I recently started reading Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty by Jean Shinoda Bolen.
Can we all just heave a collective sigh that I have crossed over to this place, this space in time, this being the woman over fifty. How did this happen? When did this happen? Though I wrote five months ago that I am ready, now, I am not so sure. I feel more hesitant. It almost feels like I was trying to talk myself into being excited and ready for the challenge but now I just don’t know what it means to be the older woman. I am questioning.
The issue is that I don’t know my place, my way, my role in this story. In MY story. It’s never been my story. I have been the face in the crowd, the supporting cast member, the caregiver. I’ve never held the lead role. I don’t know what my lines are. I don’t know my cues. I don’t know where I am supposed to be and when.
In the introduction of Goddesses in Older Women, Jean Shinoda Bolen gives permission to become the protagonist of my own story and she asks if I am committed to that story, to my own story.
I hesitantly answer, “yes? I think I am?”
I want to be but I have to tell you that this scares me a little. No, this scares me a lot. It’s quite comforting to hide behind others and to lurk in the shadows behind the curtains. If I don’t accomplish what I think I want to accomplish, I can always just say it’s because I was too busy being a mom, being a wife, taking care of my mother. Without the spotlight, I don’t have the responsibility of succeeding, of carrying the story.
Seasons are changing. My husband and children don’t need me so much and my mother has passed away. It’s time now for my story. No more excuses. I have to step up to the microphone.
I have words to write. I have paintings to paint. I have stories to tell.
It’s time I begin with my own.
To be committed to my story, I have to know what my story is. To know what my story is, I have to know me. I have to find me. OH, have I entered the proverbial state of finding myself? Yes. I have and let it be so because I really have no desire to fade away in the background or to be a silent partner or to end up on the cutting room floor. I want to be lead role, producer, and director. I want it all. Anything less is simply just not possible.
I have made the second declaration of in my fiftieth year. I am ready and I am committed to my story. Now to put actions to the words.
“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”
~ Allen Ginsberg
Cynthia Lee is writing the rest of the story at justcynthia.com where she has returned to all that is herself.