Hagitude

I’m 57 years old going on 58, and I keep waiting for my hair to turn grey. It refuses. Instead, the red in it which I always loved has simply faded to duller and darker. The same thing has happened to everyone on my father’s side of the family with my colouring – but I’d rather have grey. It adds gravitas. Makes a little more real those conversations I’ve been having with myself about elderhood. Because that’s the subject of my next (nonfiction) book – you know, the one I wasn’t going to write, because I was never going to write nonfiction again, because it takes so much out of you, and besides, I didn’t think I had anything left to say.

Well, anyway. That book will be about the mythology and psychology of female elderhood. About the hag. I love that word; it seems to me to carry so much more potential, so much more power, than the more commonly used crone. I don’t ever want to be a crone, but I’m so very up for being a hag. Even if my hair (so far) refuses to cooperate. I want hagitude – a word which came to me in the middle of the night, when I woke up from a dream about the Old Woman. Yes, that one: the one who comes sometimes with a birch whip and a sharp ‘Buck up, child’, and other times with a pair of arms so warm and wide that you wake up weeping. So, Hagitude is the title of that new book about reimagining female elderhood for the troubled times we live in – the one I’m writing right now.

What lies the other side of menopause? It’s something I’m beginning to find out. Now that all the dross has burned away (and there was plenty of something burning away there, in the fires of all those hot flushes); now that I’ve shed yet another skin. I’ve been finding it out this winter, which has been a rich and transformative season for me. It began when I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and realised that my body didn’t seem to be working like it used to when I was younger. (Well, I never claimed to be a genius.) Where had that extra weight come from, and how had I allowed my back to get so stiff? Why did I feel as if I wasn’t properly nourished, as if something very centrally located just wasn’t … working … any more?

What lies on the other side of menopause, let me tell you, begins with the body. If you let yourself navigate the wild whitewaters of menopause naturally, as I’ve insisted on doing, no matter what, then a whole lot of really serious stuff happens in your body. Your metabolic rate goes to hell in a hand-basket; your hormones set off down the proverbial creek without a paddle. When the storm finally settles, what’s left of you isn’t exactly what it once was. Your body has changed. It needs different things. In my case, it seems to have needed different exercise (if you’re curious, a combination of core strength-building reformer Pilates, and mad flying-around-the-room aerobic dance to 70s, 80s and 90s rock music I thought I’d never dream of listening to again. From the sublime to the perfectly ridiculous. And trust me: no-one gets to see that. Ever.). And it needed different food.  Two months in to listening to what this new body actually wants, rather than carrying on blindly slogging it to death as I always have done, and I feel like a new person. More energy than I’ve had for the best part of a decade. Mental clarity. Creativity. Hagitude.

Here’s what we so often forget, in all our profound talk about psychological and spiritual transformation during major life transitions. You can’t do it if you don’t take your body along with you. Sometimes, it even starts there. That’s a good thing. Because we are embodied creatures. I may seem to be stating the blindingly obvious, but the truths in the deeper connotations of that statement are things we so often forget. Our bodies are very literally the ground of our being. If they’re all awry, as those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from chronic illnesses know all too well, then unless we shift and adapt to what’s going on physically, we’re stuffed.

There’s some profound beauty in looking at your own ageing body and beginning to become properly acquainted with it. Beginning to take it seriously – beginning to listen to it, maybe even for the first time. In acknowledging all the things it’s seen you through; all the gifts it’s given. It brings a strange tenderness, as well as a deep appreciation. So that chin is always going to sag, and your finger joints are only going to get knobblier – but hey, you can still twist and turn and leap to Joy Division and U2’s greatest hits for 45 minutes at a time, and you’re damn well going to carry on doing it till you can’t. And when you can’t, maybe you’ll finally learn to be still.

Life changes us. Constantly. It never ends. Our bodies change, along with our minds and our souls. That deep mystery there – the shy one, half-hidden in the shadows, slowly working its way to the centre of our lives – depends on it. It’s a miraculous thing, when you think about it. We are shapeshifting creatures, through and through. Shedding skin after skin, till finally we reach the one that will see us out. The skin that is fused to the bone, that will not shift and will not shake – the skin that contains the essence of everything we were ever going to become. The skin with hagitude.

