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#TabooSmasher Spotlight: Belinda Fraley Huesman, Menopause Outlaw

Belinda Fraley Huesman is a member of the Elektra Community and a menopause outlaw.

How I became The Menopause Outlaw!

1997 was the year I had become a Menopause Outlaw. I just had never heard of the word yet. It was a year to remember, or not. A year, I was broken open, by separation, divorce, relocation, hysterectomy, early menopause and last but not least, my sons residing in two different states due to a custody battle. And for many years I forgot who I was and wanted to be since the age of eleven. A singer-songwriter like Carol King. After purchasing her Tapestry album because of the hit song, “It’s Too Late,” I made the connection that people on the radio wrote about real life, divorce, a similar scenario in our home. From that time forward I never put down the pen, because pain has to go somewhere. The problem was I didn’t have a plan and lived by the expectations of others as women did from my generation. I didn’t do much with it until my Mom passed at the tender age of 54. She said, “Don’t get my age and have a wish list of things you’ve never done, pursue your dreams, even if you fail, it won’t be because you didn’t try.” Said a woman with a book of poems and a book no one ever read upon her death, called, “Look in the Mirror.” The very mirror that captured the dreams of a young girl hung on our kitchen wall in our row home in Brooklyn, now hangs in my office. With the realization that my mom put her dreams away with the clothes she folded each day, what lesson could I learn? Since aging is a privilege denied to many.

At the age of fifty, I found the “Little Girl I Left Behind, “and rented an apartment in Nashville. My co-writer and I gave a name to our writing project as few were singing to our demographic. We called ourselves the Menopause Outlaws. I was told back then it was a niche market and the songs would have a hard time ever making it to radio. So, eventually I packed up my songs and went home. I then became an executive director of a non-profit arts center in Baltimore. To raise money at the end of 2019, I did a fundraiser as a one woman show, aptly called, “Hero of My Own Story.” I relayed the story of my life chronologically through the songs I had written over the years. In making the connection to the donors, I said, “You never know what heroes are in the making walking these halls.” Children come here to perhaps escape from a stressful situation at home. We may be the only safe place for them to keep their dreams alive.” That is what music did for me. I too, escaped into music to navigate my parent’s divorce. It was my aha moment and the reason I was standing there singing my songs. Through the help of a Strategy & Life coach, I transitioned out of my position this past year with a new resolve. I would use my passion to live my purpose and use the message in my songs to encourage other women. I know my story resonates with many. Finding clarity this past year amidst the pandemic, I am proud of the name Menopause Outlaws and believe it has a bigger purpose than what I originally envisioned. As a Music and Mindset brand, I want to outlaw ageism and transform the perception of menopause through the the power of story and song. To encourage women to change their mindset as we defy boundaries and age fearlessly. I will sing my songs anyway and align with other women who have been silenced, and sing as loud as I can to a demographic soon to be 1 Billion by 2025, according to Forbes. Not a niche market anymore.