The Menopause project
Things have gone dark and she is no longer looking out seeing clearly. She is now looking through a small aperture, trying to breathe fresh air, trying to understand the confusion in her mind and emotions. Why has this happened? Why is she trapped like this? What did she do wrong? How did it all happen so very fast? How was it that she never recognised what was actually happening?
She is told that, if she behaves, she can wear her own clothes, as women are known to behave better, in prison, when they wear their own clothes. She is in despair because she knows she cannot comply as even her own clothes don't fit right anymore. They drug her to make her feel that she can cope, but it does not work as it is only touching the surface of where she is and what she feels. Her utter sense of helplessness is frantic and overwhelming and no one seems to listen, thereby conspiring to keep her down.
It's taken me a long time thinking over this "story".. But it came to me in a flash coupled with my own peri menopausal and menopausal journey... This is the story (allegorical) of a woman going through the changes in her/my life.
I wanted to share with you some images that my partner and I created in relation to menopause...funny, but I've been very nervous to share it, but for some reason the right moment seems to be now. I hope you appreciate my story/journey. I have spoken to many other women who have experienced similar thoughts, feelings and ideas. It was going into this incredible prison in Gloucester that seemed to solidify my thinking around how to express the journey. We have now begun to attempt to express the experiences of other women in imagery - not an easy task but, let's face it, sometimes images can be easy to identify with and also be extremely uncomfortable.
There is the shock realisation that she is trapped and something feels wrong. She can't get out, but can see that there is another world out there. The world, she used to know. It is all so sudden although it's been biting at her ankles for a while. She has been oblivious, despite the weird signs, due to the expectations of the world around her and her own thinking that it's, "always her", that is the problem.
She can't sleep in this place and state. She can't reconcile herself to this new person that she seems to be. She must break out. She must rail against that which seems so infinite, so dire, so harsh and totally relentless. Her anger and frustration is unreasonable in the eyes of all around her. Yet to her, it is simply a desire to be free of the restraints that others seem to impose, and the restraints that she has put on herself in order to conform to the norms of society.
One day someone tells her, against what the establishment accept, how to address being incarcerated by the swings of her body. They agree to help her by leaving the door open. Armed with information and a little help from a stranger, she manages to escape into the upper echelons of an abandoned part of the prison/her mind/her body/her emotions/her very spirit. She strips herself of all her clothes and the trappings of the, so called normality and assumptions of others, upon her mind and heart. She wanders from cell to cell looking for the light. Looking for freedom. Looking for a way to discover a new normal, and who will decide what that is?
What is it she feels in this exact space? There is a sense of being herself here. An acceptance. A ray of light that cuts through the years of fight and frustration, of heat and darkness, of sadness and confusion, of judgement and being misunderstood. One more step and she will vanish from this prison, into the light, into the open space of gentle understanding and acceptance of who she is now. A blessing from that great Mother, called Nature, who knows how different we all are, who knows that there is help in many forms, if we only allow it, who will have dominance over her subjects, unto the last moment of life.
(please respect that these images and words are copyrighted)
We used Gloucester Prison in the UK to do it. It was built in 1185 originally. The Kray twins were kept here. The victorians had all the brackets made in the form of snakes to remind the prisoners of how evil they were and many were evil. This place brought a very real sense of what we women are all going through in a physical, subtle, emotional and mental way. It brought me to a place of real consideration of how mind and emotion affects how we see ourselves, spurred on by massive hormonal changes and how we can begin the journey of stepping away from that which belittles and traps us into character oblivion. With the right help we can all feel better and be more comfortable in our own skins and bodies. These changes may take the form of natural remedies or the wonder of HRT. I have used both and for now HRT is my lifeline to stability and quality of life.
If you have a description that you would like to share with us about your own journey then please let us know by email and we will attempt to illustrate it - if we are able to and have the time. You are welcome to join our blog as well. Please sign in and create an account in order to follow these projects. Please also appreciate that this is a personal project so it has to fit in between paid work and that must come first.