Rolling Oven

As I drive Southwest on 395 from Spokane towards Portland, cool air conditioning blows in my face. The hair on my arms stands up with goose bumps. Yet the sun blazes down on my left arm, and despite the sunscreen I put on this morning, I keep wishing I’d worn a light long sleeved shirt to cover my already spotted arm.

The sun’s heat beats in through the window, and it’s only 11:00 am. I look at the temperature gauge in the car and it reads 92 degrees.

As the day rolls on, and I cover more ground over black tarred roads, the number climbs to 100+.

My mind begins scrambling the details of my upcoming trip in my “new” 1982 VW Vanogan Camper Van that has no air conditioning.

I start to talk to myself in my head. “Are you out of your fucking mind, Diane?” You’re a 54-year-old menopausal woman who hot flashes and you’re going to be stuck (by your own choice) in a tin can that’s going to heat up and you will feel like you’re going to explode like a tiny bomb? What were you thinking?”

I love my comforts. Most of my life I’ve spent making myself physically comfortable with all of the right creams, the clothes to keep me just warm enough or cool enough. Hats to protect me from the sun, shoes with the right arch support.

Las summer we had a wicked heat wave in Spokane and I spent the summer sleeping in the basement where all of the walls are made out of stone.

Oh. My. God.

It’s all I can think. In one month I will be leaving my comforts to hit the road in a tiny torture chamber to trundle down the road like a turtle on the freeway.

My mind scrabbles for solutions.

“I will go North. Glacier. Canada. I’m going to research where it’s the coolest in the summer.”

I’m not worried about being alone, about breaking down, not worried that some psycho guy is going to attack me out in the woods. No, all I can think about is how hot I’ll be. How I will bake like a potato in this rolling oven and become soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

I have to calm myself down. At the next rest stop I grab a light weight T-Shirt and cover my left arm to save my skin from the beating sun. As I pull that T-shirt from my bag, I realize I have packed for 6 days what I will probably be able to take for the entire summer, but that’s another story!


Hot Flash Temple

Hot Flashing - art journal image May 2015

Hot Flashing - art journal image May 2015

Just as we are jutting up against summer’s door, so, too, the hot flashes have arrived at my doorstep. I had happily thought that I wasn't going to have to “go through” the hot flash portal. Well, not so!

They come unexpectedly. They come in the movie theater, during yoga practice, during a heated discussion with my husband, or perhaps they cause the heated discussion with my husband. They come unabated, unrestricted, uninvited. They come when I’m least expecting them and all I can do is stop and feel the surge of heat from within like a furnace that has been stoked in the middle of winter and is ready to heat the house.

I’ve been on the perimenopausal road for 7 years to my count….I won’t bore you all of the details but lets just say I’ve been through the irrational irritations, the weepies, crying at the drop of a hat, the hormonal hatred that has made me feel like the Tasmanian devil at times, the hormonal/emotional basket case or one could say hormonal cluster fuck.

I thought I might get a reprieve on this portion of the ride. But no!

Hot Flash Temple, art journal image May 2015

Hot Flash Temple, art journal image May 2015

I turn to my journal to work things out as often as I can so that I keep the hormonal insanity contained and in check.  Today, as I practiced yoga I got this very clear image of the woman who’s experiencing hot flashes….and then I realized she can go “into” her own “Hot Flash Temple” to soothe herself. She can use her own temple to remind herself of all the ways to support and love this part of her, this portion of the wild ride – this out –of–control, spewing, heated, slighted crazed and overwhelmed part of her.

I love her – the hot, crazy, irrational, hot headed, passionate, spewing fountain of energy. All she needs is a little love, a cooling hand and a place to rest for this to pass.