You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘women’ tag.

Today, I tried to start my lawn mower. It’s about a year old. MKL got it for me. A Toro – a nice lawn mower. Nicer than my lawn.

I don’t have what you could call a lawn – I have dirt with weeds that grow thigh high in no time.  And grow they do if I don’t attend to them.  Which I haven’t been, what with work and playing and, well, not liking mowing dirt.

The lawn mower (which I think needs a name) has a BIG seal emblazoned on the top that says “Guaranteed to Start”.

It lies.

It didn’t.

I checked the oil. I added gas. I looked for a primer thingy (nope). I yanked on that starter cord like…well, I can’t even provide an analogy that isn’t unseemly. I even read the manual – and I was amazed that I had the manual.

I called MKL.

Now, I ask you, why did I call MKL?  He’s a car guy, and in my head, I thought car = (approximately) lawn mower. They both have motors. They both take oil and gas. You can run things over with both of them.

Poor guy.  He’s 45 miles away and doesn’t have a manual, but he does have a computer with Windows 8 which frustrates the hell out of him. He was trying to help by looking the model up online.

Of course, the manual offers you four different model numbers. Sooooo not helpful. And all they show you online is the same manual.

I don’t lose my temper often anymore. I used to have a terrible temper, which everyone says I inheirited from my father. He rarely lost his temper either – he’d learned how to control it over the years, just as I have.

But not today. Today, I lost my temper with a machine.

My former (and now late) neighbor, Charlene, was a ranchwoman. She was a soft-spoken woman except when she was trying to herd recalcitrant cattle. Then, the air above the ranch was blue with her curses.

That was me. And I was loud. I’m surprised the neighbors here didn’t call the police. Unfortunately, I still had MKL on the phone, since he was trying to help. I had to reassure him that I wasn’t swearing at him, but I know how angry I sounded. He said that he’d take a look at it when he came home tomorrow. And that just set me off.

I am a smart woman. I know this about myself. And I HATE when I need a man to fix something for me. I don’t believe that I should EVER need a man to help me fix something.  I knew when I left my marriage that one of the things I needed to prove to myself was that I COULD DO ANYTHING, because I had been told in many ways for many years that I was basically incapable and illogical. That’s why I get extremely frustrated when I find something that stumps me. Like the lawn mower.

I said goodbye to MKL as nicely as I could. And kept adding gas and yanking on the starter and guess what?

It started.

And the weeds are now about as high as a tennis sock.

I had to apologize to MKL and be sure he still wanted to marry me.

Thankfully, he does.

But I have no faith in anything that offers me a guarantee.

Especially that now my phone has decided that it has erased my SD card with all my vacation photos on it.  And tech support for T-Mobile won’t let me log in.

Can anyone spare a Valium?


Dear readers,

You probably fall into one of two categories: male or female.

If you are female you will:

a) think these things can never happen to you
b) relate and have your own random comments
or c) remember what I’m talking about

If you are male, you will:

a) turn away from this page immediately for fear of Too Much Information
b) forge ahead and learn something about the women who may be in your life, now or in the future

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been experiencing hot flashes – one of the stars of perimenopause and beyond – for over four years now. And sadly, I know that the end is not in sight.

Do you know what a hot flash is like? It’s like being flamed with a sparkly blowtorch all over your body. It comes from the inside out, and it comes on suddenly and unexpectedly. It’s very Chuck Norris-like. There’s nothing you can do to fight it off, to defend yourself. If it’s there, it’s already won. It lasts as long as it’s going to last. And then it’s gone.

And then there’s the bleeding  – or not.  It’s either a tsunami or a leaky faucet. And like the hot flash, you never know when it’s going to strike. But unlike the hot flash, there are repercussions from this unpredictability.  When you’re used to a regular cycle of 28 days or so, you know when you need to be prepared, And so, you travel prepared. With perimenopause, it’s always a surprise. Bleeding episodes can be six months apart. Or 39 days apart. They can last for three days or for three weeks.  But the biggest disability is that damn flow. You can stand up from your desk, and suddenly discover that you need a new pair of jeans. My bottom file drawer at work always contains an extra pair. Lesson learned.

That whole unpredictability thing is the hallmark of perimenopause. You just never know when to expect what. And it’s as if your body is completely confused. It doesn’t know what to do. So it just…. does everything. It has mood swings. It gets bloated. It cries uncontrollably about nothing for days at a time. It has nightmares. It has PMS – but without the M. It’s like getting your period, but not getting your period at the same time. It’s a giant fake-out. Poor body.