Bring it on.

Image: Gina Litherland, The Fates

2019-03-21T08:24:57+01:00February 6th, 2019|Article|59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Fi Macmillan February 6, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Hi Sharon – bloody glorious. Hagitude. Thank you. Would like a linkedin button because women who are drowning in corporate life need to hear what you have to say. Fi

    • Fi Macmillan February 6, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Sharon – I know you feel strongly about the corporate world. There are many women struggling to find meaning – like you were once. And not knowing where to find it. I have shared on Linkedin. They are the same women as you and I.

      • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 1:57 pm

        Ah, well even I can sometimes mellow 🙂 I know they’re the same women; I was among them. And learned many good things in the process which made me what I am today. (And friends!) The comment was more about LinkedIn, which I don’t ‘get’ at all. But I’m delighted to find it has such uses!

  2. Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Fi – done! I always forget about LinkedIn as I don’t use it. But have at!

  3. Avril Bailey February 6, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Thank you – just loved your article . Embracing my own hagitude everyday – a great word

  4. Kalliope February 6, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    That’s really amazing. And freaky… I was just planning out my attempt to write a book related to the maiden to mother transition. Sort of… I mean… I dunno yet. Something like that anyway. LOL

  5. Heidi February 6, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Such a timely article, as this has been the winter of transformation for me. My body has been changing, but I’ve been kicking and screaming, trying to fight it, to no avail. I mourn my youth, but I also am starting to embrace this change. It truely is learning what you need, now. It’s different. How curious! Hagitude!

    • viviennerobertson@sky.com February 6, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      After an exhausting two years I am aware I have not recovered quite as I expected. I resented this and became sick with flu and aches. I am now gently re adjusting my expectation of my 58 year old body. I am not old, but also no longer young, unless your speaking to my mother or grandparents. I am nourishing with slower pace, resting , nourishment , stretching and developing strength. This alongside maintaining an element of fun and youth, my grandmother in her 8o’s was still youthful in many ways. It’s exactly what you describe , an attitude appropriate to your life stage. Bravo. Brilliant article.

  6. lynnhardaker February 6, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    This is wonderful. Thank you, Sharon. I’m with Fi: Hagitude is bloody glorious.

  7. Harriet Davies February 6, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Hello Sharon – Food for thought! Thank you..There is such connection and acceptance here to your body and its gentle decline. I struggle with this. The very thought of grey hair is anathema to me (even tho I’ve been grey since my 30s).
    I wonder have you grieved for lost youth? Have you mourned for your pre menopausal womb? Do you look in the mirror and react with curiosity only?
    I have only just started to listen to my body after flogging it for decades expecting it to perform on poor nutrition and little sleep, which it did….until it didn’t….
    I wonder whether you have a partner? And whether that changes the landscape? It must do surely : assuming your partner is of a similar age it’s a road navigated together.
    I am single now – and I think the possibility of meeting some one new adds pressure to ones appearance doesn’t it? I look in the mirror these days & battle with the acceptance of what I see and the idea of ‘improving’ it, or rather delaying the sagging jowls and disguising the bags beneath my eyes. I know it’s going to happen but can I put it on hold a while please???
    And I dislike the word hag as well as crone!!
    Are there similar derogatory words for older men………….
    Don’t get me started.. I digress.

    Thank you Sharon. Look forward to reading more – especially with a new book on the horizon..

    Harrietx

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm

      Harriet – I see the grieving as a necessary part of menopause, and what I’m talking about is coming through the other side of that. Through the looking glass, in an oddly literal way. I don’t know whether being married changes the landscape, having only ever done it that way 🙂 But I can’t see that it would change my relationship with the way I inhabit my skin, only perhaps with the way I looked at it. If you see the difference. To me, that transformation is at the heart of life and if we try to hold it back we hold life back. (That’s not to say we don’t regret, or mourn, for a while.) When we genuinely embrace it that old wheel skips and kicks up a few sparks along its way, and we’re off! Funny how we see words. I see ‘hag’ as empowering, not at all derogatory. But then I have the Mad Hatter’s approach to words. There’s something rather hagitudinal about that, too 🙂

  8. Jenny Beale February 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Great word Sharon, thank you! As a friend of mine wrote, we all get older, we don’t all become Elder. So looking forward to the book.

