Luminosity And A Delicate Subject

1 Lough

We have now entered what I refer to as “The Luminous Weeks”, the time from ca. four weeks before the Summer Solstice to four weeks after. I’m nowhere near the polar circle, obviously, but the length of the days is still very noticeable. When I turn off the light in the budgies’ room and go downstairs around ten, it’s still bright enough to see without much problem, and in the mornings I wake up at five and think it must be eight. It’s not doing my sleep any favours – I’m far too happy to go back to sleep once I’m awake – but I love love love every minute of it.

Or at least, I will until my hayfever sets in around the Solstice. Then I’ll spend six weeks groggy and grumpy, with a swollen face and looking like my own grandmother. Not exactly looking forward to that.

I have something to share with ye today, which I’ve been a little reluctant to talk about. I first shared it in the Village – thanks guys, for “proof-reading” it for me – and now here’s a slightly extended version of it. It might even go into my articles list. I titled it “The Wild Woman Over 40”! Here goes.

Advance warning: This post may turn out to be a little rambling. It’s a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. As well, there has been tons written about it by far wiser people, so I’m aware I’m standing on the shoulders of giants here.

It’s about the perception of women in our society, but I don’t mean to make this a feminist rant. What I want to write about concerns me personally.

You see, I find – to my amusement – that society as a whole just doesn’t know what to make of me. To an extent, they never have, but as long as I was “young”, it was a little more accepted to live as I do. They could still put me into the “wild years” category. A young woman is allowed, to a certain extent and at least by more liberal minds, to live out her desires including her sexuality.

But what on earth should the world do with a woman in her mid fourties who is a. single, b. sexually active, and c. picky?? As well as being childless, if I may add.

I see this in almost everyone I meet, with very few exceptions. The first assumption is usually that I “just can’t get a feller to settle down with”. When they begin to realise that’s not quite it, they are confused (or they think I must have been “hurt”. I mean, yes I have, I doubt there’s anyone over the age of 15 who hasn’t been hurt in love, but I have no bitterness and I adore men). 

I think it’s to do with restrictive notions of how women are “supposed to be”, and considering how long feminism has been around, that’s astonishing. It’s the same reason why women seem to disappear from Hollywood movies once they hit middle age (except in very specific roles, usually as comic relief, or the “frustrated housewife” or similar). Yes, I know there are exceptions, but that’s what they are – exceptions, and far far fewer than the men of equal age.

Basically, a woman my age should be married / in a relationship, or a sad case. Since I am neither, the people I meet are at a loss. 

All my life, I’ve been used to being the weird one in the way I approach the whole subject of love (I wrote about this in the last paragraphs of my previous post). It’s hard for people to understand how I can love someone and not necessarily want a relationship, but this is just part of what I do: I adore people, I get starry-eyed about them, and I love them. In the case of a gorgeous man, this may include sex and last anything from a few nights or weeks to years. The entire construct of a “relationship” often just gets in the way of this (though not always; it does fit me at times). It’s a wild-woman thing.

I’ve ALWAYS had problems explaining this approach to people, but the way people don’t know how to react to me at all, has got a lot more pronounced over the last ten years or so.

Again, this isn’t a “problem” as such, it amuses me more than anything else, although it can get a little tiring. I’ve been fortunate to always know a few people who were above such idiotic ideas, and if the world has a problem with me, then that’s the world’s problem – I’m far too busy being happy! It’s just puzzling to me, and fascinating, how little has really changed in perceptions.

I own my age, my body, my intense-as-ever emotions (highly sensitive…), and my sexuality. Sorry, world. Not!

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Weird And Wonderful Things

Tour                               At the end of the tour, still slightly shell-shocked from all we had                                                               learned. Lee in the middle, Inga on the right, and me third from left.

I’m in a state of hagish bliss, which may seem over the top to some, but it’s actually authentic. With all the intensity that comes with being me, I know myself quite well and know what I need at any given moment. Recently, I’ve moved across the country and healed from a period of isolation, and I’ve only just started reaching out to people around here. These things take time, and so what I needed was an injection of people, inspiration, mental floss, and hugs in abundance. That’s exactly what I got this past weekend in London.

Usually I dislike cities, but earlier that week I’d had a heart-opening experience (I love it when people do that to me without even realising it) and I was radiating so much love and warmth that I attracted/met only the kindest, funniest, nicest people you could imagine, even complete strangers like the cabby on the way back to the hostel on Saturday night. As for my friends, I have a lot to make up for after years of withdrawing into myself, and it was doing me so good to reconnect and spend quality time with the utter blessing which is Inga, and catch up with my lovely “adoptive daughter” Penny.

Yesterday, Inga and I spent much of the afternoon and evening with the thoroughly wonderful Lee, starting off with his tour “Egyptian Magic and Enlightenment” in the British Museum. I’d been meaning to take this tour for so long, and I’d had sky-high expectations but Lee still managed to blow them out of the water. He proceeded to spin a web of symbols and meaning and context all around us in so many layers and dimensions, it was staggering. Apart from his vast knowledge, he has such passion and joy in the subject, it would be impossible to listen and be left untouched.

The sheer amount of facts left me reeling – in the good way! Seriously, if you are ever in London, if there’s only one thing you do, make it this tour. You can thank me later.

