SADLY---NOBODY WANTS YOU WHEN YOU'RE OLD, GRAY, AND POOR.
Several years ago I learned of her death. I read her obituary and learned that, at the age of 83 years, Anita Ekberg died-- alone.
The heartless press called her “old, faded, wrinkled" and "only a shell of what she’d once been." Almost gleefully, they wrote that Anita Ekberg died ‘penniless, completely destitute.” Once so popular, beautiful, shapely, and internationally famous, Anita must have wondered what happened to all her fans; she surely felt abandoned by those who once adored her in the days when she was young and popular... and pretty.
Like the song lyrics say "Nobody wants you when you’re old and gray" and, from experience, I know it’s true. I would add a few more words to that phrase---"Nobody wants you when you’re old and gray, no longer popular, and pathetically-poor."
Anita Ekberg entered the public eye as Miss Sweden, a contestant in the Miss Universe Pageant, and yes---another Beauty Queen. If Anita Ekberg and I happen to meet in the “here-after” I’ll be sure to say: “On a much-smaller scale, I understood your life, Anita. In many ways, we shared the same highs and lows but what a relief to know that age, beauty, and wealth don’t matter in Heaven”.
Too-many women are jealous of other women. Too-many women enjoy criticizing women who spend time as public figures. I'm not smarter or prettier, stronger, or more talented than other women BUT--I dared to challenge life--whether it was running the Great Wall, writing the story of my life, singing to an audience, speaking to a group, saving an historic Steam Engine or placing myself in the line-of-political-fire in an attempt to save a dying town!!!! Rather than waste valuable time tearing me down---more women should be using their energy to "lift the world up", help the needy, improve life for others, even better-educate themselves!!!!!
The seven months I spent on The Great Wall of China, mostly alone, were the most important months of my life. I had time to think about the value of life-- my life--and to get intimately-acquainted with myself.
I'm certainly not perfect. Yet, when I add-up my pluses and minuses--I definitely have more positives than negatives. And--I’m a quick learner. I learned my lessons well, especially those pertaining to love and loss--about living in the present rather than the past and--most importantly--about learning to love myself.
I’m still sorting through the “growing old” part of life because--it happened so suddenly. Sometimes I look in the mirror, smile, and feel amazed at how quickly life carries us from young to old. I believe what matters most is--- learning to be our own--best friend.
Today, decades later, I’m still the same “little girl” who fears the darkness. Every night, before turning out the light, I look under the bed, check the closet for more-than-clothes, and double-check the bedroom door to make sure it’s locked.
I’ve accepted the fact--locked doors can’t silence the long-ago echo of my mother’s suspicious, controlling voice. She permanently-branded my childhood with her hateful words: “Just what are you afraid of? Why are you scared that someone's hiding in the closet or under the bed--just waiting for you to go to sleep?!?!? No one gives a damn about you and your skinny legs--or your flat chest!”
It’s true. My mother steadily chipped away at my confidence, my belief in myself, and, eventually, robbed me of almost everything. But, in the end--- try as she might--- she was unable to conquer my indomitable spirit. Thank You, God.