I have been thinking. (And somewhere at least a few people are saying “oh no, not again…)
Unless you are a giant narcissist, among the hardest things for women to do is put themselves first.
Putting yourself first is a form of a boundary, and it’s hard sometimes to stick to boundaries.
With me it’s hard sometimes. People are always messaging me at all times, and even with Do Not Disturb set up on my phone, it doesn’t always work.
I like to be available for my friends and family in particular. I am always willing to listen and more. But not everyone reciprocates. I discovered that the other day and it actually stung a bit. So that got me to thinking, if I don’t put myself first even with friends and and family, it won’t happen.
I rarely am the one who reaches out and wants to talk. Usually, I am the one who listens or is a sounding board. Well, I have made the decision that I am slowing my roll there. I reached out and it made me want to be an island going forward. I understand life happens, and we all get stressed out, but still. Now it was nothing terminal to any sort of friendship, but it was something learned for me. It made me pause.
The other thing is this: women are sometimes not clear on expectations. Basic things. With themselves and with others. And if you aren’t clear, and someone doesn’t get it and then you get annoyed, whose fault is it really? We don’t read minds, and I have been guilty of this as well. I don’t like asking for help, for example, so when I do ask for help with something it feels awkward. Just like the occasional need to lean on others for whatever reason. There is the feeling of not wanting to stumble and fall, but we need to reach out at times.
Being clear can be on other things like an invitation. If you aren’t clear it leaves gray area and someone ends up with hurt feelings. Which is why I always include an RSVP request when I mail out invitations. And when people ignore an RSVP, it’s just not good no matter if it’s yes or no. Or when someone invites you to do something and then they fall off the face of the earth and evaporates. You don’t want to follow up and feel like you are imposing yourself, but it does get annoying when someone calls and asks you to do something on X date, you tell them you are free, they say they will follow up, and the follow up? Never happens. I have had this happen quite a bit with a couple of people, and I don’t want to be rude, but they asked me to put the time aside and then it was “poof.”
Also working from home, or for yourself. That is a tough balancing act some days. Especially when someone who is not work related calls and you really want to talk to them, but you know you really don’t have the time. It’s hard to say no and establish and maintain those boundaries.
And expectations. If you aren’t someone who keeps mental book, you don’t necessarily guess what someone expects from you or when. But that is also in that category of reading minds. It’s like giving gifts. I give them because I want to, not because I expect something back. Some literally keep track. Even I do it sometimes with family, and I don’t mean to. But when you agonize over buying someone the perfect present, and they don’t reciprocate, it is hard. So then I have to remind myself to knock it off because I got them a gift because I wanted to.
And this is all women, right? If men do this we read them the riot act. But women? We seem to accept and perpetuate these things. Part of why we don’t say anything is we don’t want to seem like a bitch, which then of course leaves to storing up little bits of hurt like squirrels with acorns.
I have the bad habit of storing up hurt acorns like a squirrel. I don’t want to offend people and sometimes it is simply so hard to talk about these things.
So I have decided to go back to not storing all these things up. It is not healthy. I would like to think we all try to do right by people, but it is human nature that doesn’t always happen.
We can learn thing from narcissists, and that is to put ourselves first or at least not sacrifice our sense of self. It’s not an exact science, sadly, unless you are quite selfish by nature. We don’t want to all become utterly narcissistic, just learn not to feel bad for putting ourselves first sometimes. It’s o.k. to do this and to tell people they could have done better with you, because they would probably tell you the same thing.
Well that is all for this mental ramble. Enjoy the beautiful day!
I will preface this post with this isn’t about anyone or any one thing in particular. This is something I have been thinking about. A meandering mash up of things.
In part this is about the nature of friendships and relationships, a lot of what I have been thinking about in part are relationships between women. Now these can be family members who are female or they can just be female friends. But I look at my male friends and they’re pretty consistent throughout our aging process. But the women? Not so much a lot of the time. Women can be hurtful friends. Even when that is not the intent. I am sure I have been guilty of this behavior myself.
