If you asked me to sum up what’s going on in my life — or if Dr. Phil were interviewing me, “What’s working for you, Stacey? And what’s not?” I would list these three things, in no particular order:
You know, dealing with Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune dis-ease where the body attacks the thyroid) is something where I’ve experienced weight gain, mood shifts, libido crashing, energy nose-diving, brain fog, memory issues, skin changes, food sensitivities, and so much more. I thought I was an expert in those symptoms
until I started peri-menopause.
I thought I had an experienced a tired SO BIG that I couldn’t even get out of bed,
until I experienced a tired where you could fall asleep, leaning on a wall while waiting for your son to finish basketball practice.
Mouth open, and all.
The other symptoms are like an extreme sport in my body, too. Nothing’s playing normal right now.
And did I mention that I’m extremely cranky?
As in ‘no filter’?
As in, my husband said to me, “The only reason I’m putting up with you is because I’m pretty sure you’re going to write a best-selling book on Hashimoto’s and Menopause and I want to stick around for the royalties.”
Yeah. It’s been bad. But don’t worry, not with everyone, just saving that for the man who loves me the most.
For the rest of most everyone, I’m just finding myself extremely over-sensitive, more easily-offended and judge-y.
Lucky for you.
And libido? Dear Lord. I talked about it in my book You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone, as feeling like it escaped down the fire exit when I gave birth to my second child. But this is different.
This lack of libido is like the movie Oceans 11, where almost a dozen people pulled off the heist of the century.
I’m living that in my body.
I told my friend, Ken, who’s like a brother to me, “I think I’m starting menopause.”
He laughed over text, I could hear him when he wrote back, “Ah yes, menopause is ‘men. on. pause.”
Seriously. I’ve now entered the world of menopause jokes.
I bought sensible shoes yesterday, by the way.
This is not a good sign.
So, I think I’ll be writing more about this, but let me move on to my second topic….
Our family has been walking through something where we’re finding ourselves having to engage in a few dynamics with some people who are being mean: Mean to us, about us, and mean to one of our kids.
We also have some ancillary meanness coming from another direction.
It’s been interesting because first of all, people have different kinds of mean:
Some people are the ‘in-your-face’ mean. Others are the ‘behind your back mean.’ And still others are the passive-aggressive ‘I’ll-act-nice-because-I’m-religious-so-I’ll-be-really-shitty-but-in-a-seemingly-nice-way” mean.
At 46, I know a little better how to deal with mean folks but watching my 12 year-old go through it with some people in his life is a different thing.
Rock told Caleb recently: “You treat people who are mean like they’re the Hot Dog Man: That cranky guy in the corner at the ball game is the only one selling the hot dogs. You want a hot dog. You’re not going to change that person, so don’t try. That person was mean before you got there, so don’t take them personally and be hurt. And don’t avoid getting the hot dog that you really want. You just get the hot dog and go enjoy the game.”
I love that.
It’s just good wisdom regardless:
Don’t try to change them.
Don’t be hurt by them (they were that way before you got there.)
Don’t avoid getting what you want.
Enjoy the game of life.
The good thing about menopause is that since my sleep is broken up, I can wake up in the middle of the night and pray for my son to see mean people as “The Hot Dog Man.”
I took on this practice 37 Days Ago when I started my second 100-Day Gong (a 100 Day Taoist practice the break habits, build habits, and bring greater peace, happiness, clarity and focus in my life.)
Meditation has been calling to me for a while so, taking it on feels like a hand-in-glove moment. Prior to this, when I’d have to sit in a meditative posture for anything longer than 12 seconds, I acted like a three year old doing the pee-pee dance. I have the attention span of a gnat sometimes.
Starting yoga last June, starting my first 100 Day Gong in September, and starting my meditation practice in December is all helping with that.
I feel more centered, grounded, peaceful, focused than I had before. And when I just sat through a 25 minute meditation last Sunday, I wanted it to keep going. Whereas a year ago, when I sat through a 25 minute meditation, I wanted to scream and run for the hills — warning everyone along the way how boring meditation is.
It’s not boring. It just vibrates at a place that feels boring because it requires getting off our crazy hamster wheel. And everything feels boring compared to the hamster wheel.
Meditation is really a gift.
So, that’s a little recap on the latest in my life: We’re going to get through the tricky parts. Even though I’m being funny about menopause and sharing the unfun stuff, I do have a commitment to go through it with grace and ease and to see the gift in it.
And even though we’re dealing with some mean people, my commitment is to look for the lesson in this time and to empower my son to maintain his sense of ‘self’ even when someone is using their meanness in hurtful ways toward him.
Through it all, I’m grateful for the gift of meditation — not only is it saving my bacon during the unwieldy stages of life, but my husband is meditating too. Which, I’m pretty sure is just about the only keeping him sane with me right now.
That, and pretty much looking at me
the Hot Dog Man.
(which sounds really pervy, but you know what I mean…)
Get my book, You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone here.