It ain’t easy being Indian... and talking like old people?

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country April 2010

The other evening I finally got to have a long, cozy chat with my bestie Melissa, she and her husband had recently got back from Cancun and I wanted to hear all the details. Melissa and Kevin visited Chichen Itza, got a hotel upgrade and had the time of their lives. When it came my turn to talk all I was able to report was that my phone and internet got cut off, my 12 year old cat, Horus has a strange bump on his back leg that I’m worried sick about and my list of physical pains and complaints keeps growing longer no matter what I do, or don’t.

Well, Melissa being Melissa had to pull an “Edna” on me; that is when you tell a story that your audience is irresistably compelled to five or nine you up with a bigger, better, very implausible story which are all true of course. To continue, my friend Edna’d me, my feeble complaints were diminished by her talking about her upcoming surgery, her efforts to lose weight and that she would be in recovery for weeks. I thought and thought...I had nothing. Desperate, I started talking about a few of my new friends, the Elders at my Mom’s rezidence. For distinction purposes only, I will heretofore refer to some people as Elders and the others as Olders. In other words, being old does not automatically qualify you an Elder; one must earn that title.

My friend then interrupted her own rants and raves to deliver this shattering statement: “We’re talking like OLD PEOPLE!!!” We gasped in unison and I realized that indeed we were; moaning about our aching body parts, how many medications we’re taking, the diseases we are at high risk for due to family genetics, nice young doctors and, this is the worst, remembering what we USED TO DO. As in used to be able to do, which was abuse and neglect our bodies without instant remorse, because hey! We were young, more than pretty, witty, able to party all night and still making it to work so we could fund our mad, funky youth. Truth be told I am a few years older than Melissa but you would never know that by our mutual physical complaints.


After our conversation and upon reflection on my own, I first went through the denial stage (I ain’t old! I don’t get “Gruel via Fuel” yet!) Yes, I said to myself, my Chicklette days are long past but I am not by any means one of those old women who depend on certain plush undergarments since I still have naughty lingerie in my possesion, stuffed way back in my closet yes, but I could find the scanties if needed. Men still ogled my rack and pretended to read the text on my T-shirts and appreciate a low cut blouse, they don’t know or care that my twin papooses are heavily underwired. So there!

Then I thought that if I begin caring for my face and body now I could still stave off the ravages of Time. I noted commercials that touted ant-aging beauty products, body slimmers and other amazing inventions that leave you looking like Cindy Crawford whether you started out looking like her nor not. I said to myself, “Self, you were young and ignorant, you could not have understood the egregious, physical toll that having so much fun takes on your body.” I added: You are absolved. Then I read about bear grease and its many benefits, plus indigenous herbs. Never once did I consider plastic surgery or any other uneccessary procedures. I can’t afford them.
I got real mad too, I thought, Great Spirit, why do you allow such a slow disintegration of my lovely body? Why? Why? Why? I really am attached to it. After a long, endless night of kicking and punching in all directions, I got it! Humans ain’t supposed to be here all that long, but long enough for some of us to wish we had taken better care of our health. I am, however, still kinda pissed. Not fair!

Soon I despaired thinking of the rest of my life of not being able to wear high heels anymore, one, because of my knee surgery and two, I now prefer flats, dunno how that happened. Actually I think it was the morning after I had been viciously assaulted by cramps in my legs after wearing audacious heels. Woe is me! said I. I have great legs and I also inherited slim, well-turned ankles directly from my Gramma Rose. And what about my clothes? Was I required to begin a collection of seasonal sweatshirts, stretch pants and sensible shoes? No! No! No! I crawled to bed and did not get out until I forgot what it was I isolated myself there for. When I remembered I cried again.

Some time later I recalled wanting to purchase a denim miniskirt last year for the summer and my Mom quoted Stacy London (What Not to Wear) that females of a certain age; as in 30+, should not sport such youthful garments. First I pouted, stamped my feet and eventually I had to grumpily accept the truth of the matter. I is old(er). My moniker as Mz Wild is now in question to my ownself, how can I keep up my flashy rep as a colorful eccentric and recluse? What do I do now? After much rumination I decided that I am okay with getting old. At least when I visit the Rezberry Elders Building I can still be the young one.

For now I am an elder acolyte, an elder-in-training and I eventually plan to enroll in the Rezberry’s “Big Elders, Little Hellders” nationally funded program for aging Indian people in denial. I plan to excell as an Elder if I get that far. The Spirits know I have some good stories left in me. I will be an Elder, not Older.
It’s like my Unk Gene always used to say, “I earned this face.”