I have reached a point in my life where it is easier to stop caring what others think. They call it the crone phase. It’s strangely, sadly funny that it is a stage with such an ugly sounding word. Crone. It doesn’t exactly conjure up images of beauty, or aging gracefully, does it?
The problem I have found though, is not the opinions of others, as much as the opinion of my own inner voice. That is much harder to silence. Perhaps that’s because that voice has so few references in society to turn to for what it means to age gracefully, to find beauty in the rounding of hips and belly, to find beauty in the coarse silver that replaces the deep brown, which I never truly appreciated until now, to find the beauty in life’s cares and joys that are revealing themselves in lines upon my once smooth face.
It was easy once upon a time to find beauty in the rounding of hips and breasts when it was a time of youthful transition and transformation. Then it was an image that we prized, that we celebrated. The ugly duckling becoming the graceful swan. The plain caterpillar becoming the stunning butterfly.
With generations upon generations of women becoming elders with beauty and wisdom only they can possess, where are the images of fantastic transformation that we can turn to as we move through this time? Why are we hidden away, looked away from, during a time when we have so much to offer?
Our wisdom is deep and hard earned.
Our hearts are accepting and boundless.
Our glasses belie the clarity with which we see.
Our memories contain the lessons of our years.
Our bodies have transformed because we now carry within us life in a different form.
Our minds are a repository of knowledge, not only the practical kind of science, medicine, nature, literature and art, but also the knowledge of what is truly important, what is worth carrying with us through life and what can be safely set aside.
Our physical bodies radiate the knowledge, wisdom, struggle, and love of a lifetime in stories spelled out with lines upon our faces and wild silver in our hair, in the twinkle in our eyes and the swing of our rounded hips.
Our transformation into the fullness of our womanhood is a rite of passage filled with fire, heat, laughter, courage, frustration, tears, and finally release and joy, as the deep cry of labor and birth is rent from us a final time as, at last we give birth to ourselves.
Though the process is sweaty and fraught with cries of pain, as any birth is, the new life we bring forth is one of incredible beauty, overflowing with gifts to offer a world that chooses not to receive them.
Perhaps we need only to look to the past to Latin to better understand. In Latin womanhood is divitias feminei sexus, or riches of the female sex. Sounds like the warrior name we deserve that more aptly describes the gifts we have to give. So from here on out, feel free to refer to me as Ms. Divitias!