Hello. I am Jossette Rivera and I am menopausal.
Never in my 49 years (although they say I look 39) did I imagine making this statement as if it were a guilty plea.
I always believed that -as an empowered, independent and emancipated woman- menopause It would be nothing more than one of the chronological stages of my life. A stage simply related to those uncomfortable questions that doctors like to ask so much on the first visit:
“Are you sexually active?…Do you have menstruation?…When was your last period? …”
Despite all the books read, the experience gained between beds, the sexual freedom gained and proclaimed and all the labels that I have proudly placed on myself, this stage arrived without warning. In a more silent way… And with all the bad blood in the world.
Not even my lifelong gynecologist warned me of its imminent arrival, nor did I have a contained emotion like the one that preceded my first menstruation in early adolescence. Nor did I receive, like then, secret explanations or whispers from my contemporaries. This seemed like it hadn’t happened to anyone around me or it must have been the best kept secret in the region.
Silence also reigned in the close circle of women.: My mother never opened the conversation and in my mind all that remains is the memory of the occasional half-heard comment in a hallway about the “terrible heat” she suffered.
The menopause came to me, yes. But far from entering my life as a reflection of the “new times” of the genre, It arrived with all that heavy emotional and cultural burden that my grandmother surely felt. And I didn’t understand why.
It was a blow: no matter how much I had talked in public and private about sex, contraceptives, abortion or one-night stands, there is a stage in women’s lives that had not gone through the normalization process. it was this. No, talk about menopause, it had not become normal.
Because no matter how much JLo has taught me that you can be 50 with a 20-year-old body or Salma assures me that after five decades you can still fall in love with Magic Mike or Sofia teaches me that bikinis are still within reach of my beach… the truth the thing is Few have told me about their vaginal dryness, or their hot flashes, or “accidents” when sneezing. or how much it costs to lose those four pounds that I used to lose in a week.
And if it is not normalized among us, we can imagine what it is like for the rest of us mortals – I’m talking to you, alpha male.
But even more difficult than telling the world was talking about it to me.
Accepting my entry into menopause was not as easy as I would have liked. Verbalizing it was almost a declaration of guilt; Accepting it meant laying out a red carpet for the deterioration of my body. Suddenly I felt myself facing the (supposedly fateful) entrance of a feared senior citizen.
Because truly, ladies, menopause marked me as an old woman. The me-no-pau-sia (with all its letters) was a declaration of old age in a world in which being or feeling old is still a shame.
And not. Not that! Botox, surgeries, hyaluronic acid and serums had assured me that age was kept at bay. I could now grow my gray hair fiercely or show my wrinkles with pride, but never menopause. That was not only a declaration of old age, but even more terrible: it was one of infertility.
So there it was. My disenchantment was nothing more than another proof of the weight of patriarchy: my menopause did not simply indicate that my hormones went crazy or that I could finally stop thinking about drinks or spending money on pads, but that my body was no longer ‘fit’ to bear children. Officially, my “role” as a woman was finished.
I refuse, women.
I refuse to let this 49-year-old body (although they say it looks 39) be considered useless. I refuse to let hormonal adjustments put me in category B. I refuse to continue believing that story (or at least acting on it). I refuse, then, to let menopause be my indelible stain, my scarlet letter.
- It may interest you: Why is it important to know the warning signs of your gynecological health?
Thus I begin this column, this movement of vindication. For a normalized menopause. For the love of my body. For the forty-somethings who are hot on my heels. And out of pure ego.
I’m Jossette Rivera. I’m 49, I look like 49-year-old women look like today, and I’m a happy menopausal woman.
About the author: Jossette Rivera is a journalist. During her career she has been a reporter and editor. She is an expert in fashion and trends. You can follow her on her networks as @jossetterivera. She reads her columns every Monday and Saturday in the Lifestyles section.