I wrote a few blogs ago about crones and crone energy. One of my questions was why the word was so scary? I didn’t get many answers, but one of the reasons I see is loss of youthful beauty. I’ve been thinking about power lately. A friend gave a talk to some high schoolers about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. What is a heroine’s journey, I wondered? Now we can live the life of men because we can keep from having children. But all women I know, married, single, widowed, divorced, crave connection, are often connected with friends and relatives in a way men aren’t, though gay men come close. And what if our heroine has a child? Without a partner, even with one? What, then, happens to her journey? It’s no longer straightforward. There are sacrifices and guilts if pursuing a career. If single, there are struggles and compromises so immense that they can’t be overstated. And what about beauty? What does that do to a heroine’s journey, for a beautiful woman is pleasing, and there is huge power in that. What does that do to her path, to her integrity? There’s great seduction in being pretty or more, in seeing men attracted like metal to a magnet. But in a savage, warrior culture, like the streets, a beautiful woman is captured early by a man, or she’s taken against her will. Her beauty is both power and a snare in which she’s caught. Youthful beauty is also a double-edged sword because it fades. I’m thinking now of Elizabeth Taylor, the great beauty of the 20th century, encased in the brown amber of plastic surgery and botox in an attempt to look 50 when she is close to 80. What if she, the most beautiful woman of her age, had let the hair grey, the pounds accumulate, the wrinkles place themselves on her face, so that along with the wisdom and strength she often displays, the deep marks life makes would show outside as well as inside? She was afraid of looking the crone is one of my guesses. Cronedom is a foreshadow of the dark side, and I don’t mean witchcraft. I mean death. The crone so clearly is walking toward death. But why are we more fearful of those marks on women than on men? And why is beauty thought of as unlined? Is it fear of death again? I don’t understand…..

5 responses to “unlined

  1. My question is why have I always wasted so much time trying to make myself beautiful? Why did I not just accept what I was blessed with, rather than spending hours painting, dyeing, waxing, curling, straightening, plucking, shaving, powdering, and on and on? Did I do it for a man? Or was I really just competing with other women, a sort of keeping up, or bettering, the Joneses syndrom? And, now, after all that time wasted, I have grown old, and someone has sneaked in a whole world of younger and more beautiful faces and bodies. The competition is too overwhelming, so I can now give it up. Finally, I am free to be natural. What a blessed relief!

  2. i have actually thought quite a bit about your discussions of crones and cronedom – even posted the hyacinth hill poem on my blog. my thoughts are these: it cannot be the fear of death that bestows the terms ugly or wretched upon women “marred” by age’s effects. Death’s march doesn’t discriminate, sharing it’s vestiges to men who lined and grayed (though named dignity instead of disgust). Instead, it may be a question of usefulness. Historically men continue to be useful (both reproductively and professionally) into their 80’s, whereas woman lose, at the very least their generative usefulness at 40 – and earlier before modern medicine. I wonder how much we still hold onto archaic notions of usefulness today, even in our age of female CEO’s and stay-at-home dads? Even as an almost-30-mom I have begun to feel age’s gravitational pull. And if I’m honest and was given the choice, I’d rather have my 20 year-old body. But, I’ll keep my 30 year old mind and heart.

  3. I am absolutely blown away by this post. I will print it and reflect upon it… Oh, Karleen, you have stirred powerfully deep!

  4. I am no beauty, just OK. That has saved me much grief: Never a slave to fashion or driven by current trends. Never the most popular, the first chosen for a team or sought for advice. With age I found a peace and serenity that feels really good. As for others, I’ve never been one to measure a person by his/her beauty, instead looking to the inside to see what is there. Am I a crone – oh, perhaps. There are plenty of wrinkles, spots and stray hairs. And if I don’t mind, it seems no one else does either. But, the friends who have accompanied me are treasures greater than gold and have made the trip so very worthwhile.

  5. Well, most people don’t like to think about death..avoid it…so, since the “crone” is closer on the life walk to death than a teen, barring a fatal illness or accident,………maybe that is why. perhaps? Bring youth back to the face and the aging body…then, when you look in the mirror, you fool yourself. Possibly, like George Carlin assures us, don’t keep track of the numbers (age, weight, etc) – your doctor is the only one that needs to know..is the answer to growing into “cronehood” gracefully!

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