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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 9/ Richmond, VA

Merry meet friends....
Michelle here bringing lots of love and light

"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Perception: the way you think about or understand someone or something; the ability to understand or notice something easily

As we age, our perceptions about aging changes.  When we look back, we realize we were so young when we thought/said/or did that, whatever that may have been.  When looking ahead, we think a certain age is so old and we don't understand how anyone could think/say/or do that, whatever that may be. 

As a teenager I went to New York every summer to work and to visit my aunts, the twins, Virginia and Vivian.  The saying at the time was, "Hide your things, Mickie's coming." It wasn't said because I would take anything but because I would want it (clothes/jewelry) and ask to have it.  I didn't understand how if I liked it, my aunts could like it as well.  After all, they were old!  They didn't act old I just thought that they were.  I mean they were mothers for goodness sake!  The fact of the matter is that they are only 13 years older than I, which means at the time, that they were 28-30.  Of course it didn't occur to me that perhaps I was too young to like their things.

We all know our ages but sometimes the realization of it happens very suddenly.  It happened for me when I was 49.  My oldest daughter, Zakiya, was ending her first year at Howard University.  The entire family was there to help her move.  For some reason, my children always seem to feel that I shouldn't do any lifting, (which by the way keeps you strong) and will relegate me to the side.  As I stood in the hallway of the dorm listening to my daughter and her friends chatter about their summer plans, I had a thought.  The thought was this: "when did I stop being 18; when did I become 49 and someone's mother; how do I know how to tell someone what to do?"  It felt like the twilight zone. (ok I remember The Twilight Zone, geez!)  It felt as if I had stepped into another dimension of time and I suppose on some level I had.  That was a defining moment for me.

People either accept, embrace or fight aging.  For some, acceptance means to settle into it; to stop doing anything or going anywhere; to wait for the end that's certainly coming.  Others embrace it as a part of the life cycle, making peace with it but not allowing it to define them; they are actively living. Then there are those who fight with all the energy they have; potions, surgery, cosmetics, etc.  I can understand this because western culture does not appear to honor their elders, male and female, as other cultures do.    Andy Rooney said, "It's paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone."  Again, society seems to be the culprit here.  I know that men have their issues with aging as well as women but it sometimes seems as if older women are invisible.

When I was around 8 or 9 years of age, I remember loving grey hair and saying to God that when my hair turned grey I would never color it.  I noticed grey strands in my twenties and said to God that we would have to rethink my childhood statement.  In 2008 when I was in Los Angeles, I wore my hair in cornrows because I was in an exercise program and it was easier to handle.  At the time I was coloring my hair but was not having it done in LA.  I noticed the grey growing in against my tanned face and loved how it looked.  I decided that I would have the color cut out when I returned to VA.  In 2009 I did just that.  At first I was concerned that it would make me look older but the stylist Gloria, who is also my friend, said that it would be my attitude and hair style that would determine that.  She was right and I have had more people stop me or recognize me by my hair.

So a few weeks ago a female friend asked  tentatively, if I ever thought about coloring my hair and I answered no. I'm very comfortable with my hair color.  She went on to say that she was thinking about experimenting with a different color.  Now, the mind can and will carry us to a multitude of places.  I immediately began to wonder if she thought I looked old or if she thought that I was making people wonder about her age since we were together.  I didn't ask her any of those questions however, but I did wonder.  The funny thing is that it was my hair that attracted her to me in the first place.  It's not the same style and I think radiation has changed the texture somewhat but still.  Any way this incident started me thinking about all of the things that we do to avoid "looking older".  I began to ask myself for whom are we trying to look younger, ourselves, others or both? 

There is a quote attributed to Marilyn Monroe that says: "I want to grow old without facelifts...I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I've made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you'd never complete your life, would you? You'd never wholly know you." It's a pity she never got to find out.  George Orwell said - " At 50, everyone has the face he/she deserves."  I feel as if I've earned my face; sags, bags, crows feet and wrinkles.  No one knows my story but me as no one knows yours but you.  Would I like to see my face and body without these things?  Of course there are times when I look in the mirror and shudder but then I remember, you've earned this face and this body.  I am exercising and eating clean to be healthy and not to fit someone's or my own perception of how I should look. 

