Older and bolder

Artist: Patricia Ariel


As a teen she felt insecure, shamed
she simply wanted to hide away
felt undressed with eyes, defamed,
made her feel on public display;
passing construction sites
the worst of all transgression
feeling eyes taking wee bites
of her dignity, her self assertion.

And then she grew so much older
could finally saunter down a street
head up high and feeling bolder
no comments heard, indiscreet
suddenly she had become invisible,
walked in stores, not even noticeable
sales clerks gazed above her head
wishing to cater to a younger set
20 and 30 something adults instead.

travelling on busses and subways
she disappeared in so many ways
youths with their real smart phones
ears plugged, heeding their drones
mostly self-absorbed with conceit
rarely considering to give up their seat
she had become invisible…and yet
she saw the hunched backed person
mounting the steps with a cane,
a man struggling to breathe in vain,
a woman with child still in her belly
who could miss a thing of such beauty?
they too had all become invisible
how come she could still see these people?
offering her seat, was the only suitable
and proper thing to do…

Getting older gives her freedom
no longer fraught, not even a tussle.
by salespersons or deviant men
she walks anywhere without a hassle.

It can be trying in eateries
when waiters just ignore
older women frequently
assuming this group of females
will seldom produce a nice gratuity
ah yes, that rule may be unspoken
they cater more to men of all ages
presuming they will get a better token.

How very rude and pejorative
to hold on views so negative!
but as long as older women stay invisible
they may as well make their tips miniscule. {grins}

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/03/01

A fun prompt at DversePoets, Poetics Invisibility  

19 thoughts on “Older and bolder”

  1. Older women are more careful with their possessions including money. One tends to think they scrimp around despite being loaded. Some truths! Good observation Cheryl!



    1. Haha…well, I am a poor “seasoned” woman and if the service is good, 25% is just fine. My mother was a hairdresser and we noticed that those with $$$ tipped less, the hard working person gave a good tip recognizing hard work:)


  2. Life’s funny sometimes. when you’re too young to process the attention, it is there in abundance. When you’re mature enough to embrace it, it moves on to the next young thing. I hear you, and your words are deeply felt.


    1. So true…life is funny. In the Thorn Birds, the old aunt says in her late 70’s that G-d has cursed her for she is still feels like a young woman inside. I have another blog under a pseudonym where I can write poetry and stories from the heart that are ageless:)


  3. it makes me angry when elderly people are ignored – i try to esp. see and talk to those that are not so visible as others, for whatever reason – i think we all have to re-train our eyes…


    1. I first started working in homecare with seniors and now work with youths and find they are both often too ignored…the little guys and the older folks don’t seem to be taken seriously anymore…almost like becoming a non person. Thank you for reading. I enjoyed this prompt.


    1. It is sad…I notice women giving their seats for pregnant women or elderly persons…It bothers me that too many youths do not want to see anything except the music they are playing, the text they are sending and not notice people that could be their mom, their dad, and their grandparents.


    1. heh heh, of course there are many who cannot afford to give much; any man or woman living on social security only for example and I think we are going to see this more and more as a problem with baby boomers.


  4. ha. this is almost like our fables from last week….the message in the end is so strong and would def make a fine moral…i think we are heading down a dangerous path….we need generations to lead the next


    1. Yes, we do…I do see/hear lots of youths who are very sensitive and caring; I often make a joke at work with young colleagues (in their early 20’s) your parents did great job and smile.


  5. I really enjoyed all the examples you gave in this poem, Cheryl! And so true that as one ages one sometimes fades into invisibility. There will probably be advantages as well as disadvantages to this. I do think that sometimes restaurants try to sit groups of women at the least desirable tables. THAT I have noticed. I watch this, and if they try to do this to me I ask for a DIFFERENT table. As far as tips, I don’t think I could generalize there. My daughter was a waitress for a while. She gave the example of a dating situation where the guy left a BIG impressive tip on the table to demonstrate his ‘generosity,’ but then when they started to walk out and the woman walked ahead of him, he grabbed the tip BACK!


    1. Totally agree with you, Mary. For sure with a poem I can’t give the nuances to avoid generalizations. I was however not referring to men as big tippers but many eateries assume that men are big tippers. But it is true that in general men pay more since they generally earn more…Thanks so much for taking the time to read and to comment. 🙂 Cheryl-Lynn


  6. Excellent observations! Concerning selfish youths, I guess it is for their parents to teach them to be more generous and kind, and, to a certain extent, it’s also part of their teachers’s role.


    1. I don’t think it is only selfishness but they wrap themselves in their safe cocoon and just don’t notice…in cities it is more survival of the fittest I think. I come from a small town, the small town is still inside of me. I think we see lots of folks in big cities that still care of all ages. My poem refers to the good thing about becoming invisible…and I do enjoy that part. I can sit in a café and write, keyboard my laptop or tablet and just be:)


  7. interesting the affects of growing older. I fear though the final line only perpetuates the stereotype…but if the joy you find in being invisible is that great, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

    I like this piece. there is a lot to contemplate.


    1. I have mixed feelings but choose to see the plus side. I may write more about this on my other blog. But I have to say that the freedom a woman can experience to walk wherever she pleases without being sexually harassed, not being hounded by salespersons, to sit in a park for hours quietly and meditate…there ARE advantages.


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