Pause for the Mena: Embracing Menopause
S2, E18
April 17, 2024

Carla Hall is a chef, best-selling author, and the host of Chasing Flavor on Max. She joins Stacy to discuss turning 60, her experience with menopause and why she embraces the evolution of aging. Carla and Stacy discuss sex after menopause, the need to advocate for oneself, and Carla explains why it's important to do something that scares you.

Hello Menopause is a podcast from the national nonprofit Let’s Talk Menopause. Produced in partnership with Studio Kairos. Supervising Producer: Kirsten Cluthe. Edited and mixed by Justin Thomas. Artwork by Stacey Geller.

Thank you to Always Discreet for sponsoring this episode of Hello Menopause. Always Discreet, because we deserve better. Available at Target.

Stacy: Carla Hall is a chef who delighted audiences, is a contestant on Top Chef and the co-host of the Chew. She's also an author and a podcast host, and she's just embarked on a new culinary adventure as the host of Chasing Flavor, a new show on Max about the global roots of our most iconic dishes. This year, Carla turned 60, and she's here to talk about this milestone moment in her life, how she approaches aging, her passion for brain health, and why she's calling 60, sexy.

Please welcome Carla Hall to Hello Menopause. I haven't seen you since the chew and you have been super busy since then.

Carla: I saw you though, at the Marvelous Mrs. Menopause event.

Stacy: Yes. And I saw you in the audience and you know, what is so great about you? First of all, Carla, you are a cheerleader without even opening your mouth. You sit up straight and you have a huge smile on your face and I looked directly at you and I was like, I'm just going to look at her in the audience because I, first of all, it just makes me so happy that this is like a topic that we're both so into, but you are so supportive and it is such a joy.

I know that we're both friends with the ladies who started Care Beauty. They love to talk about you so much. And, um, you know, I'm so happy that you're doing this podcast because I've wanted to talk to you about this for ages now. Um, you know, it's, it's, I feel like, you know, we are some of the earlier adopters in, in talking about this and sort of, you know, hoping to normalize and destigmatize this conversation and even optimize for it.

And one of the things that I heard you say this year, um, maybe it was for flow health is that you're turning 60 and you want it to be sexy. Yes. Sexy. Can we please talk about sex after menopause? Cause like I, I really want to have this conversation and also I, I want to understand what that means to you because I'm, I'm assuming at 60 or 59 where you are now, when are you turning 60?

May 12th. You're a Taurus. Okay. Interesting. Lots to talk about there. But, um, you're turning 60. I'm assuming that you are postmenopausal. Yeah. Yes. Yes. So, how, how has that transition affected you? Both just in terms of your identity, what was your menopause journey like? What was perimenopause like for you?

You know, was your libido affected? Did you feel unattractive? Like I, I, I ran the gamut of feelings and issues and I'm curious what your experience was like.

Carla: So, um, I was really lucky. I was really lucky because I had, I, where I went from my Laser hair removal to a doctor and she was the one who was saying, well, how old are you? Are you feeling, um, any menopausal symptoms? I'm like, I don't know. She gave me a list. gave me a list of things and she said, go down this list. And it was right when I was around 49-50. So I was really one of the lucky ones. And she explained to me about NIH and the That study and how most people would tell me not to do hormone replacement therapy.

She was telling me the benefits of hormone replacement therapy. And like, look, once you lose it, it's gone. It's like losing your hair. You can stop the hair that you haven't lost yet. But once you lose it, it's gone. So I was so lucky. Um, I didn't start. I mean, I mean, incredibly, I mean, literally, when I tell you the universe carries me like a baby lamb, it puts me where I'm supposed to be.

I truly believe that because I wouldn't have, I mean, I'm there for laser hair removal. And the next thing I know, she's doing my, um, gynecological exams, and then she told me about a doctor who, um, uh, he was specializing in menopause in New York, and she was talking about my bone density. Like, she literally shepherded me through everything.

Stacy: Wow. You had a fairy godmother. Which I have to say, has not, was not my experience at all. At all. First of all, I thought menopause happened in your 70s. So I was like, I wasn't even looking out for why do I feel crazy at 47 and nobody like a couple of people are like, Oh, maybe it's menopause. But the way they talked to me about it, I thought Oh, it can't be that serious because I must be the one overreacting, right? I mean, my doctors, nobody knew anything. And sure, you had a doctor who actually gave a list of things. Are you feeling any of these things? Are you experiencing any of these things?

