In a recent episode of the podcast ‘We Can Do Hard Things’, the creator of Pattern beauty spoke candidly about living at age 50, finding meaning outside of a love relationship, and perimenopause.
“I’ve been single for a very long time. I have had many wonderful ins and outs of things, but no one stuck to the pan,” she said.
Rather than feeling constrained by her romantic seclusion, Ross thinks being single has enabled her to uniquely expand her circle of affection.
“As a result, I get to curate my family, my chosen family around me. And I don’t think I realized the gift of that until I’ve started to get older.”
And while she has grappled with the insinuation that being unmarried and childless makes her a “burden” on her friends, she finds scatological amusement in the assumption that her only purpose is derived from her relationship with a guy or her capacity to conceive.
“We go back to this model that you’re sold, that not only are we sold it, but we are fed it and we have to drink it and it’s everywhere. And if you’re not careful, you actually think it’s true. And it’s the only bit of news for you. Which is that my job as a woman is to learn to be choosable. Having nothing to do with who I am, what makes my heart sing, floats my boat, makes me feel safe, makes me feel comfortable, makes me feel good, makes me feel powerful, makes me feel smart. Any of those things. But really it’s more about how I might be seen, so that I might be chosen so that my life could mean something as a chosen woman who then gets to have a child and then be a mother and do that for a child,” she said.
She also opened up about embracing the unknown as she reaches the end of her reproductive years.
“I’m also going through perimenopause. So I have, for my entire life, been tethered to a very routine cycle. And I’m very connected to my body. So I would know I’m ovulating, I would have all the feelings of knowing that. And all of that is out the window. And I turn 50. And here I am in this open space now, sort of allowing the bubbling up of whatever might be here.“
Through this, Ross says she has been forced to reexamine her relationship with femininity. She has also reexamined what it means to be a woman beyond the patriarchal standards fed to her.
“As my body becomes a foreign place to me that doesn’t really feel safe or like home. And I don’t know how to manage or control or fight the external binary narrative of the patriarchy that has haunted me and haunted me most of my adult life. Is it my fertility that is leaving me? Is it my womanhood? Or is it really neither? But I have to fight to hold my truth, because I have been programmed so successfully by the water we all swim in, by the water we all are served. And I feel fertile with creativity, full of power, more and more a woman than I’ve ever been. And yet that power that I was told I must use was not used,” she said.
“I mean, just trying to figure out what that means, because my ability to have a child is leaving me. But I don’t agree that that’s what fertile means, I don’t agree that that’s what woman means,” she said.
And while she may not have a husband or kids, Ross still embraces her nurturing nature.
“I say this to people all the time, I’m a wonderful mother. And I’m very mothering. And it’s been hard for me to claim that. In a world where I don’t have the thing that says…,” she trails off, later adding that she is ultimately thankful for her inquisitiveness surrounding the topic.
“I’m grateful to be able to look at it with curiosity instead of heartbreak. And the heartbreak does come up, and I get to hold that gently and lovingly and then say, remind myself, ‘I woke up every morning of my life and I’ve tried to do my best, so I must be where I’m supposed to be.’”
Tracee Joy Silberstein, known professionally as Tracee Ellis Ross, is an American actress. She is known for her lead roles in the television series Girlfriends (2000–2008) and Black-ish (2014–2022). She is the daughter of actress and Motown recording artist Diana Ross and Robert Ellis Silberstein.
Tracee Ellis Ross is still the ultimate ‘girlfriend’.