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you, Jenny! – and I should have said the book is two years away from publication. (Part of that new hag-wisdom. Don’t set yourself ridiculous deadlines and half-kill yourself meeting them!) But I’ll be 60 then, and might have earned a bit more right to whitter about being elder 🙂

  9. Hilary February 6, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you. This comes as some of us are about to start a group for Elderwomen/Silverheads/Hags/Crones in east London. Women, old and young, are rising..rooted 🙂

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      Rising rooted … hmmm … sounds like a great title for a book 🙂 (As does Hagitude …)

  10. annemccabe February 6, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you, Sharon! Delightful. I am elder than you at 66, but you have a very old soul and I so appreciate your insights, humor & wisdom – and yes! Exercise and eating healthier are not dreary pastimes any more – they do give us a foundational clarity & energy – looking so forward to your new book and seeing you at Garrison Inst. in June!
    Anne Mc

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm

      Oh good! I’m really looking forward to Garrison …

  11. Lesley February 6, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Made me laugh, this. Have coloured my hair since I was 19. Having finally stopped at age 58 I am unreasonably disappointed to discover that I don’t have much grey.

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      Sometimes life really just isn’t fair 🙂

  12. Harriet Davies February 6, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Sharon – Thank you so much for your response. Your words regarding transformation ‘ being at the heart of life & holding it back holds back life itself ‘ resonated deeply – or rather touched a nerve!
    I sense arriving at the destination of ‘hagdom’ must be a peaceful place but it is that transition which is so difficult.
    And as you say to genuinely embrace the transition and be truthful about the metamorphosis is the key to coming to terms with what we gain from hagdom rather than what we have left behind.

  13. Joy Waddington February 6, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Great blog as always thanks. I’m 62 this year. My menopausal years saw my partner leave me for a much younger woman, very painful. But when I hit 60 it was a wake-up call to get on with the things I’m passionate about. It helped me to be clear when, for the first time, I started to think about time I had left (who knows how long that may be!). I find things I’m grateful for every day. I’ve always let my grey hair be part of who I am- what you see is what you get! I’ve also made dietary changes and I walk twice a day with my dogs which keeps me fit. Go well with your writing and thank the goddess for Hagitude!

    • Sharon Blackie February 9, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Indeed – it can be the most clarifying, clarity-laden time of our lives if we go with it. For me, it’s a sense of being absolutely aligned with my calling, and of having shrugged off anything which holds that back. It’s a wonderful feeling …

  14. Val February 6, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you Sharon for your article here and others for your comments. I am turn 40 this year and my grey has been coming thick and fast over the past few years. First I accepted as I did not want to continue dying it. Now I love it and feel it has led me to a deeper level of self love, and acceptance of what it is to grow older in my body and not push away that experience. Even the long still dyed ends have now grown out and for the first time since I was 16 my hair colour is all natural. I feel it liberating. When I think of the women who most inspire me, they tend to be older women who are consciously treading their path. I give thanks for their lighting the way. I recommend Ursula Le Quin’s wonderful essay The Space Crone.

  15. Sally Q February 6, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Thank you, Sharon. Love that word – Hagitude! Hags with attitude. It is strange, this phase in life (I’m 66) and it is as if I’m only now coming into myself, so to speak. All those expectations (both external and internal) being stripped away – down to the bone – so there is little choice but to be who I am. And it has been, and still is, quite a journey. As for looking in the mirror – what I see depends on my hagitude. Definitely going to try to strut it a little more now. Thank you again.

  16. trumblesmum February 6, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I love my grey hair and aging body, it is a blessing.

    I began chemotherapy with black hair, went through the bald phase and then my hair gradually came back, but grey. I went down to 5 stone and looked like a malnourished teen, body-wise. Now, I am a little saggy in places but no matter, I am not worried about the way others who are youth obsessed view me.
    To me going grey, gaining wrinkles and a less firm body means being lucky enough to survive into my crone years, to see my new grandson grow and to rebuild our tumbledown cottage in a landscape and amongst people I love. Such great fortune did not come to many of the people I met while in treatment.