But there are some good things about perimenopause that, in the spirit of gratitude, I feel compelled to share.

There are some things that ease the symptoms. Black cohosh (an herb). Estroblend, an over-the-counter herbal pill. Evening primrose oil. Soy products (or so I’m told – I haven’t tried them yet, because I’m not really a fan). And of course, ice cold San Pellegrino, hand-held japanese fans, and frozen bodice coolers that you can pick up at any Renaissance Festival.

It definitely keeps me warmer in the winter. This is strange for me, because I’ve always been a cold-bodied person. Now, I can comfortably keep the house at 60 degrees no matter what the outside temperature. (Unfortunately, my niece and MKL cannot live like that.)  And sometimes I drive with the truck windows down in the depths of January.

I’m saving money on winter clothing. I mean, really, what’s the point of wearing sweaters to work if I just want to strip down to my skivvies every other minute? As it is, I’m in sleeveless tops and have the little desk fan going for half the day, with an icy beverage close at hand.

It helps me accept change and unpredictability. Let’s face it, it’s not called “the change” for nothing. This experience has helped to reinforce for me that life within this body is anything but predictable, and that just because things are one way one day does not mean they will be the same the next day. You just never know. So you might just as well enjoy the ride.

It is a hallmark of the wisdom gained from life. In some cultures, women who have experienced menopause are allowed into traditionally male bastions from which they were previously banned, as a sign of respect. If one has lived long enough to move into a new cycle of life, then wisdom must be one’s companion on the journey.

I like to think of it that. Between hot flashes.

So, if you’ve read this far, congratulations. If you have yet to experience this transition, and have questions, ask away. If you are in the throes and have positive feedback, comments, perceptions, or suggestions, please share. And if you’re past it and have stories to tell, I’d love to hear them.

We’ve discussed quite a few TMI things on this blog over the years, particularly lady-bits stuff.  Breast lumps, kidney stones, and menopausal symptoms are just a few that come to mind. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? So it’s time we had another of those intimate chats. (In other words, some of you may want to leave now.)

We’re going to talk about bladders. Not pig bladders, which, back in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s days, Pa blew up after the hog slaughter and let the girls play ball with.  But women’s bladders.  Or perhaps just my bladder.  But I don’t think I’m alone.  Which is why I’m sharing the love.

The pig-bladder-ball-playing-picture.

I don’t remember my own potty training as a child. I suspect few of us do. Although I do remember the little enamelware pot that I used. In fact, I still have it. I believe it’s at ex-Pat’s house, and should likely be rescued.  It’s a rather odd childhood memento, but there you are.

Very similar to this one.

Of course, I remember potty training with my own daughter, but out of sensitivity to the fact that she’s a teenager, I won’t discuss any of the entirely entertaining stories I have about that here – yet.  Unless she irritates me.  Then all bets are off.  Because the point of this post really is about my daughter.  At least she’s the cause of the point of this post.

If you are female and you’ve had a baby, you may have noticed that your nether regions aren’t as toned and easily controlled as they were before you had that little bundle of joy.  I believe this is because of the uneven weight distribution of carrying the equivalent of a 40-pound human inside of you, pressing down on said nether regions for nearly a year. There’s really no other experience like it. (And I wouldn’t have traded the experience or the outcome for anything in the world.)

Nor is there any other experience like pushing an entire human body through a hole the size of a quarter.  I don’t care how elastic something is.  Every piece of elastic reaches a stretch point of no return.

Elastic…quarter…only one image missing, and I’ll spare you that.

Following childbirth, many things get back to normal. But a few things don’t quite. You may notice that when you sneeze, you pee just a drop. Or if you laugh ridiculously hard, things get a touch moist down there. Exercise  helps. Toning up those mushcles makes a huge difference. And you can do kegels until the cows come home and no one will be the wiser, nor will you break a sweat. (They’re great at stoplights.) These things WILL make a difference, and you may even find yourself better than ever.

But then, you reach a certain age. And perhaps a certain carelessness with the kegels. It’s that age where you notice that your skin has a few more spots, a few more lines, a bit more of a crepe paper quality to it.  It becomes harder to take off weight when you put it on.  And you can no longer say you’re trying to lose the baby weight when the baby is 16.  Well, of course, you can, but others may look at you oddly. I know they do me. Especially when they ask her age, and I say, “Oh, she’s 190 months now.”

