I propose a new dictionary meaning of the word "chica." I'm thinking something along the lines of: kindred spirit, close and personal girl friend. Now what does this Spanish word "chica" mean? Websters defines it as: "… a young female (chica) or young male (chico)". The English slang "chic" referring to women, probably originated from its Spanish sister. Lest I digress further, I want to talk about how important these female connections are as we enter the menopausal or peri-menopausal years.
Women seem to instinctively know to seek the solace of their best buddy during times of crisis; any crisis. Men will do this also but its got to be something big such as a wife moving out or the death of a parent. Women seem to intuit from a very young age that throughout their lives they will be called upon to be the culverts of communication; from trying to navigate the complex waters of adolescent girl life to helping a boyfriend or husband understand their mothers menopausal mind.
Just observe a group of pre-adolescent or teen age girls – I mean really look at their interactions. It's a constant merry go round of 'he said, she said'; today's enemy is tomorrows best friend. (Think Betty and Veronica). They are in the constant thick of one crisis or another, is this Mother Natures way of preparing them for bigger and better things? I'm sure they are setting the ground work for what is to come; being the conduits of information, the gatherers of emotional vibes that fill the air, the would be translators of this human experience. So how does this apply to us chicas as we zigzag through our lives; sometimes meandering down the road less traveled
What starts as teenage girl angst seems to slowly develop into something greater. Late teens and twenty something sees us still on the battlefield with our sisters; we ignore our chicas for some ueber bad boy, even as they warn us that he'll break our heart.
We move into our thirties with careers and babies well underway; our chicas become our gym buddies, extensions of our childs play dates and our sounding boards. If we can squeeze it into our schedule we eek out some time to have fun together.
Then we hit the wall that is menopause (peri and otherwise); it's time to pause and re-evaluate our lives. Family dynamics seem to change around this time; tearful goodbyes as kids move out and on. The nest is now empty leaving some women with a partner they do not even recognize. We've kept our chicas in our back pockets, they've graciously taken a back seat to husbands, babies and then teens and aging parents. Now they resurface again; all shiny and new, subtly changed perhaps but in a good way. We've changed, they've changed. Life has pushed and pulled us in a myriad of directions; joy, anguish and broken dreams. Time is perhaps the enemy when we look in the mirror now; but it is our friend in other ways.
This history, this legacy that we have shared with our chicas becomes the glue that holds our lives together during the second adolescence that is menopause. Now these relationships need no longer live on the back burner; we have more time at this stage of life. Mother Nature has planned well; post and menopausal women stay healthier when they have a posse of chicas to share their time with (Harvard Nurses Study). She gives us back a sense of youth and playfulness by allowing our friendships to once again become a main event in our lives. Chicas, go out and play!