A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE IN PHOTOGRAPHY by

Barbara Galvács

Dignity at Lake Menopause

This spring took me further than rebooting my system for the year ahead. I become the precious 40 just in a few days from now. I have also just entered the menopause myself. Unbelievable, but yes, it is possible this early.

After all I am just through, it actually does not sound that shocking any more. For the first hearing. For the second it feels like it is about somebody else, cannot be me. Then the next minute I realise that the more I state it out loud, the more I admit to it, the faster I get 'through' it. Wait: through what exactly? How can I tackle such a challenge?

Throughout my journey of (in)fertility, I have rediscovered my femininity, my creativity, my strength and weaknesses, that of others, as well as I actively raise awareness of related matters. To reconnect to our bodies and souls and goals. To recalibrate. To praise our DIGNITY. Even/ especially when facing challenges. Despite it feels impossible. So, what is it exactly, that is ahead of me? No clue whatsoever. I'll end up wiser anyway.

Here I am, facing the unknown. This one recalls a memorable moment in my life: when I, for the very first time, swam across Lake Balaton back home, 5,3 km free style. I had travelled hours from Budapest, the capital, to get to the swimming event. I had already enrolled. I then saw what the weather looked like, for which the organisers were not able to decide to cancel it or not. Huge waves were passing by. The swimmers, in the doctor check queue, all put vaseline onto their bodies, against the cold temperature that awaits them in the water. My friends, who planned to join, all cancelled.

I stood there on the side, doubting. I was totally alone for it. My phone rang, it was Mom. She said: 'WHAT?? Where are you???!! OMG, it sounds crazy, but wait, your Father wants to talk to you.' My Dad took it over. There he went: 'Go, go go! You go girl, you can do it! You cannot give it up now.' I was like: 'Yes, I'd love to, but aren't you worried?' He said: 'You want to swim across, right? You travelled that much for it, which means for me, that you really want to do it. Plus I know that you can do it. You know you can. Take it stroke by stroke. Jump in and call me from the other side!' We said bye and that is exactly what I did.

I also creamed up good and jumpled into the cold, rough and unknown. After about 2,5 hours of swimming, I called from the other side: bursting from the power in my body and soul that I did it, filled with a painful but pleasant tiredness of all my muscles and bones. 

What did it take me to get 'through'?

- I first had to jump right in and feel it on my skin. In order to understand what exactly happens to me. The support of my loved ones helped big time.

- Then to do what I can and use all my tools to work as hard as I can. To experiment and learn to adjust as fast as possible. To find my own tempo.

- Be flexible to what is bigger than me. Synchronise to the rhythm of the circumstances whilst keeping direction. Keep on working, take it stroke by stroke. Look back proudly and look ahead hopefully, whilst I enjoy the ride and the moment of the flow. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Together with the waves.

- Ask for help when I need it. Give help when someone else needs it. Keep my humour! Socialize. Connect and share.

- Keep on working. Keep on swimming to my destination. Be patient and careful with the very last strokes. Put my feet down on the ground and stand up. Stand up, walk all the way to the finish at your own pace.

- Smile for the silly snapshot for my certificate. Be proud and tired and hungry and thirsty as hell at the very same time. Look around with allk the others in the queue for eating all and every slice of bread at the Nutella tent that you can stuff in at once.

- Still quite half conscious only, recieve the gaze of the people who give me the food, the drinks, the T-shirt, for making it. Share my joy by getting to the tent of my backpack that came with the ferry and call my Dad right away. Cry together from happiness.

 

Lake Menopause, here I come! I jump right in to feel what it is. Then take myself through it stroke by stroke.

 

I'll use all my tools: myself, my people, my lessons learnt, my muscles, my camera, my photography, my art, also learning and enjoying all art out there.

 

P.S.: Additionally, as previously mentioned, a snapshot of one of the Plaubel's shot the week before, with the wonderful model Ioana Boldea and great photographer mate Rivelino Sellier (I guess I remain Barbera at the local lab, haha):