Tag Archives: style

Age is just a number – isn’t it

Standard

I got pretty irritated recently. Am I beginning to look my age after all, I’m wondering? Several times this week I have been the recipient of well-meaning but patronising younger people.

You know, the way the check out women talk to you – do you need help with the packing, shall I go a bit more slowly? I have no issues with the questions – they are very courteous requests. It’s the way they are said – with the dreaded ‘dearie’ or’ sweetie’ or’ love’ added at the end of each sentence. “Oh, isn’t that sweet,” I got when buying some craft items and the shop assistant commented on my ability to alter and restyle clothes, and make my own jewellery. Considering the shop was a craft shop – surely all her customers have this, or similar abilities. Argh! It makes me so mad.

Then there were the two marketing guys in a well known craft store trying to sell me something. They noticed the limp, the temporary stick (I have a hip injury at present and the stick, I admit, is a very groovy violet floral one) and immediately changed their attitude to simpering sympathy as if a) it must be age-related arthritis and b) I must therefore be on the way out and need help.

I was at a conference on Saturday full of vibrant, inspiring women from average age 50 to 70 though with some younger and older. We had a really inspiring talk and demo about colour styling. The woman who was talking seemed really in tune with modern older women’s desire to continue to look stylish, attractive, sexy. Then we had an equally inspiring talk by a younger woman who had undertaken a personal, physical challenge and walked the Great Wall of China for charity. Her experiences were something to be proud of, I quite agree. Then she spoilt it by suggesting the women in the room should also take on a challenge themselves, suggesting it would make them feel worthy and having achieved something.

I have two comments to make here. Firstly that many of the women in the room had already achieved so much in their lives, whether raising a family in the adverse conditions after the war or in the 70s, or having pursued exciting careers as teachers, solicitors, social workers and other similar professions. Many had travelled the world, organised events, changed careers, cared for elderly relatives or disabled children. Every woman in that room had already achieved great personal challenge .

Secondly – a question – why is personal challenge only seen in terms of physical challenge? Eg: sport, running races, trekking, climbing, jumping out of aircraft etc. Challenge comes in many forms – yes physical, but also intellectual, creative, even emotional. Any woman who has put up with a difficult marriage and finally found the courage to get out, or has put up with physical, verbal, financial abuse and bullying, they have already achieved greatness. After a lifetime of work with children young people and families I’m busy challenging myself to pursue a writing career, and last year I taught myself to paint in watercolours; this year I’m learning about the Qaballa and yoga. By the end of the conference, to make a point, I had volunteered to run next year’s regional conference. Another personal challenge. My topic – adding value to age – aimed at inspiring and empowering all older women to ‘not go quietly into the night’. I’m going to steer clear of ‘how to make a will’ or ‘plan your eco-funeral’ or ‘care for your arthritis in favour of singing, restyling yourself, dancing, eating delicious anti-aging foods, and other such positive activities.

A final – tongue in cheek – comment: I was delighted to be able to get into the cinema one evening and not only benefit from Orange Wednesday, but at a reduced pensioner rate too! Well I’m only human! I’ll take advantage of my age if it means a discount, any day; to hell with image then!

Advertisements

Just another canvas – how it started

Standard

Image“What made you do that?” asked a (so called) friend after I’d had my first – well second, er third – tattoo. I’m 62 and according to this acquaintance, I should know better at my age. “I didn’t think you’d be into that kind of thing, “she added. Thing I thought, slightly bewildered? Just goes to show, doesn’t it, how people you’ve known for years:

  1. Never do really know you, and
  2. Are happy and quick to judge you

I’ve had ‘get a tattoo’ on my ‘list of things to do before …’ for years but never dared to be vulnerable enough to flaunt convention and just – do it! Then I got fed up of being ‘the someone’ that other people expected me to be, or approved of. You know … the dutiful daughter, the loyal wife, the caring mother, a compassionate friend, an inspiring teacher, a conscientious social worker, a creative therapist?  But just who am I really? I’ve never really known the answer to that question.

Once upon a time I was going to be an artist, a writer; lead a bohemian lifestyle (I always adored the Victorian poets and Pre-Raphaelites – I really feel I belong then)  but … time, relationships, job commitment – well, they get in the way, don’t they.

Once upon a time I was a rebel – a hippy flower child, born in the 50s, spending my developing years growing within the creativity and emerging freedoms of the 60s. Where did all that courage, rebellion; all that energy, go? How did it all get so lost in time?

To be honest, I’m quite a young-looking, creative and visionary person who has inspired others to do all sorts of marvellous things but never really explored my own Self.  I have flaws, I freely admit – laziness vies with ambition; my voluptuous curves belie an interest in healthy lifestyles and environmental responsibility; a love of beautiful things, including clothes, strains a fixed income. Being born within the sign of Gemini (the Twins) is so hard to live with; especially as it also results in an extrovert/introvert confliction.

Well no more. I will bare my soul for all to see – revel in my almost waist long, blond from a bottle, I won’t put up with grey, hair, dress how I want whether that be vintage, gothic or just a baggy old sweat shirt and jeans. I will do what I want – stay in bed reading till lunch time or practice kundalini yoga in the garden; run Goddess workshops for like-minded women; sit goggle-eyed at my laptop till time disappears writing my stories, poetry, the novel; paint all weekend long; or just sit and daydream to beautiful music; or eat cream scones in a countryside café with my friend.  And to my critical friend, let me just say about my three (er four, no five, with one being a work in progress ) tattoos …

My body? Its mine! It belongs to me; and I am after all, an artist at heart … so, my body is just another kind of journal or blog, to decorate, and assist me in telling my story – in other words:  it’s just another canvas! My body has become a metaphor for change. “Bring it on,” I say. What do you say?