Let’s honour growth and change, instead of fetishizing “ageing”

I tried to post this image to my tumblr account today – it’s kind of a scrapbook of inspiration I keep, because I know I will want to refer back to this wisdom. But they said it didn’t meet their Community Content guidelines – it was “adult content”. So I thought, damnit, I’m going to share it on the Wellness Almanac because I think we need to see bodies, the beautiful diverse array of bodies being bodies, not being lust-objects or vessels or entertainment, but being beings. Lived beings. Beings that have sustained our journeys through thick and thin. As Caitlin Moran writes, which I am constantly trying to embed in my cells: all bodies are beautiful bodies. Without them, we aren’t human.

Aleah Chapin - Artist

Art by Aleah Chapin. via The Girl God

The following was written by Jennifer Campbell:

“How hard has ageing hit you?”

“Who cares.

Ageing is genetics. Its stress. Its sleep deprivation. Its sun exposure, because some people work long hours in outdoor, manual labour, jobs. It’s extreme weight loss, often due to illness.

To my friend who lost her husband in a tragic accident last year and is now raising four children alone and running a ranch, if “ageing has hit you hard” please know that you have nothing to be ashamed of, or prove. You are enduring more than most people have to in any lifetime.

To my friend who has been watching helplessly as her son spiralled into addiction the last five years, then taking on custody of his son, if “ageing has hit you hard” please know that you are an incredible mother, grandmother, and have been an amazing friend to me. When you ran into your old high school friend and he told you “you used to be hot!” you should not have felt shame. He should have.

To my friend who lost a baby girl two years ago, “if ageing has hit you hard” please know that’s the least interesting thing about you. You are strong, resilient, and so much more than what this gross culture we live in breaks women down to.

To my mother who went back to university as a single Mom, who would start writing papers after she tucked us in at night and would still be writing them when we woke up in the morning…. If anyone ever said to you “ageing sure hit you hard” I would punch them in the face.

My mother-in-law pulled calves, sorted cows, fixed fence, raised three mischievous boys, brought her husband back to life after a heart attack in their kitchen, has flown all over the world many times to support me in raising my three mischievous boys. Her lines are beautiful. They are an achievement. A gift. I hope she never feels reduced to how “well” she’s aged. 😑

I’m not participating in a Facebook trend that reduces women to being praised for their appearance and lack of ageing, something none of us even have any control over. Sure it can be fun and interesting to look at how we change over the years but precluding that with “how hard has ageing hit you” is gross and demeaning.

PS – I have yet to see any men participate in this. Why is that? 🤔 Oh, because they have the privilege of being able to age naturally without public commentary and criticism, of course.

PPS – just change the words. That’s all. Make it about growth and change not the grotequeness of ageing.”

Jennifer Campbell

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