopause!
This body has done 43 and a half years so far so totally within expectations. Right?
Only I didn’t and don’t really know what to expect. Of course I heard about hot flushes (opvliegers) and dryness during sex. I know every woman experiences different symptoms so there is no rule as to what to expect besides the fact that all women end up without eggs in their ovaries, without the cycles that have been their companion for better or worse during most of their lives. But much more? No, not really. I know a few stories from women who went that road before. But I don’t really am well versed in this new phase.
And its not even that I am shy or prudish in talking with the women I call my friends or relatives or close acquaintances. I am not. With some I freely discuss the details of our female cycles and sexuality. It seems to me that in our society we lack cultural structures which naturally make us pass the knowledge from generation to generation, from woman to woman.
Of course I could jump on the internet and inform myself, and I most definitely will. And I and most women my age are not as vulnerable as young teenage girls, surprised and horrified by the changes in their maturing bodies (and I never was this ignorant girl, luckily). But this lack of structures which inform about and welcome women from one phase to the next does strike me as a lingering result of male supremacy for countless generations. I don’t consider myself or womanhood a victim of the supposed evilness of men (I love men!). But we are on our way to equality between the sexes and various genders and I think all of mankind will benefit from making full use of both male and female aspects and biologically driven tendencies, no matter in what kind of bodies they manifest themselves. A person who is culturally driven into the role of suppressor or dominator also can’t be all he can be. And women simply have a looooot of catching up to do and we are doing just that.
So besides jumping on the internet and informing myself I decided to do something else as well. Tell the stories. Mine and some of the others that I have heard. And collect more along the way.
Because it would have been nice if I had first thought of possible hormonal things happening in my body and only later, as a possibility that is wise to have checked and ruled out, of scary and possibly deadly diseases.
So here are my tales and the onces that I have been told by other women. And I hope to collect more along the way.