Carla: I told you about a hormone doctor, like a menopause specialist unheard of, like, I feel like the luckiest thing. It was, I mean, it was crazy. And so the things that affected me, my sleep. So I was waking up in the middle of the night. So I was no longer sleeping in the middle of the night. I didn't really have hot flashes. Maybe I have one every three months. So I, that I wasn't affected by their brain fog. is real. Brain fog right now is real.

Like I, I realized that I remember the first letter of a word and I can't, I see it. I can't pull it through. And like today I was doing a radio show and I was trying to think of a word. I said, Oh, Hold on. I'm having a menopausal moment. Pause for the mena.

Stacy: I mean, listen, I appreciate that you say that because sometimes I'm like, no, I can get through it. I can get through it. I can find the word. I can come up with a synonym and my brain just goes like, it explodes trying to figure it out instead of just being like, stop, pause. Cause the aphasia is real. It is real. And it's usually a noun.

Carla: See, for me, it's just, it names, but it's like the first letter. So and then an hour later, I'm like, diplomacy. I mean, it just comes out and then somebody is like, wait, what, what are you talking about? Oh no, no. This was an hour ago.

Stacy: Well, because you do so much TV and radio and interviews and things like that, have you found that to be a little bit debilitating? Because for a little while it would make me nervous, you know, even in public speaking, I would be like, Oh shit, I'm going to forget what I'm talking about.

Carla: No, I, I have decided. And this is, this is sort of coming into my 60th year. I've decided there is no shame. I said, I know that there will be women in the audience who can relate. So I literally say I'm in a puzzle. I can't find my thoughts. I said, I guess y'all weren't supposed to hear it. I will just move on. There is no shame. And then I'm like, Oh, here it is. Y'all remember what I was talking about like 10 minutes ago. Um, so I call it out and. I, I will, I refuse to be ashamed about it.

Stacy: Oh, for sure. I mean, I, you know, but I guess it's because I used to think that, you know, talking or speaking or, you know, not having a script always felt so easy. And then all of a sudden being like, wait, I don't, I can't remember a word. I know. It's somewhat jarring. I find it so weird, I mean, especially because you're eloquent and I've heard you talk of a storm. And, you know, I just think it's like, it is, it's not about the shame, it's just about the shit. Like, uh, having to be aware and understand what's happening to you is kind of, kind of jarring.

Carla: No, it is. It's, it's, but I did go through the period where I'm like, Oh, I'm going to be judged. I'm going to, people are going to think I'm not prepared. I'm not, I mean, you know, so of course, because I'm also seven enneagrams. So when I get stressed, I go to one, which is in my head and in my head there is perfection. And so there is that. Yeah. And so, but I know that about myself. And so when I start to feel like, oh my gosh, I'm going to be judged. And then I say to myself, I'm judging myself much harsher than anybody in the audience will.

And so I, it's, I have to do that self talk like in the moment. It's, it's really imperative because I don't want to make a mistake and something that's so easy, like looking for a word like banana. Um, as a matter of fact, speaking of banana, so. I was on the chew and this is when I first, this, this whole thing started to happen to me.

And I'm talking about the ingredients in a recipe and they were right there in front of me. And I'm like the, um, um, and Michael Simon goes, banana? I'm like, yes, banana.

Stacy: I can totally see how Michael would have done that. That's hilarious. I think that's so funny. But, but you know, when you talk about the fact that you don't judge yourself now and you don't feel that shame now, and you do understand what you're doing in your head, how, how did you come to that kind of self awareness?

Was that before perimenopause? Like, cause that, when you're talking about that, that's not something everybody can do, right? It's hard sometimes to separate the thought from the person. So when you say, oh, people are judging me, people are judging me. We forget that we can pull ourselves out of that belief system for a second and say, hold up.

That's not what's happening. I'm judging myself way harsher than other people do. That's not an easy thing for everybody to do. Not everybody is so in tune. How did you, how did you become that?

Carla: It was another fairy godmother. And so I get, um, acupuncture. And I was going to this woman and she talked a lot about Chinese medicine and the seasons and all of this. And so I go in and she's like, well, what, what do you want to work on? What, what are we doing today? I said, it's always balanced and my brain fog. And she's like, talk to me about your brain fog. And I'm, I'm telling her, I said, you know, I can't find the words. And she said, menopause happens for a reason. She said, you're getting older. It's like, Looking at through a file. She said at some point you have to purge some of the things in the file. And she said that nature protects you. There is a reason things happen in nature. And it was kind of like, I was like, wait a minute. And then I remembered something else, another conversation and someone was saying flow with the river.

