Back to the Body



The woman asks me….

The woman asks me, “How do you deal with the haters?”

The woman asks me, “What do you do with the judgements?”

The woman asks me, “How do you handle the pain as you emerge into who you are now?”

I feel her shaking. I shake all the time. And this is my answer:

"Beauty. Come close; and let me hold you.

Be a fierce-dragon queen.

Keep being a canary-singing.

Be a flighty eagle with an open beak.

Don't swallow soft, chew stones and pick your teeth with sticks.

Keep your legs open.

Drape your body in your curves.

Open your heart so wide that it can hold the world inside of it.

Don't hide your name. Ever. Ever. Write your name BOLD.

Don't fall into the hole.

Don't hide in bed.

No screaming with hair flying.

You are newly born.

It's time to learn to laugh and show your panties.

Become a woman in love with her own hunger.

Get up off your knees.

You can do this.

Do not waste your beauty looking down at your toes.

You are here to tell the secrets.

Sit next to me, baby girl.

The water's fine."

Don’t Waste Your Beauty Looking Down at Your Toes

When the shape of your body no longer matches the shape of your beliefs about who you are as a sexual being, that's when the real fun begins.

Perhaps the shame of my body, my own self loathing and disbelief in my physical sexiness has been a beautiful thing for my soul. Could it be that those devils of self-deprecating beliefs were my angels? It was in this incredible wonky journey of deep self-exploration that I discovered what true embodiment of sexuality is for me, and through that deep experience have supported other women on the same journey.

We talk about radical self-love and self-acceptance as if it's something so easy to claim; like a simple decision to buy an ice cream cone. I do not believe that to be true. We live in a society filled with body shame pollution. Our work is not to change the shape of your body; but to witness what you do and experience with the body you have with enough awareness, enough curiosity, enough tenderness that the lies and old decisions you have made around your life and your sexuality based on the shape of your body become apparent and fall away.

Who are you inside your body? Inside my body I am sex, and creation and love. I am not straight lines. I am hot and pulsating, soft and slightly out of focus at times.

Go ahead--- do the research. Search the fairy tales, folklore and even our historical documents for inspiring, powerful, and sexy representations of middle aged women. You're going to need to look hard; because if it ain't a maiden, mother or a granny complete with a cane --- it's hard to find. The truth is that there are few role models for the courageous adventurers, sirens, power-brokers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, and rulers that are the possibility and the new reality for the midlife woman of today. The world is not ready for us; but we have arrived. It's a shame that there is very little in the literature where we can turn to for inspiration -- but we can instead leave a legacy for the women who will follow us. Let's show them how it's done!

Be gone the images of over the hill menopausal midlife women who are desperately seeking some kind of pink pill, freaking out and numbing out as we are plagued by night sweats, undesirable erotically because we are supposedly dried up and fallen in. It's time to replace the bullshit with the truth. Women do not fall directly from "Mother" into "Old Woman". There is an entire landscape of living that our increased life span and sociological changes have made possible for women. Women of "a certain age" are now occupying a truly unique place in this world. It's time to stretch out and take up some space. We are in a brand new land without a map --- and we simply do not exist in outdated folklore, archetypes and stories -- because in so many ways we didn't exist until recently.

It's time for a new way of speaking about midlife women--and setting different expectations for this third quarter of our lives. Like the moon and the seasons - we have four parts of our lives. And we are in desperate need for role models; women to look up to--and teachers of this uncharted land of femaleness.

We need the Queens to stand up, join hands, raise their voices and champion all women to live into the extraordinary possibility of our changing life passages. It's time to recognize our new powerful reality and the legacy of mid life for women. A time where we can be in charge our of lives in full color.

“To answer the question what has changed, the answer is simple, we are alive! Not so long ago, the medical profession had no idea what menopause was because women were not living into menopause. There were no "Queens". And we keep trying to stuff our lives into an old model. If we were to use that model we would be Crones for most of our lives. So it's time to embrace the Queen and it does not dishonor to the Crone.”

Pamela Madsen


Do not waste your beauty looking down at your toes.

You are here to tell the secrets.

Sit next to me, baby girl.

The water's fine.

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure...and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner and creator of Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women.  Her work can be found at

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Pamela Madsen