As I would like to support women who undergo change, I want to join the momentum of the World Menopause Day, reflect and talk openly about the topic and share my way to manage the change. What has it to do with the yellow bikini? It reveals soon.
A few yeras ago when a younger colleague asked if I still had my menstrual cycle or I was already going through my menopause, I was not only shocked but also deeply hurt by her question.
Shocked, as in my home country we don’t discuss topics like that, especially not in an office environment, especially not in such a direct way.
And even more hurt, as I was only 46, in full swing (at least that was how I felt). I did sport regularly, being in relatively good shape and was not even thinking about this significant change to come.
Initial learnings from the story:
Firstly, I understood that topics like mental health issues, fears and difficulties, grief or the menopause itself were not tabues. These topics can be addressed even in our workplaces and support would be always available.
Secondly, my colleague’s question actually became relevant: within half a year, out of the blue, I was hit by the menopause.
Trouble comes in threes, at least I felt so. Same time of the hormonal transition I started to get serious problems with my herniated disk and due to the pain I needed to stop activities that earlier made me happy, like jogging or zumba. Missing happiness boosts, while putting on 10 kilos of unwanted weight, I lost my confidence as quickly as my skin lost its elasticity. Just like mistrusting my femininity, I also doubted my professional strengths, which caused a real emotional rollercoaster. Actually, all the mood swings were even more difficult to cope with than the hot flashes.
The craziest part, that I regularly missed private appointments, even though I marked them precisely in my calendar (did I really?) Sometimes I imagined that my inappropriate German caused the misunderstanding about the date, which explanation was still more comforting than doubting my own sanity. Reading more about the menopause, I understand by now that forgetting stuff is also part of the symptoms. However, it is not that obvious like the physical signs of the change.
More than five years passed and I needed to adapted a lot. To start with the funny and practical parts: I got used to my curves and set my new size into my favourite brands’ online shops. To get to the more serious aspects, I started to ask for written confirmation about my doctors’ appointments to reduce my own gaslight effect. Observing my body’s reactions I cut down my evening food intake to avoid hot flashes (don't always work though!.. then I suffer) .
To continue with even more important points, I was lucky to find a friend, who loves swimming as much as I do. The moderate sport as a common hobby and the nice company enriched my life. Next to my everyday job I took up style coaching, which gives a lot of happy moments. Somehow, I arrived…
Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone and I am thankful beyond measure to my partner for his patience and to my coach, a mental health professional, who had constantly challenged me during our two years common journey.
The last symbolic breakthrough on my way to accept “the new Zsofi”, the one who is over the midlife and tries not to worry about useless points, was to purchase a yellow bikini. Something bold, which I always wanted to wear but never dare even to try on. And yes, here I am with fantastic memories from this summer: the walks at the beach, the murmur of the sea, my husband’s cheerful comment that he could recognize me from miles due to the intense colour (sure he could recognize me otherwise as well, but I loved his comment).
Accepting the actual situation of mine, not to compare my body to my young shape from decades before helped a lot.
Life is too short to wait for being slim again (if ever), life is too short to miss sun-kisses, life is too short to be shy for a funny colour that makes us smile.
If you might have wondered: yes yellow bikinis are available in any sizes, one just need to know where to search.
Would you like to find your “yellow bikini”? It would be my privilege to help you build up a new wardrobe that represents your choices, your actual life situation and pieces that uplift your mood. You don’t need a lot of items to be stylish, but you should love and wear with joy what you have.