And I was like, Okay, if I'm flowing with nature, I'm flowing with the river, and this is what nature is doing. Yes, it's hard, but there are some things. that I can flow with. Like, if I don't remember a word, is it the end of the world? And, and so I had to come to that, you know, I don't, I don't know about waking up at the, in the middle of the night, you know, hot flashes and all of that in my head, I have to make sense of things. I, you know, my curiosity just, I have to make sense of things. And so I want to normalize In my own little way, not finding a word. And I want my husband to not look impatient when I am not, I can't find words, right, and, And so I'm constantly in this, in this place of wanting to normalize that because it is my reality.

Stacy: I'm curious because you brought up something really interesting. You don't want your husband to be impatient. What kind of, you know, a lot of, uh, there are a ton of statistics, but scientific American said, uh, in a study that, you know, the lowest point of happiness for women is between 45 and 55 highest rate of depression, divorce, decreased earning potential, all of these things are, those are real things, right? But when you have a partner. Part of the reason that, you know, I, I started to dig into like, well, what does that mean? Why do people get divorced? Right. There are issues with like, you know, libido and not wanting to have sex or raising kids and looking at each other and being like, do I even like you anymore? But communication was a huge, Huge part of that. Did you find that when you were going through your menopause experience? You really had to kind of recalibrate with your husband?

Carla: 100 percent 100 percent and I am lucky that I'm married to a cancer. So he's a tenderoni. I mean he is a tenderoni and we joke and he's like I'm the woman in this relationship, you know, like, Oh my God, that is hilarious. And I'm like, and I'm the man. Um, so we joke about that because he is so sensitive and he, um, and so he's the one who's cooking and cleaning and doing all the things and people are like, what do you do? And I'm like, I'm grateful. That's what I do. I say, thank you. Um, I cook at the office, but that helps. And, and I, I, I know that he is very sensitive and I can talk to him about these things as I change and I can talk to him about my libido.

My libido was low from the giddy up. Um, but I, I think there's probably some trauma there, but my, My libido has always been low and I've talked to him about that. And then I went to Catholic schools, you know, from kindergarten to, you know, my junior, my, my freshman year in high school. So, you know, where there's that shame about sex, all the things, right.

The beautiful thing now is that I, and I've watched all those shows on Netflix and how to build a sex room and goop and all the sex shows, all the sex shows, and Matthew and I watched them together and we watched them together and discussed them as they relate to me and him. So that is all good, but there's still, I mean, it's, it's, it's amazing to, for someone to set up the conversation for us, you know, um, But the thing is, I still have this shame, but what has helped me outside of my relationship and I still talk to Matthew about it, um, because when I was transitioning into this, I was talking to other friends and I was like, Wow, I started, I started reading steamy novels, like listening to steamy novels. I call them steamy novels, but like little sexy novels. And, and I'm like, Oh my God, really? What? Oh, ah, no. You know, all the things. And I talked to my girlfriends and I'm like, well, do you do this? Have you ever done this? I'm like, yeah. Haven't you? I'm like, No. So there was a part of me that never really matured sexually. And so I feel like in my late fifties, I was like, and I was talking to my husband, I said, I'm going to own masturbation. I have to get to know myself so that I own like the sexual shame, you know? Um, and so still in my head, when I'm with him, there. I have a conversation. Can I do this? Can I say that? Can I do that? And I don't feel comfortable, but I'm working on it, but I know it's a thing.

Stacy: But also there is, I mean, there is data to say that, you know, there is a lot about, uh, stunted sort of sexual evolution, uh, personal evolution when, you know, there's some kind of trauma attached to that, of course. What's so interesting to me is that we don't talk enough about this loss of libido or how to get it back. And the fact is, you know, the audio books or even reading steamy novels that there is a cognitive part of desire that is huge. And, it is something that doctors are starting to talk about, particularly menopause because so many people say, Oh, I have no more libido. And it's, libido is different than desire. And it's so fascinating to me that this is a journey that you've already been on. There's so much self actualization going on here, Carla. I'm kind of like, wow. We all need to take a page out of your rule book here because there is a way in which people talk about cognitive behavioral therapy being a better way to deal with low libido than taking drugs or, you know, having surgery or all sorts of things. And you're confirming that to me by, by what you're saying.

