Monday, September 30, 2013

“Hot, With a Chance of Sweat”

            Hot flashes.
            Two words that can spark an animated conversation among women “of a certain age.” I witnessed an outpouring of sympathetic comments just the other day when a friend confided at the dinner table that lately she woke up drenched. Did I suffer from the same female fate? Another friend posted a status update with vivid descriptive details of her soaking her sheets the night before. About five other women shared their experiences, along with comments regarding menopause and hormone fluctuations.
            How many times in the past did my cheeks flame red while perspiration suddenly beaded along my upper lip or formed a rivulet at my hairline? How often did I frantically kick aside covers, desperate to get air on my legs, only to pull the blanket tightly around me a few minutes later?
            Should I admit to the days (weeks, months, and—yes, years) that my temper flared as hot as my cheeks? Should I reveal the twisted intensity of emotional upheaval that would temporarily disintegrated my ability to reason? Should I confess that waves of hormonal oscillation left me unpredictable, even to myself?
            Fortunately, my spiral into midlife happened relatively rapidly, although I’m certain my family would describe the change as gruelingly slow. On the other side now, I rarely feel my temper explode with unexpected fire. I don’t glance into the mirror to see cheeks slapped red by middle age. Although I occasionally frantically fight against the covers that entrap my legs and send my temperature soaring, I don’t flood my sheets and nightgown.
            Gratitude fills me that my suffering proved milder and shorter-lived than many women’s torment. Comfortable in my skin, now, I look forward to the next adventures of life and wonder what forecasts lay ahead.
Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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