So if you are a woman of a certain age and live in Anchorage or the surroundings, I strongly urge you to go see Menopause, the Musical.
I went last night and my 32 year old friend Greta was the youngest person there by decades. The audience is overwhelmingly ladies of a certain age and beyond along with the occasional brave male who I think was there to try to figure out what the hell was going on with his wife.
I can remember being in the middle of the worse of menopause. I stood in the doorway of my office in Barrow on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in the depths of winter when the temps were well below zero and the wind was blowing. I stood there in my t-shirt wondering if I’d ever feel cool again. I think frostbite could have happened before I went back inside were it not for concerned co-workers.
I truly believe that menopause is one of those things that no one who has not passed through its portals can understand. It’s like childbirth. You can describe it all you want and others can be as sympathetic as possible but until another human being has squeezed his or her way out of your vagina, you’ll just never really get it. That’s true for menopause too.
How do you truly explain to someone what it feels like to have someone suddenly turn on a furnace in your body to the point where you think you might actually burst into flames? How do you explain why the sight of a crumb left on the kitchen counter that you just cleaned by your husband or kids causes you to leave the room in tears, feeling as though your life has lost all meaning? How do you explain why a customer reaching over you at the grocery store sets off a level of rage that is usually reserved for stories of child sexual assault?
Yep, menopause is not for the faint of heart and unfortunately, even if you are, you don’t get to escape it.
So for the women out there, go see this play so you can at least laugh at what you’re going through or have gone through. For the men out there, don’t be afraid to attend. You may actually learn something about her triggers during this stressful period. You won’t learn how to make it better or how to survive it with your good cheer intact but it’s a start.