I love this picture. It’s from a photography book published in the eighties or people of the older generation. I have this as a poster in my downstairs bathroom and the caption reads, Growing Old is Not for Sissies.” It’s in the bathroom because the room is decorated with all kinds of mermaids. She is one. Old, fit, pensive, and dripping wet. I love to swim. She is a mermaid in all her aged mystery, energy, and power.
“Growing old is not for sissies is a quote from the inimitable actress Bette Davis. If you are not familiar with her work, she played strong women with great flair. I’ve learned as I grow older, that I have to explain my allusions and references. When I was younger, I could assume that almost anyone would know who Bette Davis was. Now, I’m not so sure. It was a weird and lonely realization that I am talking to generations who do not share my past, my cultural references, or what I used to think was common knowledge. No matter, I’m not afraid to explain. One of the other realizations I’ve had is that I’ve become like those oldsters when I was a kid, telling long, boring stories with no particular point. I’m not afraid to bore you with them because I’m enjoying my own stories. Apparently talking to me and being my friend or acquaintance is not for sissies, either.
There are a lot of things in life not for sissies. We need courage to be our authentic selves and to engage in life. Wicca is not for sissies. You probably judge me as wrong because Wicca has an underserved reputation as all love and light, being dubbed “fluffy-bunny.” To be sure, there are people determined, in the name of Wicca, to turn a blind eye to the dark and negative, people who are afraid to confront their own stuff. However, there are many more who are bravely engaged in the magic of change.
Many people believe Wicca is unrealistic and fluffy because of the ethical statement, As it harm none, do what you will. On the surface it may seem to be an unrealistic “law.” It’s not possible to harm none. I think of the Rede as a guideline or a standard, but more than that, it is a call to be responsible for our actions, decisions, and indecision. The gods that call us to their service demand much of us. We must be courageous to walk this path of “making your own religion” because we have no set of commandments to tell us what to do. We endure the consequences of our bad decisions and reap the bounty of our good ones. It’s all part of the flow of universal life energy.
Think about all the things you pursue that you don’t want to or you think it’s too hard. Either you have to or you want to with a passion, so you put on your big girl/boy clothes and get on with it. You have moved out of your comfort zone and into the realm of accomplishment, bravery, and wisdom. You are in a sissie-free zone.
My favorite Bette Davis movie is All About Eve where she says, “Fasten your Seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” She’s a Rowdy Goddess for sure.