Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.
Change is a terrifying word. Especially arbitrary change—change we feel we have no control over. It’s no wonder that the word menopause is not nearly as scary for most of us as the term The Change. “You’re going through The Change.” “She’s experiencing The Change.” It positively makes our knees knock. The idea of a change completely beyond our control and arriving at a predetermined time unknown to us doesn’t exactly feel like Christmas. It seems to justify the legends and myths which have grown up, ogre-like, around this time in our lives.
When we don’t understand something, when it’s too big for us to comprehend, the human way is to tell stories and to make art. It’s one of the ways we have survived. When the stories and myths we tell help us find meaning they are beautiful and useful, even if they aren’t exactly our experience. When they get
in the way of our experience, like the horrible stories our culture tells pregnant women, then they can keep us from seeing the intricately beautiful parts that make the whole process, discomfort and all, worthwhile. Are we really afraid of menopause or are we afraid of the stories about menopause?
Art isn’t just a way through, though. Creation can equal resistance. Celebration is sometimes fierce — a toppling of the imagery and imagination which no longer works for us. Menopause is the universal experience of women. We will all pass through these doors. No one who is lucky enough to live beyond a certain age can escape. The intricacies of this passage are unique to each of us, but all of us will eventually find our way to the other side. It’s not a death sentence, though some
days it feels close. It’s labor. It is the process of giving birth to our whole self, our heart. We can hold our breath till it’s over, we can barricade our self against the fear of change, or we can find a way to create the beauty we need. We can write the story our heart longs for. We can paint or draw or make the things we’re craving. We can demand to see ourselves represented as we truly are. We can dance. Even in the darkness, even in the struggle.
How do we do this? How do you celebrate even when you’re afraid? How do you mark the days with beauty when you’re tired and awash in new sensations?
Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
Finding ways to celebrate in this unknown space is an act of vivid courage. Finding beauty in this period of change, making your own meaning in The Change, is another tiny revolution.