11 Months of Gray

The subject of hair is a huge one for this [pre]menopausal woman and I don’t mind putting my hands up.

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Yes, I personally struggle most days with the subject of hair, gray hair, as well as thinning, dull and lifeless hair.

Well, just about anything and everything to do with hair.

As you know I am embracing……………..did I say that?

Because in reality, I am struggling with the going gray gracefully concept.

I would have an easier time accepting advice from a pot smoking, drunken Chinese Herbalist that the best way to deal with bad hair requires cutting it all off with a pair of scissors blessed by Buddha, burning it in a fire made of Autumn leaves while reciting the Lords Prayer and then offering the ashes to a Hindu deity – incase you are wondering this is a ritual I made up.

On a good day I am happy to be taking on this challenge

on a bad day I just wish this two year long marathon was finally over (11 months in and I’m running out of steam already).

Today is one of those days, where I am seconds away from racing out the door with the speed of Mo Farrah and a towel over my head to hide my shame, into the first shop I see to buy my next bottle of toxic waste.

I have at least one of those crumbling surrender ‘ok you’ve won’ moments every week as I look with despair at my reflection. My family were right, unflattering long gray hair makes me look old.

That’s it I’m coming back as a man next time. Life is just so unfair.

“Have you heard yourself?”

followed by

“You sound ridiculous.”

Even the ‘crazy cat lady’ was sick and tired of hearing my moaning and would go to any lengths to knock me right off my soap box.

I agree, my complaints are trivial and the sensible thing to do is accept it is what it is and deal with it gracefully (there’s that word again, gracefully).

I can’t wait for the day I stop agonising over my hair and my going gray not so gracefully stage. For now I am happy I managed to dodge another bullet and my hair saga continues for another day at least.

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Premenopause Priorities

The Change - 6 Powerful Steps

So here’s the thing.

To make [pre]menopause an easier ride, it’s time to move your emotional well-being up the ever-increasing long list of priorities (somewhere between getting a good nights sleep – very important for your sanity and eating a healthy diet – very, very important for preventing your body doubling in size during the hormonal big dipper) and treat frustration, irritability and grumpiness like your bestest best friends, with

Compassionate, Gentle Understanding

Why?

Because you will be hanging out with the FIG Team (frustration, irritability and grumpiness) a lot more often than your real female/male mates.

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Get used to unexpected visits, long boring conversations and bad advice because these emotions (new best friends) will rudely interrupt you at some point day or night.

Having recognised that when I do the look (a cross between a perplexed puppy and Cruella De Vil’s evil eye), followed by a head tilt kinda thing. It’s usually because my irritability levels are skyrocketing into orbit, taking any rational reasons or kind thoughts with it.

Now (for me) this can happen without any warning and does not follow any particular pattern, making any pre planning or preparation impossible.

Before I know it, I’m thrown into a storm of conflicting emotions and just want to get out of everyone’s way and dive under the duvet before I erupt for no good reason.

Luckily for me (and others) I’ve not lost my head over three different hairdressers, on three different occasions in the space of 3 months making a complete mess of coloring my hair (just one of the reasons I decided to go it alone on my going gray journey). I have managed to keep calm during debates about Brexit and quietly walked away from negative environments and people.

Even, and this is a biggie………….disagreements with my husband Colin during the Andrew Marr Show have failed to break my run of good behavior during ‘crazy cat lady’ moments.

So far,

I’m proud of my self-control and for not letting my raging emotions get the better of me. For how long this will continue, I’m not at all sure. I’ve been way too close to the tipping point a few times in the last couple of months (hands up in the air, as I plead to the Gods, “please how much longer before this [pre]menopause thing is all over and done with).

Every day (not quite every day, it just feels that way) is like some sort of endurance test.

Each team mate turns up in all their glory with matching T-shirts to show solidarity, dig their heals in, fully prepared and ready to camp out for hours. Silently waiting to spill their guts on any unsuspecting passersby.

So what do I do?

I ignore them (with compassionate, gentle understanding intentions, of course).

In the hope that without any drama, they will get bored, pack up and leave!

And it works.

Adios, Ciao, bye, bye my friends.

