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Creativity, Curiosity, Connection…Living | LEE WALTHER on “I AM” Conversations (Interview)

Creativity, Curiosity, Connection…Living | LEE WALTHER on “I AM” Conversations (Interview)

I’m an artist, I’m a mother. I am light. I am scarred. I am powerful. I am a student, a creator. I am whatever I want to be. I am over 50. I am the sum of my years. I am one darn, strong woman. What informs your creativity? Everything. Because everything is or can be art. It’s energy, it’s love, it’s everything that we see around us. Everything comes from Source and I’m part of that. Every time I go out for a walk, I mean, might want to stay a bit for a little longer. Every time I push myself and take that morning walk, I find little treasures, little miracles. It could be a coin, it could be engaging with a person on the street that I didn’t know. It could be something organic that I find. And even if I didn’t sell anything, I don’t care, because I have to create. We were created somehow and I really believe that we”re meant in turn to create. And, how do you think creativity has influenced your aging? I see people really, really as ageless. I have no idea how you are, I mean, how old you are or anybody else. And it doesn’t even enter into my mind. Mmm-hmm. You’re a beautiful person, you’re a person. Right And that’s really, I know it sounds trite but it doesn’t, I don’t see it. I don’t care about these wrinkles. I don’t care about this. You know, it doesn’t matter. It’s the life in me. The pleasure, the joy that I find in life and the people around me. And there’s so much to learn! I’m really a student of uhm, ancient knowledge. Kabbalah, mysticism, metaphysical things, uhm, spirituality, uhm, I’m always growing and learning. And I’m so grateful there’s still time to evolve even more. And when you, when you, when you meet other people who are your chronological age, are they surprised at your energy, and your enthusiasm, your joie de vivre? I mean, they must be. A little bit. And what do you tell them? Uhm, How do you encourage them? Oh! By being an example. Come with me, let me show you this. Come on, let’s do this. I find that women as they’re getting older, ah, you know, mid-age to older, have a lot more fear, anxiety, driving, going places. “No, you can’t do that.” The door says, ‘push’ don’t pull, push. There’s, somehow, they’re feeling squashed. Mmm They don’t feel like, what is that book, “When I Get Older, I’ll Wear the Color Purple.” If only they could feel free to explore who they are or be who they really are. I wish there was something that I could do about that. Right. For me, it’s part of a bigger conversation that’s being had finally about women, by women, for women. It’s about women’s ah bodies, women’s sexuality, women’s sensuality. I’d like to be sexual but you know. Cut that! No, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. And why not? Well, you know what, uhm, I’m of a certain age. And people of a certain age aren’t sexual? Oh no, no, they are. Yes. By themselves. I’m sure there are other people who are sexual as well of a certain age. No, but you know, to find a partner, that would be really lovely. To have a playmate, uhm a lover, a friend. It could be in lust, it could be in interest. But uhm, it’s, I am invisible to men. Absolutely, I can tell you. I think this is a really important thing that you’re raising. Uhm, and I think that people don’t talk about it very often. And, that is that the, the sexual, sensual urges don’t stop at a certain age. Not for some people. But not for me, ever. Right And the, the feeling of being invisible is not exclusive to you. It’s many women We’re talking about women of a certain age but maybe not necessarily. Maybe other women for other reasons are invisible but definitely as you reach a certain age. I noticed it when my daughter, my beautiful daughter was a teenager. And, I wasn’t bad looking either but all of a sudden, they were zeroing in on my daughter. And even though I walk down the street, I give eye contact to everyone, I love connecting with them. And I do that to men as well. But they’re not looking at me. And it doesn’t matter how interesting my clothes are or how nice I look, they absolutely do not see me, but women do. Women do and they respond. And it is so nice to have a smile exchange or just acknowledging each other. Just, I see you in there. I know who you are. You’re not that and that’s really lovely. But the thing is, that when I start to become invisible, it was very, very freeing. It was so freeing because when I would go out, I was always aware of men looking at me. And you know, the ah, and I didn’t realize I was priming, you know. And I didn’t, uhm, I was always conscious of myself because I knew men were looking at me. And now, I’m invisible. I can be anything I want to be. I can be free to just Mmm-hmm And do you wish that you would have had that