Times are, when no one believes in me; I cease to exist. I become invisible to the naked eye, such a marathon of years mapped across my face, no one sees me clearly. Or if they do, they take in the gray-blonde sand of my hair & wander away from greeting. I’ve said it before: to go gray (as a female) is to go stealth in life.

“Another old woman; another useless eater,” I almost hear the thought. No longer fecund of body, no longer generating taxes for a ravenous System, I am a bean in the bean-counter’s world. Into the slot of disposables I go, but still being alive, I vociferously protest the disregard.  

If you’re going to dismiss me, you’ll have to put me in the red bucket, the one with the radioactive syringes, the impossibles, the distortions in the fabric. Put me with the zippers that won’t close, the dress with crooked sleeves & a pulled hem. I’ll never fit your mold.

I cannot sit with a TV remote in my hand, watching dreams in which I have no place, no time, no empowering feelings. I don’t have a favorite show anymore. My internet radio features some two dozen channels I wander among. My values are invaluable & unsettling to the crowd. Everyone looks quizzical when I announce my decisions. Many ask for explanations I cannot give, for my value system is not theirs.

Some reach out to fondly pat my hand. One accused me of having a non-working brain, which so hurt I snapped immediate walls up against her. Many friends melt into a landscape where I can walk no longer; somehow discernment has barred my path. My hours are no longer stolen from financial productivity. But I’m not like B, walking her dog seven times a day because she’s forgotten she walked the beast as he manipulatively pants by the back door. I’m not like G, who sits smoking on her porch among the refilled oxygen tanks. I’m not like R & K & C who work every day for earnings, putting dreams on a ticking blinker hold. They may never take the call, and this frightens me for them.

I’ve answered too many calls! I’ve moved too many times, I’ve worried too much about how I can do things just before I did them because the worry was so fractious to my heart. I’ve run out of money & watched as sometimes it flooded back & sometimes trickled, but there has always been enough.

I no longer expect understanding. I’m patient in the face of others’ doubts about me. No one else is walking the miles in my shoes, finding my opportunities, holding the pens I write with. Feeling lonely is redundant when I am society’s answer to becoming obsolete. I am no longer useful in the worldly ways I once was. I support no one, believe in an omniscient range of possibilities at which others roll their eyes just before launching into a list of why these are actually impossibilities.

But I’m not ossified or moribund. I’m not helpless in the face of change. If one thing does not suit, I’m on to the next with a blink & a nod to circumstance. In a world frozen in place, I bring the sun that cracks open the ice & frees the fish to swim. In a sky gray with worry & layered separations, I peek through a ray of the only light there may be that day. I ride the beam in delight & blessing.

There’s no question for me anymore about all this. I am not one to surrender & simply sink into a chair. I love to be a part of it all, but only on my own terms. If this is my definition, rewrite the damn dictionary.

My life energy is mine to spend. My coin is not of this realm & whether I am right or not about that remains to be accounted. Others can sing “My Way,” but I have a legitimate claim to the phrase, & the ability to write an explanation in fifty words or less. I don’t do shades of gray! My life is vivid with color, light, sound, fullness, creation & walking time around like a crow on my shoulder. It repeats, it requests, it demands, it prays.

What I collect cannot be pressed into books or slipped into glassine envelopes. I am who I am with an expectation of being more in every moment. So it may seem to the casual observer that I’m doing little, while I am actually rolling full steam ahead on so many levels.

Even with all this, people argue me: you have to charge for this, you shouldn’t think about that; you’ve got to love [fill in the blank], find a man, find a life, find a lost city of gold in the Peruvian rain forest & taste the fresh ayhuasca.

Leave it! Just take me as I am or put me aside for the next good deed you want to accomplish. Not much is gonna change here. I’ll never be a specimen you can pin down or predict.

But I’ll never be bitter, resentful, hateful or unmystified by all that/about all that life offers. I’ll always share the humor in any moment of blessing.

I’m tired of being disapproved, tired of being criticized & ostracized. It would be nice if someone else were in charge, but there’s only me in this life. I don’t know about the rest of you. Where would I begin to find out? But I can extrapolate how people have lived by what they’ve left behind. Just check the secondhand stores if you want to find out about that. Pretty few surprises here, but always something useful…no way to know if it’s the people or the stuff that smells so musty. Very likely both.