Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Speak Up & Be Heard

"Ageism is as odious
      as racism and sexism."
                                             Claude Pepper

Two years ago while on a LaZoom Ghost Tour, the tour guide referred to the “little old woman” on the bus – namely, me. The humiliation, shame and hurt I felt by this comment overpowered my ability to speak up and identify what was blatant ageism.

Three friends and I, all over sixty, attended an open-mike comedy night. As we sat in front row seats, joke after joke about old age were directed at the four of us. When the grey-haired comedian took the stage, he provided damage control with humor honoring age.  But the damage had been done.

Both of the above situations reflect blatant ageism. If four African Americans or four women were sitting in those front row seats – and racist or sexist jokes were made, my belief is that someone in that audience would yell “boo” (very likely me) and get up and leave...

As I reflect on the two experiences above, what might I have done differently: First of all to have contacted LaZoom and the guide to discuss the disrespect and prejudice expressed by what was said as a comedic part of his ghost story. And to do the same with the stand-up comics. In other words, to connect and talk through and educate about ageism and the harm it perpetrates.

When talking person-to-person at a heartfelt level, it can't help but open dialog and increase awareness of yet another 'ism'. An 'ism' that impacts each and everyone of us if we are blessed to live a long life...

###

Friday, January 27, 2017

Bring Her Back

My vision is that one day cosmetic companies will recognize and acknowledge the beauty that comes with age.

MAC did it back in 2011 with Iris Apfel:


The letter below was sent via snail mail to:  

Mr. Frederic Roze
President and CEO
L'Oreal
575 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10017

Mr. Roze, I have been a long-time Lancome customer from 1982 to present. I notice each time I purchase something at a Lancome counter I am serviced by an older Lancome rep and the customers around me are all older. My guess is that many of Lancome customers are in their forties, fifties and sixties plus.

As an aging woman, the media and, especially cosmetic companies, have done us an incredible disservice. The anti-aging names of your products send a message that the natural signs of aging are a disease worse than cancer.

I no longer will give my business to a cosmetic company that continues to devalue older women by their choice of models and their anti-aging language. Older women have their own beauty as evidenced by the natural aging faces of Charlotte Rampling, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, and, most definitely, Isabella Rossellini. It is time older women have the same privilege as others by seeing ourselves mirrored in the media with positive, validating images.

Isabella Rossellini was Lancome's model when I became a customer in 1982. I was disappointed when she lost that position. Rossellini has said she wishes to model again. She states “...there are no models who can work [in their] sixties.” She's available – prove her wrong – honor older women who are your customers. The time is perfect to: “Bring Her Back!”


Sincerely,




Blair Fielding, MA, LMFT


cc  Richard Jones, Sr. VP in Charge of Luxury & Active Cosmetics
     Rebecca Masson, VP-Marketing

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wear Our Histories Proudly

"I think your whole life shows in your face
and you should be proud of that."
                                                  Lauren Bacall



As women, we have been valued for our beauty and sexual appeal. What has become apparent to me as I look at my own aging image, is how much I have internalized the media's objectification of women. In other words I, too, have valued myself for my beauty and sexual appeal. How is it I can feel better than ever about myself and then glimpse in the mirror with disappointment as I glance at my naturally aging face.

How we see ourselves mirrored in the culture impacts us. I remember when African Americans were portrayed in the media as either servants or criminals. During The Sixties we began to hear “Black is Beautiful.” African Americans began wearing the magnificent colors of their African heritage and letting their hair go natural. They claimed their own beauty and the media followed.

I made this collage of photos of naturally aging women. It reminds me of the beauty that comes with age. A beauty the media chooses not to acknowledge. Vanessa Redgrave, Charlotte Rampling, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith's naturally aging faces reflect their life journeys.

Just as my face, reflects my life journey. It reflects the hard inner work I have done and continue to do on myself. It reflects my history. Each time I now glimpse in the mirror and react with disappointment, my silent and out loud mantra is: “I Wear My History Proudly!” Let us all “Wear Our Histories Proudly.”

###

Friday, January 20, 2017

We Each Do Matter...

OldBoldandBeautiful.Life is my way of confronting ageism and its impact on women, specifically me. Then Trump got elected. One blessing I see as a result of his election, is the plethora of activists who have been birthed.

While I honor and admire those who have been moved to political activism, I also have seen how I have begun to devalue my own activism. What came out of my creative way of addressing my aging journey, I began to label as foolish and unimportant in light of all that is currently happening in our country.

Objectively, I acknowledge that these post-election concerns outweigh my personal stumbling block with my own aging process. Yet, subjectively, I know what I have internalized from our culture's objectification of women has created a dissonance within me and, I imagine, others as well, that needs to be healed.

I, too, share the concerns of others given the Trump rhetoric expressed during the campaign. The rhetoric that got Trump elected, as the rhetoric that has gotten every other candidate elected, may not come to fruition once in office. The plethora of activists who have emerged are working hard to make certain this does not happen.

In speaking with a friend today, I shared my feelings that what I am doing through OldBoldandBeautiful.Life doesn't matter in light of all that is going on. As she looked me in the eyes, her loving response was: “It matters, because you matter.” And the truth is We Each Do Matter...


###




















Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pure Torture

A wise woman once said
F*ck this shit”
and she lived
happily ever after.
                                                   Word Porn

The above quote says it all for my online-dating experience. I find it pure torture.  Plus, I find it is another Internet Time Robber....

I have received five emails from individuals checking me out. Four of the five emails were from men in other states and the fifth from a woman in Israel. When responding to one of the four out of state emails, politely indicating it is important for me to connect with someone in close proximity to Asheville, the reply I got back was “I see -- it's your way or the highway.” Whether it should have or not, I found this curt response hurtful.

