This is me at 40. Yes, that smirk is pretty standard.
I turn 40 years old today. That means that I’m slightly younger than the fall of Saigon and older than Blake Shelton. According to Hollywood, 40 is also the age that I should just give up on life and die. The older we get, the less we matter. Apparently, women only matter as long as they are date-able and marriage-able and controllable. At some point, a consortium of stupid men (I’m sure of it) decided that 40 would be the age of our deaths.
Well FUCK those assholes! (I won’t apologize for the foul language. It’s one of the perks of being 40.)
As someone who honors age, this culture’s obsession with youth boggles me. I remember my 20s and 30s. While I learned a lot, I was nowhere near the peak of my life then. At 40, things are just beginning to get good because I am not controllable. The road to 40 was so much better than the road to 30. I look forward to the road to 50, because with age, I become wiser, stronger, and more confident than I have ever been. With age, I get closer to person I am meant to be. With that, turning 40 is a blessing… as is 50, 60, 70, and beyond.
To honor my 40th birthday, I decided to launch this blog, Skin Memoirs. If you want to know what she’s about, go here. Her origin story can be found here. We live in a culture that expects a woman in her 40s to shut up and be invisible. That is not how I want to live. As a scholar who focuses on race, gender, colonialism, and inequality, this is not the time nor the age to be silent. As I had explained in the Origins page:
Often times, there is a silent buzzing in my head that is spouting out a million ideas about something I ran in to – an article, an image, an experience. I created Skin Memoirs to make sense of that buzzing, to humanize and make peace with the research process, and to again, develop my voice. On my terms. As an academic, not everything we write or think has to or will be published in the latest and greatest journal. Our work can and should focus on critically engaging in the everyday world around us….
I often tell my students to not be afraid of their voices, that there is power to the words they write and the emotions that run through their veins. Yet, for so many years, I kept mine in the dark. Skin Memoirs is a tribute and a thank you to my students, colleagues, friends, family, and other amazing people in my life who have encouraged me to take ownership of my own voice and words.
Skin Memoirs follows a simple Ethnic Studies concept: we have the right to tell our stories.
Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.