I am pleased to offer you this poignant essay by Sylvia Clare that underscores how we are much more than a sex object as we age – and that’s a good thing. Enjoy.
Old Body, New Relationship
by Sylvia Clare
I am in my seventh decade though not yet half way through it. I am happy about this. Each decade got better as I went through them. I have no regrets and plenty of life still to live — I think so anyway. I take each day at a time.
But I am told that I am now invisible if I am not still seen as a sex object, as sexy, as still feminine in ways that deny my age. I am told this by women and men alike.
I refute this.
I am still OK to look at, I am lucky I guess, in this respect, but I deeply resent that this is important about me. Maybe that is a luxury of being reasonably attractive all one’s life. Still it was never how I felt inside.
My body has been a source of great suffering in so many ways. An ectopic pregnancy left me in pieces shredded by adhesions until a following pregnancy stretched them out for me.
Physical abuse from both parents in addition to the mental cruelty which my mother was capable of and my father followed suit.
Rape, sexual assault and harassment have dogged my heels throughout my life until this last decade or so. Oh the joy of being free from that attention.
Why should I feel that my looks are something by which I or any other woman should be measured. In fact, this point of view sickens me.
The human form can be a very beautiful vision to behold, so why the need to subject it to such belittling inanities as lust or overly sexualized objectification. Why try to control it or abuse it in such ways? Why not allow it to be what it is at any age without the need to categorize it?
I have a fine mind, slightly crazy in fun ways, a little scattered due to ADHD but an IQ that is in the higher layers of potential. I really enjoy good discussion about music, literature and arts although I am not deeply knowledgeable. I love to grow plants to feed and nourish my family, to care for chickens and bees. There is so much more to me than a body. I am a writer, a teacher, a healer, a creative, a deep thinker, playful, kind and generous. So why does my body make my value significant or not in society?
I am challenged, in some quarters, to still be visibly sexy, when I no longer want to publicize this fact about myself- that is private between my beloved and me only.
I just want to celebrate being older and experience or even enjoy my body changing, as I feel it is well and truly worn in now by life and love and children who are all grown now and becoming parents themselves. I like the idea of embracing the relationship with gravity further and further until I am pulled down into the earth herself and become one with her once more. Resting completely.
I have been Perspehone the young woman, Demeter the mother, and now Hecate the old woman still in her prime as a healer and full of life’s wisdom. It has been rich, full, and at times deeply challenging. I am happy to be on the downwards slope now though. To enjoy that experience as it is , not to deny or fight it or seek to avoid it in any way, but to honour the beauty of it in every moment. I am a woman, that is all, and that is a great gift.
You can read more essays by Sylvia Clare on Medium.com. Search for her there by name.
Note: This essay was previously published on Medium.com.