“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

11.06.2008

On being my own woman

I am unapologetic for being me.

I have reached that point in my life, my 55th birthday coming fast at me this weekend, leaving me breathless and amazed at these double 5s, because 50 was just yesterday.  But at 50 I still tiptoed around the truth about me - oh, I thought  I didn't, but I did.  I did.  And I cannot tell you about that year or the next or the next, and what I learned about myself in those years, but this year I can say the truth.  Even if it makes me wince.  I have learned mostly to believe in myself.  So, in celebration of almost being 55, here is a list.
  • Know yourself sexually & politically.  Apologize for neither.
  • Always ask questions.  If the person to whom you are speaking has no answer, know that they have no answer.  Do not accept what they are telling you without answers, without proof.  Ask more questions if needed; do not make judgments or decisions without truths in front of you.  It is up to you to find those truths.  Move on from someone with no answers. Move on also from someone who gets angry because you asked a question.
  • Treat your stomach kindly.  If you don't want to eat someone's salmon salad or if you're just not hungry, never let that person make you feel guilty for not trying a nibble.  It is their issue, not yours.
  • Say no.  Say no often.  Take the phone off the hook.  Make sure your phone number is on the Do Not Call list.
  • Remember that you usually can  judge a book by its cover.  Also remember that sometimes you can't, but at this age, you know  you know.
  • Stop expecting people to act a certain way when grieving - just because they are not hysterical & weeping does not mean they aren't suffering.  Conversely, just because someone is  hysterical & weeping does not mean they are  suffering.
  • Leave people alone when they ask you to.
And who am I?
  • A registered Independent w/Libertarian leanings
  • A voracious reader - anything except mysteries
  • 5'8" - thank you God!
  • Argumentative
  • Grouchy
  • Animal lover - I believe, like Kinky Friedman, that there is a special place in hell for people who de-claw their cats
  • Lover of old movies & silly romantic comedies if the clothes are pretty
  • Lover of anything about India
  • I own a gun
  • I pay my own bills & don't believe it's anyone else's responsibility, especially not the government's by way of other taxpayers
  • I live in jeans
  • I love my family, my friends, my pets, my city, my state & my country, and if any are threatened I will defend them/it to the best of my ability.
  • I can change a flat tire, jump start a battery & untie knots with incredible skill.
  • I keep candles, flashlights, lots of matches & batteries & Pepto-Bismol for emergencies.
  • I am impatient with fools. I sigh loudly. I roll my eyes.
  • I am a strong woman.
  • I am emotional.
And I will end here with a story to illustrate that.  Tuesday night, election night, after work, after grocery shopping, the bag "person" helping me to the Jeep - this person who was male, about 6'6', 230 lbs., African-American, about 18 or 19 years old; I mention these things because they're important.  We schlepped the bags of cat food & ice & cokes & potato rolls into the back of the vehicle, and after closing the door, stood for a second in the cool night breeze, and commented about the day.  We talked about the election and how very glad we both were that it was over.  I said to him "Now we can just get back to normal" & he laughed & agreed, then stopped, and spoke to me seriously.  "If  we can." he said.  "If  we can get back to normal." He looked so sad.  I patted his arm & said oh, we will, and we laughed again.  He left, I climbed into the Jeep & began to cry.  For him.  For me.  For our just wanting to get back to normal, neither of us concerned how the other had voted.  God, I loved Texas at that moment.  I loved this country.  I loved him  for his concern.

37 comments:

  1. This is my favorite post because you have such a graceful way of putting into words who you are and getting to the truth of your experiences. I admire you so much. You live what you preach. And I have watched you do so.

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  2. Sorry, I didn't make it clear why this is my favorite post and it is because I can relate to all that you are and I am a woman like you.

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  3. beautiful

    raw

    real

    loving

    expansive

    loved this post

    !

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  4. Yes! You are all of those things and more! And even if I have never met you in person, I feel so deeply connected toyou and who you are. Your words speak the truth which resounds. They are powerful just like you are.
    A Scorpio too...I'll be thinking of you this weekend as you ring in the double 5's.

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  5. Katie - Bless you. Without your encouragement - without you having my back - I would not be this brave. I owe you much & love you much!

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  6. Maddie - Bless you also. It's scary to put this out like this, but I am woman. Hear me roar!

    :) Debi

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  7. Paula - A third blessing to you. I am getting older - it is important to be me & embrace who I am. Thank you so much.

    And OMG! Double 5s!!!!

    :) Debi

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  8. I love this post! Love it.

