It’s been about a year since I wrote the post The Invisible Woman. I wrote it after a trip to New York City, during which the changes of middle age were pressing on me. I was feeling and mourning the loss of youthful beauty and all the power our culture attaches to it.
I returned to NYC this year for the same event (the World Science Festival), and did many of the same activities as last year. I tried hard not to force any feelings about (in)visibility because I want my evolution to be (always) authentic as possible.
There is an evolution going on – not a revolution, to be sure. Writing on this blog and reading dozens of others has been a large part of it. Understanding that I am part of a whole, not on an aging journey alone, has helped tremendously. An attitude of gratitude for all I have: a joyful marriage, good health, and a fulfilling career, helps me “major in the majors,” not focus on physical flaws.
|Well since you asked . . . Yes!|
Walking down Manhattan streets this last visit, I held my shoulders more proudly and let the sheer joy of being in my favorite city slip out. I trained my attention not on my own appearance, but outwardly on the beauty (yes, the city has great beauty) around me. Old and young people, old and new buildings – all have beauty and stories to tell.
|The new Freedom Tower under construction, seen from Washington Square Park|
On one of my walks I was wearing a long black skirt, black tee and colorful scarf. I had my hair pulled up and wore a small silk scarf around my head and large sunglasses. Nothing very Vogue, but my walk was confident, my mood serene. A charming 70-something man said softly as he passed me, “So elegant, you are.” Ahhhh, the smile lingered on my face for many a block.
I have been reflecting on, and have adapted, a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior [or invisible] without your consent.” Italics mine, from her 1937 book, This Is My Story. So I am not going to consent to feel invisible!
How about you? I think I know the answers, and I love to read them.