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Menopause in the Matrix

My friend Lisa and I agree to disagree about The Matrix. I remember 20+ years ago when she complained about the fact that the rebels can figure out the complexities of jacking in and out of the Matrix but still have to eat tasteless gruel and wear tattered clothes. My husband and I are Matrix fans and have watched them all, many times together, happily suspending our skepticism for the particular sci-fi premise and dope kung fu. This past December, as I was rewatching all the Matrix movies in preparation for Resurrection to drop, I joked with Lisa about her plans to watch the new one. This time she complained most about the fact that Trinity has to play second fiddle to Neo in the first 4 movies. “Why doesn’t Trinity get to be the One?”. Hmmm. She made a good point.

And then, like a glitch in the matrix, like reaching into a goopey liquid mirror, like puzzling over a rhyme from the Oracle, it happened. It was revealed. Trinity, at age 52, the same age as me, is actually, the One. She’s the one who can fly, she’s the one who saves Neo and therefore the human colonies, she’s the one who tells the Analyst how it’s going to be. Maybe she was the One all along, or maybe she became it, realized it, only at this midlife moment. I choose to believe that Trinity becomes The One as part of her menopausal transformation.

The menopause metaphors are all there: will she choose the red pill or the blue pill, Trinity’s pent up anger and rage about the confines of life in the Matrix, the hot prickling sensation that something is very wrong, that we are not who we pretend to be, and radical change is necessary. Trinity’s liberators worry that she won’t take the red pill, that if given the choice to reject/abandon/destroy the conventional life that she is living in order to see the truth she will choose the blue pill and stay in the life society expects of her. Maybe embracing menopause is a red pill. It is the disruptive uncomfortable awareness that we are out of sync with the societal expectations for female youth, beauty and responsibility. It is the acceptance that our true happiness might create rifts, disruptions in the course that we accepted for ourselves years ago. The blue pill is hiding it, ignoring menopause, denying the inauthenticity we perceive now.

When Trinity accepts the “truth”, wakes up from her matrix coma, she transcends all past iterations of her brilliance. She is shining, calm, confident. In a 2021 New York Times interview with Carrie Ann Moss, she describes her 52-year-old embodiment of Trinity, during the filming of Resurrection: “I laugh because at times I would just feel so cool, I got this. Someone would take a video and I’d look at it and be like, “Oh my god, I don’t look cool at all!” I would just have to constantly relax that part of my brain. I continually chose to know that I was going to be enough.” I am inspired by the wisdom of relaxing the part of my brain that says “You look stupid. You can’t do this. You are a loser.” Maybe menopause is an invitation to strengthen this part of our brains. I don’t know kung-fu, but I can choose to know that I am enough, that I am the One. “Dodge this.”

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