Who Is The Diva?

In our society, the word “Diva” is given negative connotations, bringing to mind the bratty, self-obsessive, conceited and rather uppity bitch who insist on always having things her way and being glorified at the expense of others.  Many years ago, when I created The Diva Digest in its first incarnation, I sought to redefine the word to express a particular period of time in a woman’s life when she is empowered and experienced, a woman “of a certain age” who has the benefit of maturity and life experience behind her, but is still very vital and full of life.

There was a time in our not-to-distance past as a culture when the lifespan of a woman was considerably less than it is today.  As recent as 1900, the predicted lifespan from birth for a woman was 48.3 years.  In 2004, it was 80.4 (this is for all races averaged). 

Long before the 20th century dawned, a triad of archetypes was conceived to represent the female human life.  For religions that were Goddess-based, the same archetypes were applied to Goddess aspects.  These were the maiden, the mother and the crone. 

The maiden represented a woman from the time through her childhood and into her early sexual awareness.  The mother reflected the time from her first pregnancy until she became a grandmother and/or entered into menopause, at which time she was considered to be a crone.  As you can see from the numbers, a woman spent an average of just over 15 years in each phase.  She almost literally was born, had babies and died.

Now, we have an additional 30 or so years added to the female life expectancy, which results in double the time the average woman used to spend in one phase in her life that is “extra” or “additional” life.  No longer does a women exist only to bear children and then die at what is now considered to be an early age.

There is now a considerable period of time in the life of the average woman where her children are raised and have become independent, she may or may not be with a partner, she has opportunities available to her to explore and advantages to take in life.  She brings a vitality and vibrancy to the table  that  is nearly irresistible.

This is the time of The Diva.

Divas are women who are past their mothering time and have some serious life experience behind them.  Divas don’t take crap off of people and are never hesitant to blaze a trail into the wilderness when necessary.  Divas are enormously secure in who they are, what they have to offer in this life and where ever they are going and will march there confidently.  Divas are in strong connection to themselves, their spirituality and their place in the world.  Divas are insatiable in their quest for personal understanding and greater wisdom.  They are able to access hidden truths like treasures under rocks, pushing and turning until the right connection is made and the smartness flows.  For the love of God, don’t ever contradict her when she’s working in that mode.

Divas love their adult children enormously and continue to nurture them, but in a more removed capacity than does the “hands on” mothering performed by their younger counterparts.  They are well capable of maintaining glorious romances and loving relationships with spouses or partners.  Most generally, relationships are not of the “desperate” variety, where she needs to be “completely” or requires the presence of a partner to make her whole.  A Diva whole under herself and if she is with someone, it is because she chooses to be; not because she has to be.  Divas are passionate, seductive and sexually confident. 

Diva friendships are deep and abiding, usually with one or two particularly tight bonds and several additional pals in their realm of influence.  They seldom require validation of themselves from others in order to have a good sense of self and quality self esteem, but occasionally, they enjoy a good rant and bitch session with their closest confidants.  A Diva is always comfortable with and grateful for compliments.  While the the bonds they form with friends and partners are very close, a Diva old enough and experienced enough to have dealt with Death in a few ways, not just the physical death of others, but the death of friendships, marriages and dreams.  They do understand that the people and situations in our life, both precious and challenging, are transient.

Where younger women are “becoming” this or that and formulating their personalities and life paths, Divas “are.”  They are comfortable in their own skins and often, they perceive their lives as blessed, regardless of the external challenges they may face in mundane life (these are transient, remember).  Divas do not suffer fools lightly and are impatient with manipulators, users,  slackers and phonies.    You won’t see a Diva with a partner who doesn’t pull his/her own weight or who is less than respectful on an ongoing basis.   Divas are positively brilliant in the art of revenge; however, they also know exactly how to pick their battles.

Divas are strong, independent, pro-active women.  People listen when they speak, love them for their fiery, bold spirits and respect the way they carry themselves in the world.  A Diva loves to express herself dynamically, just as likely to be seen in a business suit and pumps as she is in a top hat or a tiara. 

A Diva has walked back through her past, made friends with the skeletons in her closet and focused a bright light on the darkest corners.  Ghosts from the past no longer come for her in the night.  She looks forward to the future with the quiet pleasure of one who is assured that whatever befalls her is propelling her inevitably and unerringly toward her own greatest good.  Her faith is immense and often is the rock on which the others around her stand during difficult times.  It is hard to shake her into tears of fear or frustration or hurt, but when it happens, it’s with a gale force and she’ll work it and work it and work it until she finds the answer within herself and masters the situation.  When the Diva cries, it is more likely from something that has touched her heart in a purely profound way.  For both of these reasons, Divas often are very protective of their time alone to think, meditate and sort through their own responses and conclusions.

While a Diva may have resolved her past and made peace with whatever is to be in the future, her focus is primarily on the present, moment by moment, as it unfolds in front of her.  If she could freeze frame every moment and study it, preserving it in her heart, she would because that is how precious her “now” is to her.  She seeks out the miracles, from the tiniest to the grandest and is grateful to the Divine for each and every one in her day.  Her capacity for joy is seemingly endless and she finds it everywhere:  in a book she’s reading, a gift she receives, a hug from a loved one, a joke that gives her a good belly laugh, a delightful meal… there is no end to the places from which she can harvest joy and delight into her life.  She laughs loudly and appreciatively and the lines on her face reflect her many smiles.   

The Diva speaks her mind confidently, unapologetically and without pretense.  Never ask for her opinion or her advice unless you really want to hear it unfrosted and straight from the hip. She is invariably honest and unwaveringly direct. 

The Diva is, overall, a private person and there are some parts of her life and her heart that are off limits to others in her life.  Even though she is so direct and truthful, she is always a bit of a mystery to those who love her.  Neither she nor they would have it any other way.