Menopause is making professionalism a little challenging.
I’ve given presentations for over twenty years. I’ve always been confident in my speaking ability, no matter how large the audience. That was before the gift of spastic hormones that provide the following special effects:
- My syntax wanders. Words come out, but in no particular order. If this were France, I’d be fine. But it’s America, and syntax is important here. I began one presentation by saying, “I’m Donna Highfill and glad to be here, I am.” If I was Yoda, it would have worked.
- I morph from speaker to prize fighter. In the past, just looking into the smiling faces of my audience energized me. That is still the case, until right before a hot flash. Then, for no reason at all, I have a desire to smack the smiles right off those faces.
- I forget what I am doing. I used to be able to whiz through PowerPoint decks with the best of them. Now I am speaking to slide 25 while slide 1 is up on the wall. I’m on a roll when someone timidly says, “Donna, which slide are you on?” There’s no presentation killer like having to forward 24 slides to catch up to yourself.
- I want a nap. In the middle of an energetic facilitation day, I suddenly need to take out my little red/blue mat and lay down.
- I forget what I am saying, and don’t really care anymore. Yes, in the middle of a sentence, I stop because I have no idea what I was talking about. And not one synapse rides in on a white horse to save me. I’ve learned to use the phrase “yada, yada, yada” and just keep moving.
In these moments, I feel like I’ve been abducted by my hormones. They have blindfolded me, put me in a car and driven me to some hot place where I sweat a lot.
If the hormones would just give me a call and ask for a ransom, I would gladly provide it. Until then, I guess I must wander in the mental desert of menopause, masking my confusion with a look of tremendous confidence. And for those of you who know me well, I’ve can’t blame all of this on menopause. I’ve been confused for a long time.