liberation sooner? Absolutely, absolutely. How would that have changed the way that you navigated life? I think it would have given me more confidence. It would have given me more confidence. And yeah. Ah, freedom, confidence, assuredness in myself. Mmm-hmm. I don’t need anyone to look at me or admire me. Uhm, it’s wonderful just to be. And how do you feel about sadness and pain? Because that’s part of, of life as well, right? Wow, it is. And that’s something I’m working on now. Uhm, that it is what it is. And I’m practicing every morning in the shower. That’s the one thing I’m disciplined about, the one thing. A hot shower. And I finish it off with icy cold water. And I say to myself, “it’s cold. It is what it is. It’s cold. That’s all it is. It’s cold.” And that might not make sense to you but somehow, whatever happens, okay it is. And there’s gotta be another side. It’s almost as if there’s a cultural mandate to only be happy. “How are you?” “I’m fine! How are you?” “Great!” And then you continue. As opposed to, “How are you really doing?” And then be prepared for the response. “You know what? It sucks today.” “I’m really not doing that well.” And I think that we’re not bearing witness to each, our own, and then to each others’ hardship and challenge. And so, when it happens to us, we’re lost because we’re thinking, I’m alone. No one else goes through this. Look at everyone, they’re happy. I work in retail part-time and ah, the customers are always greeted, “Hello, how are you?” “How are you?” And one woman was greeted, “How are you?” And she said, “Okay.” I put my arm around her, and I said, “No, you’re not.” And she said, “You’re right.” And she proceeded to share with me. I, it was like, “No, you’re not.” But uhm, I think I can be pretty uhm, straightforward with how I’m feeling in that moment. Uhm, I can be crying, and this has happened. Over lunch I’m crying, boo-hooey, and all of a sudden, I see something that’s either beautiful or funny and I can turn, I can start laughing. Right. Then I’ll go back. No, but that’s true, you know. There’s something about knowing that nothing is permanent, Buddha Right. It, it passes. So it’s okay then to cry; it’s okay to touch your pain; it’s okay to put the light on the wound as Rumi says, you know. Because you’ll be okay. Yeah. All my life, I have dealt with panic attacks, anxiety since I was a teenager and it got worse and worse. And I guess depression is part of that. Inside I’d be screaming, “let me out of here, let me out of here!” And sometimes I’d run outside but I still felt I was encapsulated in a sphere, trapped. And, after years and years of trying to hide that, and it wasn’t until my 50s, I finally got on medication. I really, I, I didn’t think I could do it anymore. And I constantly thought about suicide. Because it was exhausting; I couldn’t continue to fight it. I can do this, I can do… I couldn’t. But, there’s something very beautiful too about being human, you know. And uhm, and, I saw through your, your shiny, wonderful, beautiful eyes that there’s a life really well lived. And, and that means a full life. And sometimes a life fully lived has pain. You know, the saying is, “when one door closes, another one opens.” But they forget to tell you, it’s hell in the hallways. Yes, yes. You know, that kind of thing. That’s, that’s to me what it means to be human. I love the way you are and I love everything you said. You are a “bp” a beautiful, beautiful person. Thank you. As are you. You’re, I’m reflecting who I’m looking at right now. You’re very sweet. No really, it’s true. It’s really true. It’s hard, I mean, it’s not easy for me to pick myself up off of the floor. Yeah. Uhm, but I try. And I have such wonderful friends and, and people that will help me and bring me back to center. Yeah. But I can’t always do it myself. And the support system is so important, you know. Ah, we, it’s a very lonely kind of society that we’re living in. And ah, people are on their own too much. And, with social media, there’s a sense of being disconnected, and really not touching people in a very personal way. Women need girlfriends. Women need a support system. Women in my day, we were very polite. People with authority had power over you. Uhm, and in the job force, your boss was the boss and you had to you know, don’t make waves and all of that. Uhm, now it’s, it’s different. In the same way you know that walking down the street, the men might not acknowledge you? I am so happy that sisters are responding. They are! I am so happy to hear that because that’s what we should do. We can lift each other up. And the more we do that, the more men will also come and understand what it is to really and truly support a woman. But I think we have to lead the way. Yeah. And you know, we never know what a smile can do to that stranger coming past us. Just, you’re there. I see you. Yeah. Yes.

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