I have written many times before about my transition from being a Main Liner to a Chester County gal. And I am going to do it again. So if you don’t want to hear anymore about this or don’t like a flowing stream of consciousness, turn away from the blog now and visit again tomorrow.
Yesterday my friend Alene wrote about in essence adolescence and David Bowie. She was part of a group of girls I was and am to this day still friends with. Our 13 and 14 year old selves were quite different from a lot of our classmates at the time. And wow what we were subjected to from a pack of mean girls before they called them mean girls.
I have written about those girls from back in the day before. And middle age hasn’t changed or softened a lot of them, and at the end of the day they are still just stuck in the 7th grade hallways with their tight jeans, bad perms and crimping irons…sneaking cigarettes and oh yes stumbling in their Candies.
We (Alene and I) had a bit of a conversation about what she had written on her blog and in part she said
“It’s interesting to me that you got a chance to witness what became of those people, whom I have long since forgotten.” I haven’t forgotten how it felt, though. It is sad. Now people talk openly about bullying behavior in the schools and the psychological effects on kids, but it seems to be universal and timeless.”
I had told her that on some level I felt sorry for these people. I actually do.
These girls affected all of us in different ways but a similarity my friends and I share to this day is those silly girls made us realize what we don’t want in friends. For years after it also affected how I trusted or accepted people, which translated more simply is in a lot of cases I didn’t trust, I didn’t accept.
I worked to change that. Sometimes I still work at it.
Take my moving to Chester County. Moving and starting a new life no matter how exciting is very different when you’re an adult and middle-aged woman versus young and single. And this move in particular made me feel once again like that uncertain 12 year old who was thrust into a new and rather large school and area without much in the way of life skills to make the transition easy.
Maybe that sounds silly, but when I first moved to Chester County it is how I felt. Excited to be here yet so uncertain.
I have been lucky with this move that over the first years here I have discovered that many people I was friends with for years and years live not too far from me, and I have met a lot of really nice and genuine an amazing new people.
But (there is always a but isn’t there?)….some people you take a chance on are just fated to disappoint. And I have met some disappointing individuals. Not too many, but a few.
No matter what age you are, you will always meet people who will just be uncomfortable because they can’t fit you into one of their boxes of pre-conceived notions.
But today I was faced with a situation that I not only did not know where to go with but definitely at first hurt then ultimately offended me. Not disappointed. Disappointed would have been on the short list of emotions when I was 12 but not now. I was emphatically offended.
Someone I had met over the last year basically told me today we couldn’t be friends because I was…wait for it….a blogger.
Initially I had reached out to her after we met as many of us do today, via social media. Right or wrong it is how we do a lot of our modern connecting. (Maybe we should bring back the calling card?) But anyway.. I never got anything back. So I wondered if I had said or done something. I wasn’t sure what because this isn’t someone I run into (for example) every time I go to the grocery store. So I sent her a note. And what I got back basically made me just sort of sit back momentarily stunned:
Sorry if I offended you. Not my intention. But when I thought about giving a blogger access to my “personal” life, I got concerned…..I thought we got along well, as a public “voice,” you are in a different category.
O.k. so right now a certain group of equally disappointing “grown ups” some of whom reside in West Vincent are cheering at this post. Why? Because I have never been a human being to them, just a target to attempt to pummel into the ground. (But I digress.)
I do not think this woman intended to be deliberately hurtful. But there is no accounting for the accidental ignorance in human beings, especially women. It was hurtful but mostly it was simply outrageously offensive to hear. I had thought I had made an initial friend connection with this person. But apparently I merely (I guess) had a use for a brief period of time?
But to say essentially you can’t be friends with me because I write? Wow so very Puritan New England. Is being a blogger like wearing a proverbial scarlet letter or being branded a witch?
I have blogged for I would say about 15 years at this point. When I first started my blogging was 100% based in political activism. That was deliberate. I had discovered I had a few opinions on politics and things like eminent domain for private gain.
