– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
I was inspired by women who seemed to be independent. My first and maybe only true mentor is a psychologist and family therapist, who now aged 89, continues to practice. In her forties, and with five children, she went back to university to earn her doctorate and started a very successful psychotherapy practice. She gave me my first job, running her office, and being her personal assistant. I was 18 and would take my college courses in the mornings from 8 to 12 and then go to her office and work from 1 to 6 every afternoon. She taught me about a lot of the finer things in life — from what sterling silver patterns were the classics to how to tell if a bull was good breeding stock. As well as what it means to have a strong work ethic (she would book her first appt. at 6 am and see her last client out the door around 9 pm), how to look put together at all times, and how to build wealth. She wasn’t married and didn’t want to be.
Women, who inspire you now?
I think Debbie Harry is the bee’s knees. Rosanne Cash is a great balancer of home and work life. Carolina Herrera is a dreamboat. My friends, who always amaze me. I’m surrounded by an incredible group of women who are thoughtful and full-hearted and who also aren’t afraid, for the most part, to raise their hand and say they’re struggling when they are. I find that amazing because these women are badasses and run the full gamut professionally. My group of friends encompasses artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, clothing designers, managers, corporate sales representatives, publicists — the list goes on and on. What they all have in common is a depth of capability and fearlessness.
The most valuable lesson taught by your Mother?
Don’t be scared of men and don’t let them run your life. The only man worth being with is one who will treat you as an equal as well as love you, and appreciate you, for your differences.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
No, not at all. There seems to be an age when women start to disappear in our culture, and it should be the exact opposite. As we grow older, we become more beautiful as well as sexier, wiser, and smarter. It’s a tragedy that because we don’t look like we’re 22 anymore, and by the way, most of us don’t want to, we are considered less valuable.
“I am inspired by women who have a balance of
fierceness and grace and the desire to keep moving.”
Have you made career changes over the years?
Oh gosh yes. I have been lucky enough to have always made my living making some sort of art. I started as a singer-songwriter and still make a portion of my living that way now. I am still active in music however my interests in that world have broadened beyond trying to get on the radio or competing with the youngsters. I’m just as interested now, if not more so, in what happens off stage as I am in what happens on stage. I’ve recently co-produced an album for the first time and look forward to doing more of that sort of work.
I don’t even look at music as my first thing anymore. The day I admitted I felt much more at ease sitting at my computer writing prose than I did constantly traveling and chasing something that had become more and more elusive, everything become clearer. I began to like myself and my life more than when I was always trying to keep up with what was happening in the music industry. Music is what makes up the blood of my life, but I have a looser relationship with it than I did when I was younger. I love it more now than I need it in a professional sense, which means I’m starting to actually enjoy it when I make it.
I returned to university at 43 to pursue a master’s in creative writing. I was working on my first memoir at the time (which will be released in October 2019) and wanted to hone my craft and really figure out what I was doing. I graduated at 45 and am very proud of that degree. I’m now working on my second memoir, which is about my journey as a mother to my son, John Henry. So, if I can figure out how to get a doctorate, I’m going to do that as well and would love to teach in some capacity.
“I am proud of my body of work.
I’ve made 10 albums and have
toured the world singing and that
has been a blast.”
Through my decades!
20’s: If only I had done less worrying about what others thought, particularly the men I was with. I wish I had believed more in my artistic abilities, my intellect and taste and had taken more artistic chances. I thought I was very risky at the time, but I figured out later that I was playing critics darling to prevent my commercial success. That doesn’t seem like a safe bet on paper, but when you use highbrow tendencies in art to keep from being accessible, it is.
30’s: I was writing about my demons, but not figuring out how to deal with them, or what to do, to become more emotionally whole and healthy. It wasn’t until the birth of my son when I was 37 that I began to open up and delve into the experiences from my childhood in a real way. It was necessary for me to start to heal from it.
40’s: So far, my forties have been my favorite decade. I’ve never felt more self-possessed, more like my knowledge was in line with my intellect, more like my artistic instincts were in order, or more confident.
“So far, my forties have been my favorite decade.
