New York City, it still thrills and seduces me. Yesterday morning, safely home, as I wrote my way through thoughts and feelings I jotted down a few words that represent me in this moment.
Fierceness. passion. desire. brain. sexiness. fluidity. verbal skill. witchy charms.
All of it. I stand in the contradictions—the soft curves and the sharp edges. My temperaments. Mood. My charm, sex appeal, power. Aging.
Are you willing to make this kind of list, for public display? I haven’t always been able to do so. I sometimes struggle with the idea that it’s better, safer, less fearful to be small.
Nothing small about listing one’s assets.
I see them as assets—every one. Even the witchy one. A lover once told me I was a witch. I agreed. I have witchy powers. He mused that he understood “why we burned your type.” Lovingly….. I was being feisty and he was feeling thwarted. That’s how it goes. When we’re 16. When we’re 62.
New York. Just a little over 48 hours. Short and rainy, and action-packed. I scheduled a number of get-togethers in advance. I am reminded how much I enjoy interacting, engaging in conversation, sharing ideas and telling stories. It energizes me. So much so that I may start going to more regularly. The energy of the city and its people speaks to me. What I’m discovering is how my engagement with a wide variety of people gets my blood pumping and my heart expanding. The ideas pop up and I feel more alive.
I went to New York on a dare, of sorts. I answered a casting call for women, ages 40-75, who choose to age naturally, wrinkles and all. If chosen, I would be part of a skincare advertising campaign. It isn’t as much about the campaign for me as it is the opportunity to show up as an older women, unapologetically and happy to be where I am in life. I sent in my photo of a no-makeup face and did a quick video on my phone. And the head of the casting agency invited me to the first round of casting interviews. It was such a fun experience that I’m content with having gotten this far. I’ve never done anything like this, at all. And that was the big thing for me.
During the video segment of my interview I talked about my work and one of the staff asked how it impacted my life. My answer was enthused and animated—I could talk at length about women and sexuality and aging. There were smiles and laughs, and questions about sexuality. Being the savvy marketer I am (that’s a joke I’m lousy at promoting myself), I conveniently had a copy of Inviting Desire in my bag, which I shared along with business cards and a request for comments on the book. I was only at the agency for about 30 minutes but I left feeling excited and pleased with myself for having undertaken this. It was a reminder of what feeds my passion—conversations, helping liberate women from the ageist messages we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, talking about sex.
I felt like a million bucks.
Because I forgot to play small. I showed up. I gave it my all without any concern for the outcome. No makeup, unruly “she’s been in the rain ” hair. Shrugging off the old messages about taking up less space or not being pretty or thin enough.
Four hours later I was on the train home with feet propped up on the footrest and knees spread—taking up all my available space. Seven hours later, trekking across the parking lot in heavy rain I still felt energized.
And this morning, Wednesday, I’m feeling it now.
I let myself feel all the feelings. I allowed myself to acknowledge, privately and publicly that I took a gamble, showed up and did it well. I know I looked great on that video because I felt comfortable being myself.
Throughout my trip I had short pleasant conversations with strangers. With the guy unloading flowers and shrubbery at the wholesale florist shop down from my hotel, the friendly Amtrak conductor, the bartender at a bourbon bar, and the new grandma getting on a train for the first time. Life, men. Smiles and engagement. Playing big and happy and connecting with my fellow humans.
As you can see I’m still in that blissful, happy to be alive place.
I love when the pieces fall together and I feel in sync with what’s happening. When I can see what works and what I want more of—in work and play. A big part of this has been me noticing when I hide behind excuses and old stories and then seeing those exquisite moments when I step out into the light. Nothing particularly magic, just a willingness to take that first tentative step.
But, yes. Magic.
Also published on Medium.