    I think it is so important for us to know who we are, and to love ourselves. My husband has given me many wonderful gifts. But, the best one he ever gave me was this:

    Many, many years ago he asked me to sit down because he had something to read to me. He said he could have written it about me, because it was just exactly who I was. It isn't, of course. And yet, it is. The poem is me, is all of us. If we just claim it. It is me because I have a love who sees me that way. I share it with you tonight because it is you, too.

    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I'm telling lies.
    I say,
    It's in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It's the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can't touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can't see.
    I say,
    It's in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I'm a woman

    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head's not bowed.
    I don't shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It's in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    'Cause I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Maya Angelou

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  9. You are one of the strong ones, I think that we just don't quite know it or believe it yet but it's getting closer. I will be turning 44 in a couple of months but age doesn't seem to bother me anymore. I have no problem with my age anymore because with age comes wisdom and that is what is important in life....wisdom. The young don't have it and the elderly should be lauded for it but are not, it's a shame. For they are the true leaders in this world and have alot of good advice to give us if we would just listen. Happy, Happy Birthday to you darlin' and your gift is on the way! Love you!....

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  10. There seems to be lots of spontaneous moments of crying going on nowadays. So much shifting, unearthing, and knowing of the self. It helps to open yourself to the world, and post a sign that says, "Closed" when you need to.

    Happy Birthday.

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  11. Thank you for this post. YOU are so very beautiful and gracefull.
    I've been lurking for a while, not saying anything, I think you know why.
    I have been revelling in your secret words and thinking about your other, beautiful words.
    Your blog makes me come back, again and again.

    I came to live in American territory about a year ago, with my very precious husband and his huge love for America spilled over to me.
    I will FIGHT for this country with every bone in my body and with my last breath!
    I looked from the outside in, for years, but it wasn't until I looked from the inside out, that I realised how beautiful this land and her people are, a land that so much blood has been spilled for.
    I have spilled many tears for her and her people, in the past few weeks.

    Happy birthday to you!
    I became free, after I turned 40, what a relief!

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  12. Incredible Debi!!! You...and these words! Thank you for sharing this little bit of you with us. Strong...powerful...deeply caring...Gosh, I wish I could hang out with you...:)

    Happy, happy birthday! Thank you for reminding me that I still have time to grow up...(40 is around the corner for me. :)

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  13. Relyn - What a wonderful husband you have. But then, you deserve it, don't you? Phenomenal woman that you are! :)

    Christy - Oh, I feel so not strong so much. But there've been a few things this week that made me realize I'm not quite the wuss I think I am! And age doesn't bother me either - I just wish I had a bunch of money socked away so I could retire somewhere wonderful! LOL! But artists never retire, do they?

    Mermaid - That closed sign. Something so many people are afraid to put in their window. I feel lucky - that's something I embraced a long, long time ago. Thank you!

    Eilandkind - I do know why. I'm glad you've been lurking. You are more than welcome here - you are wanted. And thank you for your wonderful words for our country. I love your story.

    Celeste - Oh, I'm so boring in person! LOL! And yes, growing up is still coming at you. I know I will continue to grow. also, but I also know my core is intact. I will tell a little tale here. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, there was so much media focus on how it had changed people's lives - how they'd learned to appreciate things more, each other more, etc. And I realized it hadn't changed me in that way - I was already there. It was a very eye-opening moment, and I knew I was who I was.

    Birthday supper tonight! :) Tomorrow I throw the dice & they land 2 5s up.

    Thank you all.
    Love, Debi

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  14. Oh, this was such a special post! I loved it! I will turn 52 in February. And I have to say that everything after 50 is good. I gave myself permission for all sorts of things! And I wish I'd had you yesterday when the guy asked me to "pop the hood" at the car dealership. I couldn't remember where it was. I knew that at one time I had known this simple act. MENOPAUSE! I love your insight, girl!
    Brenda

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  15. I awoke the morning after the election, afraid to breath, not knowing the outcome yet...and cried off and on for two days. Such magic has occurred in a nation. I am elated for the African-American community, to feel such pride and hope. I am right there with them, tears in my eyes as we speak, there is hope of unity...for the world...and they are all watching.

    59 and counting...it ain't so bad...I can finally be me...yippee!

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  16. wow..wow...wow!!!!

    First of all, happy birthday, you strong BEAUTIFUL woman!

    I loved everything in this post. You made me sit in my chair a little taller, knowing that I CAN say no when I want to, and I don't have to apologize for what I think and what I feel.

    I love who you are Debi. And I love that you are here, sharing these things about yourself that make you so uniquely, wonderfully YOU.

    Much love
    xoxo

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  17. I love the fact that you own a gun and you are an artist.