Carla: The steamy novels work. I mean, the only time I have to tell you this, so I would listen to them if I was driving somewhere. And I remember driving from Nashville to Knoxville and I was staying at a hotel and on the way I'd be listening to my steamy novels and, you know, and I would, turn them off. But if I got near the car and the valet was bringing my car around, my book would come back on and girl, Oh my God. Oh my God. I was mortified. Can you say mortified?

Stacy: I think that's amazing. I think that's absolutely amazing. I feel like that should be required for all of us when our car gets pulled around by a valet.

Carla: Oh my God. Can you imagine like all the women 50 and over just have a steamy novel playing what, um, that will, that will put 50 Shades Of Gray to shame. I was mortified though, but my husband. He will come back and even, even other times when I'm in the, I'm in the house and then he's in the car, then my book will connect.

Stacy: But I think that's wonderful. I mean, you know, listen, I'm, I'm not kidding. I feel like you should do like a, uh, you know, midlife reading, reading list for those of us who are struggling. Yes, desire and libido. These are things that I really believe we need to not just normalize but optimize and even having this conversation with you. I'm like, Oh, I never thought about, you know, listening to audiobooks that are about, you know, that are erotic. Why? Why wouldn't I do that? Why? When, you know, I'm curious because you, you've done so many things in your life and you've been so many things and you, you, you represent so much to so many different people.

What advice do you have for somebody who is going through this transition right now? Like me, when I started 47, I was like, Oh my God, I don't look like myself. I don't feel like myself. I don't know what to do with myself. I can't walk across the Brooklyn Bridge because I'm going to jump off of it. Like I went into pure panic mode. And I had no idea that this was anything to do with hormonal or anything, you know, I didn't have the Sherpas that you had. So looking back on, on the experience and what you've learned, one, I guess, what, what would be your top three tips about the menopausal transition? And then I want to talk about things like, what does it mean to turn 60 and beyond?

Carla: So first off, I think that we're the first generation, um, that's really talking about it. So nobody is going to be going through what we went through because our parents were very silent, you know, and to sit around and have the conversations with your friends and to talk about like, what are you feeling? Because we're all feeling something different. And for instance, I know my, um, and I think one, so to encourage those conversations, because the more you hear other people speak, the more you hear different stories, the more that you can help your friends. And I'm saying that, and the more that you realize we're all in the same, you know?

Stacy: Yes. We're all in the same boat with different stories. We're all in the same boat with a very different paddle.

Carla: Right. And I heard someone that I knew talk about, oh my, I, I don't know numbers anymore. The numbers affect me, and it sort of went in one ear and out the other. But I, it was in my, well, no, it was in my head.

Then my assistant Kirsten was having, like, she was. She was transposing some numbers so I didn't get my TSA pre check and girl, that's a thing. I'm like, um, little girl. What's going on? And she was like, she was like what and then that's that next day She called me and said somebody was trying to mail something to me and I had given them two different Addresses like the house number and she had to go outside to see what the number was.

And I said, Oh my God, I think this is one of your things for menopause because I heard another lady talk about numbers and your numbers are getting mixed up. That's one of the symptoms I would have never thought about it had someone not told me. So conversation, just communication, sharing your stories is huge.

The second thing is, I mean, we really need to advocate for ourselves. And I know there's a lot of legislation that is happening around menopause. We have to become active. We have to become our own activists because those laws will affect that, that we may not affect us are going to affect the next generation. So you need to get involved with that. I want to mention Sharon Malone. So now there are all of these different places to call and to check in and to talk with people. There's the Menopause Mandate, there's the Menopause Foundation. If you have any questions about what you're going through, sort of find the resources online and these places that you can go to because there is a lot of information out there now that there wasn't before, you know?

Stacy: Agreed, and you know, I was gonna say, um, you know, there are communities like Hey Perry, which are not medical, but again, about building community around conversation. It's so wonderful to me because something like that, I can jump in and be like, Hey, is this normal? And you jump out. But the people who are really building that community are the people who are, or at least I found are the people who aren't just dealing with a hot flash. It's like, it's more than that. It's the big feelings, right? What is happening to me, my relationship to mortality, my anxiety, my depression, my rage, and you build this kind of community that really is speaking the same language. It's like any community, right? If you know, That language, you will recognize it immediately.

And I feel like that is so important. And Dr. Malone was actually telling me that she is really trying to standardize the kind of information that is given on the NIH website, because there is so much now that we're talking about it, which is amazing, right? There's so much conflicting information. There are so many charlatans out there.