So 15 years ago I would have said o.k. I can understand the fear of knowing a blogger because well blogging was new. But today, in 2016? It’s more like who doesn’t have a blog or online journal? Lordy people there is even a Friendship Blog – seriously – it is written by a published off the Internet PhD named Irene S. Levine about friendships. The author welcomes you to her site thusly:
Friendships are among the most complex but meaningful relationships in our lives. These unique bonds often run deeper than family ties, and sometimes last longer than our relationships with spouses or lovers. Yet there are few agreed-upon ground rules or roadmaps…..Dramatic changes in the ways women live, work and communicate have made navigating the terrain of female friendships even more daunting. This website aims to help readers navigate the awkward misunderstandings and disappointments—as well as the long silences and distance—that often crops up among friends.
I read this website once in a while because it’s interesting and not sugary sweetly and fakely cloying.
I was surfing the site just now looking for pearls of wisdom about making new friends after a certain age and I found this post on this site by a blogger (shock and horrors) named Cathy Chester who writes on her own site called “An Empowered Spirit” :
……Friendships have always been an important part of my life. I tend to them like a cat to her kittens, nurturing each one as best as I can….
Over the years I’ve tried to learn the difference between friends and acquaintances. I’ve been bruised a few times because I’m sensitive and sentimental, and always try to see the best in people.
During adolescence everyone experiences disappointment of one kind or another. When you are an adult, does this continue to happen?
The difference between friends and acquaintances is this: Friends stand by you through good times and bad. Acquaintances keep you at an arms length, remaining casually friendly at a safe distance.
In my fifties, I am trying to better understand human nature, to learn more about people and why they act and behave the way they do….We all think friendships get easier during midlife, and in some ways they do. We are more self-assured, and less likely to tolerate bad behavior. Yet in other ways we are striving to find ourselves….
There may be people you meet and there’s an instant connection. You form a close bond, and if you’re lucky it lasts a lifetime. Hold on tight; this is worth nurturing.
Tend to them. It’s worth the effort.
There are those you meet for a time and, when life moves on, so do they….
It’s time to let go and move on.
There are those you meet, and for some unknown reason they never feel a connection to you……The situation will never change.
Move on. It was never meant to be….
I am no authority on friendship. I am not a relationship expert, nor am I perfect in any way. But I know what I know from years of trying to be all things to all people as a child. As an adult, and after many disappointments, I’ve become more protective of my heart. And I’ve become truer to myself.
I love my friends, I’ve let go of past ones, and I thoroughly enjoy my new ones.
O.k. wow. Talk about someone just sort of reaching me where I am feeling today. I am going to pay more attention to An Empowered Spirit and Cathy Chester.
It’s funny but when this crap happens in life, you feel like you are experiencing it all alone. But thanks to my actual friends and other bloggers in my age group no less I can put this into perspective. And jettison what happened to the invisible list yet lengthy list of life experience.
But the whole thing about you can’t be friends with a blogger? What is that about? Blogging is something I do, it has never defined who I am. It’s a creative outlet for my voice, my writing, my photography.
And somehow I don’t think that is a bad thing. For the most part, I am happy to walk at the beat of my own drummer. Now sometimes I doubt all that and wish I could be more like a lot of women my age. Until I don’t. Today was one of those times. I realized the…well limitations of being limited in perspective.
Am I angry? No, but offended, yes. It will pass and writing about it helps it dissipate in a game of mental catch and release.
In an era when women are corporate leaders and heads of state what does it do to the sisterhood metaphorically when you tell someone you really can’t be friends with them because they are a blogger? Oy vey. I guess to some blogging is like a communicable disease. That is kind of funny if you think about it. Or sad.
Live and learn and let go. (And my post title just came to me as I predicted it would!)
Thanks for stopping by.
Been down one time
Been down two times
I’m never going back again
You don’t know what it means to win
Come down and see me again
~ Fleetwood Mac
P.S. If you want to read a really funny blog post check out What Not to Wear After Age 50: The Final Say by Michelle Combs.