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  18. Anonymous - I figure that makes me a radical. Although I'm pretty sure Georgia O'Keeffe could fire a gun if needed. :)

    Jaime - It's so hard, this not apologizing. Hard. Hard to be honest with people, for fear they won't like you. Hard. But it has to be done. Even if it's just done by silence, by not agreeing - no words needed. But hard. Thank you for accepting me for who I am. It means much, much more than you know.

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  19. catching up after my week away...this is a great post! i love the energy and fierceness that comes through! and i love the part about saying "no." the story at the end was really great too.

    hope you had a truly wonderful birthday!

    xoxox,
    /julie

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  20. Are you allowed to comment on a post almost a year later? Yes, in this case I think you can.

    I'm so glad you made this post stand out on your new blog template. It was obviously one I missed, and one I shouldn't have. You've said all the things I thought you might say, and then even more that delighted me again. I hope everyone who comes to your blog for the first time reads this post first. And this year I'll try to be the first to wish you a most happy birthday!

    xoxo

    julie

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  21. I loved this post - like so many of your posts that I have just read as I can't seem to pull myself away from your blog. I am so very very thankful that you found me, so that I could find you. I don't know if you *know* Robin from bird tweets but you remind me so much of her - your wisdom, your way with words, your beautiful photography. I adore Robin and am quite certain that I am going to really enjoy getting to know you.
    Have a lovely rest of your Sunday,
    xx

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  22. I love this!!!! You are an amazing woman!

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  23. Only now taking a moment to learn more about who you are. This story, this depiction, is so filled with strength and hope.
    I laud you for this story, this picture of you.
    Thank you.

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  24. I enjoyed reading this. I came here from Maddie's interview, glad I did :) I live in Texas too and am striving to be as independent minded as you are.

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  25. your note reminded so much of a very dear friend of mine who i am witnessing her coming to terms with her own weakness and be ok about it.. i would like to dedicate your post to her if i may..
    thank you so much and your writing inspires me to say it's alright to hang on for just a tad longer..

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  26. I like you, your spunk and your TexASS-ness!

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  27. i have a small way to go...
    but you give me hope
    and make me want to be
    55.

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  28. Wow. I needed to find your blog, as I try to find my peace with 50. You are an amazing writer and clearly an amazing person. I'm looking forward to catching up on your posts and am happy to meet you.

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  29. Love your unapologetic, real, honest, self.
    You Rock, hope you enjoy your entry into the 55th orbit.

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  30. I just read this post. I didn't have time yesterday when I commented on your current post. I love Texas. I was born there and raised there off and on during my childhood--in Longview. My mom still lives there--87 and still going strong. I married a man from Florida and I like it here; but my heart will always be in Texas. I'm 66 and I craft. I have a gun and know how to use it; I'm praying for our country to get back to normal as the young man said. I think we can. I felt like I had met (online) a sister.

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  31. Love you site so I nominated you for the versatile blogger award. Here is my post.
    http://lifeofdeb.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/versatile-blogger-award/

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  32. Hi D. Finally learning my way around the blog world. I so enjoy reading your posts. Your writing is amazing. I've put you on my blog list so I can keep up. Thanks commenting on mine.

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  33. Gillian TheodosiouMay 19, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Hi, I found my way to this site this evening. I turn 55 next Tuesday and I live with 2 cats. The boy wears a bell and the little lady cat, his sister, wishes he was not part of this scene that her and I share. However he and I have our own secret affair and language that we keep from her or else all hell will break loose. I love everything you wrote here and find it all so familiar. I love your poems. Do people really de claw cats? How vile. You must read Juliette de Baïracli Levy's "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" She was the first woman to qualify as a vet in Britain and went to live with the gypsys in Spain to study natural and traditional treatments. What she writes about cats gave me a whole new respect for them. Cheers from Australia....my home and land...Gillian

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  34. I'll be 55 in October and finding it much more significantly than 50. I'm setting firmer boundaries and getting rid of clutter - both physical, emotional and human.

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  35. I am rushing toward 50 with an uncertainty and yet a deep hope that my 50s will be better or even the best. I can relate to just about everything you said about yourself. I too think I am being myself yet somehow I know I am falling short. Thank you for sharing your deep truth. I aspire to be fully myself as you are.

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  36. i am 63 and agree with everything you wrote about being 55! maybe, i am younger than i think! i am glad vision and verb featured you, so i could find this blog, pin it, and keep following you!

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  37. i am so glad i know you, sugar. so, so, so glad. shoot, we're close enough to be front porch friends . . . in more ways than one.

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