I have had insomnia as long as I can remember. When I was a child I would sneak out of bed and watch telly with my Dad who was also an insomniac (but he just said he was a night owl). I had some odd habits to lull myself into sleep. I would lie on my side and extend my arm straight out towards the sky and if I got it perfectly straight it would stay there with minimal effort and concentrating on my arm would focus yet relax me and I would go to sleep.
Now when I cannot sleep I become incredibly conscious of my appendages. I cannot get my arms comfortable at all and I twist and turn, wrapping them around my upper body, then tucking them under me and then my dodgy wrists start to throb and I try a different position. I even become hyperaware of my ears. If they are not perfectly flat it really annoys me and I keep slamming my head on my pillow until they are in a suitable spot. The more I twitch and thrash the less likely sleep is to arrive.
I have started taking an antihistamine after I have lain there for a bit and I have starting to panic about not getting to sleep. They knock me out but I do not feel as sedated the following day as I do when I take an actual sedative or sleeping tablet so it is working for me. I am not sure if these things are connected but I have suddenly started to remember my dreams. I have not remembered my dreams for many years, only occasionally would a snippet of horror stay with me when I have woken from a night terror. I am not sure what that means that they are suddenly staying with me? What consciousness is shifting, what is awakening deep inside me?
I have read a few articles this week that really resonated with me. Both articles were about aging, for women in particular.
One was about owning and stepping into our power as the archetypal ‘Crone’ figure. The main female archetypes are the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone.
Today the word ‘Crone’ has been bastardised to mean an ugly old woman.
This shift in terminology was a patriarchal attempt to minimise the power of our elder women as women themselves became increasingly under the dominion of men.
Many centuries ago the Goddess was revered as one all-encompassing Mother Goddess who controlled birth, death, and rebirth. The one Mother Goddess image was split into three aspects reflecting the stages of women’s lives: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The Crone Goddess represented the older woman aspect of a woman’s life. The Crone is a woman who no longer menstruates physically, she is now a fully embodied wise woman who has gained the wisdom of the seasons and cycles enough to embody it and inhabit it. These wise women understood the importance of death and renewal at such a cellular level they no longer needed to be reminded every month.
In many cultures, especially those of the indigenous peoples, elders are revered for their knowledge but in the Western Cultures the elderly are often seen as an obligation or even as a bother. Our Elders hold so much knowledge which is sometimes neglected and often lost. I am so grateful I still have my Mother with me and I wish I had sat my Grandmother down and videoed her and had her tell some stories of her childhood and past but we often do not appreciate what our older relatives have to offer until they have crossed over to the spirit world and are our ancestors. I would love to show those videos to my own grandchildren some day but all I have is photographs and memories. I am one of the lucky few who can still communicate with those who have crossed over but my skills in that area require much more refinement. I hope the knowledge and insights I gain as an elder will assist that growth.
The second article was about the invisibility of older women. Manohla Dargis wrote that wrinkles “have a way of making women disappear one crease at a time”.
When I was young I was always irritated when people would stare at me but now I can walk among a crowd and not be seen. We Crones are wraiths, regardless of our physicality, our bulk or size.
We could use this to our advantage should we want to be spies but in the general everyday scheme of things it can be a bit annoying. We may not be heard in a sea of voices, we may be talked over at the office or in our family environments.
The media embraces youth culture and suggests that we all need to have thin supple bodies, line free faces and no grey hair. However there is a shift which was triggered somewhat by lockdown. Many woman are embracing their natural hair colours and textures and allowing their grey to grow in. Many of us are forgoing makeup on an every day basis and are letting our skin breathe. I assume that many women are not having their usual ‘beauty’ treatments but I have never been one to inject things into my face to try and stop the aging process, I am more afraid of botulism and silicone floating around in my body than I am of wrinkles and lines.
We are becoming more comfortable in our own skins, no matter the texture of those skins. We are looking internally now that we are not being examined so critically externally, by others or even by ourselves.
The other night Norm and I were chatting and realised that when we met I was 34 years old which is the same age as my son is now. That blew our minds that time has passed so quickly and that we were so young and are still together almost 26 years later.
This picture was taken in Sun City. Norm and I had met that year and after several visits back and forth between Belfast and South Africa we had decided we wanted to be together and that it was time to introduce him to my children. Norm flew over from Belfast to South Africa and we had driven with the kids up to Sun City and stayed at Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Compared to most people in the southern states where I was raised I was relatively old when I had my children. Many have their children while still in high school or shortly thereafter. I went to University after High School and only met my first husband when I was already working at my second place of employment. I moved cross country from Tennessee to Los Angeles and when I was 24 my son was born. I was a divorced mother of 3 young children aged 5, 7 and 9 when Norm and I met. I felt so old at 34 which is hilarious now that I am almost 60. Your perspective changes on what is considered ‘old’ as you age.
My body feels old but my mind feels the same as it ever did (bar a few slippages in the memory department). I am not ready to fade into invisibility but I am prepared to embrace the power that comes with age and hope that I can continue to learn how to tap into the innate knowledge I have.
This has been a relatively chilled out week with minimal drama and lots of meetings. Work is very busy but nothing is stressing me as I am on top of things.
My Mom has made progress and is feeling much more positive which makes me much happier too. She was hoping to go home from the rehab in a few weeks but they do not think she is ready to manage on her own yet but at least she has perked up a bit.
