This may get a bit down and dirty–and also personal, so if you’re light of heart, read no further.
Recently I had my yearly physical. My doctor is great and does no more than she needs to do. She told me that there are new studies about PAP exams that they don’t need to be done as often as they used to think (once a year). Now the new science is saying more like every five years, if you’ve had clean ones in the past.
This has been the case with me, but there was some other factors so she and I both agreed that maybe it would still be prudent to do this particular exam. Oh joy! The one thing every woman loves, especially one at my advanced age.
Many of you in your late 50’s and through menopause, and all of you who have put your legs in those stirrups, know the drill. It’s not a pleasant experience. It’s not when you’re young, and it’s most definitely not when you’re older. But it particularly shocked me just HOW unpleasant it was for me.
Let’s back up. As many of you following my blog over the last years know, I’ve had my relationships ups and downs. And now, there is no such thing in my life anymore, and hasn’t been for some two years or so. I am single by choice now, and quite happy. It has left my mind, spirit AND body quite happily alone.
So when some strange object began boldly going where no man had gone before (well in a long time anyway), let’s just say, I knew I had reached the stage of crone. My doctor had to speak to me as though I was a child getting their first shot: it’s OK, I’m almost done, I’m sorry….I know it hurts… Why yes, it did indeed.
Needless to say, I was quite shocked and felt almost betrayed by my body–once so lush, open and giving. It made me think.
Most of the men I had dated in the last years had suffered their own ‘issues’ when it came to sex, performance and their own bodies. They often too felt betrayed, upset and angry. Sometimes this would be turned toward me, often toward themselves, but always the relationships would end because of these debacles.
As much as I tried to embrace and accept these changes in our aging bodies, and try to find someone who could move onto the ‘next stage in life’–it never happened.
It struck me today that our natural cycles should allow us to embrace our metamorphosing selves. This should be a time of celebration and not anger and fear. While I am losing parts of my physical self, I am gaining so many wonderful parts like wisdom and a sense of self I never had before in life.
Such drive seems to overwhelm the men I have met so that they couldn’t move beyond it to the other significant and beautiful qualities that embodied the people they were inside. Instead it was that old sense of performance and need that drove them and hammered each relationship into dust.
I’m sure there are wonderful relationships and marriages where the two have been together for many years that got them through these changes together. They adapt, accept and blossom together. It must be lovely. I was not that fortunate, but this is how it was meant to be.
So I continue to honor myself and my aging body. I take care of it the best I can and will gently pass through every stage with joy and grace, continuing to be grateful for each day I am here.