Here she comes
There’s a number that started showing up on my phone a few years ago - I blocked it. Recently, it tries more often - I’ve been letting it go to voicemail. I know who’s calling. The Crone.
I’ve always had an issue with the Crone. Partly because of the inherent ageism in the ‘wizened and warty old woman’ imagery, partly because I didn’t feel any attachment to the concept of ‘Maiden, Mother, Crone’ which is - according to some - younger than me.
The trouble with Crone is, a) she doesn’t give a damn what I think and b) she’s coming for me anyway.
Suddenly I find I’m less repelled than I was. Suddenly, I’m ready to be the novitiate; to shut up and listen. There’s a reason for my change of heart - I can feel her. She’s not an abstract anymore, not just a story. She’s making herself known to my senses.
As we move through menopause our bodies begin to age. Quite quickly once the oestrogen falls away. Even with HRT, we’re not the same. We’re not as physically soft and stretchy. Not as padded. We go from rounded to angular in all the ways.
It’s not just my knees and elbows that got bonier and pointier, my non-physical aspects are also losing their softness. I’m less inclined to ‘roll with it’ and more likely to kick it out of the way. Less inclined to find excuses for others, more likely to simply cut ‘em loose and not wave goodbye. I feel that angularity, that sharpness, that sense of being right here at the cliff’s edge, not lying around in the long grass anymore. Not gonna lie, the view is better.
I am less kind. I am less forgiving. I am less confused. I like it.
This clarity is beautiful. It’s Elsa’s frozen castle, sunshine on snow, lemon in cool water, a deep, deep breath amongst pine trees. It’s a quartz crystal in sunlight and it’s no coincidence that I’m drawn to study crystals in a way I haven’t been before, despite my long love for them. Now, I get it. Now, I’m a crystal too. It was last summer that I first felt myself in that form during meditation and now I know why.
Let me not give the impression that Crone energy is turning me into some cold, hard, unfeeling hag who cares for nothing and no one. Far from it. In fact, she’s brought me deeper appreciation for all the good, warm, comforting things in life. For all the love.
I’m a very private person. You could call me an introvert, you could give me a label, you could consider me someone who has held back from full connection. All these things would be true and I don’t feel the need to apologise - this is my personality. I am very ‘internal’ and my world has largely been there, inside me.
Now that’s changing. Yes, I am still that person, but with Crone and her crystalline, no bullshit, no padding attitude beginning to show up, I’m having to look outwards for the comfort and it’s beautiful.
I’m finding softness in the love between me and the people closest to me. Far from making me care less, I care more. I value more deeply the warm glow of another’s heart and the tenderness of their hugs. The security of our shared history. The smile on their face and the sound of their voice. I find it in the fur of my dogs and their trust in me. In the warmth of the sun and the pleasure of a hot bath. I own more blankets and cushions than any woman needs and I enjoy even them more than ever. All this comfort, on the outside. Who knew? It’s glorious.
Naturally, with the clarity, the simplicity, the minimalism, the zero fucks attitude, the direct connection to my truth, the pleasure of Other, there is also a price:
More pain - less protection from the world and its hard knocks.
Less flexibility - have I always been too malleable? Discuss, endlessly.
Less ‘diplomacy’ - words hurt and there’s a skill to learn (the hard way) in using them clearly but kindly.
But I’m starting to see even these things as positives. Ten, twenty years ago they would not have been. There is a time and a season for everything and although I’m not living in Crone’s world full-time just yet, she’s close by and I’m good with it. I get her now.
She’s reached out and taken my hand. I know this because when I look at the fingers typing here, they are skinny, boney and the joints so visible. They have her touch on them. They’re ready to hold so much more of life. There’s so many layers to this developing perspective and I want to see them all. It’s life-changing (again) and going to take courage to embrace.
Ah, courage… another huge, heart lesson that I sense Crone will teach me.
I’m taking her call.
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I’m not going to be thinking of anything that was invented the year I left school, as ancient and wise. Not unless Elvis Costello gets to be equally lauded and by the way, if that goes to a vote he has mine.
I appreciate that for many of us, me included, menopause means higher cortisol and weight gain around our middle that certainly feels very “padded”!
Image credit: Tehzeeb Kazmi