• Star Williams

On My Big, Grand Non-Binary Menopause

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

Content note: This post is about being happy about queer menopause. It also contains reference to being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. At one point, which I've marked with language, I describe a difficult childhood memory around the onset of periods.


From our vacation to Las Vegas. This non-binary statue (let it be so!) is as big as I feel.

Queerful dearest,


I'm just a few months into my menopause. Yes, I've traipsed through a jungle of hot flashes, and have arrived at the place where I've stopped having periods. That's right! Periods no more. (And if anyone needs a load of free pads, I'm the person to come to.)


And you know what? I'm loving it.


Looking back, I remember my own mother being devastated by her menopause. "You don't understand what it's like," she told me, when I was sixteen. "What I'm going through is so very cruel. It's the cruelest thing that can happen to a woman." (Many things, according to Mum, were the "cruelest thing that can happen to a woman," so this wasn't as dramatic as it sounds!) Truth was, I didn't feel like a woman—and now I know why. I'm non-binary. And my periods have always been hard, not only because of the sense that I shouldn't be having them, but also because they were painful and heavy. My periods made me feel separate from my body. They made me depressed.


As a CSA survivor, I'm used to feeling separate. When I was just a kid, everything outside of me felt oddly fake. This, of course, was dissociation, though at the time, I thought everyone must experience these feelings. Lost, I used to spin around really fast, just trying to catch a glimpse of the "real world" behind me—the one that was surely smothered by the illusion of this world. How could I trust what was outside of me? I was certain there was another world that was being kept from me.


At present, I can say that if there is a better world, my menopause is part of it. I feel strangely, curiously alive. People will tell me, "It only gets worse," and "You have no idea what's coming." Me, I'm living in the present. No longer will I spin around super-fast, to see if my world is real.


But I will share a difficult memory:


The day I started my periods, my mother insisted on checking that I wasn't mistaken. I wanted to shout, "I do know what blood looks like, you know!" Later, at the dinner table, to my deep chagrin, she also announced to my father that "Star became a woman today." I wished the earth would suck me down into it. And if I was a woman, why didn't I feel like one? It still gives me the shivers to remember.


As for menopause, we're taught to hate this time in our lives, but so far, I'm enamored. I don't hold to any misogynistic myths about childbirth being a creative obligation for a person who is AFAB, or, worse still, some messed up measure of worth.


No, I feel the sun on my face. Even hot flashes are welcome in my otherwise too-cold body. I'm in the queer jungle, enjoying the birdsong. I'm more fertile than ever—capable of every sort of love.


Love yourself, queerly dear,

Star


Wanna join my mailing list, queerly dear? You can do that ... here!



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