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     “I never had children, so I wasn’t forced into any permanent box that required a long-term commitment and a formed life. I also didn’t have any careers—I just found jobs that I could make money at. I wanted to pay the rent and to play, to go explore different things. I’ve spent my whole life learning new things, and even though I’m living alone, my life is very full and rich. In some ways, it’s very selfish. I’m not working with children. I’m not educating young minds, or bringing people along on my journey.
     “But a long time ago, I decided I was going to walk out the door with complete strength and power over who I was as a person—not as a girl, not as a woman, not how I was supposed to act. I didn’t dye my hair when it started to change color when I was 21, even though women in the 1960s weren’t supposed to have any touch of gray. I’ve always felt that, because I refused to mold myself into what somebody else thought I should be or needed me to be, I’ve been a kind of warrior. I’m not trying to be a powerful person. I’m simply living up to my potential.”

     Portland, OR