On Thursday Norm and I had one of our first social interactions when we were invited next door to our neighbour Kate’s for drinks. Kate gets tested weekly for her work so I figure she is a pretty safe bet to not kill me with her cooties. I put on a new bright yellow dress and even wore makeup. It felt good to make an effort for a change. My grey hair is coming in nicely now, a true mark of the Crone. ❤
I made up a platter of samosas, arancini mozzarella balls, crudites and dips and we trudged the few meters down the hill. Kate also invited Amanda from across the road whom I had not yet met. It was so nice to chat over a drink and a plate of nibbles and absorb that energy of conversing with other humans (not that Norm is not a human but we have been conversing a long time and have few new tales left to tell)! I missed female energy. Amanda seems lovely and Kate is such a bubbly fun person, I really am glad that we became friends. I think Kate and I have a lot of things in common, we discovered that we both have a love of art and the opera. Women need the friendships of other women and I have few women that I trust in my life after being badly burned by previous ‘friends’, I find it hard to be open.
Friday is always a chaotic day as the recycling and rubbish men come and it makes the dogs go nuts but Navajo had a physio appointment and without him home as the ringleader the poms kept quiet and calm. Navajo is so cautious around people but he loves the physio.
They do laser therapy on Navajo every 3 or 4 weeks and it really helps his leg. If his leg is sore then he misuses his body to lift himself off the ground and he ends up putting his back out. The physio really helps with it and we see such a difference in his mobility.
The side benefit is that he is so exhausted from all of the excitement after he gets home and is very chilled out.
Now for the weekly Covid statistics. 9,028,074 people have been tested in South Africa resulting in the following:
On a global ranking of total cases of Covid, South Africa is at 16th, the UK is 5th and the USA is still first.
As far as total deaths the ranking is similar: SA is 14th, the UK is 5th with 122,415 deaths, and the USA is still first with 523,082 lives lost. The most even measure for comparison is the counts of deaths per 1 million of the population and the ranking is: SA is 44th with 833 deaths, the UK is 6th with 1,797 deaths and the USA is 10th with 1,574 deaths per million.
In SA we still have no idea when we may receive the vaccine.
Today Norm is conducting a webinar while I blog. Last weekend Norm made a load of progress on sanding my second hand desk and is a bit closer to being able to stain it. He is doing a great job!
While he was busy last weekend I started watching Are You The One? and binged through season 1 over the weekend and finished season 2 during the week. This series tackles the challenge of ‘If your perfect match was standing right in front of you, would you even know it?’. It appears that the answer is no, they would not. The show originated on MTV and the producers used a matchmaking algorithm to determine who was the perfect match for each of the show’s contestants. No one picked their ‘perfect match’ straight off the bat, they sometimes did not even like their perfect match once they discovered them. It proved to me that physical attraction is what most people operate from, not whether they have the same family values or backgrounds. Of course they are all young, attractive, barely clad and horny and are being fueled with copious amounts of alcohol so that must slant the results somewhat.
I love a bit of reality TV and I enjoyed it for what it was: pretty people, pure nonsense and fluff. I did like the fact that you have a sort of mystery to solve by guessing who is a match, it is not just pure voyeurism. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I wish they had all of the seasons available on Netflix.
Another show I watched was ‘Baewatch: Parental Guidance‘ which is also a fly on the wall reality TV. It is a show where new couples are sent on holiday to a beautiful resort and are unaware that they are being filmed and that their parents, friends and/or family members are watching every thing they do via these cameras. The observers even master mind a set of questions to ask each of them. It is cringeworthy but we all know I love a bit of cringe TV. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐✨ for amusement value.
Norman and I just finished watching a new series together called Behind Her Eyes. It is about a Psychiatrist and his wife (David and Adele) who move to London. The day before David starts work in a new practice he ‘randomly’ meets his soon to be receptionist Louise in a bar and they end up having a rather torrid affair. Louise has night terrors and ends up ‘randomly’ meeting Adele and begins a friendship which helps her find a way to cope with her night terrors. You are led to believe that neither partner knows about the other partners’ relationship with Louise. It is a psychological thriller and you are never sure if the wife is evil or the husband but you feel a sense of foreboding that something bad is going to happen at any minute. I do not want to give any more details away but I give this 5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for intrigue and sexy Scottish accents and such a surprise ending it will knock your kilt off. It is a must watch!!
This review is a great segue to my first music video as I discovered it on the soundtrack from ‘Behind Her Eyes’. It is from the Noisettes and is called ‘Never Forget You’. This song was recorded in 2009 but it sounds decades older as it has that old Motown vibe which I adore. The lead singer is Shingai Shoniwa and she has a fabulous style and voice. I really love this song and the Noisette’s timeless old school sound on this track, a lot of their other songs are a bit too rocky for this old girl but I do love this one.
My next musical offering is a tribute to Black History Month. It is from the album ‘Songs of Our Native Daughters‘ and gathers together the talented musicians Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell.
I was first exposed to the talent of Rhiannon Giddens on the series Nashville where she played a church choir singer who was picked up by a label. Giddens has had six Grammy nominations and has won once for her work with The Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group she co-founded. Their 2010 album, Genuine Negro Jig, won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. Another bit of trivia is that Amythyst Kiah was born in my hometown of Chattanooga!
The album Songs of Our Native Daughters is a tribute to the history of African Americans and draws spiritually from slave narratives and other pre-19th-century sources. Giddens researched the songs and haunting narratives of enslaved Africans, finding and starting with handwritten music from the 1700s, the first slave melody ever annotated in the New World. Native Daughters is a collaboration with the three other African-American songwriters whose work interrogates history and, as Giddens writes in the album notes, shines “new light” on stories of “struggle, resistance and hope.”
My wish is that you enjoy the sound and appreciate the history of the music as I did.
After lunch Caitlin is coming around for a socially distant visit in the garden. I have not seen her since Christmas so I am really looking forward to her visit.
I hope you continue to stay safe and that you have a great week ahead. Remember to check in on your friends who live alone.
Until next time, socially distant double masked Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox
*NB: Image credit for cover pic Jo Jayson Art