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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The change of life

No kidding. I am actually going to write about that.

I have no choice. 

The interfacing still hasn't arrived and I spent a lot of the day getting my next online course that goes live Tuesday ready. That's the same day my daughter and the little girls fly in so my plan is to lock myself in the bathroom with my laptop and a headset that evening.

Should work.

Also I have been thinking of my fabulous oldest step-daughter since I was here. (If you knew her you would know that is the only word to describe her). Last year when she was visiting we were sitting out the back with a glass of wine and she looked at me and said:

"What's the menopause like?"

I am not sure what I told her, but in the last year I have been thinking about her question.

It seems to me we do a good job as women about not being honest to each other about life's realities. Here are some examples:

"Sleep when the baby sleeps and you will be fine." (What if the baby never sleeps?)

Or in the labour room "tell us if you are uncomfortable." (uncomfortable is telling the same story twice and realizing it half the way through).

"You will miss them when they are gone, but you'll enjoy the time to yourself." (Am I the only one who went back into the empty room to smell the pillow? Five years after that first trip to the airport.)

Likewise no one talks about the menopause. 

So it looks like it's up to me. Since the interfacing hasn't arrived.

So here it is. What no one tells you. Let veterans add what I have forgotten:

1. You will get angry like you never have before. Part of the change of life is that part of you that allowed you to be tolerant, say when a male manager with half your brains spoke to you as if he were twice as smart, just expires.

It's gone.

You just stop putting up. All of a sudden.

It's unexpected and forceful.  I have seen "F-k housework" written in lipstick on kitchen walls.  I have seen the clothes no one picked up off that floor bagged and put out in the trash. I have received emails from efficient long time office administrators that have said "Toodle-doo folks. Organize your own conference."

And I am not even telling you what I have done.

Just don't scare yourself.

However once the storm has passed you will feel pretty good. Just remember it's not you, it's them. Probably always was.

2. You look at men differently. Thank God. I read somewhere women are susceptible to looking at a nice exterior and then fabricating a beautiful interior to match. You stop doing that. Your sex drive doesn't change, you just don't waste it.

This is a great relief and frees up more time to think about your sewing.

Listen, I look at George Clooney and think "that's a guy who would say he had paid off the Visa when he hadn't." Lately when watching Luck I found, for the first time, that Dustin Hoffman was sexy - because he was, in the end, nice to his grandson.

Nice is the new hot. Always should have been. Tell that to a 19 year old.

3. You get to be who you used to be again. Remember that awful time during puberty when suddenly you felt everyone was looking at you and all you cared about was what they thought? Well that expires too. And it's not whether or not they are looking, you just don't care if they are. 

When you dress you want to feel cool and what anyone else thinks, well tough bananas. 

I am personally convinced, based on no actual evidence, that I have never been cooler. That's kicked in to replace all that other stuff that's expired. I feel cool like only Miss Scarlett feels cool when she rides her bike around and says "I'm sporting." 

It's good to get that back.

You like your treats and you treat yourself. 

Rhubarb pie on the steps. Library books read in the bath. Looking at your feet in those new shoes. Talking to other women, members of the tribe. Noticing the birds. Working and thinking you are just so good, so practiced. Realizing you like yourself too much to let it get to you.

And you sew more.


Anonymous said...

Amen sister! I have finally realized it's OK to do what I want to do (sewing) and not what the rest of the world wants me to do. And, I don't care what they think about me staying in my sewing room instead of dutifully sitting beside my husband watching some TV program I don't care about.
I love reading your blog. Keep up the great work!

Claire S. said...

Thank you.

I'm starting to get inklings of what's coming down the road - DH has been warned ! LOL

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere women are susceptible to looking at a nice exterior and then fabricating a beautiful interior to match.
Actually, men do that. Women do something slightly different. They are perfectly aware when a man is schmuck, but they just lie to themselves, and make up excuses for everyone else, because they don't want to be alone.
And, you may not care that you lose your shape with menopause, but no clothing will ever fit you properly again.

Ripple Dandelion said...

I'm almost rooting for the interfacing to linger a little longer in transit, if it means we get more posts like this to read. Thanks for the lovely, thought-provoking musings.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, love your blog!

Rita said...

Thanks for an awesome post and something that is very timely for me to read. Another question is why is it so very taboo to talk about menopause. I have wanted to ask what is happening with my body but unlike when I was twelve and everyone wanted to share, the information is not forth coming.

Thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

linda in Australia

LinB said...

A friend treasures her tee-shirt that reads, "I'm still hot -- now it just comes in flashes." Menopause allows you to posty our bumper stickers, whatever they may be ("It don't matter," "f--- housework," etc.). You may have thought that all along, but now you feel free to let the world know. Also, you achieve invisibility in a crowd -- very useful superpower, but not something my mother told me would happen.

Mary said...

After becoming slightly invisible through my 40s...I emerged in my late 50s with a vengeance. That, for me, is the result of menopause. My power as a woman, and a more fully realized human being, came back. It is that energy I had as a pre-teen.

What a wonderful post. I hope you share more.

BeckyMc said...

@ one of the anonymous commenters who referenced the fact that our bodies change so that "clothes will never fit".
DUH. That's why we sew.

Beverly said...

I'm going through it right now and have been for the past year. I completely agree about the anger. Holy cow, I get mad! I'm already starting to look at men differently. Boy, I wish I knew this when I was younger.

LyndaSewing.blogspot.com said...

Have to say the anger took me by surprise. But I no longer allowed people to use me as the whipping boy when it wasn't warranted.

And as to the fit... instead of making something right out of a pattern envelope, and having it be okay, now I have learned pattern drafting, and how to make alterations that fit my unique shape and body. I look better (in my clothes) than I ever have.

Without them is another story, but I've earned every lump and bump. Thank you Ben & Jerrys. LOL
This is great. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thank you x

Texan said...

Talk about getting angry in a a five second flash, the angrier than you have ever been before LOL. I have always been a calm person and hard to work up in general, so the shorter fuse I had to get used to! LOL...

I find for myself the sex drive thing, well you hear so many stories on that and I guess it varies for every woman, mine was always high to start with, so then it went to off the charts. Go figure.

It so funny you can be mad as a hornet one minute at your DH and then literally five minutes later your dragging him off to the bedroom ROFL. Talk about a switch of emotions ROFL.

The hot flashes, well all I can say is HELLO those babies really stink!

The body changes are no fun, its a bit of an adjustment I must say, its like everything is shifting and moving to a different location LOL...

I do love the I like who I am at this point in my life part...you just don't get to worked up about what anyone else thinks LOL.. Its great freedom. :O). It kinda brings that saying to life. "I can only please one person at a time, today is not your day and tomorrow isn't looking good either" ROFL. You do what you do and the best you can and want you want to!! and that is good :O). Take it or leave it.

Good post!

velosewer said...

I've been watching my buddies go through it and learning from them. I'm convinced that sewing does help. Getting the fit right has always been my main sewing aim and I'm darn if anyone or anything is going to stop me sewing when I go through menopause.
DH and I have agreed when menopause starts he can leave me in my sewing room for the duration so we both survive the anger spurts. Riding my bike helps too :-)

LyndaSewing.blogspot.com said...

I've been through this, but my daughter should be starting soon. I swear I will buy her the T-shirt from The Blogess that says
"Feeling Stabby, but I don't have a knife so no worries. I do have a fork though so maybe be nice to me." ROFLOL
That's pretty much how I felt much of the time when it started. Less so now, but I don't stuff my anger away any more.
This post really got me thinking about who I am as a fully grown adult woman, and I'm pretty great!
Thanks again!

SewRuthie said...

:-) You rock, please carry on telling it how it is.

Catherine Daze said...

Great post. No one talks about this stuff, in my experience. You do it with so much humour and honesty.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Funny - I don't have the anger but I definitely have the weepies...at everything. And I agree with whomever said that hot flashes STINK! Especially when they occur in the middle of a meeting and you have everyone staring at you. *LOL*

But it has been liberating in the sense that I only do what I want now. No more doing what others want to be polite especially when I want to sew. And no more apologizing for why I have 1000s of yards of fabric and enough shoes for several people. And ESPECIALLY no more apologizing for why I don't have the waist of a 22 year old, 'cause I just don't care! I earned those inches ~ I have three daughters and grandchildren to prove it! *LOL*

CaribSun said...

Love this post. Thank you for sharing so honestly.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post! You said it for me in a way I could never have. Since menopause, I feel like I have my brain back and I want to use it, my way. Husband got a little yelling that day!!