women to women: a puzzle for the ages

Godey-april-1861As I begin this post it has no real form yet.  A quasi flowing stream of consciousness. I figure by the end of the post the title will find me.

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.

godeycovers-featured-270x290I 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.

american-womens-fashion-1864-11-Nov-1024x683

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.14583203070_afc32dff39_o

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.)

1206204introI 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” :

First-Person: Friendship lessons after 50

……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.godey9-1861

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.

Oh well!

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.

Godey-1880

 

 

mom blogger is my hero

Janell Burley Hofmann, mom blogger, writer, community activist, and Huffington Post contributor is my hero.

So I am giving her my first fellow blogger shout out of 2013!

For a forty something I am a fairly adroit tech savvy diva, but I also believe in actual conversations, thank you notes, and other life niceties considered outdated by some.  I do not believe humans can live by text message alone and a traditional thank you note is truly an art form. I believe as parents we have to teach these little niceties and pass them along.  I sometimes feel that other parents don’t quite have a handle on this stuff even if it is not my place to judge.

But the younger generations (wow don’t I sound ready for orthopedic oxfords, yikes) seem to live by zippy non verbal expediency.  I don’t dig that, I like the actual conversation – I think we have to be verbal in order to communicate properly.  And proper communication doesn’t mean mad bouts of texting at midnight from the tween set.

Soooo Janell Burley Hoffman has been all over the news because she wrote up a contract to give to her 13 year old son along with his iPhone.  Reading what she wrote is like finding a kindred spirit! I find this all quite simply brilliant and would love to share and say to her THANK YOU for this – it lays it out nicely but with humor and great mom wisdom!

I would truthfully add a little tweak to this iPhone Mom Contract:

Addendum to # 4:    No texting super early on weekend mornings since you don’t know if you will be disturbing your friends or their family. (If you have been on the receiving end of pinging texts at 6:15 a.m.on Saturday or Sunday you know what I am talking about. I don’t care if the phone is on if someone is awake early, just keep it to a dull roar and maybe read a book or  watch TV or something until  around 10 am on the weekends )

Here is Janell’s “contract” with her son Gregory:

To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love

Posted: 12/28/2012  5:15 pm By Janell Burley Hoffman

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?

 

2. I will always know the password.

 

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad.” Not ever.

 

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

 

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

 

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

 

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

 

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

 

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

 

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person — preferably me or your father.

 

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

 

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

 

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

 

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO (fear of missing out).

 

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

 

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

 

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling.

 

18. You will mess up.  I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.

 

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I love you.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. 

xoxoxo, Mom

 

 

 

 

 

no time for the haters

store-front-Sandy-Hook-edited_jpg-592x333What happened in Sandy Hook, CT has paralyzed our nation.  It happened during a very holy time of the year for multiple faiths and murdering children is just about as heinous as heinous gets.

I thought that horror could not be topped, but apparently it can. The freaks at Westboro Baptist Church have decided only Dorothy should stay in Kansas and are planning on picketing Sandy Hook funerals. You know because it isn’t difficult enough already for these families to bury their children who were brutally murdered just because they were in the wrong place that was supposed to be a safe place, right?

These people who are part of Westboro Baptist Church worship an angry God that no one I know recognizes.  To say “God sent a shooter” to murder innocent children is a big bag of wrong and I think it is high time these people are recognized as a hate group. If they are “Christians” they aren’t the brand I want to know. Ever.

And oh yeah, God don’t like ugly and these people are ugly that’s for sure.  So say a prayer for the little ones, and tune out the haters.

Check out these articles:

Dec 17, 2012 09:47 PM EST

The Washington Post

Westboro Baptist Church to picket Sandy Hook funerals: 4 ways to respond

Westboro Baptist Church, the tiny independent fundamentalist Christian church based in Topeka, Kan., announced on Twitter that, once again, they are planning to stomp over our nation’s heartache by protesting at the funerals of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and declaring “God sent the shooter.”How do you solve a problem like Westboro Baptist Church? Here are a few options.

Westboro Baptist Church Spokesperson’s Twitter Hacked By Anonymous

The Huffington Post |   By
Posted: 12/17/2012  6:51 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/17/2012  6:57 pm EST

It seems the vitriolic, hyper-controversial group known as Westboro Baptist Church may have finally gone too far.

As soon as the WBC announced plans to picket a vigil for the victims of Friday’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, hacktivist group Anonymous announced its own plans to retaliate against the group, with spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper so far bearing the brunt of the group’s efforts.

In a video posted to Vimeo under the handle KY Anonymous, the group vowed retribution.

Here is a final article which suggests ways to help these poor families in Connecticut affected by this tragedy:

Posted: 7:29 AM Last Updated: 2 hours and 43 minutes  ago

By: Katie Walmsley, CNN

The Newtown community has begun to say goodbye to victims of the December 14  shooting with a series of funerals, memorial services and vigils.

As the entire community struggles to come to terms with what happened, and  tries to understand the inexplicable, families have started the process of  deciding how they’d prefer gifts in their relative’s name be directed.

Below is a list of ways to donate in victims’ names, and ways to send  families messages of support and condolence, as detailed in their  obituaries.

Read more  HERE