I was 47-years-old. My menstrual cycle had begun doing flip-flops. Sometimes there. Sometimes not. Oftentimes less. Then, one day, it just stopped. My Aunt Flow had taken her final curtain call and menopause was now waiting in the wings.
My menstrual journey began when I was 11. One day I was in the bathroom and noticed a tinge of blood on my underwear. I immediately rushed downstairs to tell my first source and confidante, my mother. And without a moment of hesitation, my mom went into her bedroom closet and pulled out a menstrual starter kit she had already purchased for this momentous occasion. The kit contained everything a mother needed to discuss menstruation with her young daughter and of course, some sample products.
Fast forward back to age 47. Now I wondered, wasn’t I a bit too young to stop having periods? I then, put the situation into perspective. I’d had a period for nearly four decades. I was the mother of twin boys. Well, I had certainly put in my time, period, and it was up!
I did have a moment of melancholy and pined for a youth that I sadly, could not hold on to at all. Was some sort of funeral in order? Yet the more I meditated on it, the more my gloom slowly turned into excitement. I was moving into another phase of my life, menopause, so this was a time for celebration. I began thinking about all the not-so-happy memories this induction into puberty had caused me over the years:
- The total trepidation of wearing white on pre, during, or post cycle days along with the fear of leakage would send me into a tailspin
- Sanitary napkins, their failures (leakages), pricey costs and how they’d yank at my pubic hairs
- Tampons that would lose their way and wind up sideways in the vaginal canal
- The burden of cramps, backaches, occasional nausea, although mine were tolerable at times
- Vampire sex with discomfort
- Occasional scary clots that resembled creepy, horror movie blobs
- The worry that a missed period signaled a possible pregnancy
So celebrate, I did! I turned my menopausal gateway into a spiritual ritual which is something all women should do during this pivotal stage of our lives. I sent out invitations with a red dot smack in the middle for a dramatic effect to all of my sistafriends. The symbolic red dot signaled the end of my last red drop. We celebrated my newfound empowerment in this new phase of life. We all met at a New York City Brazilian eatery and dined, drank, laughed; I surrounded myself with good vibes for my powerful rites of passage!
We have to change our perception of menopause. In our American culture, menopause is looked upon negatively, as a sign of mid-life women getting old. Who says older women are no longer fine and sexy? Menopause is earned, and we should embrace this new milestone when it arrives. We have arrived at this stage via life experiences and at this point, we know what we want the next chapter to bring.
I believe menopause is magic!
The Chinese refer to menopause as a second spring. We are wiser, more seasoned and enlightened. Women can actually be healthier, happier, keener, leaner and sexier at age 60 than at age 40! Children are oftentimes gone at this stage of the game, jobs are secure or behind us, there is now more time to explore new adventures and to celebrate sex to the fullest. We are sista warriors. We are survivors. We are following in the footsteps of our queen ancestors and hopefully, our daughters will follow in ours. I pray that hopefully one day, we can all embrace menopause as fortified empowerment and not as a sign to stop living.
So go ahead and create your own end-of-period, welcome-menopause, celebration. Whether it’s drinking libations at a gathering or engaging in good conversation, don’t let this exciting time of rediscovery pass without turning it into a festive occasion.