Salute to women who divulge their age
My great great aunt lived to be 100, and I think she was one of the coldest women walking around the planet. Toss a coin, and chances are we were arguing about something — from my high school years straight up until adulthood. But I still enjoyed hanging out with her. After a temporary move, she told me via phone that she felt lonely not being in Chicago anymore. I went to the ballot box that day (for a local election several years ago), filled up my tank and kept on driving until I reached her new home in Flint, Michigan. She was stunned when she saw me on the other side of her door. I stayed overnight, made sure she was cool and drove home the next day.
One of the dopest things about her to me, besides being fashionable and thoughtful and funny as hell, was she’d introduce herself by age before name. She absolutely loved to share her age. Why? Because she enjoyed being alive and having the opportunity to enjoy what the day brought to her.
Other women in my family, like my mother, are the same way. When my mother turned 60, we recorded a Facebook video in the park. While I was making fish faces, she immediately announced she’d just turned 60. It was the silliest video we’d ever recorded, but even with us being ridiculous, she still wanted to point out her age. She also walked around all day with a crown and a T-shirt that said, “I Make 60 Look Good.” She got stopped nonstop, including in a custard shop with a very fine cashier who crooned, “Yes you do!” Indeed, she does!
I thought about that today during my millionth Twitter debate. (I’m doing a terrible job of not arguing on social media on weekends, but I keep making this a goal.) Although the original tweet was in reference to black women being tired, it went off the rails into a topic about black men asking black women whether they wear wigs. If you’ve read my post on weaves and wigs, you already know I have mixed opinions on both. While I stand firmly in my opinion that you should never wear anything you’re ashamed of, one comment stood out among many, “that’s an inappropriate question period. That’s no different then [sic] asking a woman her age.” This is the one tweet I paused over and let out a deep sigh.
Maybe because of the women who raised me, I will never understand why celebrating how long you’ve been alive is something to be ashamed of. If you’re a breathing, living human being, you’re going to turn a year older — every year. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was not empty when you were born, and your high school yearbook had more than one picture. They’re your age, too. And I love to see women walk in their truth, especially when they do it as hilariously as comedic actresses like Regina Hall did when she turned 50 last month.
Even though I usually stand on a soapbox about women calling themselves “bitches,” I’ve been singing this song for a solid 30 minutes. Can somebody give her a royalty check for this? I’m tired of people texting me Luke Campbell’s “It’s Ya Birthday” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” I like Regina Hall’s song better!
Michelle Obama, who just turned 57 today, has zero problems talking about menopause and getting older on “The Michelle Obama Podcast.” Never have I ever expected a first lady to say “discharge” or “hot flashes” without flinching, but there she is.
Then here comes Betty White — who turned 99 today —and isn’t two-stepping around her age either.
“You probably didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway,” White teased Entertainment Tonight. “What am I doing for my birthday? Running a mile each morning has been curtailed by COVID, so I am working on getting ‘The Pet Set’ re-released, and feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day.”
Whether women are feeding ducks, posting Facebook videos, clowning in custard shops, or recording podcasts and songs, I adore women who live for living. At 39 and happy to have survived the nightmare that was 2020 — with a worldwide virus epidemic that’s still infecting people as I type — I couldn’t be happier to still be hanging around. Celebrate your age. It never hurt anybody to be older, wiser, better and badder.
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