Episode #1 My Uncanny Convos With Wild Authentic Women

You know how everyone always told you, ‘respect your elders!’ Well, there aren’t many people I respect more than my wild, sassy 85-year-old Grandma Kitty.

When I think about what these interviews are all about, she meets all the criteria.

The women I interview:
Have a positive influence on the women around her.
Work hard, play hard.
Are wild at heart.
Knows who she is, inside and out.
Are empowered, strong, kind and honest.
Speaks her truth
Are brave.

My grandma is a phenomenal woman. To this day she babysits my niece, as well as many of my cousin’s children, almost daily. Nothing can slow this woman down. She can still party with the rest of them, has more plans on her calendar than me when I was 21, and remembers all 54 family member’s birthdays (and then some!).

She really puts me to shame, this lady. She has a heart of gold, always a whiskey and water, is sharp as a tack and tough as nails. Something I truly aspire to.

And speaking of that whole ‘respect’ thing, Grammy asked to not be video recorded (she hadn’t gotten ready for church yet and didn’t ‘have her face on’). Needless to say, I wasn’t about to go against her wishes.

So this interview is transcript-style. Most interviews from here on out will be video recorded.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did conducting it! 

Ashley: So grammy, thanks so much for being my first wild, authentic woman interviewee! If there is one person who I believe is empowered, strong and authentic it’s you! Having your perspective as an 85 year old badass women on women’s health, healing and empowerment is going to be so cool!

Grandma Kitty: Of course honey!!

A: So the first question I have for you is how would you describe an empowered woman? And does anyone in your life come to mind when I ask you that?

GK: I always thought my mother was pretty tough. She lived through a lot of stuff, literally The Depression. But she always managed to be really positive. Even though her and Daddy didn’t have a lot raising us four kids, she always was happy and positive and nurturing.

You know, I think I had to be a little bit tough too. Your grandpa and I came from two different backgrounds. I had a more stable home and he didn’t. He moved 14 times by the time I met him. But I was tough enough to put my foot down and know what I needed. So I guess I was a little bit strong and empowered too! I didn’t put up with much.

I always thought empowered women worked away from home, which I never did, but I raised 5 kids (fairly well I think). Raising kids isn’t for sissies! But I also volunteer a lot, which kept me busy as well.

A: You’re busier than me grandma!

GK: Well, it’s good for me. You know at my age you have to keep moving and doing stuff. It’s when you don’t the problems start happening.

A: Grandma, what’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done that paid off?

GK: The wildest thing I ever did that paid off was Grandpa Roy and I going on our honeymoon with $83 in our pocket. We did the Olympic Forest Loop. I don’t even know how we ate, but somehow we managed!! I never knew how we managed all those years, but we did.

A: Oh my gosh grandma! That wouldn’t even get you to Olympia these days!

GK: I know honey! (shaking her head) But we always managed. Always.

A: Ok, all of the sudden your 21-year-old self appears across the table from you, what advice do you give her?

GK: Well I was happy at 21 even though I had 3 kids!! I would tell her to believe in herself and follow the rules and do what makes you happy. I would also say follow your dreams, be yourself, and don’t get into a career that you don’t want to do because you could end up being miserable. College isn’t always a necessity either. It’s more about doing what you love, regardless of education. And debt is no fun either!

A: How does an empowered, strong woman handle someone who is incredibly obnoxious?

GK: Well I won’t name names since this is being recorded, but you still do it with tender loving care. You can’t be cruel because you don’t want to hurt them even though you sometimes want to send them home, or you wish they’d quit calling. But you have to be humble and kind. That’s really all you can do, because there are no doubt moments when you are obnoxious to someone else, so you want to be nice.

A: So true grandma! Grammy picture this for a moment – you walk into the bathroom and step on the scale and realize you’ve gained 15 lbs. What do you do?

GK: Weeeeelllll, that’s a tough one. I believe that counting calories is a good way to get back on track and always exercise. I think it’s important that you catch it early too if you can, because weight comes on so easily.

I’ve dieted all my life and I am DONE dieting. I am at the weight I will be at for the rest of my life and I am happy with that.

A: How does it feel to have dieted all your life and now being committed to NOT dieting?

GK: It feels really good! I think it’s helped me understand when I am hungry and when I am not.

A: Not dieting does help with that grandma!

GK: Well I watch my sister in law and she reads all the labels. I don’t read a single label. I eat what I want. I am 85 ya know. I should be able to do what I want! I am really happy with myself!

A: (laughing hysterically!) 

GK: The older you get it doesn’t come off as easily!

A: Unfortunately, I can vouch for that too grandma.

Ok, this is a little different one. Is there a time in your life when you felt vulnerable, or you were taking a risk or being brave. How do you handle vulnerability?

GK: I can’t really recall a time I felt vulnerable. Your grandfather was always there when things got rough. But there were times when we would have to go down to the credit union and figure out our bills but I never saw that as vulnerable.

A: Of course that’s vulnerability grandma! Not knowing if you can pay the bills!

GK: Well I guess. I was pregnant.

A: How did you handle it?

GK: Well, I cried. Does that help?

A: Yes! Crying is one way to process vulnerability!

GK: It didn’t happen very often [crying]. I think it was because I was pregnant. Must not have been too bad because I was back 11 months later pregnant again!

A: You’re one tough cookie grandma!

What do you need in your life to be the happiest, healthiest you can be? What are your non-negotiable?

GK: Being right here in this home, being close to my family. I am so lucky to have your father and his brothers right here. I love it! I love having my yard close to perfect, so with any luck at all I can keep doing yard work. I was out there earlier cutting back some of the shrubs and pulled up some weeds. I really couldn’t be happier! I really want to keep driving for at least the next 3 years.

As far as healthy, well. You know I’ve never taken a single pain pill, and hardly ever have taken any antibiotics. I think that’s what’s made my immune system so strong. I doubled up on my fish oil because of the arthritis, but other than that I am as healthy as can be!

A: So the last question grandma, if you could leave the world with one message, what would that message be?

GK: Well I’d give my eyes and teeth for everyone to have peace. But I am not sure if it’s going to happen in anyone’s lifetime. So many wars start over religion and it just seems ass-backwards to me. I’d love to leave the world with peace on earth but I’m just not sure honey. We can hope.


Lindsey Allen