The Queen of My Self


I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for this season. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all. I found this great new beginnings piece in the Daily Mail, U.K.


xxQueen Mama Donna

A New Life – Part 3

By Crista Cloutier

I got strong. I began looking at the steep hills as challenges instead of inconveniences. I would attack them, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other until I conquered them.

I got tough. At the bottom of the mountain was a natural spring. Twice each week I would make my way down with empty water containers, fill them and lug them home. It was backbreaking, and I could have driven the car, but I felt capable.

I got dirty. No make-up, broken nails, hair tied back; denim became my new uniform. It was liberating and even though I could have used a hot bath, I felt beautiful.

I got quiet. For someone who made a living talking to people, it was strange to find myself with no one to talk to. I missed the musical ring of my mobile phone. The silence was deafening at first, but gradually gave way to peace.

I started carrying my camera and began to take pictures, tentatively at first but soon everything seemed to catch my eye. In time, I became drawn to children’s swings. They were beautiful weathered objects that swung alone, forgotten, in the wind. Perhaps I identified with them?

I only had a bit of money left after selling my things and paying off debts. I was now on a tight budget so shopping was out of the question. I came to understand the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’, and the freedom that comes from having less. Now, I spent hours admiring the stars in the night-time sky. I was satisfied with this simple life, and realised it was the emptiness inside me that had always wanted more.

Time, which had always run ahead of me, slowed to a carefree saunter. With nowhere to be, I found my own pace. They say that our fears are future-based, and to overcome them we must hold on to the present moment. The moments were dazzling as I constantly pinched myself: ‘I’m here! I did it!’ And magic became part of my life, revealing that I wasn’t really alone. During one walk, miles from anywhere, a huge thunderstorm opened the skies. I saw a path and ducked into the forest, only to find a chair sitting under the trees as if it was waiting to offer me shelter.

Yes, I was lonely. But loneliness is only a stop on the way when you follow your path. I’d put too much responsibility on things and people to occupy me. I slowly came to realise that I am the only company I need.

I would spend six months alone in France before I met an Englishman, fell in love and moved to London. It was sad to leave but I found I could now trust myself and could look towards the next chapter with confident anticipation. My life has changed immeasurably since I jumped off the cliff and found that I could fly. I believe I found the life I was looking for. I’m now an artist myself, I write, and I help other artists to attain their dreams. And I have never looked back.


Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


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