Change; there are lots of synonyms for change. Transmute, vary, mutate, amend, modify, replace, trade, transform. Transform has to be my favourite as I associate it with the positive connotations for change, ‘the cocoon transformed into a butterfly’. The Hungry Caterpillar. We all remember that story right. It is probably the best told tale of metamorphosis to youngsters around the globe. Through that well told tale we have all experienced the beauty that is metamorphism. But what about the reverse of this, the negative , the opposite. What synonyms for that do we have? Standstill, stagnation, idleness, remission. Quite recently I was asked to describe how Peri- menopause feels and how it impacts me & my partner. Response; It feels like puberty in reverse. Why that analogy? Well I wanted to describe the feelings, hormone surges, anxious thoughts and complete lack of understanding of just what is going on with your body during puberty and menopause, so not only women could relate but men too.
During puberty the hormone know as GnRH is produced from the hypothalamus into the brain. This hormone stimulates the pituitary gland forcing it to release the two hormones that wake up the other hormones needed to create all the great things about puberty; these stages are called the Tanner Stages. Testosterone is in abundance. They bring all the underlying delights of puberty such as acne, body odour and growth spurts. During these Tanner stages your hormones increase in your body covering it in a mass of sluice, a landslide of emotions and feelings you have never experienced before. Although you don’t quite understand what is happening a lot of what happens is weird but wonderful . Your first erection for a boy, first fanny flutter for a girl. Nice unexpected surprises. A lovely little shock like a ‘jack in the box’. Or a nice surprise like the alarm going off at 6.00am then you realise it’s a Sunday, “no work for me.” During puberty you are often confused, crabby, moody and sad. Counteracting those delightful surprises that have come your way. Each revealed with an advent calendar for every day of the Tanner stage. Day one an erection, day twelve a set of C cups, right through to the last day where there is a plethora of pubic hair!! Yes at last ‘I am a woman/Man’. Puberty advent complete.
How relatable is puberty vs menopause? During puberty we are predominately a solo traveller, if we are old enough to have a boyfriend/girlfriend/both we are attached solely with our emotions, not mentally, physically, spiritually and stressfully. As teens we don’t have the added stresses during our sexual encounters such as mortgages, births, illness and deaths. The more common worries are; am I good kisser? is my bum to big? when will I have hairs on my chest? do I have a small penis? So although we may be ‘in a relationship‘ during puberty, most things apocalyptic turn out to be a dawning. During the menopause most women are in a relationship and do have a wife/husband/both (I imagine not many have the energy for both!) meaning that we share all the same experiences ; the dawning becomes the apocalyptic. It affects us all. Our partners also have to transform into someone else to be able to cope with our symptoms. ‘Don’t cuddle me’, ‘I’m too hot’, ‘cuddle me I want to cry’, ‘have sex with me I feel horny’, ‘don’t touch me’, ‘I love you’, ‘I hate you’, ‘I’ve never been so happy’, ‘I’ve never been this sad’,’ I feel great’, ‘I feel shit’. A platter of emotions. No dipping sauce.
One complication being there is very little advice for women and none for men. And the women who are going through it are far too busy dodging their own sluice to dig out their partner’s . It’s an extreme sport. Landslide lottery. Survival of the fittest. If only we were jellyfish.
During menopause or Peri-menopause your hormones decline, your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone all bugger off and leave. Each taking a piece of you with them. A reverse puberty. The relatively of the hormones that gave you your woman/manhood then taking it away is unfathomable. Instead of growing hair you lose it, instead of thinking about sex , you’re thinking of snoozing, Instead of being ‘cool’ you’re constantly ‘hot’. More fire than the Fonz. And if you don’t know who the Fonz is, think Happy Days; Better Late Than Never. That landslide of emotions is back, but instead of awakening your sexuality, identity and purpose they take it away. Little by little. There are no refunds, barters or exchanges. Removed, gone without a trace. Libido replaced with loss of bladder control, pubes replaced with panic, acne with anxiety, growth spurts with groans. It is all reversed. Every unwanted hard-on, growing pain, tender breast and body conscious moment that we all went through as boys and girls is unpicked, reversed. I am a caterpillar. I am in remission. Reverting back to pre-pubescent years. That is what menopause feels like. Unlike the caterpillar going through its own puberty I fear that my species of butterfly is about to become extinct .
There are many other creatures that go through metamorphosis. The Turritopsis Dohrni is one of them. Only it has a superpower. It is a jellyfish that begins its life as an egg, then enters the free-swimming larva stage, settling down as a polyp on the ocean floor before morphing into a sexually mature jellyfish (think of a massive glowing blob of a creature, chains, casual dress ; cruising around the ocean in its Chrysler 300: Drake on Spotify. Cardi-Jelly. SICK ). Unlike other jellies this one can revert back to a polyp any time it faces environmental stress, attacks by predators, sickness or old age. Being re-born again and again. If I was able to morph into anything whilst I am dodging the landslide that is the menopause, then this is it. A jellyfish gangster, where landslides don’t matter.

One thought on “Landslide

  1. Losing my nuts in my early thirties plunged me into early MANopause. Pretty much the same symptoms as menopause with the addition of moderate shrinkage of the peen. Or, is that subtraction? Talk about a ball ache.


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