Through a lot of inner work over the years, I have developed the muscle to acknowledge, validate and honor myself, and I find it comforting when receiving this from others. My short time online has me feeling like a commodity to be chosen from an online catalog. Perhaps I need to be more seasoned with the on-line rhythm. I admire those of you who are able to continue to be hopeful and play within this venue.

So how do I fulfill my 30-day commitment and channel this experience to one of continued personal growth: 1) I respect myself for having followed through on the commitment to step outside of yet another comfort zone; 2) I remain open to the remainder of the time to see what unfolds; and 3) I acknowledge, validate and embrace every feeling that may arise during this online-dating adventure...

###


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Life's Little Lessons

Life has taught me that:   All I Need, I Already Have...

Each morning I wake up, put my bathing suit on, put my street clothes on and head to the pool for my morning swim. On this particular morning, I awoke with my shadow in full gear. When my brand new blue polka-dotted bathing suit was nowhere in sight – anger burst forth. “F*ck, I left it at the pool! You stupid idiot! No one ever turns anything in!”

Have you ever had days like this? Days when you're unable to connect with your heart-centered gratitude for all that has been given you. You feel frustrated, sad, depressed – which turns to anger toward self and others (at least in my case).

So I went and put on my old bathing suit. I head to my car having dropped the blue polka-dotted bathing suit drama and feeling less angry and more centered. I restart the car and the thought comes. “Given the big snowfall I put the bathing suit in my goggle case and was going to walk to the pool but ended up walking to Liberty House with a friend for breakfast.”

Turned the car off. Head back into the house. There in my backpack was the goggle case with
the blue polka-dotted bathing suit. The lesson – when we are grounded and calm, it is true:
All We Need, We Already Have – but now we have the eyes to see it.

Thank you Life for this reminder once again...

###








Monday, January 9, 2017

And the winner is....

And the winner is: Elitesingles.com**

The adventure begins... ** I began to fill out their questionnaire which went on-and-on-and-on with no end in site. Took a break from the questionnaire and began to maneuver around their site. Then I saw that to upgrade to a more detailed search, one had to sign up for a minimum of three months – my commitment is for one month. At this point, I tore up the little piece of paper with their name on it. Then, alone in the privacy of my home, I chose another online dating site.


------------------------------


And the new winner is....Jdate.com

Wow – a much more interesting questionnaire to complete. Amazing how difficult I find it to complete simple questions like my ideal first date, life ambitions, etc. Was able to upload two photos – YAY! Once my profile is complete, I will purchase the one-month upgrade and the 30-days will begin.

I acknowledge my techno illiteracy. I am not on any social media. I continue to be quite pleased with my flip phone. I have a MacBook Air which I love and would really love if I knew how to fully use it. At this point in time – what I am enjoying most about this online dating adventure is that I am breaking out of yet another comfort zone. The actual process and doing of it has yet to be fun. But I have made the commitment – I will see it through and see what I glean from the process.


###






































Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Already Pissed Off!

Men don't age better; they are just allowed to age.*

Began the online dating adventure by googling “what are the best online dating sites for older adults.” Sites that came up were: Plenty of Fish, Match, Badoo, Senior People Meet, eHarmony, Our Time, Naughty, Zoosk, Date Hookup, How About We, Jdate, OK Cupid, Match, Elitesingles.

Spent, what felt like hours, dabbling with the online questionnaires from Elite, Jdate and eHarmony – not completing any. Each day emails fill my inbox with possible matches from each of these sites.

Jdate was the only one that allowed me to browse without signing up. There were four matches I found intriguing. Each had well written profiles with similar interests to my own. Then the trigger hit. What is it with men that they must have someone younger:

                                         Norman28786, age 78 wants a woman 52 to 72
                                         Steady Eddy A8E2, age 67, wants a woman 50 to 60
                                         Dragonfly B064, age 73, wants a woman 58 to 64
                                         145445535, age 73 and wants a woman 60 to 70

This angers and pisses me off! While ageism strikes us all, it is particularly cruel to aging women...

Back to selecting a site. How to choose? I've whittled down the selection to seven: Senior People Meet, Match, Plenty of Fish, Jdate, Elitesingles, eHarmony and Our Time. I've written each down on a piece of paper. I've put the papers in my favorite teapot.

Later this week, with a friend present, I will select one and begin the adventure.

Next blog to reveal the site...




*Do not recall where I heard or read this quote so am unable to give it proper credit.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Aloneness

It has been 8 years since my partner died and one year since I ended a four-year affair.

This past holiday season Aloneness has been my companion. We each know we come into the world alone and exit it alone. This Aloneness falls within the realm of the existential and is the Aloneness we contemplate and from which we grow.

Then there is the Aloneness of not having a best friend/lover companion. This Aloneness accompanied me on a solo trip to New York City recently.  Aloneness and I enjoyed three evenings of grand theatre and great meals. As with any companion, it is important to strike up conversation. So over a fabulous dim sum dinner,  I asked: “Aloneness – what do you need from me?”

Aloneness responded: “Some social adventures with new people might be fun...”

We all know the way to create social adventures with new people these days is to go online. There are multiple reasons I have chosen not to do online dating. I can synthesize them all down to just one: It scares me. Not because of any physical threat of danger, but rather the idea of being rejected and/or rejecting others. Plus the idea of a date, let alone dating, is scary and something I've not done in 35-plus years.

So in my ongoing effort to break out of my comfort zones, I am making a blog commitment to engage in online dating. The first step will be to decide which online site. That will be the next blog....