Celebrating the Older Woman
Fitting in is overrated
Am I comfortable in my skin? Yes. Am I a misfit? Yes of a sort. One who tried to fit in but didn’t. One who was forced by circumstances to create her own world where she could live a life others thought to be bohemian and unconventional. The answer to my predicament the pathway that is unfolding before me. As each piece falls into place, doors open and joy enters my heart. The veil is being lifted revealing a new clarity for my soul and spirit. Sometimes it takes a tragedy for one to become so dissatisfied with the status quo that the hunger and thirst becomes overwhelming. The desire must be satisfied. For me the catalyst to finish college was my father’s death in 1995. In May 2002 I graduated cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College. Receiving my BA at age 43 set the stage for everything else in my life that has come after. I also began some relevant artistic pursuits while in my forties.
My Aunt Helen used to tell me life begins at 40 and that many great things would happen to me during that decade. She was correct. There are really no great literary pronouncements for crossing the half century mark, but Mother Nature has designed Menopause to mark that transfiguration in a woman’s life. I’m now going through the “Change of Life” and what I used to think of as just physical changes amount to more than that. After 50 your spirit and soul cry out for fulfillment. Naturally each woman has her own personal definition of the type of fulfillment they want and mine has centered on my writing career.
Strangely enough my writing and my artistic pursuits are about to collide. A super nova of sorts, creating an entire new universe populated by my hopes, dreams, goals, and desires all waiting to be birthed. All I ever wanted was for God to open the door for me so that I could just walk through. I believe my prayers are being answered.
Vulnerability. I’m afraid but I’m gonna do it anyway. This fear is pushing me out of my comfort zone to explore my feelings and emotions. Confront my demons and insecurities. It is the most poignant and perhaps the most important quality in everyone I know. There’s a misfit in each of us, and it’s the most delicate, precious thing that we have. I’m releasing my inner misfit from her cocoon and allowing her to fly free. Free spirit. Free Thinker. Individual. Seizing opportunities. Living my dream.
I don’t know how much confidence or courage is involved. Motivated more by the fear of disappearing and in this youth oriented culture as a woman ages she becomes invisible and loses her desirability. Young people in particular young women have many preconceived notions about what a woman over 50 should be, do and look like. You wouldn’t believe some of the things the young woman at my workplace say to me. For some of them I may as well have one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel! Then I’ve encountered resistance to my free spirited attitude towards life from older women also. Perhaps it is wonder in the young and jealousy from the old.
Action is the sure fire way to overcome insecurities and inhibitions. Sometimes you have to do the unexpected, not necessarily for others but to reaffirm me, to celebrate me and the uniqueness I bring to this world.
Outside of a few fellow free thinkers, I’ve told no one, not even my sister friends. The only person I felt I could confide in was one of the Black supervisors on my job. He’s been very kind, understanding and supportive towards me. This gentleman is a few years older than me but he is open-minded. From past bad experiences I’ve learned to be very careful, very selective as to whom I share pieces of my vision with.
Usually I dislike the coming of autumn because I know that winter is not far behind but now I have a new hope that the creative side of me will gain exposure and have further expression.