So back to this weird certain-age/bladder thing. This is new to me. Just like always, before I leave the house to catch the bus to work, or to take a long-ish car ride, I check in.  Do I need to go?  The answer is often, “Well, not really, but it wouldn’t hurt anything, so might as well, just in case. It will save any trouble later.”  No big deal, right? It’s a precautionary measure. There is no sense of urgency, as one often feels when one actually needs to go.  And so I enter a bathroom or a bathroom stall accordingly.  Something I’ve done a million times over nearly 50 years.

But here is where things are suddenly different.

It’s as if my bladder has developed a brain of its own.  It’s like the toilet is crack to my bladder.  My bladder is fine up until the time it is within about two feet of a toilet, and then it becomes like a frenzied weasel. It must have that toilet. It must possess it.  It MUST pee. There’s no stopping it.  It doesn’t give a toot about the barriers of jeans and underwear that stand in its way.  It’s going to go.

So what started out as a blase visit to a bathroom becomes, within less than a minute, a desperate race against time to shed my clothes before my bladder decides to damn the torpedoes and go full steam ahead.

Most of the time, I can beat it to the punch, though I’m sure it would be highly entertaining to watch my antics.  Not that anyone will ever get to.  But, given the nature of buttons, snaps, and zippers, the copious fluidity of some skirts, and the tightness of jeans, particularly on a hot summer day, sometimes I come up short.

Super embarrassing.

And then there’s some blotting and wandering around commando for the rest of the day.

I mean, really, am I two again? Like I say, I’ve done this for almost 50 years and NOW I’m lapsing?  WTF, bladder?  Since when did you start making the decisions here, independent of my brain signals?

It’s not enough of a problem for medication, and certainly not enough for Depends, and pantiliners are gross and uncomfortable and I had more than a lifetime’s share of them during pregnancy, so NO to that too. In fact, I’m not asking for any suggestions. I just needed to put it out in the open, because it’s not something we discuss, and as I said at the start, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, so maybe it’s something we SHOULD discuss.

So, you’re welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do some kegels.

It can happen to the best of us.

Today’s guest poet: Rainer Maria Rilke

Woman In Love
That is my window. Just now
I have so softly wakened.
I thought that I would float.
How far does my life reach,
and where does the night begin

I could think that everything
was still me all around;
transparent like a crystal’s
depths, darkened, mute.

I could keep even the stars
within me; so immense
my heart seems to me; so willingly
it let him go again.

whom I began perhaps to love, perhaps to hold.
Like something strange, undreamt-of,
my fate now gazes at me.

For what, then, am I stretched out
beneath this endlessness,
exuding fragrance like a meadow,
swayed this way and that,

calling out and frightened
that someone will hear the call,
and destined to disappear
inside some other life.

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

A Perfect Plot

Her designs were
                intricately subtle
And oozed
                an innocuous innocence
As she lay
                a patient snake
                in secret garters
Awaiting her so-well-cultivated prey.

She flickered at the
                raw edges of his
                                trampled consciousness,
Flitting forked tongue
                and rattled tail
                                in and out
                                oh so gently
Casting herself
the betrayed angel with the broken wing.

Once she set her slit-eyed sights
                on him
She wove
and spun
                in shameless
Until it seemed to him
                a refuge
                                a rescue

Her sympathetic syllables
                laced with the merest touch
                                of undetectable
made him doubt
                his soul-full

Poor man,
Deceived by honeyed
Blinded by sleek
                strands of
                artfully crafted
Until it is too late
                for him.

There’s a phenomenon that occurs with women when they get into relationships.  I’ve seen it in myself.  I’ve seen it in women I’ve known.  I’ve wondered if it was something tied to age, but now I don’t think so.  Which makes we wonder what it’s really tied to.

It’s not something we talk about.  I think in most cases, it’s not something we acknowledge.  If we do, then we rationalize it into something positive.  And it’s not altogether bad.  But it’s interesting from a psychological standpoint.

It’s what I’ve taken to calling (in my head, where I do most of my talking) the Egg Phenomenon.  I give full credit to the film “Runaway Bride” for the label.  While it’s a total chick flick and didn’t get much screen/air time, it was an entertaining movie with a lot of nuances. 

