Welcome to February 2020. This month I have created a series on Authentic Vulnerability post-30. I'm letting you in on womanhood in its changes and its struggles and its joy. It's time to take the journey of womanhood out of the dark and bring it to light. Welcome to Victory and Vulnerability after 30.
I’ll never forget when Beyonce marched out in Formation a few years ago at the Super Bowl or when she caused the power to completely go out in the Super Bowl stadium a year or so before that.
I’ll never forget when Janet had the wardrobe malfunction which, in my opinion, prompted an unwarranted, undeserved attack on her storied career
I’ll never forget the women who have graced one of the biggest and most-watched stages in the world every year at the Superbowl.
This year was no exception. J-“from the block”-Lopez and Shakira the “queen of the real belly dance and the rock guitar (bet you didn’t know that)” put on a show for the ages, for the people, for women, for little girls who are growing up trying to find peace with their bodies, for everyone.
The halftime show was fire, not exclusively on the surface, but a well-thought out and constructed fire. That’s the beauty of seasoned women, who have been through a few things. Women with seasoning can put together something from a small idea and make it almost mythical. There were women performing Sunday night who have lived life and made mistakes and watched themselves change and morph into more graceful, thoughtful, and bold women with no apology.
The Superbowl halftime show left me feeling alive and proud to be a woman, no matter my size, age, race, ethnicity, body image – I felt alive and sensual. I sensed the heartbeat of a people who have been treated unfairly and inhumane kept in cages at the border, dreams appearing to be denied in countless raids in search for illegal immigrants. No amount of detainment, torture and deportation can stop the heart of the Latino community, period. And despite "not speaking American enough" (which is ludicrous) many of the Latinos you and I see everyday were, as J.Lo and her daughter sang, born in the USA. That fact was on display Sunday night.
Let’s just get this out here. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira put the message of real women on display. To my 30+ crew, once you get over the fact that you’re getting older, you can work extensively on accepting yourself where you are and creating the future self you desire. You’ve earned the stretchmarks. You might have some cellulite. You may even have to wear a shaper tee, but what you don’t have to do is say or believe that you are “falling apart” or “no longer sexy” because you’re older, more seasoned, and physically changing. You might not be able to do the split or get as low on the floor as you did, but guess what? You can utilize the gifts you have the best of your ability, and you can teach the young ones how to harness, not hate their bodies and lives.
I felt the similarly when I watched Beyonce’s Lemonade and Homecoming. I saw a woman and mother with a message that comes from living, from pain, from determination, from betrayal, from struggle, from joy, from creating, from the greatest teacher on the planet – life. I saw love. I saw the raw and real emotion. When we celebrate women, we are celebrating life.
Indeed, many of you reading this are no celebrities, but you are unique individuals who have the capacity to continue to push yourself further, faster, and stronger. You know more after 30. You’ve experienced more good and bad post-30. And, dare I say, you should embrace your body fiercely and enjoy, not suppress, your sexuality. Feel the rhythm, don’t kill the rhythm because you think everyone else is judging you. They don’t own you. You don't owe them.
There is nothing nasty about taking a pole dancing class.
There is nothing disgusting about stretch marks post baby or after weight gain.
There is nothing sinful about embracing your body with joy and dancing wildly and free.
I remember turning 30 and finally realizing that my life was not defined by degrees, men, marriage, or other people. Pre-30, it was all about securing the next level degree, or getting with the right man. I made many mistakes and, additionally, I did not appreciate my body to the level it deserved. I did not treat it well or give it proper nourishment (remember the ramen noodle diet). I did not speak well to it or of it. Pre-30 in many ways was a train wreck. I was scary good, but lacked life experience that would come.
Now at 38, I determine how I show up. I talk well to myself and about myself. I learned that being sensual and wearing clothes and heels that bring me joy was not for men, but for me. I own that realm.
That’s what I saw Sunday night during Halftime. I saw two women carrying a powerful message for the Latino community, for older women, for the Dreamers, and for America.
Women post-30, there is a message from me to you: Be significantly scandalous. I’m not talking paparazzi scandalous or negatively nasty. I’m talking about being fierce, fabulous, fruitful and clear; because every moment you show up in the arena is a teachable moment for another woman who hasn’t owned her body or has a hard time coming to terms with change. Every moment is a chance to show men that they can be cool, but we aren’t hurting for their attention or affection. We aren’t depressed if they don’t acknowledge us. We are not incomplete without a partner, and nor does a partner complete us. We are free to choose the life we so desire. There was no desperation on that stage, not because they have men and families, but because they embrace who they are.
It is up to us to accept and harness our bodies, our creativity, our love, our joy, our womanhood, our motherhood, our career trajectory and also to simply learn the lessons so that we can pass along good bread to the next generation. Not forgetting, that we ain’t done yet. So bring it everyday. Show up and be the message.
I’m doing it. I challenge you to meet me at the stage so we can rock out, with our post-30 glam self, bringing the edge of experience and the heat of confidence with us.
Con Mucho Gusto,
P.S. Come back next week as the series continues to heat up.
This Dear Wednesday Letter was hand-crafted by Dr. Joy. Dr. Joy Well, mental health clinician, confidence catalyst, professor, self-sabotage solutions and avid researcher is one of the quintessential experts on the connection between the mind, body, and immune system. Her doctoral work explored the experiences of women of color living with autoimmune diseases and how they function and experience the medical community and beyond. Once a shy, small-town girl with big dreams, Joy has found peace and purpose working with women of all ages to develop a fierce, faith-filled identity, personally and professionally. She is a clinician and entrepreneur in mental health private practice, seeing all ages, backgrounds, and genders. In her spare time, she enjoys music, movies, writing, and getting into mischief with friends. You can find Dr. Joy on social media @captivatingjoy.