Words and their origins have always fascinated me.
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t search for a synonym or meaning. I’m equally intrigued by those such as my friends and fellow bloggers, Klara and and Elaine, who speak multiple languages with an ease that makes me marvel. Then there’s Lara, who did the translations and questions for of my best interviews.It ended up in both English and French, thanks to Lara’s talent. I’m still learning my way around English words.
That said, words took on a different challenge this past weekend. That’s when I joined Jody, Stella, Karen, Kate, Maria, Donna and Sue for a Zoom call to mark the spring equinox. You can see and hear our full discussion here.
We each bring a rich set of lived experiences to aging without children, and yet we danced around some older terms and debated words often applied to us. We agreed there is no obvious word candidate that does an even halfway decent job of fully capturing who we are and what we represent. The conversation at times felt a bit like we were living an updated and more international episode worthy of the recent TV drama Mrs. America.
Words Lack Depth
I also had something of a familiar pajama fit trying to work out just how the lack of words to adequately describe us intersects with and underscores society’s inability to see us. This was magnified when I found myself caught between two diametrically opposed online groups — grandmothers and Millennials. Both ignored me in a way I found quite annoying.
Not surprisingly, I took to the keyboard and began writing.
My musings led to this newly published piece on Medium. The Atta Girl editor finally boiled down the title to this simple question: What Do You Call Women Who Aren’t Old Yet?
I’ll leave you with the beginning of my Atta Girl piece and hope it make you curious enough to continue:
Ahead of dawn light I punched my pillow before flipping it to savor the feel of the cool side against my cheek. I willed my mind to chill as my body fought the urge to fidget. Thoughts, however, kept tumbling.
The past two weeks surfaced some disquieting realizations. This usually means (heavy sigh) a bit of ‘growing’ awaits. Try as I might, I could not shake nagging questions about where I fit these days. The realizations began when a few oldish women in a virtual group I belong to starting crowing about a newly minted grandmother in the crowd. This escalated to an unwelcome group text brag-athon about grandchildren. Curiously, at the same time, I learned about a Childless Collective Summit soon to take place online.
Square Peg Syndrome
This new event, organized by a woman 20 years my junior, first came up in a Zoom call. It then appeared in several posts on Instagram…read more here
All novel vocabulary and suggestions for new words welcome.
8 thoughts on “Why Don’t Words Exist For Women Like Us?”
Ha! I can relate; I love words too. The most used app on my phone is the dictionary lol. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere either. It’s been a persistent feeling throughout my life. Being infertile confirmed it. I’m okay now, but yes! I really wish there was a word, and more of a language overall, for people like us and our reality.
I’m a dictionary and synonym app checker as well. They have saved me many times when when searching for just the right description. I agree that our worlds are much more multi-dimensional and the language just doesn’t exist, yet, to reflect our reality.
Exactly, which words describe us?
I enjoyed listening to Childless elderwomen a lot!
Always good to hear from you Klara! It’s inspiring to see how you’ve become such a master of so many languages.
Oh, the power of words… I have often wondered whether we could invent names ourselves, but that isn’t as easy as one would think. Like Klara I enjoyed your conversation marking the spring equinox. Thank you for all your work!
Thanks for listening and taking the time to comment, Elaine! Maybe with our collective brains working on it we’ll be able to find the right words.
I have a plan to listen to more of our community’s talks!
It is so frustrating to me that the only words to describe us have a “without” syllable or clause – Non-Moms, childLESS, NoMos, No Kidding, etc etc. I love languages, but I’m not fluent/creative enough to come up with something that might work. And I hate Crone etc because I may be older, but I’m not old yet! (And I also really relate to the Not Boomer, Not Gen-X quandary you mentioned.) It took me years to be able to say “Infertility” let alone to relate to it, so it takes me a while to accept a label. If I ever do. Like you, I don’t want to conform. So although Conscious Childless Elderwoman does describe me, I guess, it might take me a while to warm up to it.
Another Late Boomer/Early Gen-Xer here. Mali said a lot of what I wanted to say, lol. ;) I have thoroughly enjoyed all the Childless Elderwomen Zoom sessions, and I loved seeing you there, sharing your wisdom — but yeah, I know — “ELDER” — who me?? Right? ;) I know some of the women there are embracing the term “crone,” mentioning its ancient & honoured origins, but I still find that a hard one to swallow. Maybe if we really did get to wear crowns?? (I always had a thing for tiaras…)
I just wish labels weren’t necessary, period.