What is a “Karen” but a woman who’s stopped touching her p*ssy? A woman whose stagnant eros erupts as rage?
Cut the thinning hair, cover the jiggly arms, and for God’s sake leave that pussy alone. It’s no longer fully alive, like you! Shame on you for subjecting us to your wrinkly face, soft belly, and arm waddles. Nobody wants to see that. You’re embarrassing yourself. Let him close his eyes the whole time he makes love to you, it’s only fair. Embodying eros in midlife form just isn’t appropriate. What are you–French? Don’t wear that thing that makes you feel like you’re at a party where people might skate. You look like a bag lady who lost her cart. Stake no claim in eros though your heart still beats, your lungs still breathe and your pussy still throbs. Doesn’t it?
Those are the kind of thoughts that birth a “Karen”, purveyor of dry brushfire. Does it come from the culture? Sure. But we decide how intimately we collude with that narrative, how wide it manspreads in our minds.
We can learn to hold boundaries within our own minds. Those are ninja-level boundaries and not without risk. No thank you, culture, I’m not interested in that story. Will we get pushback? Sure. And we can take that bullshit as nourishment like a peony does. So much is optional. Not death tho. That’s the real bit here. That’s what this whole thing is about, underneath. Trying death on. Who wore it best? Can you dance in it? Can you sit? Can you breathe? I like this midlife cut, it has stretch in it.
I’ve been leaning into the phrase “middle-aged lady” lately. I am also “of a certain age”, which is certainly 48. I’ve noticed people go out of their way to avoid being a “middle-aged lady”. Why? The middle way is a great path to walk. In the middle of those twin portals–birth and death–is ripe treasure that I’m not about to squander. I live in the middle of a lit paradoxical field. I have my full permission to be a middle-aged lady, exactly as I am.
I haven’t welcomed menopause yet (Shatavari!). From what I’ve heard, it has a way of clearing the field. I hope my hot flashes will bring with them a blaze that cleanses the stagnant bits of maiden left in me. Behold the crone and her earth magic. Womb writ new in full emptiness.
How much of middle aged lady misery comes from clinging to the maiden bits because there is no valued new identity culturally available? I mean, clinging to any identity just brings suffering, but still…
How do we meet that absence? By craving the facial paralysis of Botox? Does it really muffle the whisper of skull? I can’t think of a more literal refusal or our full expression. I love the lines that reach from my eyes all the way down to the middle of my cheeks when I’m really happy. No harm no foul if you’re into it. I think our bodies should express our essence just as we see fit.
But in our culture it’s go maiden or go home. Be young or stfu.
So how to live that crone life lit?
I find the first sticky bit is needing to be an object of desire. What if desire requires no object? What if we allow desire to just be the force of nature it is?
Can I just feel the wind in my hair, or do I need someone to notice me feeling the wind in my hair and put me in their spank bank for later to recognize eros in all that sensation?
When we’re tangled in the effort of pushing, pulling, and putting our desire on something or somewhere, we lose our own voice and the luminous perfection of an eggshell. They are not separate. Delight in both of those things flows with ease from embodied awareness. When we’re performing instead of experiencing eros, we lose touch with ordinary joy.
When I let go of being an object of desire and allow desire itself to penetrate me freely, I am restored to radiance. I am it and it is me, like moon and moonlight. I see the erotic perfection in an eggshell is not separate from the perfection of my pussy. Life force energy coalesced into perfect form. Each is necessary, just as it is. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be here.
My erotic life and my sexual life are related though not the same. They feed each other. Sexual confidence in middle age goes against so much conditioning. I don’t dismiss that, I notice it until it scampers off. I let it draw me deeper into the miracle of my body. Deeper into the mystery of sharing my body with another. The smells, the aches, the new softness of all of it. I could bemoan not “keeping it tight”, or I could revel in my suppleness. I think it’s pretty clear which one leads to orgasm, though that’s not the goal. There is no goal. There is no winning, just more playing.
Just this, just now. Just a middle aged white lady, being the be: wild heart, wet pussy, wind in hair.
You have your permission.