My regular work week for this week ends today. So I’m pausing for a minute to look back and take a deep breath.
The two women above are familiar bus commuters. There are also one or two people I see regularly who get off at my stop near home. We never talk, even though for sure we recognize one another.
In a small town, I guess you couldn’t escape talking to whoever you meet, wherever you are – it’d just be rude not to. But commuting for me is a time when I really want to observe and not communicate, especially to make small talk. So I’m glad we live in a metropolis and recognition is enough in this situation.
I had a good talk with a member of my small tribe this week, my husband. I confided in him that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to claim my ornery moods and loner periods, without the need to apologize for them. Gregarious I am not. Serious I am, though I love to laugh. My sense of humor is both dark and absurd, don’t expect me to be prudish either. I’ll recognize that small talk is necessary and even edifying at times in some weird, “I’ve put my antennas out to make sure you’re an ant like I am” way, but I’m not afraid to put it in its place in my own, special grand scheme of things. I need my space, and I won’t tolerate challenges to it.
In a month I’ll turn 50. I’ve carried, given birth to and am raising two amazing kids, I’ve been married since I was just shy of 24, and dammit, I’m not a teenager anymore who desperately needs to reach out from isolation to make new friends who have nothing in common with me. I’ve probably said this before, but I don’t need a lot of superficial anything. I’m happy with few, but deep and lasting relationships.
This is a good place to be – relaxing into authenticity, letting yourself be who you are and shutting out all irrelevant opinions that undermine that. This is what I’ve always loved about the prospect of getting older – people can lay off of you regarding trivial crap because you’re no longer, at least as a woman, a reproductive prospect.
Looking back, I perceive that this “reproductive prospect” period of time seems to be the biggest point of pressure in women’s lives. In other words, to look and act for the purpose of “catching a man” (even if you’re not hetero!). How lame to have to play that game during your youth to fit in. Femininity is defined as, well – take a look at what older women do through plastic surgery and relentless exercise to make their upper arms look like the arms of the atheletes that they never were. Like that will turn back the clock to what they’re supposed to be, per our society. Sorry, you don’t have people fooled, no matter how well you’ve “held up” – a la Trump comments about Macron’s much older spouse (thankfully she is French however, and not Beverly-Hillsian).
It’s a burden I’ll gladly throw off a cliff so I can listen gleefully for its splat below. I’m way more than that. Buh-bye, faux female.