Zombies as Metaphor

Is MB getting literary? Making scathing social commentary?

Of course not. I’m kvetching.

Zombies are the perfect metaphor for (insert ominous music here)…perimenopause.

Menopause is when all the hot action in the female reproductive organs stop. No more periods. Whee, let’s have a parade!

Perimenopause is that time, from 10 minutes to 10 years, when your body completely rebels against you, hormones fluctuate like a storm surge and puberty looks like a walk in the park, in retrospect. Except that this time around, you get pimples and wrinkles at the same time. And the strange and mysterious places you’re sprouting long wiry hairs would be your chin and neck, with the occasional upper lip thrown in for good measure.

But back to zombies. What do zombies want? BRAINS! What do women of a certain age miss? Their brains. This is when we start walking into rooms and wondering why we’re there. We assiduously research the symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s on the internet, when we can remember to stop playing Farkle. We forget everything that isn’t written down, and then we forget where we wrote it down. We go to the grocery store for milk and come home with onions. So maybe zombies aren’t looking for your brains as much as they’re searching for their own.

What about the expression on a zombie’s face–sort of glassy-eyed, wild and crazed. Sounds like sleep deprivation to me. You drag yourself to bed, anxious for head to hit pillow, and as soon as it does–bam, wide awake. Your brain starts working furiously (maybe writing more lists), and the Sand Man slinks away, laughing at you. Or your bladder, which is obviously shrinking, wakes you up more often than it ever used to, beckoning you to the cold, porcelain throne. Or your eyes snap open at 4 a.m. for no good reason. Might as well write more lists while you’re up.

Walking around with bits falling off of them? Well, maybe the zombies aren’t just decomposing. Maybe they’re having the mother of all hot flashes, when it feels like someone has inserted an electric broiler element between their clothes and their flesh. They’re gray and clammy because, between the hot flashes and the night sweats, it’s like living in their own private sauna/rain forest, where nothing is ever dry.

Don’t get me started on the smell. You try sweating at all hours, whether you’re hot or cold, running or standing still, and then tell me how you stay springtime fresh as a freaking daisy. I’ve given up the idea of semi-precious stones and I’m now crafting jewelry out of air fresheners. Because deodorants are made for women who glow, not women who get flop sweat running down their backs at the drop of a hormone.

The moaning, you ask? Think back to the hormonal rushes of puberty. Then multiply them by 100 and whack yourself in the head with a sack of hammers. Emotional stability is a thing of the past, and tears fall, unwarranted, at the merest suggestion of any emotion. True confession: I once sat in a middle school parking lot crying my eyes out, because “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” was playing on the radio.

Let’s not forget about the infamous shambling, the uneven, inelegant gait used by most zombies to get from point A to point Brains. In perimenopause, you never know what delightful surprise your body is going to throw at you next. You go to bed one night, not particularly thinking about your breasts, and when you wake up the next morning you realize they’ve slid off your chest and been hibernating in your armpits all night. Your metabolism has slowed to its own shamble, and all of a sudden your favorite glass of chardonnay gives you heartburn. Your knees, which you never thought about before, are crapping out, or else your arches are falling, your ankles are growing bone spurs or you have bursitis in your elbows and shoulders. You creak. Things pop when you stand up, and it doesn’t always feel good. Your bifocals are giving you such a headache. You’ve got a hitch in your gitalong. It’s a wonder you’re able to get out of bed, much less shamble through the day.

The onset of the zombie apocalypse is much like the onset of perimenopause. One day you’re fine, the neighbors are fine, the world is fine. Then maybe you notice one small thing…a mild hotflash, a neighbor unable to verbalize. Next thing you know, whammo! You’ve got a full onset of ….perimenopause or influx of zombie hordes, take your pick. You’re going to get sweaty either way.



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6 responses to “Zombies as Metaphor

  1. Sue

    I’m a zombie. It’s a relief to have the label. Who knew.

  2. Vic Cruikshank

    Does this mean I need to take Joe out for a whole lot of drinks?

  3. LOL! Loved that bit about the breasts sliding into the armpits. 😉

  4. Jodi Lea

    I visualized the graveyard dance from Thriller, and you are so right! I normally would have enjoyed your post but it’s just too real.

    I began turning into a zombie in 1995. I have only now, 16 F!&*$#@! years later, started to skip a period once in a great while. Two years ago my husband told me, “Honey, your thermostat is broken”. Last summer my 5-year old granddaughter told me “Grandma, I think your brain is broken – seriously.”
    He is right. She is right. It sucks being broken. It’s good to know there are fellow zombies out there. Maybe we should get together and dance…

  5. Aletha A Elliott

    Best description I have ever heard . Wish I had known the name for it while I was going through my worst phases of zombieism !

  6. Nancy

    Again you’ve done a wonderful job of describing what we’ve all been trying to describe….what a writer you are. Just to let you know, at 57, the hot flashes still pop up and the boobs have now dropped to my knees……..

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