Warning for some: TMI ahead.

Perimenopause.  The prefix “peri” is from the ancient Greek, and means “near”.  Near is a relative term.  I am near the Caribbean when compared to someone in Juneau, Alaska at this moment, but that does not make me as near as someone in Miami, Florida. “Near” is a hedge word.

However, if we check in with our friend Wikipedia, the word “Peri” means the following:

In Persian mythology, the Peri are descended from fallen angels who have been denied paradise until they have done penance. In earlier sources, they are described as agents of evil; later, they are benevolent. They are exquisite, winged, fairy-like creatures ranking between angels and evil spirits.

I like that definition of “Peri” much better. And it really describes who, how, and where we perimenopausal women are.

The highs and lows of perimenopause are meni and veri. See what I did there? Yea, get over it.

I say “Get over it” to myself many times each day, as I am perpetually awash in a slippery tangle of hormones.

This thing they call perimenopause – in laywomen’s terms, pre-menopause…do you mean it’s actually WORSE once you hit ACTUAL menopause?  I’m still technically not menopausal, yet I have all the symptoms – and I try to view them as positively as possible. Hot flashes are just short private vacations to a tropical island. Mood swings are experiences of the rich depths of my mercurial personality.

Based on my research, I fail to see where the actual differences between perimenopause and menopause lie, except that I guess you never get a period again, instead of having one that lasts three days once or twice a year.  Or one that lasts twelve days when you are on a vacation in the islands. Maybe that’s part of perimenopause – your body has gotten smart enough to wait to release the deluge until you are in the exact place and time when you don’t want said deluge to occur. Perhaps your body is giving a giant Bronx Cheer or having a last hurrah before your reproductive system gives up the ghost altogether.

Regardless of it’s motives, it feels like my body is not playing fair.

Don’t tell me to “own it”, to gracefully accept this change in life. I DO own it. I’m not treating my body as separate from me. In fact, I’m totally on board with this change of life.  Let’s just go ahead with it, okay? No more of this dinking around. Right now, my body is like, “Oh, okay, I’m done with periods.  (Significant pause.)  JK!  LOL! LOVE YA!

Stop it.

I’m in a pretty happy place these days. Got a wonderful love, got a cozy house, got a decent job, got an amazing daughter. But the unpredictable tide of hormones can have me going to bed smiling, and waking up in tears, wishing I could just stay in bed all day eating Slim Jims and sugar cookies with a bottle of rum, watching Jerry Springer.

MKL and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary on Friday, and I feel for him. It must be hard for a guy who has been single for a while to find himself involved with a woman who has several different personalities. He never quite knows who is going to show up. In the olden days, couples had been together for a long time before the peri/menopause days hit, and so the man knew who the woman was, and could recognize “the change” as an anomaly in the woman he’d lived with for years. In a new relationship, I imagine it’s more along the lines of the old game show “To Tell The Truth”  – will the real Seasweetie please stand up?

I am blessed that MKL has the wisdom to look beyond the mood swings, and see the true me. I am blessed that he just hugs me when I’m having “one of those days” and asks if I want to talk, but doesn’t insist on it. He doesn’t try to talk me up or down or out of wherever I am.  He just loves me, steadfast and true and stable.  (OK, enough gushing about MKL.)

As (almost) all women do, I just have to wait until this plays out. I have spent my life (as many women do), blaming my hormones for a variety of moods and behaviors. I don’t know why I’ve been blaming my hormones, as my hormones have been fluctuating since I was 13, so really it’s just my normal state of being. I guess I expect that once menopause hits, my hormones will calm down.  But I think the only way that could happen is if they went away altogether, and they’re not going to do that – and if they do, I think someone would give me drugs to simulate them.  And besides, if they were completely gone, or if they were simulated, that would just be another thing for my body to adjust to. It all just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

It comes down to “I am who I am” and there is no need to make excuses, blame internal or external factors, or expect change to follow some logical, predictable, orderly sequence.

I can just be here, right now, somewhere between angel and evil spirit, waiting for the next deluge that may never come.

Angel on the Beach by Kamil Vojnar