That Tell-Tale Sticky Square.

The patches leave behind a sticky square on your skin. My clothes rub on the edges and create a dark coloured fluff-and-glue outline which takes some rubbing in the shower to remove, much like the aftermath of an old fashioned fabric plaster. 

I know that it will show when I wear a bikini. It catches the light. My peri – menopausal beacon for all to see. I keep trying to ‘think it doesn’t matter’. That I should ‘own’ it. Maybe I should draw a red circle around it with an arrow pointing at it, and write: “I’m on HRT and Im FUCKING proud!!!!!” And plonk it on Instagram, eagerly awaiting likes, clapping hands, punching fists and ‘go girl!’ comments. Maybe I could stick it in the middle of my forehead; If I pull my skin back first, it might even double up as a sort of 3 day face lift. 

 

That’s what we are supposed to do these days. Be proud of our wrinkles, our age, our maturity. Be empowered by our wisdom and bodies. Whilst secretly injecting botox, buying face creams, skin firming serums, lip plumping bee stinging mouth grease, laser zapping spots threads and dots, and a hell of a lot more besides.

I’m not really sure how to get there. To that point of inherent self-belief.

All the messages are mixed up. To genuinely reach that coveted and possibly non-existent spot combining self-esteem and self-confidence. Where I do not compare myself to others, let alone my younger self. Can I grow older and be so at ease with myself that I do not mind that my body has changed, and will continue to change? Does all this internal grappling happen to men too?

I think this new era of pride in oneself and an ability not to compare ourselves to others just an act with added pressure.  Another thing to pretend. Like when I was made to feel that childbirth should be done without pain relief. That if you ‘breathe right, focus and relax, the body will do its work’.  Or that breastfeeding is natural and easy. ‘It’s what our breasts are made to do!'(I managed neither without help)

In an attempt to liberate ourselves from old anxieties, perpetuated by patriarchy, society, and media,  we’ve somehow ended up simply having to pretend we don’t have them. 

I am grateful. HRT has changed the way I feel for the better. Quite dramatically in fact. But there comes, with this small sticky square, a symbol of many other layers, which cannot be fixed so easily. Previous generations battled through silently. Stoically. Maybe through shame. But ours is a generation who shares our feelings. So any thoughts would be interesting to hear.

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