In a nutshell, the character portrayed by Julia Roberts tends to adapt herself to whatever fiance she has, and so she finds herself putting on the persona of mountain climber, hippie, whatever, to mirror her current partner.  The guy she finally ends up with calls her on it, after he has interviewed her former fiances and each states that she likes her eggs prepared just as he does.  When Richard Gere confronts Julia Roberts with this knowledge, she realizes she doesn’t know how she likes HER eggs.  During their break-up, she proceeds, on her own, to try eggs prepared in all different ways, and when she finally returns to him, tells him, without a shred of doubt, how SHE likes HER eggs.

Hence, the Egg Phenomenon.

Now, it’s one thing to try new things because your new partner is into them.  If you’ve never had Eggs Benedict and your partner loves them, try them – you may love them too!  Same goes for sports-related activities – I mean, you never know if you like something until you try, and you may not try something until the opportunity arises.  It’s not as if I woke up one morning and said, “I’ve never tried fly-fishing – I think I’ll go!”  Without being with someone with the requisite equipment and experience, while I’d thought with interest about fly-fishing, there would be no way that I’d throw myself into a freezing creek at near-dawn to tangle fish hooks in my hair.  (And I loved fly-fishing.)

But I have a girlfriend who worked hard to give up smoking and was so proud of herself when she did.  Then she met her husband, who smoked, and within six months she was smoking again. This might not be the best example, because I’m sure it’s hard for a former smoker to be intimate with a current smoker without giving into temptation.  So let’s take it a step further.

Take a woman who loved music.  She pairs up with a guy who doesn’t.  Suddenly, her love of music is sublimated.  Or say she’s a vegetarian, who connects with a meat-and-potatoes guy.  Her veggie lifestyle is consumed by beef before she know it.   Both of these have happened to me. 

Does this mean I’m weak?  That I don’t know myself?  It’s not as if the men have said “Give up music (or vegetables), or we can’t be together.”  I don’t know for sure.  I do know that I have NEVER seen the reverse happen.  I have never been with a man who loved to go dancing just because I did, when he hadn’t loved it before.  Somehow it seems that men don’t do this mirroring thing that women do. 

I think that’s partly what it is – mirroring.  We are most comfortable when we can see elements of ourselves in others.  As women, we focus on making people comfortable.  Unfortunately, it seems to extend beyond certain boundaries, where we slightly morph ourselves to make the men we are with most comfortable, to ensure that they will want to stay with us.  Sometimes, some of those changes we make are ones we wanted, ones we needed and ones that are healthy.  Other times, though, not so much.

I am sure that self-aware men who read this will say, “But I don’t want you to change – I am with you because I liked who you were when I met you.”  And I think that’s true, to a certain extent.  I know that they believe that’s true.  But what they don’t take into account is that this morphing that we undergo (and I refuse to call it a metamorphosis because that has more positive connotations than I am implying) is so subtle and insidious on the part of women that men don’t even really recognize that it’s happening.  They just know they are happy, and grow more and more comfortable with the woman.

It’s a form of shapeshifting.

I don’t know why men don’t seem to do it.  Maybe they are not genetically programmed to make others comfortable.  Maybe it’s a biological presumption that women will please them.  Maybe they’re just not that sensitive, flexible, or aware.  Or maybe they are more secure in themselves than women.  Trying to answer that question could be a Master’s thesis in itself.

I’m no teenager anymore.  That’s when girls who don’t know themselves tend to do whatever it takes to try to keep a guy.  But during this phase of my life when I am alone, I am asking myself a lot of questions about who I am, inside and out of a relationship.  If I were more secure in my own self, would I still morph in a relationship?

Sometimes the shapeshifting is nothing more than a normal compromise of souls, an adjustment to being with someone.  Being in a relationship is all about give and take, and we do make little edits to ourselves to keep a relationship healthy and growing.

But I feel now is the time to ask myself the big question:

Do I REALLY know how I like my eggs?

You know, after allllll these years, it occurs to me that I should be perfectly accustomed to mood swings.  I’ve had them since childhood.  I don’t know why they always come as such a surprise. 

I was fine yesterday, not fine today.  Perhaps it’s the wind doing it…you know how I get when it’s windy.  And cold.

