a lawless kind of woman

When I close my eyes, my sense of myself is nothing like what I see in a mirror. That's partly for physical reasons, bone and hair and age and clothes, and partly to do with how I carry my presence in the world in contrast with how my spirit moves.

I used to think the mirror self was my true self. I made choices based on that - choices which bemuse me now, and which I know led my spirit down wrong paths. Thankfully, I received the blessing that comes to some women as they age : an understanding that you need to go with spirit rather than face if you want to be truly fulfilled.

I don't berate myself for those wrong paths taken. The world speaks to us always of our physical appearance, and it's hard to ignore. Even those women with a wild and weedy spirit tend to present themselves according to certain styles. You seldom find a tarot-reading, myth-singing woman in crisp, clean-cut suits and with an expensive haircut, living in a sleek city apartment. And if you meet a woman in flowing batik and dreadlocks, you know she's probably not a high-powered corporate lawyer. There's no reason she couldn't be. It just seems to be that people tend to align their appearance with the common idea of what their spirit, clothed, should look like.

It's strange to me how humans, who are so very complex within themselves, have created a society which doesn't cope well with such complexity. For example, I can tell you that, if you are a quietly-spoken woman who wears delicate chiffon and tends to walk around with your nose in a book of poetry, you may cause considerable cognitive dissonance to people when you inform them you're listening to Nirvana on your ipod.

One hundred years ago, women had far fewer choices for self-expression than they do today. It seems we've come a long way. And yet, with all our choices, so many rules remain. Only when we get older do we start realising the world doesn't reward us much for our self-sacrifices, and it's far more interesting and comfortable to rip up the laws of proper behaviour, take off our shoes, let down our long and tangly grey hair, and listen to hard rock and Celtic folksongs while we go for a walk in the hushed and gentle rain.

Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to click a button on my poll.


  1. This made me smile all the way through. I do think it's changing just a bit.... But yes, preconceived notions dictate so much. The Nirvana part made me smile big!

  2. LOVE the new look! thanks for the link back, that really means a lot to me <3 I also love what you say about this subject - one that, as an ageing woman myself, is very close to my heart. yes, I think as one gets older and 'the looks fade' one starts to rely more on persona and spirit to define oneself; I know that I have certainly started making this transition to 'softer' definitions of myself since I passed 40. And then, It is so lovely to see younger people who have made this transition earlier in life and are settled in their bodies, freeing so much energy that would be consumed with how they look into doing things that maybe closer to what their heart is asking of them (it is often rare to see this though). And it's sad that it is only later in life, when we release this energy, we finally move deeper into our hearts and towards knowing more what we are all about. I am not sure whether I entirely agree with you on the nirvana bit though. I think nowadays this freedom we have in our fashion rules means that we can morph from personality to personality more freely and I think people play that 'rule bending' game more and more these days, if their personality allows it. On the flip side of this I think we can struggle to find our own 'tribe' and of course, we can be ostracised by looking different and we find it harder to connect with each other. At least in the days where everyone wore the same style dress, hat and gloves, there was a sense of community running through society and a sense of belonging which I think we struggle to capture nowadays. I live in a village where older people still wear their working clothes everyday, a smarter outfit to go into town and their sunday best once a week and they never struggle with their identities, its almost like they have kept those deeper values of community and connection than we have lost nowadays; I do wonder sometimes if it has something to do with the way we dress.

    1. thank you ... and I agree with so much that you have written here.