In the Middle with Kathy Garland
"I’m not going to dim my light because ya’ll don’t wanna hear about vaginal atrophy."
AHWM: How old are you?
KATHY GARLAND: 49, but I will be 50 in a little over a week.
AHWM: At what age did you consider yourself to be midlife?
KATHY GARLAND: Chile, I just found out that I was in midlife a couple years ago when I was having a conversation with a group of friends. One of the women began with, “Since we’re in midlife…” and my response was, “Are we???”
AHWM: What do you believe are the biggest challenges faced by Black women in their middle age?
KATHY GARLAND: Access to quality healthcare is a huge challenge, and I don’t mean access due to social class or something similar. I mean, going to the doctor or gynecologist and having them actually understand and know what to tell you about this phase of life. Most gynecologists do not, and it’s frustrating.
AHWM: What have you found to be the most rewarding aspects of midlife so far?
KATHY GARLAND: I’ve heard other women say this, but I didn’t really get it until I turned 40. Something really does shift where you realize you don’t have to do all of the made-up stuff someone told you to.
AHWM: What positive changes have you noticed in yourself as you’ve gotten older?
KATHY GARLAND: I’m a little kinder, especially toward other women. It dawned on me one day that we all have these similar experiences, so if anything, I should be less judgmental and more understanding.