Men in my opinion as friends will take you for who you are male or female, be less judgemental, and are upfront if something is bothering them. I will include a caveat and say sometimes men you are in intimate relationships or marriages with may be less open, but I think that’s because of a difference in those relationships to begin with. I actually will leave my own husband out of that category because he is who he is, and is very consistent and upfront with how he is feeling. But then again, sometimes I wonder if part of the way my husband is, has to do with the fact that we’ve known each other for so long and were friends first, or just because that is the way he is? I don’t know but I am grateful he is by my side.
I will admit that I am tough as a person at times. As in I can be tough on people. But I am very devoted to my friends, family, and others that I care about, so when I can’t understand certain behavior, and I seek clarity, but feel like a proverbial door gets shut in my face, I find it hard. I am not saying life is always about me, but what I am saying is sometimes the delivery or expression of what someone is trying to say, sucks. And again, not saying that I am not also capable of this or excusing my personal behavior. These are observations.
I have discovered over the past few years that a lot of the way my relationships have evolved, is I am the person people come to when they need someone to talk to. I keep my own counsel and if I give my word I keep my word. It is an honor to be a trustworthy friend/human being, but I have found sadly as I’ve aged that not everyone reciprocates similarly. Not everyone keeps conversations that are supposed to be private to themselves, and there are some people where conversations are sort of a one-way street, as in when they want to have one it’s cool, not when you might need to have one.
On occasion, I am the one who just needs to talk; needs someone else to listen. Reaching out when that occurs, is not something I just randomly do, so when I do and I feel shall we say, unheard by those who should know me pretty well, it’s not fun.
Sometimes I also find myself having basic trust issues with people, who I feel very guilty about having trust issues with. But I don’t know how to articulate it any better. Especially since COVID, a lot of people are just going through stuff. So I have discovered people don’t necessarily think the same way as they once did. The communication changed and we were all by ourselves for so long that sometimes I think people will just say whatever and have lost the ability to filter.
And the reason I’m writing about this now is I’m finding myself in situations where I’m a little unsure. Sometimes you just feel like you’re doing all of the emotional giving, with little receiving when you need it. It’s hard when you put your proverbial toe out to try to test the water to talk, and it’s like others are not available. Or don’t want to be available. And sometimes it feels hurtful, even if that is not the person’s intent. And well I think no one intentionally wants to be overly sensitive, I think this is a byproduct of all the alone time during COVID.
Now part of the problem with me personally I’m sure is I’ll open my mouth about politics and social issues and I’m not shy or reticent in my opinions in general. But if you’ve known me even briefly, you know that about me. Also as a blogger, I have had people say to me that they couldn’t possibly be friends with me because I am a blogger. Seriously.
There are people who no longer think I am worthy to be friends with since they realized my politics aren’t precisely theirs. They went from people I used to do things with and swap Christmas cards with to complete crickets. I don’t wish them ill, but they know where I live if they ever decide I am worthy again. But sadly, I feel they were but a season in life. You know that old phrase about people being in the categories of reason, season, and lifetime? Sometimes we just have to move on, even if we really don’t want to.
But also since COVID a lot of people have pulled in on themselves and aren’t as communicative. I can also say that about myself honestly, as well. I find that I’ve pulled in a bit. Maybe that’s because we all had to spend so much more time on our own, and perhaps it’s all about getting used to being around people again? Or has COVID made us all a little bit more selfish? Or has COVID just reset the clock a bit to perhaps more the way we were before social media?
In that vein, I can’t control how other people feel or their actions. And I know that I can only control my own actions and reactions. But still I have questions, I have doubts, and I have human frailties. Sometimes, right or wrong, I feel like I’m not supposed to have any of those in the eyes of others.
And then there are the perfect strangers who contact me every day, often all times of the day and night about things going on. I’m not just a blogger, I’m a human being. I have my own life. Sometimes it would be nice for people in general just to say “Hey how are you doing?” I can’t tell you how long it’s been since somebody has asked me something as simple as that.
