Last night Catherine shared this stunning photograph by Jade Beall, along with her post. Incredible! A new role model!
Last summer, an insightful and incredible producer from #AARP took to my message with my Elders series and got the go ahead to make a little video of me making my photos with my beloved Elders and why I think it’s important for our culture to reclaim the honor and beauty of becoming an Elder. But when the people at the top were to give their approval to release the moving and revolutionary video talking about loving our bodies just as they are after 60 with my mostly bare skin photos, #AARP deemed the wholehearted video and my work “risky” and shelved the video. I know that they merely reflect the mainstream belief of elder bodies when bare as- unacceptable.
I cannot help but wonder- when did our older bodies become too risky to share? Why are there billboards of young women nearly nude and we don’t even bat an eye, but to have a 70 year old in lingerie it’s then risky? I reject this belief system and until my last breath I will work to change this disempowering and shameful narrative.
This photo I took of my gorgeous Aunty Des who told me that when she calls herself an old lady to others, more often than not the reply is, “oh no! You aren’t old Des!” To which she replies that indeed, at 71, likes to be called old and that SHE LOVES AND IS PROUD OF her long life in her sacred body! And then Des goes and hikes for two months solo like no-one my age of 40 can.
What, exactly, is our western resistance to being an elder? I promise you it isn’t an innate belief system.
Why do we agree to the imposed belief systems that to be an elder human means it’s shameful? Why do we allow others to dictate our reality in these beautiful bodies?
Let’s rewrite it, friends, and learn from those who still know the privilege of growing elder: In my travels to west Africa, being called an elder is a thing of HONOR and BEAUTY. I am told that in Native American traditions that it is similar, to become an elder is to become MAGIC.
OLD does not equal DONE WITH LIFE! It DOES equal YOU ARE FREAKIN’ MAGICAL and GORGEOUS cuz you are still here and have seen some epic tales and you are STILL DANCING- OMG tell me your SECRET!
LET’S RECLAIM THE POWER OF GROWING into an ELDER! Let us remember the tradition of honoring our elders!
Thank you, divine Des, for being one of my role models since i was a little girl. Thank you for owning your today with pride and resisting and being a REVOLUTIONARY against letting western culture and the beauty industry and others dictate your truth! Thank you for owning and making BEAUTIFUL the magic of being unapologetically YOU and now elder hood so that I may learn to do this authentically, too.