§ We came to this world to LIVE OUT LOUD.
The beauty of being in your 40’s and beyond
I now have two teenage daughters and I find that I get so triggered and quite frankly, pissed, as they go through the trials and tribulations of being adolescent girls in our world.
I seem to live their breakups, their ups and downs, as though I were living my own.
“Why are you getting so worked up?” my husband says as I glare at him and accuse him of just not getting it because he is a man.
I remember a therapist once told me that if we have anything left to heal from a particular age, it will hit us big time when our kids get to that age.
Apparently, my inner teenager still has some stuff to heal.
Take for instance the latest drama in our household, as one of my daughters faces a guy who won’t take “no” for an answer. She liked him at first but quickly found him to be too possessive, intense, demanding, judgmental. Telling him she wasn’t interested in him just made him intensify his efforts of texting her and stopping by in the evenings to drop off gifts for her.
I started to feel like he was invading our household. I started to feel really angry.
I supported her in setting a very clear and strong boundary with him.
And yet, I was still pissed.
Why was I getting so worked up?
I sat with it and realized that my inner teenager and 20’s me was still really pissed off… at the catcalls, the sexualized comments when I clearly wasn’t interested, the co-workers and male clients who hit on me and treated me differently than my male colleagues, the older men who made passes at me even though I was young enough to be their daughter, the need to say “I’m not interested” or “no” numerous times before certain men actually accepted it.
The need to threaten to knee several guys in the balls and mean it.
Then there was the adventurous me who traveled the world, always aware to be careful and that there were places that just weren’t safe for me as woman.
I remember hiding out in my guesthouse in Rome as some overzealous Romeo stopped by way too many times and even left me an autographed huge photo of himself AFTER I made it clear that I wasn’t interested.
And the frustration of trying to eat solo anywhere in Italy and constantly being propositioned. It seemed to be inconceivable to many men that I may actually want to read my book as I eat my meal as opposed to entertain their advances in broken English.
And the guy on a French train to Versailles who exposed himself to me as I looked around, suddenly aware that I was pretty much alone on that train. I felt so violated and concerned for my safety.
And how I went out to eat alone on my first business trip to Argentina at the age of 22, to not only be whistled at nonstop the whole way to the restaurant but to also be propositioned in really bad Spanish by two middle aged American men sitting at the table next to mine. Apparently, they assumed that a young woman eating alone outside of the United States was a prostitute.
And the terrifying experience of having to push furniture up against the doors and window of our hotel room in a small town in Morocco as a group of men tried to get in while screaming all sorts of obscenities in English about what they wanted to do my friends and I.
It’s unfair and it sucks and it’s an everyday reality of being a younger woman in our society.
And one of the many reasons I love being in my 40’s is that I finally feel free.
I still feel beautiful and sensual (and even get an occasional whistle as I walk by a construction site – which makes me laugh these days because I’m old enough to be these guys’ mother).
And I also feel so much more empowered – to say “no” and mean it, to assert myself and my needs or wishes kindly but firmly, to rebuke unwanted advances without feeling any inner turmoil, TO FEEL SAFE IN OUR WORLD.
And to teach my girls, with all of my hard-earned wisdom, that it’s ok to not be nice whenever they feel like their boundaries are being trespassed. That it’s ok to command respect and not settle for anything less. That it’s ok to feel like getting dressed up and being feminine while still absolutely maintaining absolute power and choice about what they do, where, with whom and when.
It feels good to be useful and wise. Another thing I love about being in my 40’s.
What about you? What do you love about being in your 40’s or beyond?