In the October 12 New York Times article some of us are familiar with, Jessica Leeds felt the need to include a 1978 photograph of herself she told Anderson Cooper she believed would legitimize her claims that Donald Trump molested her. She is now in her 70s, and no longer Lolitaesque. If you don’t realize by now that this 2016 presidential candidate regards women’s appearance first and her everything else second, then you are not a reader I expect to finish this particular piece of writing. I begin this essay meant to share my shocking experience as a post-menopausal woman with the topic of Jessica Leeds’ reluctant outing of her experience with Trump’s sexual assault because during the last 24-hour news cycle my own repressed memories of being sexually abused have been popping out like hot corn kernels at their point of no return. And with these disturbing recollections I wish would stay hidden, there must also be an admission that at 54, nine years after menopause was surgically set in motion, I understand why Jessica Leeds included a photograph that was taken nearly 30 years ago. She knows that society no longer sees her as beautiful. This sad truth, my friends, is one of at least ten things I wish my mother had told me would happen once I no longer suffered through the monthly shedding of the lining of my long-forgotten uterus.
10 things I wish my mother had told me would happen during and after menopause:
- You will no longer be the one in the room who receives a double-take.
- You will, however, also no longer need to energetically shield yourself from the intrusive glaring, drooling, stiff-pricked jerks who see you as a thing to be had.
- You will also, really this is true, be taken seriously during a job interview. And if you don’t get that second interview, it will be because your skillset does not match the employer’s needs, not because you refused to put out. (Or this: if that producer decides he really doesn’t want to produce your screenplay, it will be because he doesn’t get your brand, not because you laughed at him when he tried to stick his tongue down your throat.)
- Though you may love not needing to shave your legs every other day, or never again contemplate getting your upper lip waxed, with these post menopause bonuses comes the sad news that the hair on your head might also begin to dreadfully thin.
- Sex … your once go-to pleasure ride might be frequently replaced by the need to find out what’s happening in the current book waiting for you on your Kindle Reader.
- Upon waking, the once supple ligaments and fascia that hold your bones together will feel as if a hot wire is stabbing them, and sometimes you will need to crawl to your yoga mat and work some yoga-ball magic before you can comfortably stand up straight.
- You will consider Botox … don’t do it.
- If you break down and allow a doctor to shoot toxins into your face, forgive yourself; someday you will look back on those Botox days and feel foolish for wasting your money.
- You will want to wear short shorts, and will probably wear short shorts, and if you do wear them, love the skin you’re in, as textured as it might be. Love yourself. Period.
- Though you may not feel valued as an object worthy of photographing, you will, and I mean this with the greatest conviction, begin to love yourself for the true beauty you really are; you will begin to see your worth as a kind and spiritually gifted woman, with so much to give the world.
Writer Dina McQueen is finishing up her ESL certification, and will soon be teaching English to adult immigrants. She lives with her husband and daughter in Carlsbad, California, where she loves waking up to the scent of the ocean, and knowing she won’t be shoveling snow again.