More self-indulgent over-sharing in this week before I turn 50...
As Vanity would have it, she has my attention today. I examine and learn about her in so many forms. Today, thoughts of her come in the form of these two beautiful and amazing women below (whom I hope you take the time to read after my insignificant ramblings)— Elizabeth Gilbert (American author, creativity guru, badass) and Jann Arden (Canadian singer, actress, badass). I aspire to be part of their tribe. They are speaking truths, reclaiming ancient realities. Building confidence in generations of self-loathing second-class citizens. Simply by accepting themselves. By celebrating the physical changes that come with age, those things that, though they are merely impermanent aspects of our true permanent beings, are seemingly impossible to surmount in the context of our over-sexualized and over-objectified cultural feminine ideals.
THIS is how we take our power back as women. THIS is how we reveal our strength. THIS is how we laugh in the faces of discomfort and shame:
We love who we become as we age. We embrace the changes in our faces rather than trying to erase them. We follow the maps of our faces to our souls. We dance and jiggle and laugh and wrinkle and turn our faces to the sun. We strip naked and swim in rivers. We enjoy the softening. We marvel at what our bodies can do, what they have been capable of. We ball our fists and raise them in the air as we march, singing and rejoicing in the streets with our sisters, partners, children. We meet everything and everyone with love and compassion. We fight for each others’ lives. We live proud in the human skins we were born with on this planet in this crazy-ass time. We love every line and wrinkle, every freckle, stretch mark, and scar. We peel back the layers. We like ourselves more the older we get. We feel sexy just as we are, with all the years behind us in support.
I am grateful for my able and strong body. In this life, my body has felt wondrous euphoria and experienced deep trauma—as everyone's, it is a complex compendium of physical and emotional experience. It holds a lot of stories. And those stories tell themselves in my skin, bones + tissues. They manifest as aches and pains, tattoos and scars, sun spots and smile lines. They worm their way into the tunnels of my mind, then spread across my forehead and carve themselves in-between my eyes. They give me what my friend calls “butthole” mouth (that would be the story of my years of cigarette smoking). Our stories become our emotions become the lines on our faces. A life’s work of the most beautiful tangle of narratives. All on our faces! Isn’t that amazing?! Well, not always, as most magazine covers, television ads, and music videos would have you believe. And so, we inject and cut ourselves to rewrite or delete our stories. To keep our stories fresh and new and relevant.
But I wonder, where do those stories go after a nip, tuck, or injection? What story does a face tell then?
What stories do I want my own face to tell? … I want to say, The True Ones. But will I continue to have the courage to tell them? Maybe not all of them. But I hope most. Time will continue to tell how much I embrace and celebrate the genetic gifts of my growing existence. In the meantime, my body speaks many truths. It also holds many lies and half-truths (there are filters and apps for that). But right now, I attempt to be as authentic as I can be, attempting to balance as best I can all of the contradictions that feed my confidence and vanity. And how am I feeling? "Feelin' good as hell!!!!"
elizabeth_gilbert_writer | instagram
Can I just say something? Living my life the way I always wanted to live it (meaning: traveling constantly, being outdoors a lot, loving hard, swimming in the ocean, laughing all the time, crying all the time, squinting at books, and getting my heart broken repeatedly) has beat the living shit out of my skin...and I like it. The older I get, the more I like my face. In fact, the older I get, the more at home I feel in my whole entire body-costume. (This is true of almost every woman I know, by the way. We all seem to be liking ourselves a lot more as we get older — thus disproving the omnipresent cultural/commercial assumption that youthful beauty = happiness.) I want to eventually become one of those badass old ladies whose faces look like topography maps of everywhere they’ve ever been, and everything they’ve ever felt. Because, to me, that’s authentic beauty. Now, all that said, I have had a Botox shot or two in my day, because come on, people — I’m not THAT freakin’ authentic. (We all get to have SOME contradictions, right?❤️) Ok, this concludes my Instagram beauty seminar. I hope you take from it whatever you need. Whatever you do with your face, you’re perfect and I love you. ❤️LG
February 10 · Facebook
I didn’t think I would ever be one of those women who derived an enormous amount of pleasure from simply getting older. I am at an age, where women for the most part, are marginalized, underpaid, over-looked, devalued, deemed to be 'not sexually attractive' (If ya can't bear children, what is your point exactly?). Women of a certain age, my age and much younger I might add, aren't considered 'hireable'. We have outlived our purpose. We don't 'look right'. We don't 'represent' quite the image 'they' are looking for.
Society has had it's fill with us and so it moves on with little adieu, and makes no bones about it.
For some reason, we've believed it all to be true. We have bought into the idea of our bodies being horribly unattractive and hideous and unbearably undesirable. We've believed that our 'age', that mysterious number that we all carry over our heads, defines what our abilities are, or-were; that the lines on our faces make us unworthy of affection or attention or respect- or even love. The holy grail of human desire.
I don't resent any of this, I want to defy it.
To be almost 57 years old for me, is a thrill. It is an honor and a privilege to be here, on this mountain of knowledge, on this horizon of possibility. I feel more powerful and capable now than I have at any other time in my life. At the peak of my youth, of my success-, I never felt this wealth of positivity.
I never felt this sure of my ideas and my creativity and my wisdom and my art. My work has never been more important to me, more clear, more definite than it is right now.
I know who I am.
I know what I want- (most of the time.....)
I know what I can do.
I know who my friends are and I know who apposes me.
If you are NOT STANDING BESIDE ME, GET OUT OF MY WAY.
The word 'NO', is not an obstacle for me, but rather a battle cry. Tell me 'NO' and I will roll over you like you were never there at all.
I am a weed and you know how hard they are to kill.
At a time where the world wants me to slow down, and step aside I am going to politely decline.
I am going to bring as many women with me as I possibly can carry or drag or convince.
Age is power.
Knowledge and experience has NO bounds.
Creativity is limitless.
When I looked at my mother's dead body, I mean really looked at her. When I picked up her delicate hands that were covered in lines and dark spots and scars, I marveled at what they had accomplished. What her body had accomplished. IT was so dedicated to her, so relentlessly pushing her forward. It carried her through every ounce of hardship and grief and disappointment and joy and bliss and triumph. My mother's soul was that body's pilot and when she left it that December evening, I rejoiced because she made me feel more alive than I'd ever felt in my entire life.
She gave me such a gift that day, the gift of fearlessness. I don't know what's ahead of me, and I don't care. What I do know is that I am capable of everything. There is nothing I can't do or won't try and I have, and YOU have, an ARMY of ancestors surrounding you...looking for ways to help you if you let them.
Let them. Help you.
You are not getting older, you are gathering speed and power and a wisdom- and that will take you right to the end of what this is here.
Don't let anybody tell you that you can't.
It's simply NOT TRUE.