brighter roses

About half the blog posts I write lately have some mention of my age.

I am not so old, yet. Or so young. But there are gaps you move through, where time matters. I am in a moment where time matters.

I find myself trying to hold on to my age, trying to find a way to mark myself with it. It feels at risk, somehow, as if entering my late 30’s (and after that my middle age, I think) will be something I won’t be allowed to own.

Something to hide. Something to lie about. Something to grieve. 

But I want to tattoo these 35 years around my ankles, to keep from forgetting the wisdom I have gained and the weight I have gathered.

I want it in black ink, in spray paint:

I have been here.
I have been here THIS LONG.
I have learned THIS MUCH.

I need it loud, and brazen, because I know in my heart it is a breach of permissions — the secret kind of permissions — the kind you can’t fight because they are nothing you can see. I am ready to strip another layer, take on another shape, step into the next garment. And I realize…this dress is different from the one Mother Culture told me I could wear.

Who can look at woman who is 35 and knows it?

But I am. And I do.

I will not apologize for the weight of years gathering behind me. I will not apologize for the decades of experience that stiffens my spine. I will not apologize for how I have grown my daring, my perseverance, my intelligence, my just plain guts. I will not pretend I haven’t learned to smell a rat.

I am a lover of beauty. I am a lover of things that are beautiful. And I do love to take pictures of my sweet small girls, in their innocence and lightness. I love the way you could lift my littlest one up and blow her away for all the life experience she has.

But I will claim another beautiful, too. Not ponytails and spinning skirts, but beautiful like a wolf, beautiful like the mountain against the sky, beautiful like tree bark. I will claim beautiful like the boulder and the shining silver blade of an axe. I will claim beautiful as anything is beautiful when it is wild and free.

And I will not teach my daughters that a woman is tight skin, or freedom from wrinkles. A woman, sometimes is authority. Wisdom and weight. Competence and cunning.

A woman, sometimes, is gathered knowledge. And if this is me? If this is my future? I will not drop that weight. I will carry it, and I will pass it on. So help me — and this is a promise — I will hold it as best I can so I can pass it on.

I have been here.
I have been here THIS LONG.
I have learned THIS MUCH.

I am not ashamed.