I hit a milestone birthday this year, and it’s caused me to do a lot of introspection. The first half of my life was pretty rocky, healing from a lot, making a lot of messes as I stumbled towards some kind of stability, and I’ve long suspected (hoped?) that the second half of life might be when I finally hit my stride. But even so, I’ve come to recognize how much internalized patriarchy I have in me about being a woman who (gasp!) ages.
I’ve come to believe this is really crucial for women and women’s liberation. Any “feminism” that has nothing to offer you unless you are young, hot and willing to sexually objectify yourself (ahem, looking at you LibFems) isn’t worth anything. I want to approach menopause feeling prepared. I want to approach aging not feeling scared of the changes in my looks. I want to subvert the cultural narrative that women lose by aging, that it is some kind of failure, but don't really know how. I sense that there are psychological rewards to this process to be found if only I know where to search for them. But there's not a lot I have found culturally to help us here.
If anyone else is feeling this way, I want to put something on your radar. There’s a year long course (for a very reasonable price of £260) called Hagitude all about this from author Sharon Blackie and guests (she wrote the amazing book If Women Rose Rooted). She also has a podcast on this topic and a book.
Here’s some of what she says about it:
If you’re standing on the threshold of menopause and looking for support to navigate this intense and transformative alchemical journey, this program is for you.
If you’re already on the road to elderhood, this program offers you a chance to explore your continuing journey more deeply, and also to pass some of that hard-earned elder wisdom down to others.
If you’re a younger woman who’d like to spend some time in the presence of elders, and help us develop the resources you need for the journey to come, then of course you’re very welcome too.
This program is based on the transformations that arise as a consequence of changes in women’s bodies over time – especially the hormonal, other physical and psychological changes that occur at menopause – and women’s embodied, lived experience. If you would like to join the program, please be prepared to understand and honour this.
The course starts October 1. I haven't read the book yet, but the podcast has been really good so far and given me a lot to chew on about how to rethink and reimagine this next phase of life.