So, you may have noticed that you have not received a news letter from me in awhile. Or maybe you haven’t. Regardless, I have been on unintentional newsletter hiatus for the past couple of months. Life has been a hectic stress-hole and something had to give. The newsletter was one of those things.
So, happy November! In October, I hit a milestone. The big 5-0. Not that I guess it should be much different than 49, but it feels like it. And I am letting everyone know. Why not? After all: 1) I am fucking fabulous at any age, 2) I should not be afraid to hide my age, 3) I would rather have people know I am 50 than think I am the most decrepit 25 year old that they have ever met.
Would I want to go back to 20 or 25? Hell no. Would I like my more flexible and non-injured body? The one that requires no warming up, can go into the splits without effort, and doesn’t have inexplicable muscle pains? Of course!!! But, even all that is not worth giving up my 50 year old brain. Sure, I forget shit sometimes. (Who doesn’t?) But I have a lifetime of knowledge, judgment, love, relationships. My brain is so much more than it was at 25. I am more self-assured, more confident, sexier, and I know what I (emphasis) want – not just what everyone else in my life wants for me or from me. Am I perfect? Of course not. But I have learned a lot and I learn more all the time.
Now, do things stress me out about turning 50? Definitely. I worry about being a less skilled performer as my body continues to age and it takes more effort to do the moves I do. I worry about getting hurt as my body recovers from injuries (or even just really exhausting performances or dance workouts). I worry about losing relevancy as we get younger and younger performers and audiences. People who have never used (or perhaps seen) a rotary phone, don’t know a childhood without their smart phone or computers, and have never seen Schoolhouse Rock or any of the re-runs I grew up watching on TV that helped form my demented brain… (Favorites: Bewitched, The Addams Family, the Munsters). So, yes, there are some stressful issues around aging.
So, talking about stress, yes, it has been a really stressful year, a really hard year – or maybe just a hard six months. Whatever it is, it has been too long that I have been stressed. Ridiculously stressed. I have been more stressed in my life than I am right now, I think, but not as intensely for as long a time period. And, no, the stress is not caused primarily with me turning 50. Do I want to be stressed? No. Do I try to calm down? Yes. But it is difficult to get rid of layer upon added layer of stress. Though I make efforts to dissipate it, prolonged stress is hard to dissolve in one afternoon or weekend. The good days are still a higher stress level than normal, and that makes Velvet a very manic woman.
The problem is that stress leaks into everything. Work is stressful, but dance makes me happy. If I can get myself up to do it. And creating makes me happy, but I have no time to create because work takes up too much time, so then I am stressed because I am missing internally set deadlines for acts or costumes I want to create. So, then, I feel like a failure because I am not creating enough or too slowly or I am not meeting commitments, and I get more stressed. And then I am stressed because I am a manager at work and I don’t want to be stressed in front of my staff and my boss tells me “You have a great life, don’t be stressed.” (Note: in an effort to try to make me less stressed.) So, being stressed becomes an unshareable problem, which also adds additional stress. I am not saying this to be overly dramatic, just to share how the stress spiral can so easily take over everything in your life. And it has for me, lately. Not that I don’t love my life. I do. I like my job even though certain situations are making it super stressful right now. I know I have so much positive in my life. But that doesn’t make me not stressed.
Talking about stress, the political situation is absolutely not helping the overall standard stress level. While I think a lot of people are feeling it, certain populations (POC, Trans, Women) are likely feeling it more. As a victim of sexual assault, watching the whole Kavanaugh debacle – including people’s insane and insensitive comments on Facebook and elsewhere was stressful and painful. It is still pretty painful. Who else but a privileged white male can act like that in a job interview and still get the job? No one. And people comparing this to Clarence Thomas also made me ill. I remember the Clarence Thomas hearings. He didn’t yell, scream, rail against Republicans, or attest to his love of beer. And yet, even as a Democrat, I didn’t think he should take the position on the Supreme Court. Because the simple fact that he was accused and that he was dealing with this situation could hamper his impartiality. And there are so many people out there qualified for this job, why taint the position with the shortcomings of the man? And this was worse. So much worse.
So, yes, the politics under Trump, with Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, that has increased my stress level, too – undoubtedly. It makes everything else just a little bit harder, a little more painful, a little more vulnerable. Of course, change is stressful. All change is stressful. But change is so much more stressful when you have rich, white, powerful men trying to take away human rights and human dignity. Because that is change that just should not even be happening. So, yah. Stress. And, given all of this, I am thankful that I am now 50. The one overriding issue I have focused on for presidential elections every election since I could vote is: retaining Roe vs. Wade. And now we will lose it. Undeniably. And, while I cry for the women who fought for themselves and who fought for me, and I cry for the women who will lose the rights we have, I can at least be thankful that at 50, my womb will not be directly under attack as it is way too old for that baby stuff happening. But I cry for the loss of rights, I cry for the loss of humanity, I cry for the loss of equivalency, and I just fucking cry.
So, go vote. Just go vote. Vote for people, vote for conscience, vote for equality.