These last few weeks seem to have been tough for a lot of folks- in my life, online. And for whatever reason- the stars, the algorithms- I have seen some hurtful, cliché shit online and in pop culture and I’m just done with it. There are popular, thoughtless ideas that bother me deeply, because if we’re not careful and critical, these ideas can hurt us psychologically, emotionally, in our motivation and self-esteem, in our ability to feel we have some control over our lives. For instance…
The idea that we have to love ourselves before we can be loved by someone else. This one makes me so sad. Listen, I’m almost 44 and it was only about two years ago that I even gave enough of a damn to find time to start working on loving myself. I’ve got a really successful marriage- if I’d waited until I loved myself, I would have missed out on 23 years of actual love and growth. Many of us feel unloveable and the love we receive from a variety of relationships can help us feel worthy and fulfilled- love is always welcome, even when we’re broken (because, we’re all broken). Can we throw this other stupid idea away, please?
One thing I don’t talk about here is how you ‘should’ be some kind of goddess- a sex goddess, a mid-life goddess- because to me, that puts a lot of pressure on women. Now, there was a time in my life when I studied and emulated a lot of goddesses, and if that floats your boat I do not want to take it away from you. But for many of us, the idea of ‘goddess’ is a lofty one and a lot of us don’t have time to cultivate that. Like, I have laundry to do. And I don’t want anyone to feel inferior for not matching up to some definition that we did not create for ourselves.
On the flip side, moments when I actually feel like a goddess: when the kids listen the first time, when me and hubs can relax into some extended sexy time, when I finish a goal (which can be of any size), when I can support or encourage a friend, when I figure something out and can fix it. Please, feel free to be a goddess, but please define that shit for your own self.
And perhaps this is where this post needs to go. Please don’t feel bad about how your life is going or how you define things for yourself. I mean, damn, that’s one of the joys of mid-life: you get to define some shit for yourself because you know a thing or two now. You know, in the Sex Surge, for some women it’s a big deal (‘sex goddess’ level deal) to start using some sex toys. For others, they go all the way out to swinging or BDSM clubs. And god bless all of those choices. But please don’t feel obligated to be something that you’re not.
There are so many pressures on mid-life women. We are caring for so many people – family, friends, children, parents, community. We juggle work and family and time for ourselves. We have financial concerns and emotional shit to deal with. I do not want us to accept any outside definitions or ideas that make us feel less worthy, less capable, less sexy, less smart, less of anything.
Because here’s the thing: we are all doing the best we can. I see those of you struggling to hold your world together because of some illness or a partner who is more of a lump. I see those of you who are 43 and dealing with college kids, and those of you who are 43 and dealing with toddlers. I see those of you who have the chips stacked against you. I see those of you who are just barely making it through the grind each day.
We are all doing the best we can.
And I want to celebrate that.
I want you to know that you’re worthy of love even if you don’t love yourself yet. That you can be any kind of goddess- if you want to. That, yes, there are systemic barriers for women (and especially women of color), but you do have some control over the choices in your life. I want you to know that you’re worthy, valuable, and amazing even if your hair isn’t looking so great and there’s a sock stuck in the toilet.
Please don’t accept the standards the world gives you. Please always take the time to critically examine the picture the world hands you and decide what works for you and how you want to live. Because, dammit, at mid-life we know enough to know what’s real and worth our time and what is bullshit we can leave behind. So, let your life be your own. Don’t buy into anything that asks you to be something you’re not. Because women who are fulfilled on their own terms are really what will change this world.
If you need help figuring out a problem, dealing with a mid-life debacle, or handling the Sex Surge in a way that works for you, feel free to sign up for a 20 minute intro call. I’d love to help you become who you want to be at mid-life.