Los Osos Back Bay – oil by Peggy   2015


 I just completed a stint on a committee  to put amendments before a group at election time.    Many of the amendments  were strongly resisted by the  Board of Directors and during the process there were many harsh words and criticisms of these seniors for “not doing things the right way”. There were as a result  tears and fear of reprisals.       
I was struck by the incongruity of how frightened these seniors are of any kind of conflict when for almost each and every one there have been many, many hardships and tragedies  in their lives.    They are now very vulnerable to any harsh language, in most cases they no longer have the ego strength to stand up for themselves so  they allow their need for peace and calm to override their need to say what they think and feel.   Their need to be liked is very high because that translates to being safe .   If you are old and dependent on those around you to help you with errands, things that need to be done to your house and you are on a budget and have had a lifetime of being careful with money you learn to “be nice” even when you feel otherwise. 
Many of the women are in their eighties and have been in traditional marriages for the better part of their lives.   Now many live alone and depend on other men to watch out for them.   Particularly vulnerable  are those that do not have a family member close by to watch over them, Their women friends are their lifelines.   They group together to support one another in standing against unfair treatment .
So, watch out when  senior women  have finally had enough.   Despite their age and lack of physical strength there came a point when they had been pushed too far and so they began to fight   It was indeed a joy to see them come to life again. Their faces flushed and arms waving as they made their arguments.   They were able with the support of their  group to say to people who were bullying them “back off”.  
So much  advice is given on why we should not argue, not be angry and of course don’t take it personal.   Supposedly it is good for one’s health to put on a happy face.   
    We are persons, how ridiculous  to advise us  not to feel personal when we are being bullied, lied to and  manipulated    We feel anger, sadness, rejection so pretending  to be in a  constant state of happiness is an emotional farce.   . The happy face is fine occasionally but it is not a mantra for feeling alive. 

 My bet is that this small group of activists will outlive those who chose not to join them by several years.   If the longevity doesn’t win then certainly the quality of feeling alive will be worth the risks taken. 
Peggy – feeling alive. 

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