    How lucky we are to be born in a generation where people can expect to live longer lives than our grandmothers.

  17. Cathleen February 6, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you for you for this gift, Sharon. I turn 50 next month, and while I celebrate the journey there is a part of me that is sad to lose my youthful exuberance. We are told that age gives us wisdom and yet it is hard to find any when there is sleep loss, hot flushes, and new food sensitivities to endure. I always find comfort with others who have traversed the journey first and have thrived through their will to learn and adapt.

    For me, the wisdom is to take care of my body as I have for decades but with a gentler touch. I need to rest more and enjoy the moment. Lists can wait. The house doesn’t need to be perfect now. I can watch the birds at their feeders and enjoy the blessings of life.

    God bless and be well, Sharon. I look forward to your next book.

  18. Patricia Komai February 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    OMG, shape shifting is right, a perfect description! At 66, it feels as if that change, which began for me around 53, started in the center of my body, that woman part of me, and over the years has worked its way outward, and touched every cell and every muscle, sometimes quite roughly. I’m well past those symptoms which would come upon you unexpectedly, and usually at the most inopportune times, and for that I’m grateful. I’m still finding my way; wanting to do the same things I used to, and learning what needs to be adapted and how, and realizing that some things are better being turned into happy memories. Hagitude! Love it.

  19. Win Browne February 6, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Sharon – You’ve entered the Rosy Gate – Welcome! I’m a soon to be 66 years old woman and have keenly followed your work and indeed, in 2018, attended your London Spring workshop.
    I just think it is a great thing to acknowledge – becoming part of an Elder Women Circle. I was relieved and proud to have been given the opportunity to be a 6th Decade Woman and perhaps even a 7th DW one day. Relieved, because it’s taken me a long time to really enjoy being ME and also because, my confidence and power is growing, not dying. Yes, my body is doing interesting things and I now have the time to notice, alleluia, plus I have the great joy, since the Spring of 2017, of not having to go to work outside my home, which means I can take a nap, blast the music (am with you on that one), read and read, eat when I want and do a lot of delicious dreaming. Regards sex, I am intrigued by how sexual I feel even if I don’t act out. I love this feeling of being an Elder and want to share it with more women. Thank you SO much for your article – a great thing indeed. Warm wishes – Winifred

  20. LK February 6, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Oh Thank you Sharon, your words fill me with new ways to understand this path,how to gently walk it for myself and my family and to honor this time of my life.

  21. pattymara1 February 6, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Hagitude! I’m almost 70, my strawberry hair turned white at 50 when my moontimes ended. A wild ride through menapause and here I am just beginning to recognize myself in the mirror. Your words sing for me. Bone deep.

  22. Jennifer Erickson February 6, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for this……I will be honest…..I’m 47….and dreading menopause. I think mostly because I am entering into it childless not by choice…..grieving six miscarriages to boot. I’m terrified of that final door closing (even though my rational mind knows that’s already closed)…..I’m terrified of finally letting go of the woman (mother) I thought I would be and the life I thought I would have…..because being childless wasn’t even Plan Z! It also doesn’t help that so much of the pagan movement is based on women as these glowing fertile earth mothers….ugh!

    Looking forward to this book very much.

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      Yes, I understand. I wrote about this a bit in ‘If Women Rose Rooted’. It’s hard to let go, and menopause (to me, if it’s done properly! – not everyone would agree) is always a bit of a sledgehammer. It doesn’t ever leave you unscathed. But shedding skins, I’ve always believed, whether you’re human or snake, must be painful. What’s left behind, though, is a different kind of beautiful. A richer kind of beautiful. All the more informed by those choices we never got to make. By the things we longed for – but what can we do with those things now? Might they come around, in a different form, and satisfy the hole left in the place where we imagine we never became what we wanted to be, but where the possibility of it isn’t lost, but just transformed? It’s so much about working with those core things in ways that stretch beyond the obvious and right down into the mystic. (I have a course and a couple of workshops coming up on all of this later in the year which might be of interest. It’s become a passion verging on an obsession!)

