Of all the seasons I’m most connected to, it would be autumn. This association has changed over the decades. I’m in my 57th circle around the sun and autumn calls me home over and over. The subtle changes in the weather where those dog days of summer recede brings an appreciation to the transparency of autumn.
Aging isn’t only chronological; it is also soulful. I’ve rediscovered my true self in my emotional aging. Life’s tutelage has given me wisdom to see how I won’t accept any strikes against my being.
I stand without any leaves covering my silhouette. There’s less and less to hide and my autumnal self stands stronger as each season has led me to self-understanding. My symbolic leaves are frequently changing.
Life has changed me.
It’s like peering through a kaleidoscope and turning the nob ever so slightly, adjusting my internal view to match with my intricate self. The one who sees colors in their variegated beauty.
My inner browns match the earth’s soul. My chameleon chartreuse has transformed to a brilliant scarlet. I no longer wear a Scarlet Letter after three ended marriages. Each marriage has taught me who I am and who I am not, what I will accept and what I won’t.
No one can own my autumn personality.
I am a woman who steps onto the stage of life with or without a partner, because I can be on my own. Supporting myself in earnest without the chiding, do more, do this, or do that.
I am my own person — an autumnal transformation that converges with the wind and without airs.
Extravagance doesn’t appeal to me. Popularity with learning is more my temperament. Puttering with the leaves and edging the flowerbeds fills me. Mulching with the silence to turn over my thoughts produces a rich internal respect.
The depth of my life lessons is a complexity representing my autumnal affair and this stage of my life.
I’m welcomed to be me.
Recounting my steps, brushing each stepping stone with a broom crafted of willow is soothing and restores the luster, removes the shame of both inner and outer voices.
Knowing now, I did what I could, with what I knew, and I survived.
No one, no matter how wise, articulate, harsh, smooth, grandiose, or charming will persuade me from my infinite need for equality and independence.
In my autumnal state, I let the winds tease me, the rains soak my roots, and I stand with the evergreens whose branches offer me compassion and shelter.
My autumnal self is an uprising of my femininity joined in a partnership with my masculine side. My endless falling leaves are symbolic deaths to lessons learned, lessons cherished and rediscovering the natal imprinted messages to follow my soul.
Originally Published on Age of Empathy: My Autumnal Self Is an Uprising of My Femininity
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."