Transitions: Lydia Lacey

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I have been friends with Lydia Lacey since the very early 90’s. She was a Chicago transplant; our mutual friends were improvisors and raconteurs. (To this day, when we see each other, we go through our list of pals, and fill in the blanks of who is doing what.) I loved how she moved, mellifluously through a room, down a street, in the still. A great listener and advisor. Super fun and funny. We’ve watched each other marry, have children, divorce. Other things too; we became real friends in 2001, when we lost our mutual best friend, the woman who brought us together to begin with. In these years since, we’ve kept tabs on each other, check-in’s on our grief and also, the good things—our daughters, our needs, our lives. For me, the constant is Lydia herself: strong, sensitive, generous, brilliant. It’s been a while since we spent time together, but on this day, the day we shot her photo, it was for me as if we’d just hung out. That’s the beauty of our friendship: it’s timeless.

What is your name?
Lydia Lacey.

How old are you?

If you were to give your 20-years-ago-self any advice what would it be?
Follow smart funny kind people. When time flies by and I forget to eat, when I dream about what to do the next day and can’t wait to go to sleep so I can start the next day — that’s meaning and part of happiness. Also finish college because 4 years is a short time but that degree matters. When I was 22 I just lied and said I had a BA, that chipped away at my soul for many years. It’s OK to be overwhelmed and in the weeds, I was terrified to receive help when I was that age.

What is your biggest concern for yourself for the next ten years?
Transitioning with my partner from shedding our roles as parents to older people — what is my purpose? Making peace with a small life and defining what my partner and I think our lives are together AND by ourselves.

What is your relationship situation?
Married to a man.

How do you define work?
Commitments that I honor no matter what — ideally by choice and that I’m paid to do.

How do you define relaxation?
Time alone — taking walks alone or with my dog, Fluffy. My mind races when I’m with people or in large groups. I need solitude without words or even music to think clearly and energize myself. I like to make tiny collages out of old book pages and found objects and glue them in eensy frames.  When my house is empty and quiet I do art.

What is your favorite band?
I don’t know – I’m sorry.

How has your definition of feminism evolved over your lifetime?

When I was younger my concept of my own feminism was how my attitudes and actions were reflected back to me. I scrutinized myself and other women with little leeway for imperfection. When my partner and I moved to the NJ suburbs I was the only woman on our block who didn’t share her husband’s last name.  I was both pleased with myself and certain I was the BEST Feminist in our neighborhood and I had nothing to learn or even worthwhile friendships to look forward to.

Now, I’m less judgmental, I accept my own perfectly imperfect feminism and I don’t live and die by what other women and men think about me.  It has been heartening to see both my daughters ages 22 and almost 18 naturally grow up as feminists.  Being the mother of girls helped solidify my decisions I think.




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