I mean, everybody takes advantage of female physiology, no matter what. It's like, what, what is happening? So I, you know, I really appreciate the fact that we're looking for reference guides and standardization to really allow us to kind of go out and, and find useful, helpful information that does not feel like it needs to be questioned constantly.

Carla: 100%. Um, and the other side of that, you were asking me, how do I feel about 60? I am so excited, but I was also excited about 40. I was excited about 50. Um, and I'm like, yeah, I'm excited about 60. And I'm in a class of amazing people and women, women, as well as men who are turning 60. I mean, Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, um, Vanessa Williams, Wanda Sykes, Sandra Bullock, um, Yardley Smith.

Stacy:You guys should all have a party. That's what I'm saying.

Carla: Stephen Colbert. Rob Lowe. There are so many people.

Stacy: Um, I love this. I love this. Carla. I love this. Let's have a happy birthday. Turning 60 for all of these people. What, first of all, how joyous and also what, what does that say to the world? If everybody gets together to celebrate that age, I mean, I think that that's a good idea.

Carla: I know. I mean, and also, and I love that Michelle Obama was on, I mean, a whole special edition in Time Magazine to come out with turning 60. And I think what it says is I'm not ashamed. I am here. I'm still doing things. And so. The other thing that I realized was I know stuff. I'm like, wait a minute. There was one day I was saying, wow, I'm 60. I know stuff. And then the next thought was, wait a minute. It's not that I didn't know stuff. Now I'm comfortable and more confident in myself to say what I know. So I'm not second guessing, like, is it a thing? Isn't it? I'm not second guessing it or I'm seeking the information, but I'm not, I'm not. being that insecure woman to look to someone else. I'm like, No, I am. The buck stops with me. I know stuff.

Stacy: Yeah, it's funny that you say that because I went through this whole kind of transformation that in recognizing that as a younger person, not just second guessing myself, But people pleasing, not just with my doctors, but constantly, right, trying to always make everybody happy and comfortable, even at my own expense. And there is something about going through the menopause experience that you have to refocus. Um, your time on yourself in order to manage what you're going through that for me in a way was like, well, I don't have time to people please. I know stuff and I don't

Carla: have time to make you feel comfortable, but you know, what came to me and it was sort of like in my mid fifties, um, what I realized was. If any, my message, my lessons come through people. So if something is coming up for me to say, then I am a part of this dance with you, then you need to hear it. I will be doing you a disservice and I do it with love, but I would be taking this lesson that you could have because you can't unhear something to tell you.

And the same with you telling me, and that exchange helps our growth and I'm okay with growing still at this age. And so I believe that. Everything happens for a reason. Absolutely everything. And I stand in that as my truth. And when I look back on the two and, you know, when I was wringing my hands the first three years thinking I was going to get fired, but I needed those hard lessons. I needed them for now.

Stacy: I mean, I totally get that. I really understand that. I can't believe you ever thought you were going to get fired because you were so adorable and wonderful. Um, But you know, but look, that goes to show like, well, I don't know what you're thinking. You don't know what I'm thinking. I can project all kinds of thoughts onto you about your confidence and you're still beating yourself up in your head. Right. But what I love is that this conversation that we're having is that there was something transformative about, you know, my early fifties where I started to say like, it doesn't matter what I think other people think it matters what I think so that I can kind of, you know, direct my own ship. I want to sail in this direction.

Carla: Yes. And so this life journey, everybody has their own life journey. And so I am stepping into whatever mine is. And so the other thing that being 60, um, that's, that was very transformative for me was to make choices. What do I do with this wisdom? What do I choose to do? What do I choose to say yes to? Because my mantra is say yes, adventure follows then growth. But the thing is, the yeses don't slow down at 60, they speed up, because now I have wisdom to put on that yes. I am very intentional about what I say yes to, what I want to learn. Like my life isn't over. I expect to be here until I'm at least 100. I'm trying to get to 104 because I'm competitive and my Great Grandmother was 103, so I'm trying to beat her.

Stacy: I love it. I love that you're competitive and that 104 is the number. I don't doubt you're going to get there. But, you know, but it's interesting what you're saying because that, that, that the mantra about saying yes, but you're very selective about your yeses. That's right. Which to me implies that you understand the importance of no. Oh, 100%. Yeah. Right? Because you can't be selective with yes. If you say yes to everything, you're just saying, you know, that's the yes. But if you're selective with your yeses, that means that you also understand boundaries and you know when something isn't for you. And that I think I learned a lot in midlife as well.

