Turning Around and Finding Sixty or Seventy


One Woman, One World,  Regardless of Age

One Woman, One World,Regardless of Age

We were busy living our lives, falling in and out of love, going to concerts, learning about ourselves, dressing up for parties, studying new things such as womens’ issues, people coming into our lives and leaving, and making ethical decisions for our lives. So here we are. We stop one day and to our surprise we are in our sixties or seventies. Whoa. What happened? That young woman is still here but when you look  into a mirror you see someone else. You see the crone.

The Goddess based religions revere the Crone as the holder of the wisdom of life. The three stages of a woman’s life cycle include maiden, mother and crone. For me, I looked in the mirror one day and couldn’t find myself. Then some health issues occurred and I realized that I was 21 on the inside but this corporal body had aged while I wasn’t looking. Shocking! How did it happen?

I really floundered for a while, almost a year before I could realize that it was all a part of the cycle of life. What should I do with my life? The rest of my life. I decided I would not sit and wait for death. When it arrived, it arrived but I would do anything I could to continue making the world better. I would see what life still had in store for me.

Life does this to all of us; male or female. We must embrace ourselves and keep on living and loving and working for this One World that we have.

‘I speak without concern for the accusations
that I am too much or too little woman
that I am too Black or too white
or too much myself.”
———-Audre Lorde; poetess and feminist

Quote from Maya Angelou

Quote from Maya Angelou

Women who are “of an age” still have a lot to give to this world and to their countries. We may not have all the energy we used to, but we continue to be passionate about Mother Earth, peace, women’s issues. Don’t let anyone tell you to slow down. If your body is telling you to slow down, take care of yourself and find the things you can still do. Don’t give up, find another way.

“Women in business
Dress in man-style suits
And treat their secretaries
In a man-style way.

Women on campus
Wear “masculine” thoughts
And look to daddy for
Good grades.

Married women
Give their bodies away
And wear their husbands’
Wishes.

Religious women
Cover sinful bodies
And ask redemption from god
Not knowing
She is within them.

That’s why I’ll always love
The fat woman who dares to wear
A red miniskirt
Because she loves her woman’s body.
The smart woman who doesn’t go to college
And keeps possession of her mind.
The lover who remains a mistress
Because she knows the price of marrying.
The witch who walks naked
And demands to be safe.
The crazy woman who dyes her hair purple
Because anyone who doesn’t love purple
Is crazy.

Dear Goddess: I pray for the courage
To walk naked
At any age
To wear red and purple.
To be unladylike,
Inappropriate,
Scandalous and
Incorrect
To the very end.”
—–Gloria Steinam

No matter how old you are, walk your truth

No matter how old you are, walk your truth

All life has meaning, even if you don't see it.

All life has meaning, even if you don’t see it.

Rage and Fame; Aging and violence


There is a woman who is a role model for any woman in our country. She is a poetess and has written an autobiography. She broke into mainstream America when she read at President Clinton’s inauguration. She read “On the Pulse of the Morning.”

Today she is teaching at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. My favorite of her books is, “Even the Stars Look Lonesome.” She is a woman who will share her thoughts and what they mean to her.

“The loss of love and youth
and fire came raiding,
riding,
a horde of plunderers
on one caparisoned steed,
sucking up the sun drops,trampling the green shoots

of my carefully planted years.

The evidence: thickened waist and leathery thighs, which triumph
over my fallen insouciance.

After fifty-five
the arena has changed
I must enlist new warriors.
My resistance,
once natural as raised vioces,
importunes in the dark.
Is this battle worth the candle?
Is this war worth the wage?

May I not greet age
without a grouse, allowing
the truly young to own the stage?” —-Maya Angeloe

A starry, starry night

A starry, starry night

My homage to Maya Angelue

My homage to Maya Angelue

 

The Enbrace Of Life


The life of babies

The life of babies

The Joy of the youngest

The Joy of the youngest

I will be sixtythree in less than a month. Age,  the subject no one really wants to talk about but we do. We wouldn’t want anyone to imagine that we are worried about our age. From the teens years on I usually hung out with those younger. This wasn’t a conscious choice, but it was one on a subtle level .The sixties and seventies, were for me, filled with protests, loud rock and roll and many things I had no control over.

Those were the days

Those were the days

The idealistic teen years

I thought I would live to be 25. My goal was to have fun and make a difference in the world And I read and read and danced and read and listened to people when they talked. I tried to put it all together because I hadn’t found a “how-to” book for those wonderful, confusing and freedom making years.

A group of yound adults

A group of yound adults

Be free, be kind, have compassion

Be free, be kind, have compassion

As a young woman, I protested, I help to start a Domestic Violence shelter, I became a psych nurse, I learned to laugh until I couldn’t stand and to cry as if my heart were broken in two. I was on the board of directors for many non-profits and helped to start, “The Women’s Roundtable.” It was a networking group for business and professional women. I hiked in the Alleghanies and danced naked on top of a mountain.

I learned about the world and formed a strong dislike, nay horror of hypocrisy and injustice. I actually went through 3 major careers and learned which people brought good energy with them and who didn’t. Music was the tapestry of my life. I dated many musicians. They are still my favorite people. Never boring and filled with the same creative juices that I am filled with.

middleagedphotographer

middleagescuba

Middle aged woman trying photography

I feel I have lived a full life and have plans for more adventures and new experiences. These middle years have seen me change. I am still an idealistic rebel but when I retired for health reasons, I began to write and paint and dream. I am happy despite the fact younger people don’t want to hang out with me as much as before. I never expected to live this long but since I have this part of my life must mean more that the other parts together.I started winning awards in my young adult years. The one I am most proud of is “The Marquis Book Whose Who of American Women.” I won that in the late nineties.

I don’t have a “bucket list.” I never used to plan. I lived in each moment. Now that I am teetering into old age, I have decided to continue to embrace life, to love everyone as much as I possible can, to talk to teens and young moms. I don’t have a feeling anymore of when I will die, but I intend to go after living and loving fully. I will go out with a bang of color and noise. Wear purple ladies, do all the things your kids would frown on, laugh until you cry, may your final act on this planet be a kindness.

Give your love away and you will be continually filled.

Give your love away and you will be continually filled.

When it is your time, gather the memories, the love, the kindness and fly away. Your soul knows how to get home!

When it is your time, gather the memories, the love, the kindness and fly away. Your soul knows how to get home!

Our Passion for Justice


Justice is part of the foundation of our civilization

Justice is part of the foundation of our civilization

Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling, not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being “drawn toward.” Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one’s friends and enemies. Love creates righteousness, or justice here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience. I think also that sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.

For this reason loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called “love.” Love is a choice–not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity–a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world and and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member of the human family, a partner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.
——Excerpted by Carter Hayward from Our Passion for Justice

Photo by Barbara Mattio 2010

Sunset Black Mountain, North Carolina Photo by Barbara Mattio