WARNING: It's a long one!
A few hours ago, my daughter pulled up a site on the Internet showing “famous” people who were born on our birthday (me, her and my son.)
I should preface this post by saying my son is 18 and my daughter is 13. More than half the people listed, I had never heard of. They were TikTok and YouTube “stars” and my kids knew the vast majority of the people listed.
We then moved on to “celebrities” who shared the same zodiac sign as us. My son and I had the most well-known people who were Pisces (his sign) and Taurus (my sign). I told them to pull up their father’s zodiac sign since he was nearby working on our dryer in the laundry room.
They pulled up Aquarius and there were over forty people listed. But OPRAH WINFREY was not one of the people listed. Oprah was born on January 29, 1954. Definitely making her an Aquarius. I've always known her zodiac sign, because my mother (God, rest her soul) was an Aquarius. I said the site was stupid for not recognizing Oprah, but some of the other random people I’d never heard of. My son says to me with a STRAIGHT FACE: “It’s because Oprah’s not relevant.” [sidenote: that is definitely some Gen Z bullshit stating what/who is relevant!]
Needless to say, I lost my shit.
We argued for almost fifteen minutes about who was more well-known: Oprah or Cristiano Ronaldo. He said Oprah was American and only known in America. After realizing I would NEVER convince my Gen Z kids that Oprah mattered, I retreated from the conversation totally in my feelings.
I thought about WHY I was so upset. And I realized it didn’t really have anything to do with Oprah. Even though she is one of the richest, most famous black women in the world–it was more about if they (and their Generation) thought Oprah was irrelevant–what in the hell did that say about me? What did it say about women my age, from my generation?
Is that what we’ve been reduced to? Having our relevance determined by children who are probably still living at home? Are we irrelevant because we don’t have large social media followings or can’t do the latest TikTok dance?
My husband tried to calm me down by saying it was a generational thing. It didn’t really help. I have been intentional while raising my children to make sure they know about people who paved the way (celebrities and non-celebrities) especially black people who may not make it to their history books. So, for someone in my own house to determine a black woman over fifty was not relevant was like a dagger to the heart.
On the surface, I am all: “PROAGING!” “WOMEN OVER FIFTY ROCK!” “BLACK DON’T CRACK!” but there are places in the recesses of my heart and mind where I do feel like a dinosaur at times. And I wonder, do I make a difference or am I past my expiration date?
That’s why the Face of Fifty Plus community is so important to me. Being around women where I feel like I matter, that I’m relevant, and making a difference. A safe place where women like me know what it’s like to be counted out because of the year you were born. A place where women like me also know trends come and go, but we’re classics that will never, ever go out of style. I wallowed for a bit (totally hormonal by this point) before shaking it off. It was then that I remembered a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
That’s essentially what I’d allowed to happen. I let my uninformed son and his OPINION totally trigger me. Although his sister was agreeing with him as well (Judas!). I thought about how even at their semi-big ages they are still VERY much dependent on me. Me. A woman over fifty who by most accounts isn’t considered “relevant”. Oh, the irony! After I did finally calm down, I had to laugh because I learned a very important lesson from the entire incident–don’t argue with people who can’t even write in cursive.
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