Carla: Yes. So there was this woman I've been reading her books and, you know, every time I read something and I'm like, Oh my God, this is the thing. So this is the thing right now.

Stacy: I'm a little like that too. It's like whatever's in front of me is the thing.

Carla: Her name is Jade Simmons and she wrote this book. Um, purpose, the remix, and she's a classical pianist. And what she says is purpose is not the thing that you do. But it's the thing that people feel when you do what you do. Reading that, it gives me chills every time I say it. I mean, I had every time I said it because my yeses are all about me going and finding that purpose. And if it is not in my purpose, I will say no very quickly. It doesn't matter. The money, it doesn't matter. The people, it doesn't matter where it is. It is not for me. And that has been freeing. It has been, um, it feels like it's coming at the right time, you know, and that is my, my North star right now.

Stacy: And also, I mean, that again, That is trusting your own intuition, which is a hard one, right? By, you know, that comes with age and experience. And it also keeps you in a place of joy. Because you're not doing the things that you are not asking, you know, that you don't want to spend your time on. I love the idea that what you feel, your purpose is what you feel when you're doing what you do. Because that's the, you know, when you're doing what you do and you love it. I just feel like what, what else do you want? What else could you ask for?

Carla: What else do you want? Like when people say to me, you're always happy, I said, no, I have a good picker. I pick things that want you. You don't want to be with me when I don't want to be here. You really, as a tourist, you really don't want to be, you don't want me to be there. You don't, if I don't want to cook for you, you don't want the food. You do not want me to not want to do the thing.

Stacy: I want to talk to you about your cooking, and I want to talk to you about sort of that, all of this hard won wisdom, how has that sort of changed your mindset about cooking, or has it changed your mindset? Has it changed the way that you feel about cooking, or who you cook for, or the way in which you cook?

Carla: All the things, all the things. So I have a new show coming out and it's called chasing flavor. And yes, yes. February 1st. I'm so excited. And it was rad. Thank you. I am beyond excited. It's going to be on max and it is. It takes a quintessentially beloved American dish and it traces it back and giving credit to the cultures That had a hand in that dish from in this country and beyond. And there are different dishes every episode? Yes, there are six episodes. So there's ice cream, shrimp and grits, chicken pot pie, al pastor, um, slow and low, like barbecue.

Stacy: What a great range of, of, you know meals to think about in terms of how you trace them back and what that cultural, uh, lens is like. Oh my God, you had so much fun filming it.

Carla: It was so much fun filming and what I realized when I was there, people were telling me things and other people were in the room and they're like, Oh, I've never heard her say that. And she's been interviewed many times. Oh, I've never heard her say that. I've never heard him say that. Oh, I feel so comfortable with you. I know this is part of my purpose. And it couldn't have happened before now. It just couldn't have. And I, it is energizing and it has changed my food and it has inspired me to make certain dishes.

It has like, for instance, chicken pot pie. Um, episode, I want to take the entire journey and a little bit from every place to make a dish, a new dish, but remembering all of these people that I met and saw and learned from, and it is, and honestly, I'm going to tell you. I enjoyed it so much that yes, of course we want another season, but if I didn't get another season, I feel so blessed to have done it one time. That's how much it meant to me that I will carry forward. It's, it's okay. I, it's okay. You know, because I experienced it.

Stacy: I mean, that sounds so wonderful. And I love the idea of sort of standing on the shoulders of all of these generations who have made a dish to then go and use your own creative juices to find something new. I mean, yes, the idea of evolution sort of never stops. I mean, we never stop evolving, and it's one of the things that I find so exciting about talking about midlife is that this, that's whole. Exactly. It. Yes. I mean, this whole bullshit about like, oh, you're being, you know, thrown, you know, put out to pasture.

Oh, your pasture, your expiration date. I'm like, bullshit. Your values are pather. Expiration date. Yes. We are here to explore and love and, you know, find all these new things to do with ourselves because, in a way, I feel like we're shedding an old skin and building a new one.

Carla: 100 percent. And the same way, and what, so what I learned was you can't take the food without the culture. And the thing is, And in menopause, what, what that has done for me is you can't get my wisdom without these years. You can't have it both ways. So I don't want to be 45 again. And when I tell people that I'll be 60, I'm looking forward to 70. I said, I mean, I'm in this state right now, but you, you can't want to be 40, 35, 40 without the wisdom of where we are now. And so you know, either you're having a period and talking babies or you're talking menopause and taking care of your parents. I mean, it is a divide and it is, it's a divide, but it's also a continuum.

