Privilege Blog

When Sturdy Gals Think Back, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:12am

One of the things about being 66 is memories. Flocks and layers. We the older humans perhaps discovered palimpsests, rather than the art historians who own the concept now.

There are memories that surface as fragments of events, vivid. The feel of the skin on my mother’s cheekbones, my unfettered happiness the day of my second wedding, the smell of Sea and Ski sunscreen, my best friend’s phone greeting, the first night in the hospital with my daughter after her birth, the sound of my son’s cries and quieting in his plastic bassinet 7 hours after he was born in the selfsame place. One beach in Barbados.

There are other memories we can scavenge along a more linear path, in categories. My Jobs. Good Food I’ve Made. Old Friends, to say nothing of the memories we know we had but have lost. The office of Cameron Mackintosh, where I worked 1979-80 for six months, what was the name of the theater it was over? The stairs were very steep, the bathroom ceiling very low.

Lately I’ve been thinking about pain. In particular, how we coped back when a painful event happened, and how we bring those memories forward. Because we are everything we’ve ever experienced.

(I cannot speak to clinical trauma, which is defined as that with which we could not cope, and therefore have stored away in our circuitry somewhere. I hope you have none, or that you’ve found resources to help you reintegrate the events or place them in context. )

But, and I’m getting to the whole point, at 66 I’m finding it useful to examine the ways in which I have habitually coped with painful events. On the one hand, particularly when colored by shame, I’ve tended to store them in mental closets ready to ambush me at 3:00am all the stronger for their rest among my towels. On the other, where possible, I’ve made a practice of building conceptual models to frame and tame. These have caged my distress, if you will, sometimes more perfectly than either. Difference being that we can see through cages, that the sense of control is stronger than for things in closets.

I suppose we could say I’m now in the process of opening both doors and bars. Carefully. For 20 minutes a day, maximum. Beasts roped.

This is mine to do. It causes me to re-experience pain, which I do not enjoy.

But I’m puzzling over where that pain has involved others, how much to involve them? At the moment I’m thinking we should read people’s cues and, where we have the internal strength, ask permission to re-open wounds. Or at the very least, diligently handle what we can ourselves first. This doesn’t apply to abuse, or violating aggression. Free pass.

But I truly don’t know. This is the first time in my life I’ve had the time and emotional space to consider such things, rather than just getting through. I am curious if others are thinking about anything similar.

Also, I was at my 45th Princeton Reunion last weekend.

Have a wonderful Saturday. My fuchsias are blooming.



Gone Hiking

As it turns out, I am leaving the house very early this morning to go for a hike with some Princeton classmates. It’s part of

Skincare At 66.5, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:45am

Some can’t resist new shoes. Some collect lipsticks, small coral tubes of cheer in a drawer. Me, skincare. Love it. I am made nearly unruly by Sephora’s “Bazaar,” for example, that program whereby if you sign up and buy stuff they give you more stuff. Since at the moment I’m quite happy with the products on my bathroom countertop, I thought I might share them with you. No, I don’t put them away. They make me happy, why would I? Cleaning Both Sue at Une Femme and Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen recommend Colleen Rothschild’s Cleansing Balm, so I tried it.

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When To Break And When To Embrace, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:52am

Words don’t link sound directly to import, of their own accord. That’s down to us humans. But enough self-evident abstraction. Also known as, “Yeah, so?” Take, “senior citizen,” often truncated to simply, “senior.” Which is what I am at 66 here in the USA. It would be silly to deny that I’m getting older, but I have resisted the appellation. For one thing, I’m still a renegade in my heart. Seniors should surely shouldn’t feel everything as strongly as I do. For another, I walk fast. But also, I haven’t wanted to take unfair advantage of discounts and programs offered

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At The Edge Of Seawater, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:30am

From inside out. And outside in. I love an estuary. When is it water and when is it dirt? When an ocean, when a marsh and when a river? When is that sound you hear wind rushing through treetops, when a full creek running? One might even say, we are all each other. When we love someone we permeate each other at the margins, the edges. What I mean is that my husband and I stayed at the most wonderful local place last month. Nick’s Cove, in Marshall, California, just up from Pt. Reyes Station. I cannot imagine a more perfect view.

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