If we are talking about me simply as a blogger, I like being able to help people when I can. I like being able to help people promote their events. But when I promote an event, generally speaking I have a connection. Either I know people involved with the event, or perhaps it’s just something I support and attend. I am not compensate it in any way when I do something like this I am just paying it forward.
Similarly when I write about an issue, it’s because it’s something I have discovered and I have an interest in. I am not compensated when I decide to do something with an issue. And again, it’s the whole paying it forward because there are so many things in our communities that don’t get any airtime they don’t see the light of day. When it comes to the issues then sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t.
Recently I had somebody who was a perfect stranger contact me via another person whom I really don’t know to ask me to promote an event. An event was basically happening the next day. I did not reply. And I just didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t write about it, I didn’t share any links on social media about it, I just let it go. One reason was I wasn’t invited to the event in the first place. And I’m not paid to do these things again nor do I expect payment, but it’s also at times a simple question of feeling respected. And if you couldn’t invite me in the first place, yet you contact me in the 11th hour as an total stranger to promote it to save your bacon, how do you think that makes a person feel?
And then after the fact, you discover you did know someone involved with the event, who should have been the one reaching out to ask if I would do something, but then they would have had to have apologized for behavior less than friend worthy a few years ago when who you quietly just let go of that relationship. But this is a person who has left many bodies in their wake in their personal quest for social acceptance and basic climbing, and it will be a while yet before they realize that all of it came at a cost, and eventually they will be alone at the top of their solitary hill, wondering where their actual friends who didn’t care about their somewhat more humble past went? Honey, we’re all still here living our lives without you. We enjoyed your company, would have kept you as a lifetime, but you made yourself a season.
To promote an event or a local issue is not my actual job. As in I’m not paid to do any of this . I do things as the spirit moves me. And most of the people know who know me well know that it’s not a big thing if I decide not to cover something, it’s just not my jam. Yet some people if I don’t cover something, take it very personally. And they often forget the basic premise of I just write because that is my jam. I am not a compensated blogger, and I actually pay to have an ad-free site here.
Maybe sometimes what I’m finding confusing or what I’m actually lamenting are what we were raised with as far as social norms and niceties. You know, manners. A sense of right and wrong.
Also having style is not merely an outfit you wear, it goes a little deeper. Or it should.
One of the other things I’ve noticed since COVID are shall we say boundary issues. People will contact you at really odd times of the day and night. It could be people you know, people you work with, people who are strangers. It’s like all the stuff you learned as a kid growing up regarding when it was polite to contact someone and when you should wait for the following day and so on and so forth is simply gone.
Other seemingly simple things like saying thank you for something. Or sending an actual thank you note. How many of you out there feel like older than dirt because you still send thank you notes I know that you should send them? and that is something I get mad at myself when I don’t take the time for a proper note I just call or text. I know I wasn’t raised to do that. I know I was raised to sit down and take the time and write a note. And I have the note cards and stationary. (Note to self: use your stationary more, it’s a dying art form.)
And then you think about work relationships. How many people now have noticed how work relationships have changed since COVID ? Is it just me or does it seem like work from home also translates to a lot of people that you should be available 24/7/ 365? Is it work to live or live to work? And what about the people who either don’t understand what work from home means, or only want what they want on their schedule, forgetabout yours? I mean sometimes it’s easy to make a mistake because you don’t know what someone else’s schedule necessarily is, but other times is it a mistake?
As our world changes are we supposed to change with it or try to keep some of the niceties we were raised with in today’s world? I don’t know the answer. And it’s something I wish I knew the answers to. It would sometimes make the playing field a little more level or understandable.
Or at the end of the day there could be some things I just quite simply take too personally. And that’s a flaw. But I don’t think so. But I do think about it. Anyway as always, I like to write it out to try to figure things out.
And then there are the sobering realities of life that just make you think and pause.
Two of my friends became widows this year. Neither is old enough to be a widow.
Someone else I know has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and needs a transplant to live. And he’s got so much life left to live I am so upset. (Read about this here and share.)