My class this morning had a substitute, which is fine – she did a lot of arm/shoulder work, and that’s good.  But her dialogue was bizarre and it was really hard to follow what she wanted us to do.  At one point, I exchanged baffled and amused glances with the woman next to me as we were lost between “Waist, sky, chest, down, up.”  Which honestly was better than “Nipples! Sky! Half!”  That one really got me.  So I didn’t enjoy the class, and I usually do enjoy my classes – it feels great to be getting my body healthy again.  But this one was just one to be endured.  It certainly made me appreciate my regular instructors.

But at the end of the class, when we were cooling down, and I was thinking about how hard I’d worked my body, I got really sad.  Really, really sad.  Sad that it was cold out and that there was snow on the ground when I left the house this morning.  Sad that I could only envision myself sitting on the red couch in the cottage, cold and lonely for the rest of the winter, as the snow piles up around the cottage, with that quiet muffled sound that snow seems to make as it falls.  I actually got teary.  Very inappropriate for an exercise class.

On the other hand, some beings had a worse day than I did.

There was a random pheasant that lived on the main road by the cottage.  I call it random because I had seen it once, and my landlady had seen it once, and we both thought we were hallucinating until we compared notes.  I don’t know if it was a pet or just wild and living in the neighborhood – I mean, it IS a nice neighborhood.

Well, our pheasant friend was struck by a car today.  We came upon the scene shortly after it happened.  In fact, two cars were stopped, and so Kelsea and I assumed that they were trying to help.  We could see the pheasant’s wing still fluttering.  But once we got back to the cottage, we were quite bothered by the whole incident.  So I walked back down along the main road to check.  Those people who had stopped had just left the pheasant where he was hit.  To me, that was unacceptable.  Those who know me well know that I can’t bear leaving a dead animal lying in the road.  I didn’t want my pheasant to have to experience the indignity of having its little corpse violated by uncaring vehicles.  So I waited for a lull in traffic and scooped up the little fella in my vest.  (Wish I had thought to bring a towel, as it was mighty cold walking back with no coat.)  I still had a hope that he might be alive, although what I would have done then was one of those cross-that-bridge-when-we-come-to-it things.  But no.  He was much lighter than I had expected.  And his neck was broken.  It flopped from side to side, his beautiful teal feathers gleaming in the fading sun.  I carried him over into the stand of bushes some yards off the road, and laid him down gently.  He was so handsome; his little eyes were closed and he looked very peaceful.  I know that the predators will be at him come nightfall, but I felt good about what I could do for him.  The animal shaman in me could feel his gratitude, and his slight confusion, which is so common when a being leaves this earth and their body so suddenly.  But he will be all right.

And so will I.

Girls today.  Soooo much more mature at 13 than I was.  Between make-up and physical development, some of the girls in 7th grade look like high school seniors.  This got me thinking today…why?  Is it the hormones in the food we’ve been feeding our kids for the last (at least in my experience) 13 years?  I was never overly concerned with staying organic in terms of Kelsea’s diet – it seemed that you have to go all the way with that attitude or it’s pointless – though I always tried to emphasize healthy eating.  Pat was more the junk-food supplier.

Think about it.  Back in the 12th century, girls were of a marriageable age at 12, which is a year younger than Kelsea.  They were often having kids at 13.  But the average life expectancy was age 30.  And about 50% of children under the age of 5 died.  So it made some evolutionary sense to start procreating early, because you had to work twice as hard to keep your child alive, and you weren’t going to live that long yourself.  Okay, logical.

As we moved into the prim and proper 1800s, life expectancy increased and the acceptable age for marriage and childbearing became more like 15 or 16.  Makes sense – we were living longer, and conditions were somewhat less harsh, so children had a slightly better mortality rate.  People even started naming their children at birth – they didn’t used to do so, since the child had such a low likelihood of surviving.

We then enter the prim and proper Victorian era.  Young women were chaperoned until the day of their marriage – they were expected to be wed and breeding around the age of 21.  With infant mortality rates down to 33%, and average life expectancy up to age 48 by 1901, women could afford to get started having kids later.  But why did their maturation rate slow down – why did sexual maturity start occurring later?  What evolutionary signal was there that said, “Hold up!  We don’t have to do this at age 12.”?

Moving into the kaleidoscope that was the 20th century, we went through different attitudes towards sex, childbirth and the definition of maturity, but we still kept the biological rhythm the same – women developed at about 14 or 15 and up.  

