Menopause has driven me to research demonic oppression. That's right -- oppression, not possession. That means those little heathens are popping in and out of the psyche, but do not always find a hospitable environment. Even my ability to be possessed has been thwarted by my moodiness.
Since many of my mystical friends have warned me against using the "D" word lest I invite any bad visitors in to stay, I will spend more time on the symptoms generally associated with oppression.
Oppression Sign #1. We start with the oppression symptom of abnormal fear and irrational anxiety. Apparently, if you've got a bad little ghoul hanging around, you'll become paranoid and develop some inexplicable fears. Such as my recent fear of buttons.
Not long ago, I realized that buttons were loose on several of my blouses. I'm pretty sure this came from trying to stretch cotton across breasts that have grown significantly from fat accumulation. While many women might celebrate the increase in size, let me tell you that at my age the fat in the front meets the fat in the back, resulting in an overall visual that is more Java the Hut than Barbie.
As I tried on yet another shirt and watched a button go shooting into the bedroom, I remembered that I'm not particularly good at sewing on buttons. In fact, I don't have any thread in the house. Not even one of those little complimentary hotel room packets.
Due to the gradual diminished state of my eyesight and a weird issue with depth perception, I also can no longer thread a needle.
I have a hard time getting my clothes in the dryer opening without bashing my hand into the outer rim, much less hitting the eye of a needle. That hole is ridiculously small. I know, I know, that's what he said.
As I reviewed all of the buttons in need of tightening, I began to panic. My heart started to race, my throat tightened, and I felt a hot flash coming on.
That night, I had a dream that I opened a door and a thousand buttons came pouring out. I'm pretty sure that dream occurred because I had just watched The Dick Van Dyke Show episode in which Rob has the nightmare about Danny Thomas, and opens his hall closet only to have walnuts come pouring out with his wife, Laura, perched on top of them.
Abnormal fear and irrational anxiety, check.
Oppression Sign #2. Next sign of the winged little guys hanging around is a lack of self-control. I want to say, "duh," but I do read about these menopausal women who eat nothing but kale and wear white pants on a daily basis. I don't even own white pants.
In college I read the chapter in Moby Dick about the whiteness of the whale and how it makes the whale seem bigger than life and ubiquitous. I stopped wearing white pants on that day. Nobody needs a ubiquitous ass.
Concerning my lack of self-control, I have so many examples I might set off some irrational anxiety just writing about them. Two nights ago I found a small tootsie roll on the floor of my pantry. It was probably from Halloween of 2009, but I ignored that fact. It was still wrapped, for heaven's sake, and having tossed all sugary treats a week earlier I was jonesing.
So, I unwrapped the old tootsie roll and ate it. I'm pretty sure I lost a filling. Plus, I drooled chocolate down the front of my white shirt.
Lack of self control, check.
Oppression Sign #3. Conflicts with authority figures is another sign of oppression. I have always had an issue with authority, so I'm not sure if this one counts. I remember my second grade teacher telling me that I had to follow her rules, which included getting back from recess on time. Obviously, I was a little late. Instead of complying, I asked her why I couldn't write my own rules since she wrote hers.
I pounded out so many erasers that week I'm pretty sure I now have Mesothelioma from the chalk dust.
Many years later, my husband tells me that I can be counter-dependent. I'm pretty sure that is a man's word for someone who doesn't do what he asks, but I must say there are some stories that back up that theory. Believe me, as a kid I didn't like the Bible because God seemed too bossy.
Conflicts with authority, check.
Oppression Sign #4. Another sign that the devil might be stopping by is aimlessness; the feeling that life is void of any meaning or purpose. I think any woman experiencing menopause would say, "Yea, I got that." The fact that I had to have a skin-graft after being peeled off my leather couch because I watched a year's worth of HGTV and Pawn Stars might be proof.
Then there are my literal experiences with aimlessness. Not too long ago, I got lost in a Sears department store. I was looking for the entrance to the mall, and kept ending up in the appliance section. I must have spent 20 minutes walking in a circle getting angrier and angrier. Finally, a man with the soul of a boy scout led me to the mall entrance.
P.S. Don't ever punch a refrigerator that isn't yours.
Oppression Sign #5. Finally, those little demons can cause outbursts of anger. Recently, I was putting my bowl of Spaghettios with Meatballs into the microwave. Somehow I lost control of the glass bowl. It flipped over and hit my granite counter top, shattering into a thousand pieces.
Have you ever tried to clean up glass and Spaghettios? I screamed a few choice words, and they weren't Uh-oh, Spaghettios.
Outbursts of anger, check.
If you're trying to decide if it's menopause or demonic oppression, good luck.
By the way, don't assume that my humorous piece has anything to do with a woman's competence at work. I'm tired of that lame argument being used to push us out of the workforce during menopausal years.
We're competent, we're powerful, and concerning the small outbursts... we're pretty sure the devil made us do it.