(I found this buried in my archives and thought I would share it.)
I came to the realization at age 40 that most of the older women I knew were angry, particularly at men, but maybe at life in general. I didn't really understand why.
I came to the realization at 50, that after 25+ years of marriage, most of the men in my life, even the really considerate ones, had no clue what it was like to be a woman, what our responsibilities really were, or why we periodically became irritated at them.
At 53, I began to understand the hot flashes I was having. They were anger. I couldn't help but remember the words of a writer friend of mine, Isabella Quimby, who likened hot flashes to volcanos. "I'm an erupting volcano!" she would say each time a hot flash erupted within her - and they were frequent. I suspected that Isabella, who had gone through a nasty divorce, knew a little bit about the anger women repress (well usually) and the ever-building incidents women endure due to the lack of understanding of men.
I met my husband at a show the one night. He had gone on ahead to pick up our oldest son, while I stayed behind to retrieve the younger. "We're up at the bar," he shouted from my cell phone over the din of the bar and the game. "You don't mind walking up here, do you?"
"How far is it?" I asked, contemplating the walk in my high-heeled shoes.
"Two blocks," he replied. He barely let me reply that I was coming before he hung up.
My son and I had walked one block before we saw several parking places closer to our destination. These will be closer after the show, my son reminded. So we walked back, moved the car, and headed off once again for the bar.
According to my calculations, the bar should have now been one block away. Three blocks later. we arrived. By then, my feet were already blistered and my volcano rumbled.
"Do you want a drink?" my husband asked, with a knowing look that said, "say no." "The show will be starting soon," he hinted.
"My feet are blistered," I growled. My son, having yet to learn the warning signs of an angry woman, offered, "why do you wear shoes that hurt your feet?" I noted in my mental notebook that my husband hadn't bothered to mention that I looked nice. At least, I thought I did. The lava in my volcano churned.
Men don't wear high heels to look nice. I think I can guess why. They definitely seem to notice the women who do, particularly when their teetering spikes make their skirts appear even shorter than they really are.
A few days later, we arrived home late once again. My husband sat down to watch "THE game." He seemed to be enjoying the downtime. I don't deny he needed it. While he sat, I deboned a chicken for the next day's meal, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned out the cat's water dish, folded some laundry and threw in another load in. I hit my head on the dryer door. Dumb, I know, but it hurt. I said "ow!" No one heard. It brought tears to my eyes, but my volcano didn't care. I wasn't sure why when someone else in the house needed something, I always run to their side, but if I should fall down the stairs and they would so much as maybe call out, "Are you okay?" (It's unlikely they would come and see for themselves.) I know this because I've drug my suitcase down the stairs as if it were a dead body, but no one noticed, no one offered to help, and no one even thought twice about the thumping noise, even though more than once I've slipped and caught the suitcase about three steps down. It's usually at the bottom that someone will say, "Why didn't you ask for help with that?" (If I complain, it's just the volcano rumbling, there has been a few things building up.)
I was 57 when I realized that my hot flashes were likely due to anger that I'd built up for most of my life. I had finally recognized what my older had friends had been trying to tell me. Men like pretty women, home-cooked meals, well-behaved children, clean homes, and talent, but they haven't a clue what it takes to be a woman.
I sat in the theatre digging in my purse. I couldn't find what I needed. "What are you digging for, asked my husband?" "What do you need?" asked my son. I guess they thought they'd have whatever I needed in my pocket. But neither of them have ever had to carry a lipstick and it's unlikely they had one, let alone the right color, in their left hip pocket.
If you're having hot flashes, consider this for a moment... maybe you too have a little anger buried within you. Maybe you too have a little rumbling going on. I'm not sure how one releases all that anger. I know there are times when a volcano spews. But it isn't really lady-like to do that, and so we just rumble and sweat. The next time you feel that heat coming on, think about it for a moment. Is there any reason for you to be "hot..." And is there a reason they call us.... "hot-blooded women," "hot headed," and "hot and bothered?" I wonder.
Just know that I did find my lipstick, suffered through the high heels, and nursed my own dryer door wound. After all... I'm a woman.