I’ve never felt more self-possessed, more like my knowledge was in line with my intellect, more like my artistic instincts were in order, or more confident.”
What are you most grateful for?
I am incredibly grateful for my health and my mind. I also appreciate the fact that I am pretty good at juggling it all and am learning to simplify, to weed out what isn’t necessary. The older I get, the more I think that is the key to happiness.
Has there been a significant circumstance good or bad that changed your outlook on life?
No. I believe that life is what you make it and that the emotion we attach to what does or doesn’t happen is optional. I’ve always been somehow a mostly optimistic person and have a wealth of internal comforting mechanisms that get me through no matter what’s happening. I’ve had my ass knocked in the dirt over and over, and I’m rightly always scared of it happening again, but through some diligent emotional work, I’ve learned that it is going to happen again because that’s what happens in life. So I will get up and deal with it and keep going because that’s what I do. One day I will die, and I don’t want to arrive there having shied away from life or having checked out because I was scared.
I thought I knew challenges before I became a working mother, but I didn’t.
My son was diagnosed with autism at 23 months, so we’ve been dealing with his challenges since (he is now 9), and I’ve been trying to work around him being my number one priority. I have to say I’ve done all right — since becoming a mother, I’ve released two albums, written one book, toured as much as I could, gotten one divorce, and just recently got married again.
Your thoughts on aging.
Well, it isn’t that much fun. I’m in perimenopause now, and I can melt an ice pack in about 15 seconds flat. The hormonal changes alone are enough to make you want to lock yourself in the closet with an ice bucket and some vodka. However, there’s also something comforting about seeing a curve where there wasn’t one before, or a wrinkle around the eye that somehow allows the twinkle to twinkle more. It’s almost a sense of, for me, “well, I got here, and I wasn’t always sure I would. Now I can be that graceful middle-aged (or old) lady I always wanted to be.”
The upside: Being able to appreciate that I can still turn it on when I want to and knowing that there are about 250 different ways to be good looking. Young and pert is not the only version of attractive.
The downside: The biggest downside for me is seeing younger versions of myself and knowing I didn’t appreciate the way I looked or the energy I had then.
Your advice to young women of today?
Appreciate what you’ve got, but don’t hold onto it like it’s all you have because it all passes and it all changes. Develop your interests, your mind, your resume, and save some money. Travel, learn different languages, and about different cultures. Don’t be a shallow dilettante. Read, read, and read some more and read the good stuff. Develop discipline. Learn how to have a conversation and how to order wine in a restaurant and not to drink too much of it. Get some sleep.
Wash your face before you go to bed and use a quality moisturizer. Keep your brows done and you’ll never be afraid to go without makeup.
-Allison Moorer xoxo
FEW OF MY FAVORITES
Song: I always get stumped on this but I usually end up with “A song for you,” by Leon Russell.
Book/Novel: Oh, so many.
I have always been an avid reader and my version of heaven on earth is when my husband brings me coffee in bed and I get to read for a little while before I start my day.
My all-time favorite book would probably be “The Year of Magical Thinking,” by Joan Didion. I love everything she’s ever written. I am also partial to a few of Hemingway’s novels, Rebecca Solnit’s work, Dani Shapiro’s memoirs, all of Steinbeck, and any great study on meditation (Sharon Salzberg is a favorite) or philosophy.
Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Devil Wears Prada, A River Runs Through It, Love Actually.
Flower: Hyacinth, Peony, Rose.
Scent: Fracas, by Robert Piguet.
City/place: Paris, Nashville, Tennessee. Tulum. My husband’s arms.♥
Food/Meal/Cuisine: Cheese, please.
Artist: Jean Miro, Frida Kahlo, Julian Schnabel, Georgia O’Keeffe.
Style Icon: Coco Chanel, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Hutton.
Skincare products: Sunday Riley’s Good Genes.
Makeup: I’m a gloss person and try different colors all the time but am partial to Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown and I love Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara in black. I cannot live without my Shu Uemura eyelash curler.
Images courtesy Allison Moorer unless credited otherwise.