Yikes. I emerged from the morass of menopause and found myself in a shadowy world with millions of invisible women: The Crones.
Crones are invisible because we hardly ever appear in fashion magazines (unless you own it like Oprah) or as a romantic lead in a movie (unless you are a legend with a dedicated cosmetician like Meryl). Biologically, we’re irrelevant and dry as a crick bed in August; personally I’ve come around to being glad to be off the hormone express. Some men scorn us as harridans, hags, harpies, mothers-in-law; some fear us for the truths we know about them. A New Age bumper sticker pronounced me a “Creative Researcher Of New Experiences”. Yeah, right. “Crone” has the same derivation as “carrion”. I think I prefer the 14th century OED definition: a cantankerous or mischievous woman.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder, who is that old woman and what has she done with my beautiful youth? But, finally free from the hysteria of estrogen and the irrelevance of fashion, I arrived at my cronage with faculties and experience intact. Seems that life finely tunes a woman’s bullshit detector.
Face creams are fantasy, my skin is crepey beyond rescue, and my eyes have bags packed for a month in the Poconos. Not one of my girlfriends will ever say these words to me again: “Hey, cute shoes!” Aches and pains and twinges and creaking joints are here to stay. Ahhh, that’s the sound of an elastic waist. My dad always said, if you see a bathroom, use it, and now I know what he meant. Anymore I ask myself, what’s the point in changing purses? But as guitarist Duck Baker said, “If you live long enough to get your mind right, your body starts to fall apart; still it’s worth it because when you’re having a good day, you know it.”
Crones can laugh at anything or anyone that strikes us as funny. We’ve lived a while and know stupidity when we see it. Pop culture has become boring, but politics have become important, not only because that is where most stupidity dwells but because these are decisions that actually affect the future. I’m entitled to be critical when the person I’m voting for is younger than me.
My life’s goal now is just to get through every day to the next one, and if I figure out anything along the way, be grateful. My body is failing me, but my brain is so much more fun to be with.