    • Serena Constance February 6, 2019 at 10:23 pm

      Jennifer, I hear and feel your grief, as I too have had multiple miscarriage’s and a still birth. But have finally found a place of acceptance, having grieved the loss of both my blood and with it my fertility. However, my creativity has burst through after I let go of that chapter of my life, I think all my former creative energy was channeled into trying to create a child. Now I am free of that and in a place of acceptance, I feel so much free er. But giving birth to death was a gift in itself. I see that now. Its taken me many years to get to that insight and peace with my grief. You might find my story with my relationship to blood and still birth here:

      https://advantagesofage.com/exclusives/dirty-blood-still-born-boy/ of relevance.

  23. Latifa Lipton February 6, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Such a timely article for myself as well as many women I know. I have finally stepped into my life consciously and with presence as the Hag/Crone, even though I have been post menopausal for years. I gave in to that social collective consciousness to look as young as possible for as long as possible and because I have always looked about 10 yrs younger than my biological age I followed along…until the past few years and in the past year have stopped coloring my hair and am loving the gray/white that is showing up around my hair line…and my husband is loving it…but he is all for strong women being themselves 😀
    I don’t feel we have many role models of strong women accepting their Hagitude and moving forward with strength and grace. So I’m looking forward to your book. I’m still struggling with finding my footing with what my steps are as far as work and beingness in the world might be but am stepping into my life and looking forward to what the Hag has to say as she begins to come forth into the world.
    Just curious…you mention some dietary changes…what did you find has helped you the most? I know we are all different but I’m wondering. And a big YES to dancing and flying around the room to tunes 😀

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      Yes, we are all different, which is why I hesitated to offer examples. For me, most of it was realising that I simply didn’t need as much fuel any more! And I’ve always had a healthy, non-processed, largely vegetarian diet, so didn’t feel I had to make radical changes. But those simple carbohydrates I used to love so much – the old British/Irish staples of potatoes with everything, and the comfort food of toast and butter – really were sapping my energy and bloating me. A completely new phenomenon. So I suppose I moved more to wholegrains, and making sure I had enough protein. And the truth is, for me the biggest pleasure has always been in the first three forkfuls of mashed potato. It’s enough! So now I get all the pleasure and none of the bloating 🙂 And less dairy. The trick has been not to completely deprive myself of anything I love, but if I’m not entirely sure it’s the best food for me, to have much less of it. Variety. And thinking about adding more foods that reduce inflammation in the body, for example …I think one of the biggest benefits (and there’s a good bit of evidence for those benefits – which go way beyond weight loss) has been semi-fasting one or two days a week. (Calorie elimination for16 hours followed by calorie restriction for the other 8.) It’s a strange thing in some ways, and you really have to very carefully find your own individual balance, but the mental clarity has been remarkable.

      • juliegabrielli February 11, 2019 at 1:50 pm

        Love this piece and since you mention intermittent fasting, thought I’d chime in. I’m 56 and love IF for similar reasons – mental clarity and it also reduces inflammation. Ditto what you say about dairy (and the occasional indulgence, guilt-free) and simple carbs. I have cut out wheat to a great extent and that also reduces bloating. Hormones are a marvelous mystery! Just finishing “If Women Rose Rooted” (a bit late to the party, I know), and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Thank you for your work!

  24. lynnmcmvt February 6, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Sheron, I can’t tell you how much I love this–although I’ll try! I also am 57 going on 58 and have been wrapping myself around menopause, and it around me, for a few years. I must admit that I had no idea what it would be like despite watching my mother and grandmothers go through it. I have been looking for someone speaking truth about menopause and most of what I have found is more about how to deny aging. What you say about yourself is so similar to my own experience. I can “do” crone, but hag is good, too! i find the few words we have for this time in our culture very frustrating, thank you for affirming what menopause is. I look forward to more on the subject from you and of course, the book!

  25. Tara K. Shepersky February 6, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for this, Sharon. I’m 35 and not ready for hagitude yet, but I’m here listening because I’ve felt for many years a deep pull toward the wisdom of women who are at different life stages than I. I find, so far, there are elements and echoes of one stage in another, and of course there’s very rarely a defined line between them.

