Letters

QUOTES:

"Women are born with a finite number of eggs and a finite number of loads of laundry, I feel sure." - Karen Karbo, author of How Georgia Became O'Keefe (and many other fine books)

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LETTERS:

Busy, no time for menopause!

"As a divorced mother of three (from the time I was 30 and they were 3, 5 & 6), a full-time high-school teacher, a student (completed 100 postgrad college credits after my divorce), and a caregiver for my widowed mother (from my age of 47 to 51), I quite frankly did not have time to dwell on menopause. I remember having two hot flashes max around age 52.

I didn't have time to go to bed for four years! (As you stated about someone in the interview.) As a retired teacher with five grandchildren, I still don't have time to stay in bed. I have always had goals and look ahead to what I will do next.

Just wanted to comment; couldn't find another place on this website. Please forward to Sandra.

Thank you.

-J."

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Crazy Women:

"I do not follow you, but I have been unavoidably hearing you over the years, usually to my pleasure. I recently heard you do an interview with Michael Krazny on Forum, most of which I found entertaining.

I had a few thoughts:

1 - The limits of the rational life. Eating Kale and not saying the thoughts that might fly in the face of conventional propriety, or having an affaire and finding a life where you are who you are. GO FOR IT!!!

2 - Insanity. The insanity of life is more found in the conventional than in honest personal expression. There can be no real rational neural functioning. Creativity is not rational. I remember long ago there was a Scientific American column called Metamagical Themas, where the author has a creativity game that had rules, but the creativity came when you bushed beyond the limits of the rules, and that then changed the rules. You are clearly one who pushes the limits of the rules.

3 - The nature of Woman. I thought you would be interested in Louann Brizentine's book "The Female Brain" if you have not already read it. She says that there is a reason why until recently the female brain was so not understood: it is complex and always changing, minute to minute, daily, monthly and continually during life until after menopause. then women have a relatively level path to the end, and for many women it is their most productive and enjoyable time of life. I just saw a retrospective of Georgia O'Keefe and was reminded that she had a great life after Steiglitz died and she returned to New Mexico.

Dr Brizendine also wrote a sequel called not surprisingly "The Male Brain." Her first book was a farly thick book, but the second was considerably less thick. When asked why, she said simply that the male brain is significantly less complex. Make of that what you will. Haha.

4 - Relationship/​Marriage?Divorce. There is definitely something about having kids in a marriage that is a bind, and getting free of it is wonderful. Not that you don''t love the kids, and even the partner, but .... I was divorced the first time after a year of having kids and we raised the kids 50/​50 for twenty years without a fight. It was great. butt after he kids were 21 and separate, then I got sued for all kinds of thanks I did not low about until then. It was definitely worth not living together to raise the kids.

The second marriage was completely different. We fought from before we were married, and twenty years later were still having the same fights. I cannot blame her if I continued to fight the same fight. Idiot. But it was again wonderful to end it.

5- Affaires. I have had many, but not inside the marriages. I hindsight, I wonder why? It seems to me I was too bound by propriety and also by being rational. I was limited by being rational, when clearly I would have benefitted by being more myself and less rational.

Your book sounds great, but I am not so sure I can handle 600+ pages of a woman's insanity. Maybe in small bites. Life would not be so great without crazy women. Thanks for making the point.

My best to you,
R."

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Insomnia, and midnight Kindling:

"My wife, I., is on the fringes of menopause and is simultaneously baffled, saddened, frustrated and scared. Last night she was "bereft", crying and, me being a man, couldn't help. She heard you on the radio and around midnight, when her insomnia kicked in, she bought your book on her Kindle and spent the next few hours calming and amusing herself. Thank you. - T."

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Los Angeles competitiveness:

"Hey Lady. I got lots to say about HORMONES! I have a 12.5 year old girl who is taller and smarter than me as well. AND... I'm over 50 and after thinking I'd power thru anything (paid my dues with a drug free childbirth at 42, so there. The only Jewish woman in L.A. who'd do that btw) I (happily) am surrendering to NOT powering thru freaking menopause. No medals for that so FUCK it.

I actually do not have anything to hide (now that I think about it!) And I'm happy to discuss many things. It's so odd in our culture if you're in "the biz" -- as you know, one's AGE is such a big secret -- or has to be. But now I'm so far into this... decade, shall we say? That who I am gonna be?? A 40 year old?? I'll take 50! Even 52! (I'm 55 ) Still making peace with the number. However I had no MENOpause symptoms till I was about 53!!

AND... By the way -- I take a progesterone pill at night and twice a day apply an Estrogen gel. There are no health risks in my family so that is what I have opted to do. I feel a gazillion times better now that I can sleep at night. I have several friends who do different stuff with hormones but we all have different levels going on -- so it's always good to get checked by your gyno before doing anything.

I feel like there's this underlying thing with women going on.... maybe not so underlying --this judgment thing. I have always noticed it. From what kind of pre-natal yoga you're doing ("Are you using Gurmukh?") to what pre-school.... THEN cut to the hormone issue -- "Oh I'm not doing ANYthing when menopause hits me -- I'm going all natural".... Just like "I'm NEVER using botox or getting any kind of surgery" EASY TO SAY when you're 30! Even 40! So why are women so hard on EACH OTHER if one of us WANTS to use hormones to get thru menopause and FEEL BETTER.... and WHO CARES if you wanna shoot a little botox into the space between your brows?!? WHY so hard on each other.
If it's gonna make you feel better.... who's to judge!

- L."

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Teen boys, hormones, and menopausal women:

"Hi Sandra, just read your piece "The Bitch is Back" and will buy the new book. As a middle-aged guy, I was heartened to see the relatively neutral treatment of men in the piece (we who lounge around instead of constantly cleaning are the normal ones), but I would take it one step further. I would invite you to turn your attention a little closer to the world we live in where it's ok for women to use hormones as an excuse to abuse people, especially their husbands. I sympathize because men have hormones too and they make us do unpleasant things too, but no one seems to think it's ok and that hormones are an excuse. I wonder at the fact that we live in a society where a teenage boy is expected to control himself and make sense of the world he exists in without disturbing others, but a middle aged women isn't. Your writing is terrific, I get your point, but just as, in the end, after yucking it up about the challenges of being a teenage boy, we would all expect him to take responsibility for himself, I think middle aged women have to take responsibility for themselves too. Is it really that much harder to control yourself if you're a middle-aged women, even if you have a career, kids and parents to care for, than it is for a teenage boy? I doubt it. Isn't the real difference just that it's not politically correct to challenge womens' perspective? I think so. Thanks for the great writing and keep it coming! - J."

Selected Works

Memoir
A by turns hilarious, dark, candid and surprisingly informative memoir of the madness of menopause.

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