To hear the world speak first we must listen.

To hear the world speak first we must listen.

Debra C., age 70

Mostly, shock! Who is that person in the mirror? First I don’t recognize her, then I see my mom.

Next comes the grumbling with this body’s latest shortcomings, one can’t do this or that without some pain or stiffness—or fatigue after what used to be done without a second thought.

Out in the world, it’s a jolt to have a helpful person run up to help me reach or lift something. I’ve never been one to ask for much notice. I became accustomed to being underestimated and under-utilized as a woman, but the ageism on top of sexism makes it all a bit much. I won’t speak about racism or classism here, but I do acknowledge my privilege. That doesn’t, however, reduce the effect of ageism on my interactions with others. Now I see why my gram was so sharp with us grandkids when we assumed physical difficulties implied mental ones as well.

What I resent the most, however, is the assumption that I can be fed the most ridiculous spiels and schemes assuming that I am feeble-minded or naive. All of my hard-earned knowledge about cars, motors, electronics, plumbing, building, computers, finance, management, and 70+ years of life experience, go unrecognized, and a gentle imbecility is assumed. Grr.

Invisibility, for me, implies disrespect, unimportance, irrelevance, unvalued. I reject it. I have work to do and art to create.