The Sacred Work of the Middle Aged Woman

Our anger is a spiritual labor, one which the world desperately needs

Y.L. Wolfe

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Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Once upon a time, there was an old woman who lived deep in the woods…

Have you heard the stories that begin like this? I’m guessing not, because these stories are always told from someone else’s perspective — someone much younger. The old woman who lives deep in the woods is usually a secondary character. In fact, she’s most often not just a secondary character, but the villain of the story. There’s the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Or Baba Yaga in the story of Vasalisa’s liberation from her abusive step-family.

These women are old, though we don’t actually know what that means. Old, like elderly? Or old like over 40? (Let’s not pretend that the latter couldn’t easily be a possibility.) She’s also usually magical. And of course — and perhaps most importantly — she’s evil. She doesn’t care about the innocent protagonists of the story. She’d just as soon throw them into her oven and eat them.

As I get into my mid-forties, I have to confess: I understand this woman in ways I never have before. I’m so tired of people seeking me out because of what they think I can give to them, and then acting surprised and innocent when I call them out. Don’t tell me that the old witch wasn’t at least a little bit justified in her anger when those damn kids started eating her house. I mean, come on!

And I’m tired of people asking me for help, information, and guidance and expecting me to stop my life and share my hard-won knowledge and strength for free. How about you sort this pile of seeds for me, first, hon? Then we’ll talk.

The old witch is angry. And folks…she should be. She’s been around long enough to have seen all the absolute nonsense going on in the world. She’s been inconvenienced, victimized, and hurt by it. And not only that, she’s been sidelined into irrelevancy. I mean, where are the stories about her? Who cares about all these damn kids and their problems? She’s got problems, too.

This is what I’ve learned from these witches who live alone deep in the woods, the old women in the stories who are just like me: We’re fed up. We’re tired. We’re angry.

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Y.L. Wolfe

Gender-curious, solosexual, perimenopausal, childless crone-in-training. | Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gleDcD | Email: welcome@yaelwolfe.com