Stacy: Right. This is part of who we are. Why I feel robbed that, you know, when I was at the age where I could have had children, Nobody told me about menopause. Why didn't, why didn't I get this, the continuum of this? This is always going to be a part of my life if I had a uterus, right? So why, why do we get this piecemeal? And I agree with you so vehemently that we are the generation that is going to change this conversation for all the generations to come. This will never be shrouded in mystery again. This will never be stigmatized or shameful again, because that's what generation, I, I, that's what X's legacy is going to be.

Carla: Oh, I really believe that 100%. So the other thing that I'm working on, right, I'm working on a one woman show live. I am, I am so excited. I know I'm supposed to do it. I wanted to do theater as a kid. And at 60, I said, I am choosing theater. I am no one. I mean, I am choosing it. And so I'm doing all these vignettes, right. And just yesterday an idea came to me because I was thinking about how 51 percent of the women globally will be menopausal. I mean, like literally nobody's looking at us. I mean, we, we literally can stealthily take over something. So I was thinking about this book that is called the Spook Who Sat By The Door. I don't know if you know it, it was required reading at HBCU, Historically Black Colleges and Universities. But it's about this black man who works at the CIA and, you know, and he is doing his work. And, you know, he matriculates to this very smart and people underestimate him. And then he gets out with all of this CIA knowledge and then goes to the Black Panther Party. So, um, Right? It's some birthday. What do I want to call this vignette? The vagina that sat by the door.

Stacy: Oh my God. So much. I love it so much. I mean, come on. It's amazing. It's like the vagina that had ears. I love it. I love it. It is so good. And I also, again, you know, this is something, one of the things that I felt so strongly about doing this season on the podcast was really talking to people that have experienced something where they have actual, like, almost action items to give people.

Not just like, you know, Oh, your estradiol is here and your progesterone does that. Like, we get it, we get it, there's science, but there's also the lived experience. Of not just what menopause is, but what this kind of midlife renaissance can be. And nobody. Great word. It's funny. Right? I, I, well, I keep, I keep trying to shove it into every conversation I'm like, it's not a midlife crisis, it's a midlife renaissance. Stop telling me I'm having a crisis. I'm tired of crisis. I don't want to talk about crisis. I want to talk about what am I shedding and what am I getting?

And it just seems like you're, you know, at this precipice of all these amazing things because of your age, because of your wisdom, because you went through menopause, which had to make you more self aware of your body and your mind and your emotions and all of those things. You know, even talking about like, you know, that you were like, I'm, I'm going to be sexy, leaning into sexuality, leaning into femininity in a way that perhaps you put on hold while you've been busy, you know, building your empire. And I think that there are just so many ways for us to interpret this, but so much inspiration to get from you.

Carla: So, I'm going to revise my list because now that you're saying all of that, cause I think, I really think. Do something that scares you. I mean, I think it is the most powerful thing. Your entire makeup in your brain changes. If you do something that scares you, the wisdom that you have accumulated kicks in, and you will surprise yourself.

Stacy: I cannot, I can't agree with you more and my addendum to that sort of genius piece of advice is do something that scares you and then don't judge yourself for what happens because I think that we always put a label. Right. Particularly as women, I think that we are judged in this way. Success or failure are just value judgment words for experience. I mean, success or failure. With the same, whatever happens. is going to happen. That's your experience. You decide whether you, you know, win or you learn. It does not have to be about anything else. Although I do also believe in this kind of idea of necessary failure. You have to lose at something,

Carla: Girl, keep talking. Yes. Talk about it. Yes. Yes.

Stacy: You have to make a wrong turn in order to know you need to make a U Turn.

Carla: Oh my God. I mean, so all that stuff that I talked about on The Chew, I ended up calling the executive producer, um, Gordon Elliott and saying, thank you. And I was just like, thank you for all of the experience. I said, um, And then I, I even asked because I could go back and I said, why didn't you fire me? But to understand when I am in my heart, I am so true. And when I get to my head, that's when I start messing up and hearing him say, there were days when you were just beyond your years and experience and others.