I have been the Maiden, the Mother and am now the Crone.  I hope to be a juicy one, a vibrant one, a wild one.  I hope to never stop playing, laughing, dancing, crying, making love.  I want to run with the wolves (thank you Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes) and howl at the moon when its full.  I invited the women at the Herbal Immersion to be a wild woman and howl with me, to embrace who they are and enjoy life whatever the age.  I like to say that we are the ages we are because of the twelve month calendar we use. If we used a six month calendar, we would be twice our age, a two year calendar we would be half our age.  Aging is something we all do but let us not fear it, the only alternative is death, so let's rock with it, roll with it. 
"And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!" - Audrey Hepburn

Until next Sunday.....
Merry part and merry meet again, Blessed be!
Gypsi Mama Michelle


  1. I know what you mean about the aunts and even Mama seeming old when we were young. Recently I was telling Annette about Mama and I going to the hotel bar when we were in Boston; it was 1974 when Nana, Aunt Alma, Mama and I went on a bus trip to all of the New England states and Canada. A couple of guys bought us drinks and danced with us. I was 19 and Mama was 38 - 21 years younger than I am now, but she was my mother and at that time, to me, she was old. In recent years I have come to realize that we grew up with Mama and the twins - they were teenagers when the four of us were born.

    In terms of "...for whom are we trying to look younger,..." the answer to that question, for me, is me. I went to my doctor's office last week and her medical assistant looked at my age in shock finding it hard to believe that I am 59. I've always wished that I could step outside of myself and see me as others see me. Though I was dressed "cute" in my leggings, top, head wrap and jewelry, I felt older than 59 as I put on my makeup before leaving for my appointment. But when I walked downstairs Deon told me I looked good and the medical assistant and my doctor said the same thing. While I appreciated their compliments, it was their assessment of me and not my own. I don't look or feel like me anymore; the mirror reflects back to me images of mama or lately, Nana, in her later years. I embrace getting old I just don't like looking old and to me I do.

    1. Debbie the point I'm trying to make is that perception is key. We see ourselves as old for a couple of reasons. We look in the mirror and expect to see the same person we saw years, months or maybe weeks ago. We don't see who we are now. Also we live in such a youth obsessed culture that the media portrays youth as the ultimate. Naturally if we compare ourselves to the 20, 30,40 and in my case 50 year olds we feel we fall short. We can't look like them, we don't even look like our former selves. Embracing who we NOW and seeing the beauty in that is what I'm advocating. If you have to compare and I don't believe we need to, then compare forward, compare yourself to those much older than you. Perhaps you will fell better but I hope you will allow yourself to see yourself, not even as others see you, but as you are now. And that my dear, is beauty in itself.

  2. Good read Gypsy Mama! I was thinking the same thing the other day. I said the goal is to grow old and "raggedy". Lol. It's funny how when we are younger, we look at things completely different. Then you grow up and either laugh at what you did, realize you did something awesome and didn't even know it. Then you get the moments when we look at Grown ups and think "that's boring", like just having a good cup of TEA! Lol. Who enjoys a cup of hot tea.

    The beauty of growing is expanding thou mind. Sometimes I just sit and think about the smallest things and appreciate it. Like looking at water, and the awesomeness of breathing oxygen. Even the solar system. I was at the planetarium the either day... I was zoned out. Fascinated. Not just at out universe. But at what we don't even know. But better yet, the way the screen was set up so you can "feel" like you are traveling.

    When I was a kid. It was interesting. But I was looking forward to seeing the cool things. Like making a plastic dinosaur in the quarter machine in the basement of the museum. ;-)

    Good post.

    Go run with the Wolves. Id like to swim the oceans with the whales, Orcas..

    Years to come.

    1. Yes our perceptions do change don't they? The longer we live, the longer we learn. my grandfather used to say, "Just keep on living, Darlin'. " We laughed as children but he was absolutely correct! Swim with the Orcas, you owe it to yourself.