At this point in my life with lines creeping where I wouldn’t want them to (laugh lines I agree is a nice way to call them), a spreading middle which I hoped wouldn’t (three daughters gave me that. I wonder what other women’s five or six would!), silver streaks playing peek-a-boo out of once glorious dark tresses (my beautician has a solution to that but quite expensively though), and a less than flat abdomen (next to laugh lines, this horror of horrors gives a woman’s age away), I must admit to a certain quiet unease. In addition to that, bones and joints go stiff and ache, skin crinkle with defiant lines, eyes strain to read small print, sleep turn erratic, appetites change, visits to the doctor more frequent and pills nestle permanently in one’s purse. Furthermore, loneliness glides into each day heightened with the children planning careers and lives away from home. I guess women who find they are blowing out 50 or more candles on their birthday cakes would consider those turning points in a woman’s life in serious retrospect.
I thought about that a lot but I must say this that life has been made easier and more interesting in a new and refreshing way because I am in a place in time that frees me from the old chains or closed beliefs of our mothers long ago. What is significant in our lives today is we are living different lives than our mothers before us. Whether involved in it or not, we have all been affected by the feminist movement. We had not followed in our mother's footsteps because our mothers never walked this path before. Women then were expected to strictly delineate their roles as housewife and mother as appendages to the men’s roles as husband, man of the house, and father. Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge - Author Unknown. But thanks to the subsequent women's movement, many women now have learned that the page had turned and had paved the way to the full expression of the woman as an individual in her own right. The burdens and issues of economic marginalization, subordination, multiple burdens, and gender stereotyping or violence experienced by many women are now exposed, seriously discussed and dealt with in the proper forums.
So what does this give me now when I count more gray streaks in my hair and when the young are quick to relegate me to a rocking chair? It has given me this ---the time in my life where there is more creativity and excitement than there has ever been before. Unrepressed by unreasonable age-old concepts and conventions, I have become the person I was meant to be exercising my God-given talents to its fullest expression. Who says that as housewife and mother crammed with endless chores all day long that I can’t engage in other pursuits like-- draw, paint or sculpt, design women’s clothes, write poetry or put together an essay which could rouse new ideas and thoughts. Or that as a woman, I can’t express my own views on politics, religion, culture alongside pots-and-pans, diapers and milk bottles- or travel and meet with different people whose ideologies are opposite mine– or expect or demand rightful and fair exchange or compensation for honest work and service in the workplace – or seek justice when exploited and oppressed? Let me quote these beautiful words of Julia Ward Howe, When I see the elaborate study and ingenuity displayed by women in the pursuit of trifles, I feel no doubt of their capacity for the most herculean undertakings.I say do what you want to do no matter what people may think or believe. You know what your dreams are and what you want to accomplish. Believe in yourself; believe in your right to be you—beautifully woman. And you know what, age is just a number. Viva le femme!
posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 8:51 AM