We went for a cup of tea afterwards and amazing Japanese food in the evening, and it was an all-around perfect day, with lots of talk and laughter and red wine, all combined with a mild spring evening in a wide-awake city. I felt a little surreal after a night of 1 1/2 hours sleep, but it was strangely appropriate for the experience – no chance of hiding anything, when I’m sleep deprived I carry my heart on my sleeve and I felt like hugging the world, not just the two people in front of me, simply because it’s been so long since I’ve spent any significant amounts of time around people I actually resonate with. When Inga and I got back to the hostel, we kept talking – seriously, we must have talked ourselves hoarse over the course of this weekend, and we’re not nearly done.

One of the insights I gained from talking to Inga is that there’s no need to figure out an ultimate destination in my life. I’m exactly where I need to be, and if “where I need to be” changes in the future, then that’s the way things develop, rather than the correction of an error (huge difference!). This refers to my living situation, as in the whole question of living in Ireland or moving to a different part of the world, as much as it refers to relationships. I’ve always struggled to explain to people how I remain flexible in the way I relate to the men in my life. I’ve been in relationships at times, but for the most part I’ve had what I call “loving affairs” which suit me much better most of the time, because they honour my contradictory needs for independence and a deep connection. The point is, both have had their place at different times in my life, and that’s how it still is.

It is SO GOOD to finally, once again talk to people who actually get these things. Who get this weird, happy, cuddly mess that is the hag. I’m back home today and while I’m still tired, I can’t stop smiling.

Life, I love you, all is groovy…

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Emotion In Motion

Bealtaine hag

This is me at around 3 a.m. on Bealtaine, partied-out, sweaty, exhausted, and ecstatic. I had done my ritual on Bealtaine eve, and then drove an hour to Spiddal to go to a Retro Club with some of the best 70s and 80s music I’ve heard in years, and great people who made me feel welcome. I proceeded to dance my hagish ass off for hours, chatted to some of the aforementioned lovely people, and then drove home feeling like someone had lit me on fire, in the good way. I took the picture just after stepping through the door.

A few minutes later I discovered that my period had started a full 2 1/2 days early, and so I spent Bealtaine (and the following two days) curled up with a hot-water bottle, grumpy and ache-y, and VERY far from feeling sexy and up to all sorts of things the way I should have. It’s times like these when I actually look forward to menopause!

Luckily, this is Ireland where “Bealtaine” means the whole of the month of May. So it doesn’t just all hinge on the one night and day, and there’s plenty of time for mischief. I’m a very happy hag these days, most of my time is spent running around and doing things, and dancing until I drop so I’ll stay grounded enough to not float away.

The process of slowly gaining back my strength and endurance is ongoing, and will likely take another while. I’m well past the point where I had to push myself to do exercise; these days, I have to stop myself before I do damage to my body. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, actually – you all know that Prince died about two weeks ago, and as it turns out, he wasn’t a junkie but died from complications of his medication for chronic pain, which he suffered from as a result of his dancing (here’s an article about it).

Music has been one of the few constants in my life. I’ve wanted to sing and dance since I could stand on my own feet, but a problem with my hip bones means that my lower back is fairly inflexible – other people struggle to touch their toes, I can hardly reach below my knees, and I’ll never get any better at it – so dancing professionally was out of the question.

And so I danced on my own, in my room and later in clubs. Just freestyle jumping-around, to whatever music inspires me at the time. I dance to 70s disco music and to prog metal (if you think metal is only good for headbanging, think again) and everything in between, and I often say dancing is my sanity, because it’s my way of processing my intense emotions.

It’s a sign of how much of myself I had shut down in the past years, that it was the only time in my life when I wasn’t dancing. I was numb to my emotions, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to bear it.

Now that I’m active again, I find it scary when my back hurts, or my shoulder. Often, it’s simply muscle stiffness, and that’s a good sign and means I’m getting stronger again. But other times it’s clearly just overuse, and I’m painfully aware of the fact that the years of sitting on my ass and eating crap have taken a toll on my body. I’m determined to find a way to keep moving and currently I think that building muscles is the key. There are plenty of examples of athletes of very advanced age; if you’re on Facebook, just check out the pages “Growing Bolder” and Alex Rota’s photography. I’m not going to slow down, not when I’m 70 and certainly not now. Moving my body, actually USING my body the way nature designed it, makes me way too happy to give it up.

The happiness also means that the darkness has mostly passed. I knew it would (if you remember, I wrote about it a few entries back), it was just a question of time. When I first started to truly feel my emotions again, there was a lot of shit which bubbled up with the happiness. It was quite a rollercoaster for some time, with scary lows. But now that the first wave is over, I’m beginning to settle into myself again, and the highs and lows are more manageable. I’ve always had them, it’s part of being the hag and also part of being highly sensitive, but the extremes are gone for the time being (normal people still find my emotions extreme, but they do anyway).

In the meantime, I’ve gotten so much done, I’ve been to Germany to see my dad, my sister and her man, and my dear friends Andreas and Karola. Next weekend I’ll go to London to spend a two days with my favourite Hulder! I’m not planning on sleeping, I’ll be too busy painting the town red. I’ll be home by lunchtime on Monday, and I’ll have the rest of the day off so I can catch up on sleep then.

I hope you’re having an equally beautiful month of Bealtaine!

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