Author Darcey Steinke is the author of the memoir Easter Everywhere and five novels: Sister Golden Hair, Milk, Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, and Up Through the Water.
In her latest book, Flash Count Diary; Menopause and the Vindication of Life, she chronicles her personal journey through menopause.
Our pre-podcast routine started like most of my interviews. Questions are emailed in advance, instructions given for the video-based zoom meeting, and mics readied for recording.
After a few minutes of figuring out the tech, our interview got underway. But not in the sort of formulaic intro I often use to warm up the conversion. We just dove right in. Like I was talking to a friend about her journey through menopause…and not just menopause, but life.
I inquired into aspects of the book I found peculiar or even overly assuming with regards to “women’s identity being tied to our fertile selves.”
I, for one, have never birthed a child nor do I long to, so I haven’t thought much about the importance of my fertility. I realize I’m probably in the minority on that one. Nonetheless, I was deeply curious about this departure of identity and how post-menopausal women reported feeling like neither female or male, or in some cases 100% male.
The book stretches from Darcey’s personal menopause stories of experiencing an orb pre-hot flash, to how whales experience menopause, to changing identity, sex, and social acceptance, to a dedicated chapter on anger.
I loved this most about her expression of an angry woman [and I paraphrase], “…an angry woman is scary and un-professional, while an angry man is just being a man.”
To say the least, I’m underselling the complexity with which she has researched and documented her spiritual journey through “the change,” and I recommend giving it a listen.
I highly recommend downloading the e-book. Hearing Darcey herself read her account of menopause brings a poetic, intimate feel to the story. It lessens the darkness and emphasizes the human.
In The New York Times review of Flash Count Diary, Jennifer Szalzi comments, “…the book still left me wanting more: more voices, more works about this transformation. The subject feels truly fresh and transgressive, while nubility is beginning to seem like, well, old hat.”
I think the conversation around menopause and this transformative part of our lives is just beginning. Thanks to women like Darcey for having the courage to approach it in the fullest expression of themselves.
P.S. Did you know Gennev has an entire podcast series that highlights interesting people working with women in menopause? Check it out here.
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