In my last post I spoke about my new project 1-15-15 which encompasses the rediscovery of my physical, sexual, and emotional well-being. Way back when I was a young woman, I imagined by the age of 60 that I would have all the answers, be totally together, and be congruent with the world in which I live. Now that I am 61 and in the process of rediscovery, I can honestly admit that I don’t know what it looks like to be a whole woman who is sexy, smart, and resilient. However, from this space of not knowing, I encounter the UNKNOWN and all of its incredible possibilities and opportunities. What I do know, whether I like it or not, is that life will throw things my way when I least expect it.
The day after I last posted, I had such an opportunity when I attended a lovely cocktail party at a dear friend’s home. When I arrived at the party, I felt comfortable in my skin and was delighted to be there. I had the good fortune to meet with a lovely couple in their 80s who told me how they met 25 years ago after losing each of their spouses. I was happy to hear that they found love again after suffering through grief and loss. As I was leaving the party and saying goodbye to the woman, she told me I was beautiful and looked much younger than my age. As I was saying thank you, she added “but you are too fat and that is unacceptable for meeting men”. Wow … from utopia to hell in 30 seconds or less. I was stunned into silence by her comment. I mumbled that I gained a great deal of weight after my husband died and was in the process of losing it and getting back into shape. What I wanted to really do was slap her across the face and scream at her for being cruel and insensitive.
I left the party in a state of dismay. I thought through how I wanted to handle the situation. I spoke to my closest confidants – both men and women – and was supported in how to handle this lack of integrity on the woman’s part. The following week I saw her at another party. I was pleasant upon arrival, but knew it was important to let her stew in her own juices for awhile before I spoke with her. An hour and a half later I approached her and we spoke. I took her hand and looked her directly in the eyes. I told her that her comments to me were unacceptable and offensive. I also stated that I do not tolerate women treating each other like this. She apologized profusely and felt ashamed. She and I talked for quite awhile and we each had a healing experience. I stood in my power and she humbled herself in the face of truth and integrity.
This experience provided me the opportunity to step into my authority and allowed her to take responsibility for her actions. This was a powerful moment in my journey towards being true to who I am and NOT to the cultural standards that dictate who women are supposed to be in the world. The moral of the story is be true to who you are and to constantly challenge social and cultural expectations that weigh both women and men down. No pun intended of course!