    I appreciate the revival we’re beginning to see of the value of elderhood in general – and I love the concept of hagitude specifically! I want to be prepared to navigate that transition in my own life with joy when it’s time, and I feel so fortunate to have access to the wisdom of women who are creating that kind of joyful path today.

    • Sharon Blackie February 9, 2019 at 9:57 am

      Absolutely – I think there’s a huge value in younger people understanding that the journey into elderhood is a rich and beautiful one (once you get past the challenging burning-away years!). It’s so important to believe that there’s another stage of life to look forward to, rather than dread. That you can keep on living, all the way up to the point when you die …

  26. senlowes2013Sarah Lowes February 6, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Sharon – so interesting to receive this post only a few days after reading about La Lobe – the old woman who gathers up the bones of wolves and takes them back to her cave. Once there, she reassembles the skeleton and sings it back to life. La Lobe may not be young and fertile but she is still a true life-giver.

  27. Serena Constance February 6, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    I’m so ready for my menopause. I’ve had my own symbolic bloody initiation into the stopping of it, which I’ve performed https://www.runesnroses.com/poetry/initiation

    I’ve also literally put my last blood into creating my runes. So that blood is now forever seeped into the Oracle I work with. My dance practice keeps me grounded, in the body, and keeping supple. My voice gets stronger too as I perform my work in pubs and clubs, dressed up and people really respond. So I embrace this phase of my life. The Advantages of Age collective is also doing so much to promote positive celebration and the power and voice of becoming older and wiser. Here’s to hagitude.

  28. Glenda February 7, 2019 at 12:59 am

    Those hot flashes heat the cauldron and blend the contents and eventually brew an elixir that tonics the body and focuses the mind and nourishes the core soul.
    I’m older than anyone that’s posted so far. I like Hagitude—one of my mouthy online personas is Thunderhag, but I’ve been a Crone too long.
    The Body is lumpy, the Bones hard and creaky, the Tongue sharp, the Eyes looking through the mist into the Promise and often noting the Future, and the Hair silver—and we wear it all without pretense or care. We still walk—usually with our sticks. We shriek when we need to and croon when it suits us and the dark moon sings answers and expectations.
    Babies look into our souls with understanding–they have just arrived and we will soon take their empty place.
    We are Hags. Lived in. Comfortable in Resistance. Friends with Certainty. Courteous to Mystery.

    (And what I dance to is AC/DC and Aerosmith!)

  29. Barbara February 7, 2019 at 1:03 am

    All I can say is wow! Beautifully written, profound and hopeful.

  30. Ann Rebecca Pierce Harrison February 7, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Wonerful, Sharon! Thank you.

  31. Scrum_Jet February 7, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Thank you. This is wonderful. I’m 42 and starting to think about preparing for menopause (women in my family go through it between 46 and 50). I want to embrace it and do it naturally.

    • Scrum_Jet February 7, 2019 at 6:49 am

      My grey hair is coming in strong. Love it!

  32. Cynthia Cox February 7, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Hagitude. Perfect. Hit 61 this year with all those same wanderings/ponderings and wishing to go gray! Everyone in my family was gray in their 40’s and all dyed their hair. Me? I want to be gray and have but a handful popping out! My go to body therapy other than dance is Yamuna balls. They keep the knees from creaking, the pelvis in line, and the back pain free.

  33. Lisa February 7, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Thank You! This Hag will turn 56 on the 14th and I have finally embraced my grey hair that has been with me, hidden for most of my years, since I was in my teens.
    I find when I am in need of words to express how I have been feeling, along comes one of your posts and there those words are. I wake up and can’t understand why I feel like I need another 100 hours of sleep, parts of my body ache nearly all the time and the prospect of having to jump off something frightens me!
    But I am here and I will begin to embrace my Hagitude!!
    ?

  34. billiebest February 7, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    I’m validated by your words and your attitude. Recently I began writing on similar topics, and honestly, you took the words right out of my mouth. Provocative, challenging and amusing. Thank you. Looking forward to more.

