a faire day… a little bit older and hopefully wiser

Took the younguns off to the Irwindale Dam and the So Cal Renaissance Faire on Saturday and a great time was had by all.

S, E end of faire

Given that when I was actively working at and involved with faire on a regular basis, S was a toddler and E was a nursing infant in arms, it was very amusing to take them back and introduce them to all our old friends. Now some of these folks had seen them in recent years, others not, but it was pretty much uniformly a jaw dropping “WOW!” response.

It was strange to be there with the girls. S is the age now that I was when I worked faire the first time. And I remember the hijinks I got up to at that age! Walking behind them, I really struggled with the fact that I am greyer, a little thicker in the middle, and I felt kind of faded and invisible. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I am going to turn 40 next year and I am figuring out how I want to go on in the great good world as a woman who is not 20 any more. Because I don’t want to be the mom who dresses in her kid’s clothes and looks like she’s trying so hard, but at the same time, I don’t want to be faded and invisible. I’m at that age, in our society, where it becomes a bit of a struggle not to be marginalized and shoved to the side in favor of the New Young Pretty Things. Well I say that’s bullshit, frankly, but I was also acutely aware of it happening and it gave me a lot of food for thought.

I am seriously considering working faire next season, as I am not tied to very small children any longer and I only live 20 minutes from fairesite. It could be a lot of fun. Working the Ren Faire was a huge part of my young adult life and it tremendously impacted who I grew up to be. It feels a bit like home, and the people there all still feel like family. I feel like I’m sinking back into something that, while it fits very differently and rubs against different places, still fits.

I think it has something to do with remembering who I used to be and how so often it was a completely thoughtless thing, and now realizing that I can be who I choose to be and that it is, in fact, better that way.


Getting older is really weird. But you only go this way once and you can’t go backwards, so you might as well put some thought into enjoying it as you go forward.


About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
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12 Responses to a faire day… a little bit older and hopefully wiser

  1. Hi Honey and Ollie,

    I hear you loud and clear. I went to my daughters graduation for her masters.

    Watching all those young college grads was hard to do. Wasn’t I just standing young and proud in their shoes yesterday?

    No, that was a lifetime ago.

    Next month my daughter turns thirty three. And I still struggle with no longer being young enough to do or be certin things like I did back in my college days.

    Hugs, Euphoria

    • eightfoldrabbit says:

      Does it make it any easier that your friends are coming along with you on the getting older ride? It does help me sometimes, as there’s a certain group of us who are all elder goths together, the older wiser women at faire, etc. Sometimes that helps me, when I’m not feeling hurt at being invisible and ignored. Sometimes I just have to keep in mind that the things I used to be visible for were not things that I could help or control – so they really weren’t anything to be proud of. The stuff I can be proud of, my character, who I am inside, I like to think it is visible to my friends and loved ones.

      Hell, ti’s still a struggle!

  2. Geogrrl says:

    I understand what you mean about feeling “invisible and faded” although that started happening before I turned 40 (I’m almost 45 now).

    It doesn’t happen often and when it does it’s a certain type of person (read: guy) who when a pretty young thing comes into view sees nothing else.

    But those are relatively rare. I like to think it’s sheer force of personality that keeps me from being invisible.

    • eightfoldrabbit says:

      I kept seeing these older (40+) men (uniformly dressed as pirates, unsure why, it just seems to be the costume choice du jour for men of a certain age who are not actually working the faire but just visiting) hanging out in front of ale stands and accosting all the sweet young things who walked by. Now, none of them accosted ME and I was interested in this, so I sat on a haybale and watched for a while. Every woman over about 29 was practically invisible to these jerks, while they totally slobbered all over anything else that had breasts and looked tender. And it wasn’t just one group of guys, but several. It was food for thought, at least.

      one of them happened to, DARED to look upon my youngest and start to say something nasty to her and I caught his eye over her shoulder, glared and flashed my fingers at him counting style – ten and then four, moouthed the word “14” and pointed at her (while also giving him my best I Will Kill You Without A Second Thought look). He turned about as white a as a ghost and looked ill and abruptly went in the other direction. Heh.

      After seeing that, it didn’t make me feel so bad anymore. I realized that you know, there’s something to acting your age and accepting your age, but not being old. These guys? They will never not be 20 and hot in their own heads. And they aren’t. They’re pathetic and balding under their corsair hats. I don’t mind being invisible to them. I don’t need their slobbery approval.

      I know plenty of 40 something guys who work faire and they all seemed to treat women of any age with a little more respect and genuine but not sleazy admiration. This made me like my friends a whole lot more and like the people we are all aging into.

  3. Laura Sue says:

    I read somewhere recently that there is no one so invisible as a middle-aged woman. At 55, I truly understand that. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt–which was too small. It’s funny because I know all sorts of middle-aged women who I think are gorgeous–but I’m sure they feel over the hill. I try not to ever watch TV or look at magazines that glorify sweet young skinny things. I’ve gotten to the point where even Interweave Knits makes me think, “Heavens, that child should eat more.”

  4. Geogrrl says:

    Ah, yes. The eternally youthful creeps.

    Even when I was a teenager I thought these losers were creepy when they’d try to hit on me. I often wondered if they were ever successful.

    I’ve never been to a Ren-Faire, but your description of the personality type is pretty accurate. And Lord, there’s never a shortage of them, is there? There’s something pathetic about a man who is 40 or more but who seems to only relate to someone considerably younger.

    Your description of his reaction when you indicated your youngest was 14 was hilarious!

    • eightfoldrabbit says:

      It’s a sort of desperate running after one’s fled youth, I think. I see women who do it too, it’s not limited to men, I think we just tend to do it a little differently.

      Some of the “youngest” men and women I know are the ones who just effortlessly and gracefully are themselves, which somehow seems to transcend years entirely. I wish I knew how to do that!

  5. Knitnana says:

    Some men will never grow up. (Many, Many Men…)

    I began the journey to Wise Woman about age 39…do the men look? Sometimes. I’ll never be young and fresh, and “tender” again. It’s okay with me (most of the time).

    And the guys who are worth it? Realize it and are very very pleased that it’s so…
    (But they are very few and far between…)

    (I LOVE YOUR COSTUMES! What fun you had to have had on Saturday…you are all beautiful ladies!)

  6. jamie says:

    Fabulous costumes and I do always enjoy your photos.

    Age thing is strange. Since I’m turning 55 the idea of 40 actually sounds young. Even as a teenager I was fairly invisible so getting older wasn’t much of a change. What I do notice is the nieces and nephews are turning into interesting adults.

    • eightfoldrabbit says:

      I think that is what I am enjoying most about my girls – the interesting young adults they are turning into. They’ve always been emphatically themselves, of course, but it’s exciting to watch them figure out the shape of who they want to be in the world.

  7. Amanda says:

    I turn 35 this month (which feels a lot older to me than it probably is) and that becoming invisible process is unsettling, especially when I feel like such a late bloomer to life anyway. What reassures me is thinking that creepy lecherous pirate guys who leer at young girls probably wouldn’t last five minutes in any sort of involvement with a woman their own age before they’d get torn apart.

    Love your telling the guy your daughter is fourteen- that made me laugh out loud- and y’all’s outfits too.

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