The view that menopause is the beginning of the end is outdated — and untrue. In many ways, it’s actually the beginning of an exciting and dynamic period in a woman’s life.
– Everyday Health

Good afternoon and welcome to “Your Body; You Used it, Now You’re Losing it.” I’m your instructor, Maryanne. This class is all about what to expect when you’re not expecting, because your eggs are rotted to their core and your bone marrow is no longer deemed “helpful.” Some of you might know me from my YouTube videos “My Mind is a Sieve” and “I Have the Collagen of a Dinosaur.”

Today I want to teach you how you can watch your body morphing into this thing you barely recognize, and still see it for the blessing it is. For example, this morning, my daughter was looking for crepe paper to use for a class project. Since there was none to be found, I offered to skin myself and let her use that since it looks exactly the same. She agreed, I cried, then she told me I needed to have my beard threaded.

Do you see how I turned a negative into an unrealistic positive? I understand right now some of you are not happy. Most of the parties you get invited to are actually memorials for a friend’s parent. Your back is in a spasm, or maybe your Acid Reflux is flaring up again. But you see, this is exactly why you should be feeling totally energized. It’s only the beginning. There is so much more to come! This morning I noticed for the first time I had varicose veins on my calves and it felt like a shot of espresso. It just fueled me to sob harder than I have ever cried in my entire life. I was so exhausted, I actually slept through all my nightly hot flashes.

I hope you will look at this moment as a fresh start, a time where most of society no longer considers you a sex object or really even alive, and you’ll begin spending the first 20 minutes of every phone call talking about your health issues and your ceaseless fear of going bald. It’s exalting. Your sense of empowerment will know no bounds. The other night I stood at my apartment window and yelled out “Stop! I need time to adjust to all these changes. Give me six months of looking exactly like I do now okay? I need a break.”

When I was 30, I never would have had the chutzpah to make that kind of request to anyone, never mind some strange woman across the courtyard who happened to be hanging out on her fire escape at the time. Now, if you are religious, don’t hesitate to ask your Lord, “Why didn’t you bless Maryanne with longer legs, an upper lip, or a nose that doesn’t grow exponentially, unless the person taking her picture is standing more than ten feet away?”

I mean let’s just thank God we don’t live in a culture where people are constantly posting photos of themselves from the neck up. Can I get a “Hey! Ho!?”

Note, you will have some bad days. Not long ago I found a melanoma on my chest. I was terrified. Then I realized the brown spot was actually just chocolate from my Milky Way Bar, but because of my age, I was able to calm myself down so quickly, I didn’t even skip a beat. As soon as told the ambulance guys that I was not going to need them, I carried on attempting to see if I could use a chip clip to hold back my excess neck skin.

So there you have it. Today is just the beginning of the rest of your decline and it’s yours to make the most of it if you want to. Oh, and don’t forget to check out my upcoming new video, “Did I already tell you that?”

Jessica Bern

Jessica Bern is staff editor at Honeysuckle Magazine. Her most recent essay will be appearing in an anthology entitled, “Hey Mama: Solo Mom Stories of Strength” by She Writes Press, debuting in September 2019. Her work has also appeared on SheKnows and CafeMom. She is also a voice-over artist, producer, and video editor. Most importantly, she is surviving parenting a teen with only superficial wounds to the mind and heart.  You can see her work at bernthis.com.

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