  35. morgaineotm February 8, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you Sharon! This year will be my 70th birthday. am still not grey haired, although they are in there, in general, not enough to be noticed. Thanks Dad. Didn’t transition through menopause until my 58th year. Don’t know where that came from, Mom did the average. Fingers are knobby with arthritis, as are my toes, but DH’s bad back means I need to keep strong to wield the chain saw to harvest our winter wood. Need to be able to bend and lift and turn to do the garden work. Have been thinking about doing a Croning this year, as it has been more on my mind, but didn’t seem quite right. Hagitude. Yes, that’s it! Crone is too polite for someone who has reached elder status but isn’t stopping. still growing, still learning, still doing new things and being better now than I was 20 and 30 years ago. Like WITCH it is a politically incorrect word that we can stand behind proudly.

  36. Kit Berry February 9, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Well, you spring chicken, great to know I’m not the only one to cavort manically to Joy Division, U2 et al! Best exercise of all, and I’m even more of a hag than you are! Looking forward to seeing you in March in Ireland! Bright blessings to you xxx

  37. Tina Tierson February 9, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Sharon, no words to describe how much I love this post! I’ll be 74 next week and can hardly believe it! I stopped coloring my hair five or six years ago and love it so much now. It’s mostly salt and pepper with some parts quite silver. If anyone had ever told me I’d make this choice, I would have denied it adamantly! One of the most astounding things I’ve discovered at my age is how every age you’ve ever been is still there. Fortunately, I’ve achieved enough wisdom to sometimes tell the 35-year-old me that she needs to be quiet! 🙂 I find myself enthralled by my age, at the same time knowing how much my daughters fear it. I’ve got to really get my hagitude on! Of course, though at times I may feel much younger, my body knows different and that’s why I need to get some sort of exercise habit started. I’d much rather sit and read or make collages than actually move; however, I know if I want to continue in those pursuits, I’d better have a serious talk with my body (while at the same time thanking her for being healthy in the main and still holding me upright)!

    I also want to tell you that your books have had life-changing effects on me! I recently read The Long Delirious Burning Blue, and … well, just wow! I identified with both Laura and Cat, Laura both young and older, and Cat in her childhood. I learned so much about myself and about forgiveness reading it and can’t thank you enough. It also got me started writing a bit because I do know how healing it can be, even though I seem to have had so much resistance. Likewise, The Enchanted Life is now a book I tell everyone to read, and I’ve now read twice. I’ve said for some time that Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is my all time favorite book; now I have two all time favorite books! I choose a word at each new year and this year have chosen “enchantment.” I used to see and feel the magic all around in nature and in just simple things. However, I live in the United States and these past couple of years, since the 2016 election, it seems to have drained away. But since reading your books and paying attention, I find the magic and awe coming back. Now I’m reading If Women Rose Rooted and again I think it’s going to be life-changing. So “thank you” don’t seem big enough words for all you’re giving to the world! xo

  38. Latifa Lipton February 13, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for answering the dietary question…on board with all of that too 😀

  39. Tracy Stillwater February 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    I like the humorous, self revealing way you express yourself in this post! You feel more accessible, as though our relationship were personal; as though we could be friends. ?

  40. Pamela Brooke February 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Wonderful words. I had my 75th birthday in December and “the red in my hair” is still holding. A tiny bit of silver on the bottom layer that no one can see yet. My dear friend who is ten years younger has all white hair and everywhere we go she’s deferred to as the Elder. And, even to me on deepest level, that feels right. So interesting to see first-hand how our brains default to symbols. Thanks for your passion and scholarship!

  41. Katharine February 20, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Sharon, for the last few years I’ve been unhiding my hair discovering the real me under it all. After my last haircut someone stopped me as I walked home to my Washington DC apartment. They said, “I love you hair. Where’d you get it colored?” Ahahaha. “It’s me,” I said. “It’s my actual color.” Now – after reading your article – I know why they had that look of wonder in their eyes. My hair has got gravitas. It’s got that air of hagitude. I feel better already. Ahahaha. I love it!

    • Sharon Blackie February 20, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      I’m envious … 🙂

    • Pamela Brooke February 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Katherine, I’m also in DC — Capitol Hill. Great to find a neighbor here!

  42. Katharine February 20, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    That’s nice to know Pamela. I live in Cleveland Park.

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