CREATRIX RISING: UNLOCKING THE POWER OF MIDLIFE WOMEN
By Stephanie Raffelock
Ever since Eve was banned from the garden, women have endured the oftentimes painful and inaccurate definitions foisted upon them by the patriarchy. Maiden, mother, and crone, representing the three stages assigned to a woman’s life cycle, have been the limiting categories of both ancient and modern (neo-pagan) mythology. And one label in particular rankles: crone. The word conjures a wizened hag—useless for the most part, marginalized by appearance and ability.
None of us has ever truly fit the old-crone image, and for today’s midlife women, a new archetype is being birthed: the Creatrix.
In Creatrix Rising, Raffelock lays out—through personal stories and essays—the highlights of the past fifty years, in which women have gone from a quiet strength to a resounding voice. She invites us along on her own transformational journey by providing probing questions for reflection so that we can flesh out and bring to life this new archetype within ourselves. If what the Dalai Lama has predicted—that women will save the world—proves true, then the Creatrix will for certain be out front, leading the pack.
“The perfect topic at the perfect time, Stephanie Raffelock’s self-help memoir, Creatrix Rising, identifies a new archetype, the Creatrix, that transcends the old archetype of Crone. Her stories and insights about how far women have come is nothing short of inspirational. A must-read for any woman who wants to embrace the strength and creativity of midlife.” -Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Happy for No Reason and Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul
Interview with Stephanie Raffelock
Part 2 of 2
(Originally featured on Books Forward, August 2021)
Some women actually fear getting older. How did you personally learn to celebrate aging?
I start by saying “thank you,” every morning when I wake. Gratitude is a good platform for any change. There’s so much to enjoy and appreciate about aging — maturity, reflectiveness, contemplation. There’s a reason that nature keeps us alive after midlife. No longer necessary for the proliferation of the species, our purpose now becomes more internal, focused on the horizon where the veil floats between life and death. All of life and its cycles is astounding and remarkable. Let yourself be curious. Let yourself be awed. Let yourself appreciate the joy of breathing, walking, feeling… Let yourself practice thankfulness.
How does your book incorporate stories from women in your family? Why was it important for you to share their stories?
We can’t know ourselves, without knowing the women who came before us. My mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are all in my DNA. They all had struggles and celebrations, and each of them in their own way passed a light onto me that represents my ideals and ideas about being a woman. This is true in every family. Feminist history isn’t just something that happens outside of ourselves; it is alive in ourselves and in our families.
Which well-known women who embody the Creatrix archetype?
Ruth Bader-Ginsberg comes to mind as do Meryl Streep, Twyla Tharp, Stacey Abrams, Jennifer Aniston — and these are just a few. All around us, women are shining and thriving in the arts, in business and in leadership. And, of course, I have to put Vice President Kamala Harris on this list, who embodies the Creatrix with her strength, vision, courage and grace.
How does “Creatrix Rising” build on the concepts you wrote about in “A Delightful Little Book on Aging?” Was your approach to writing this book different? How so?
“Creatrix Rising” is an expansion on my thoughts about aging that began in “A Delightful Little Book on Aging,” but this time, beginning with midlife. There is a huge inner shift and right of passage for women at midlife. As for my approach to writing the book — it’s the same, I try to tell my story with as much honesty as I can so that it is relatable to the hearts of others.
How do you uplift women in your local community in Austin, Texas?
I went to Naropa University to study writing and poetics. It was there that I was given the opportunity to do community outreach with my writing. My first outreach was teaching poetry to girls in a group home. I fell in love with the idea of teaching creative writing to marginalized groups that might not otherwise have the luxury or opportunity to take a creative writing class. I’ve taught writing in assisted living facilities, group homes and in jails. Here, in Austin I’ve been asked to teach a class for Dress for Success, Austin in personal development through writing. Re-writing the ending to your life is a theme I love to start with, and I can’t wait for that class at Dress for Success, Austin.
Some say age is but a number, but it often feels like more than that. Why is it that age holds such significance to us?
Age is more than just a number. It’s a badge of honor to have lived long enough to know that the life in front of us is far shorter than the life we’ve already lived. To that end, these years seem more precious, more miraculous and certainly more deserving of our very best selves.
A graduate of Naropa University’s program in Writing and Poetics, Stephanie was a contributor to The Rogue Valley Messenger in Oregon. She has blogged for Nexus Magazine, Omaha Lifestyles, Care2.com, as well as SixtyandMe.com.
A former i-Heart Radio host, she is now a popular guest on podcasts, where she inspires women to embrace the strength and passion of their personal story. Stephanie continues to build her speaker’s resume by giving presentations for groups like The Ashland Literary Arts Festival, Breaking the Glass, WINS at Charles Schwab and Southern Oregon University, Friends of the Hannon Library. Her commitment to uplift women extends to teaching personal development classes for incarcerated women and non-profits, including Dress for Success, Austin.
A recent transplant to Austin, Texas Stephanie enjoys an active life with her husband, Dean, and their Labrador retriever, Mickey Mantel Raffelock.