“We write not with the fingers but with the whole person. The nerve that controls the pen winds itself around every fiber of our being; threads the heart and pierces the liver.” ~ Virginia Woolf
I often channel my inner Virginia Woolf. Writing has always been as important to me as breathing. If I am not reading a book, I am likely writing one. Somehow, I am reminded of my teenage years. I often wake up on a sunny Colorado day, of late, feeling nostalgic as the memory of our dining room table in the little barn-like house we lived in, when I was 12 -18, slips into my consciousness. I remember the dimness of the lighting in that little room where a chandelier of sorts hung from a low ceiling, and the light it gave out was little better than candlelight.
I remember my books scattered about the table, homework that I needed to get to, but that would be after… after I finished the chapter I was writing in whatever current book I was composing.
The notebook full of clean white note paper beckoned me far more successfully than any food or drink anyone could offer. The pencils… oh, I did love my pencils, and still do! I had a red pencil case in which I stored the 12-15 pencils I used to write with, pressing their tips to the paper until each one was a dull, useless tip that needed sharpening. At the close of my writing, each evening, I sharpened those pencils with a little sharpener that would mystify children today. Or, perhaps not. I believe they still make these tiny, handheld pencil sharpeners. I have one of my own, even now.
Little did I know Virginia Woolf was whispering in my ear, allowing the control of my pen to “wind itself around every fiber” of my being. Little did I care. I was young. I was creative. I was dedicated. The written word was my purpose in life. The concept of ‘story’ was easy to embrace, and easier still to put to paper, with my pencils and my notebooks always at hand.
Youth and age were both inconsequential to the young girl who wrote crazy stories, and drew crazier pictures, back then. As I grow older, even as I am discovering the true meaning of youth and age, I admit that I occasionally covet what I once had; oh the by-gone days of nothing to worry about except a stray zit on your face, or whether your hair was ‘straight’ enough. We wore orange lipstick and go-go boots and we were “cool.”
I live in a new time, now. A time where go-go boots and orange lipstick are making a come-back; where kids (anyone under 40) think fashion and slang and crazy dances are their invention. In this, however, I realize that I am allowed to … well, as a woman I met recently at a training given in downtown Denver by previous company, The Lipsticking Society, Swirls, CR Conversations and one of our favorite non-profits, Art as Action, said, “… age backwards.” It was not something my mother would have thought of, or done, had she thought of it.
We are doing just that, we women of the 1950s and 1960s. We are not going “gentle into that good night! Oh, how proud would Welsh poet Dylan Thomas be of us! I suspect he would have us rage against the good night that awaits us, far, far down the road, and while we may yet do that, for today, we do not rage, we laugh. Laugh and spend hours of joy doing things our mothers never imagined!
Today, we women over a certain age, celebrate our lives to the fullest. We embrace our femininity – in all of its distinctions; we embrace all talents and experiences, unafraid to be ourselves. We applaud and approve the chance to shine and use talents that have lain hidden oh these many years – thrusting aside those tired ‘no’s’ of yesteryear; all those moments of lost creativity when we allowed someone to demean us for pursuing the very artistic endeavors we were born to pursue!
We no longer the quiet girls of yesterday, willing to be seen but not heard. Today, the amazing women we are – demonstrate our love of life, front and center, on stage, leaning in, as Sheryl Sandberg advises!
The young women I met at the Intentional Creativity Training done in Denver this week, a unique event created to inspire creativity, held with a superb group of professionals including CR Conversations, Swirlls and Art as Action, were women of expression, of distinction, of significance. The label “young” is applied to describe their spirit, one and all. Each one, of varying ages, brought insight, color, ideas and innovative thinking with them, to share, knowing they were in a trusted, fearless, open, sunlit space. A space where the goal was to pull their creative voice out of their soul, and share it with everyone.
In that setting, we were all young women. Well, we had two brave men there. Two men who did not feel threatened by all the femininity in the room. Two men who gave and took and shared, as well as anybody, anywhere. And after all, don’t women like having a few brave men about? Yes, we do!
This post, though, is about the women, and aging backwards. It’s about the women who showed up to Intentional Creativity and how each of us, from different generations, and different backgrounds, connected via the many common threads not only our womanhood, but of our talents, and all the colors our being.
I felt energized and uplifted, listening to these women talk about their childhood activities, the crayons, the colors, the stories, DIY crafts, the dance, the forts created, the very nature of living without inhibitions! We were so free as children – so unassuming and innocent.
It can be that way again. It truly can. When we tap into the creative nature of our souls, we release that inner child. We can sometimes step back and watch as our inner child reminds us how to play again. Reminds us that play is a necessary part of our humanity. Reminds us that coloring outside the lines is acceptable. Reminds us that painting, drawing, laughing, creating poetry out of old boxes and string, is fun.
That’s it, for me. The aging backwards process is just that… it’s fun.
How superb that life can be fun, at an age that crippled our parents.
How superb that we women today, no matter the number on our birth certificate, can embrace the fun of life and bring it into our businesses.
Oh, we women who are aging backwards, our thoughts of leadership sharp and centered, so full of magic, where whispers become song and laughter becomes truth; we will lead the way to Intentional Creativity in both life and business. And we will show our mothers (and some of our fathers) how to tap into their inner child – no matter how invisible and quiet she has been – by aging backwards, with us.