I would much rather share a ride with joy, gratitude, love and peace.

Paying attention to what you WANT

means you have less or no time for the things you don’t want in life.

Useful resources  to help with identifying and managing [pre]menopause symptoms.

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Midlife, Menopause & Madness

On our way to catch a water taxi we were now 5 minutes late for, I heard the words run.

Followed by, don’t walk. Run!

My son Craig spoke with the authority of my old school head master as we approached the second bridge and pushed our way through the crowds.

With my body burning in heat from a hot flush and the panic of possibly missing our slot for the taxi back to the port I replied in silence with a look that said it all (can’t he see I’m trying to calm the “crazy cat lady’ and stop her from breaking into a rehearsal of the next big TV drama scene). In a flash my [pre]menopause symptoms transported me back into the sea of pain and struggle.

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That morning it took me way too long to get ready for our day out. I hated the way my clothes were just about strangling me (a few days ago my favourite trousers fitted me well). My hormonal bloated ugly body crying to be free, pleading to move comfortably.

My head in a world of negative thoughts, all screaming at me at once (the hate committee just happened to have a full agenda that day, not wanting to be interrupted under any circumstances). I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt even more. I hated the way this dam change of life was interfering with my peace of mind!

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To top my morning off, the hairstyle I had imagined the night before was not the one staring back at me from the mirror. After 20 or so minutes (okay, it was at least 40 minutes) trying to make myself look and feel better I admitted defeat (after 51 years I know myself well enough now and accepted that this overwhelming feeling of ugliness was only going to get worse if I continued to look in the mirror and pick out every flaw for this years Oscar winning performance).  

“Step away from the mirror” in that soft familiar tone, gently resonating through my body in an attempt to get my attention.

Followed by

“Give Yourself a Break”

Easier said than done! I spat back angrily and at the same time feeling ashamed for responding with too much negative emotion and acting so self absorbed. I quickly pulled myself out this internal battle between my head and my heart and took at deep breath.

I can now laugh at my internal tug of war games, it’s like watching a episode of the worlds strongest man in the style of Bridget Jones. It’s also quite entertaining to see how quickly people and situations effect my responses during ‘crazy cat lady’ moments. My [pre]menopausal experiences would make a great script for a new comedy series; Midlife, Menopause and Madness.

The symptoms of [pre]menopause come and go as they please and can knock us totally out of balance but only if we allow them to. If you’re having a difficult day and know that you aren’t feeling your best try switching off the TV drama going on in your head and

“Step Into Your Heart”

Remember the symptoms are temporary and knowing where we are on the menopause map will help us to plan a better route.

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To Dye Or Not To Dye

To embrace [pre]menopause wholeheartedly and mark my acceptance of the transition from maidenhood (those years before middle age and menopause) I decided to stop dyeing my once dark curly hair and let it grow gray naturally.

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For months now, I have managed to stick it out. Honestly though, I am ready to cave in at any moment. My two-toned (which is actually three not two) hairstyle resembles a dried out, old toilet brush dipped in silver, yellow and copper paint!

The ‘crazy cat lady’ swings back and forth from,

don’t do it, you’ll regret it (no dye)

to

Please……for goodness sake just do it (dye)

My daily mantra “it will look much better in a few months, it will look much better in a few months” is starting to wear a bit thin, as are my reasons for wanting to be au-naturel.

Maybe I’m taking this whole natural gig a bit too far!

Do I really want to be a “proper Nana”, looking “much older” than 51 with “long unflattering gray hair” – Just a few of the nicer comments made by my family when discussing the subject of gray hair.

Friends have a bet with each other on how long this particular quest will last and I am sure CB is secretly praying the ‘crazy cat lady’ leaves quietly so that he can resume a normal life, with a normal wife.

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Right now, I just want my natural gray hair to feel and look nice. It’s not a lot to ask but my goal seems light years away and today, as I look in the mirror for the hundredth time, impossible to achieve.

A multi coloured mangled hairball is not quite the style I had in mind for my 50’s, so any advice out there from [pre/post]menopausal women who have managed to go gray gracefully would be very helpful and kindly received.

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