And what I realized when I am trying to please you, I am in my head when I'm trying to please somebody, I'm in my head and the nurturing heart of most women. But when I'm in my heart, it is so right. Every single time, every, my heart never belies the place I'm supposed to be and I fail. I love failing. I will talk about my failures more than my successes, right? When I'm on a stage, I talk about my failures. I'm like, y'all, without those failures, I wouldn't be here. I love failing, but, but I don't call it failure. I love having experience. I love having experience. It goes awry. And I'm. That time I fell on the stage even, it wasn't even a fail, it was a fall, but it wasn't a fail. I fell in front of 3000 people and I Oh my God. And I told you, not a, not a piece of my body was on the ground at one time. It was like Superman. It was spectacular. And, and then I was like, oh. And, but I was so present that I said, oh my, oh my gosh. So what? Oh, I'm about to fall. And I said, how do I want to fall? Engage the core. Make it big. I had all of those thoughts as I was going down. Wow. By the time I hit the ground, I got down. I spun my legs. There was somebody scrambling, trying to help me up and I was crawling away from it. It spun my legs again. I got up and I'm like, y'all, this is going to be an amazing show because it was in the beginning of the show. And the audience is like, what the hell just happened? I ran downstage and I said, y'all know, this shit's this, that shit was funny. And then it was such a relief for them because I owned it. And I'm like, I'm okay. I'm taking care of you now to be okay with this as a woman. And it's a powerful moment.

Stacy: Absolutely. But I would, I would argue that's also because you weren't in your head. You were in your heart. And when you're in your heart, you don't have to please people for them to be pleased. Because that's what you radiate.

Carla: You do not have to please people to be pleased. Girl, write it down.

Stacy: Because I think when we're in our head, we're so busy trying to be people pleasers that we wind up being self conscious and we say the wrong things or we do the wrong things because we're trying too hard. Yes. And what you were saying about being in your heart. It means that you're already, you don't have to please because people are pleased by your heart.

And I think that is so profound. It's why your fall was not a fail. So okay, we're on the precipice of 60. I guess, what are the three things that you are hoping for in this next decade? I mean, like your one woman show is like already in the works, but I mean, like for you mentally, spiritually, you know, professionally, personally, what are the things that, that you haven't done that are still in you to do?

Carla: My, my biggest thing, I want to be content and I'm content when I'm working with my hands. There is a part of me that wants to make time, um, schedule time to do art. So I do this paper quilting. I want to do that. I want to share my art with more people. who have seen it. Um, I want to, like my spiritual life is so, is so much a part of who I am and I've made the decision like in the last four years to, to really focus on that. And that has been amazing. Just, um, You know, not just me. I want to have some of the best orgasms that I've ever had. Amen. With my husband. I really do want this sexual freedom. Um, yeah. That I haven't had and I, um, letting go of whatever shame there is, but also. And, and not being in my head talking about wisdom, but so that's where my heart comes to being content.

Stacy: Well, Carla, I'm so excited about this episode. I just feel like it's so inspirational on so many levels to so many people and people who may be struggling through perimenopause or postmenopause. This is so much more about evolution and, as an interview, more than I could have ever hoped for. So, thank you so much.

Carla: Thank you for having me. This has been so great. Oh, what are the things that I want? I'm going to just put it out there since I'm talking here. I want to be on Abbott Elementary and I want to be the Home Ec teacher.

Stacy: Hold on. I do believe in manifesting. So you have just said a lot of things that you want to be able to do. Let just make sure that that is out in the open - Home Ec teacher on Abbott Elementary, loud and clear because what would be more perfect than that?

Carla: I know. I have my friend Kalen Allen to thank for that, because I said, I really want to do more acting. He said, Girl, I could totally see you on Abbott Elementary.

Stacy: A thousand percent. I second that.

Carla: As soon as you said it, it felt really true. And so I'm putting it out there. I've been looking forward to this so much and I love how you are shepherding women through this phase in their lives and for the next generation. And so I can't thank you. I talk about you all the time, doing this work. Seriously. It is so beautiful.

Stacy: Seriously, you know, it's sort of the same way that you have come into this. I mean, you know, there was something necessary. I felt so lonely and so frightened and so confused by where I was. What is, what can you do if you're, if you're not going to crumple, you've got to figure out how you can talk about something. So other people don't go through the same thing, right? The louder the voices, the more attention we get to put on them. And I think now you were certainly a very early adopting voice, but now we're really starting to see so many people coming out in, in, in. Again, here I'm having a menopause moment, like, you know, just like supporting, exactly cause for the menopause, um, just in support of this conversation and the destigmatization and you know, I can't wait to see all the things that you do. I can't wait for the one woman show. You must tell me when that happens because I will be there opening night. Thank you you so much for being here and I appreciate your time.

Carla: Oh my gosh. Anytime. Anytime.