And that’s where we catch up to today.  Life expectancy is as long as it’s ever been – 78.4 years.  The average age for childbirth is 25.  And infant mortality rates are 6.7% in the US.  So why are girls developing so early?  Why are 7-year-old girls dancing suggestively to songs that should be way beyond their understanding?  Why is boy-girl drama starting in 3rd grade?  By 7th grade, it has escalated to who is making out with who in the stairwell (yes, there are 7th grade “players”) and who may be having sex.  I mean, what the heck?

This physical maturity is unfortunately not accompanied by emotional maturity.  You can bet your bippy that at 12-year old bride in the Middle Ages knew how to run a household, even a meager mud-hut household.  A 12-year old girl today can barely run a dustcloth.

What is the point of this evolutionary change?  Particularly since the whole concept of survival of the fittest, which in primitive or animal societies is the natural form of population control, has basically been eradicated due to “civilization”, improvements in medical care, and our system of “justice”?  (And why are all these things that are supposed to be “good” in “quotes”?  Maybe because I don’t think they’re very “good” – or “working very well”).

Perhaps there is something to this whole 2012 apocalypse thing, and we are reproducing and maturing at a rapid rate because survival of the fittest is about to make a comeback.  Or not.  As I said before, I don’t have the answers, I just ask the questions.

So, I asked the person that I’ve been seeing his opinion about my new work (such as it is).  And he declined to provide it.  Now, you must understand that we talk about everything.  His refusal to share his opinion with me automatically implies that it’s not positive.  He’s my best coach in a lot of things, including my attempts at writing.  I’ve always thought he supported what I’m doing.  And he says he does – he says he is totally supportive of me.  But what he’s not saying is that there’s something he doesn’t approve of.  He says his opinion doesn’t matter — that it’s my life.  It IS my life.  Everything he’s saying is 100% correct. 

So why does this bother me so much?

In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, when Robinson had a dilemma, he used to tally up the Pros and Cons in the sand.  (I haven’t read the book in years, if ever, but I can’t imagine what sort of dilemmas he had on a deserted island – perhaps whether to name Friday Saturday or Sunday?) 

Following is a similar exercise, comparing my perceptions of reality (the Pros) with the Headtwisters, otherwise known as Blurts or Cons — those thoughts that we sometimes-insecure people have that  just seem to be in your head to mess with you, not for any other reason.

Pro/Reality: I don’t need anyone’s approval but my own. 
Con/Headtwister:  If he doesn’t approve of what or how I do things, we will have no future together – this thing, this unspoken disapproval is the beginning of a pattern that will make us fall apart.

Pro/Reality: He is supportive of me.
Con/Headtwister: It’s an illusion – how can you be supportive of someone (or something) you disapprove of?

Pro/Reality:  I’ve always had a strong work ethic.
Con/Headtwister: I’m not working as hard now, and I think he thinks less of me for it.  He’s still working as hard as ever and that work ethic is something we’ve had in common.

Pro/Reality:  He says he doesn’t want this to impact our relationship, because in his mind, it doesn’t.
Con/Headtwister:  I don’t believe that it won’t impact our relationship.

Pro/Reality:  I asked him.  I want to know.  Why won’t he tell me?  Is it that awful?
Con/Headtwister:  Why am I making this a problem?  If I hadn’t asked, it never would have come up.

Pro/Reality:  It doesn’t matter what he thinks.  No, yes, it does, because we are in a relationship and what impacts one of us impacts the other.  He says if it made a difference in our future, he would tell me.
Con/Headtwister:  I need his approval.  I always need the approval of someone I’m with.  (Wait, no I don’t.  I’m a grown up – he takes me as I am.  That’s what he gets to do.  I don’t have to change to get his approval unless I feel that the change is right for me.) 

Pro/Reality:  I am my own woman.  That is one of the reasons he likes me.
Con/Headtwister:  He’s hiding something from me.  He doesn’t think as much of me as he says he does.

He’s done nothing wrong.  He’s only opting not to be critical.  He’s really doing something right.  Isn’t he?  So why am I being such an obsessive little basket case about it?

UGH.  THAT exercise didn’t make me feel any better.  

Signing off to make more mountains out of more molehills….

September 2021


Make your life a little sweeter every day! Sign up for an email subscription to Seasweetie.

Join 2,454 other followers

wordpress stats
%d bloggers like this: