There are times when your world shifts and you realize how conditioned you are to thinking and feeling a certain way about things that happen in life.
I am blessed by a rebellious spirit and an insatiable curiosity that has allowed me to question and shift perspective about many ingrained cultural assumptions.
Spent the afternoon with an equally rebellious and curious spirit brainstorming and discussing world shifting experiences. This is a conversation that will continue!
Women. Menopause. What comes to mind here? Seriously, what is the first thing you thought of?
I attended a lecture a few years back by a women’s health professional on menopause. It was a Power Point presentation that showcased the physical symptoms of menopause and physiologically what was happening in the body during this time. The presentation offered current information on varieties of medical and pharmaceutical interventions. I left there in what I can best describe as an enraged state.
Please know I am not anti drug or surgery. I was enraged by what this presentation did not say. What we don’t say to women in this time of their lives is this:
“This is likely the time of your life when you are likely working full time. You may have children still at home or entering college. You may be caring for aging parents. You may struggle everyday for balance and now your body is changing and your hormones are in a state of flux. Be ever so gentle with yourself. Love and accept this time and honor it. Breathe and find even 10 minutes a day to explore your feelings about all of this. There is nothing wrong with you!”
Instead we have a few jokes about hot flashes to hide the overwhelming fear that is present when it comes to women and aging. This is complete and utter bullshit.
I decided in my early 30’s to let my hair go gray. My husband (who has never tried to hide his crush on Emmylou Harris and is a lover of all things natural ) was my biggest supporter. I started going gray at 19 and colored my hair monthly for a decade and was done with the money, the time and the biggest reason, the chemicals. This frankly terrified me and I cried the whole day before I had my head practically shaved to let the gray grow in.
I never looked back after that first day. Empowerment to the hundredth degree! Men loved it and went out of their way to comment. Women however had very mixed reactions. A few women asked me how I could let myself go. (Maybe I was particularly disheveled those days…). Many shared they craved being released from the monthly touch up of roots but were terrified how they would appear. Old perhaps?
Make no mistake. Self Expression, if that involves coloring your hair, wearing make up, tattoos, piercings. Go for it. Be empowered and bring it. But for those of us women who live in fear of being seen as old, washed up, done forever. Let me tell you that is again complete bullshit.
People, men, women, young or old are beautiful who allow their life to show on their face. Who are open to life, to interacting.
I find it exhilarating to flip off all these cultural assumptions about women and aging.
I love the softness of my almost half a century body that has birthed and nourished two amazing lives and has hugged thousands.
I love the fierceness of my body that looses its aches and pains in the flow of yoga and the abandon of tribal dancing.
I love seeing women empowering other women. Surrounded by so many of these amazing sisters. Had the immense privilege a few years back to facilitate a crone ceremony for a beloved woman friend, who I consider a wise elder in our community. What a blessing it was to have her and other elders including my mother honored for their life experience as a woman on this planet. These women were honored and those of us younger had the opportunity to ask and receive wisdom asking questions about love, loss, faith, aging, experience. What a blessing it has been for me to have a daughter and include her in many of these gatherings of women and sharing and blessing.
So, Women! Be Wise! Love. Honor. Respect Yourself in whatever stage of life you are in. There is nothing wrong with you. You are beautiful. Laugh. Dance. Create.