Finally, another friend is rushing to their brother’s bedside, whom I also know. The family is about to say good-bye to a tremendous human being.
Sometimes I wonder what God is trying to teach us while I marvel at the pond scum who blithely inhabit this earth while good people suffer and even lose loved ones. Sometimes if I am honest, I struggle to see the beauty in this world, and remember life’s blessings, I actually really DO try to remember why we are here on earth. But as human beings is it just too much work to be the best we can be all of the time? If so, what is the solution?
I am open to conversation here, because I really would like to know how people feel about some of these topics I’ve raised today in this post.
Stay dry and have a cup of tea. It is the perfect weather for that!
The more I learn about the way people behave, the more I realize there are a lot of messy people in this world.
Lessons learned this weekend from “adults” and the log book of kiss kiss and bless your hearts, haters:
You can’t say Nancy Fuller from Food Network is “annoying AF”, because it’s “unkind.” Please note she’s not some neighbor’s mom or grandmother, she’s on TELEVISION, and she’s not Julia Child and is even more annoying than Martha Stewart or Paula Deen can be. I will occasionally share the woman’s recipes, I just can’t watch her live either on a Facebook video or some show she’s in because she grates on me. It’s kind of like people whose music you like but you don’t want see them perform in person. Above all else? It’s just one opinion.
Yes that really happened. Up pops this woman in a Facebook cooking group I run. This woman couldn’t just say that she disagreed with how I felt about a Food Network TV personality, no she had to be extra. This person had to say how terrible a person I was, my pizzas were repetitive, no one likes me or my cooking group. (I am still trying to understand how pizza entered the conversation because we were not talking about pizza.)
All of this because I said I thought a television personality was annoying A.F.?
But wait, there’s more. Next this woman private messages me. She has to make the extra point to tell me that I am a horrible person and everybody hates me and everybody makes fun of me.
Oh yes, the invisibles/nameless shamers and finger pointers in life. I thought I left them behind after high school. Apparently not. People you don’t know, don’t know actually exist, who want to define you. (A perennial favorite with me, can’t you tell?)
Seriously, like we’re young teenagers. Also, this is someone I literally don’t know, I have never met nor had a conversation with. Quite literally a stranger who happens to be in two of my Facebook groups. And she did a similar thing with me in my Facebook gardening group a while back which I let slide.
Allow me to circle back and make sure I have this correct: according to her, I am a terribly horrible person who apparently knows nothing about anything, yet she stays in my groups for years? How is this a normal person?
Alrighty then. I am a shameless hussy. Next?
Maybe it’s yet another Facebook phenomenon in the category of Stupid Human Tricks. Facebook is as we all know, fun to be on with friends, but often a really weird place ruled by inconsistent algorithms and full of super messy people. There are people you meet who are completely different in person, versus on a social media platform. Then there are people who pretend to be other people even though you know who they really are. And that’s their business and their story to tell, I just don’t understand it at times.
Sometimes the way purported adults behave on social media leaves you with a case of the why, why, whys. Another example? People you don’t hear from very often who won’t be Facebook friends with you in case “certain” people see who message you only when information seeking. That always cracks me up. But that’s their comfort level.
Facebook, however, is not the real world, and neither is Instagram. Some people use both platforms to post about their world. but for others it is just a playground for narcissistic behavior. I use both platforms to stay connected to friends. I post a lot about gardening and cooking, because those are two of my passions. I share what I write. Once in a while I post a selfie, as opposed to some people who all they do is post selfies or photos others have taken of them, professional or otherwise. Yes, I really find it amusing when people constantly have professional head shots and other photos taken for their Facebook profile photo and other posts. That is “Look at me, I am Sandra Dee” syndrome.
It’s all fairly ordinary. Until it isn’t when you encounter one of these virtual human land mines like I did…in a cooking group over a less than important TV personality. Encountering people like this is something that just makes you world weary at times. It makes you sit back and wonder why you bother to try to do anything. But then it comes back to what my Pennsylvania German grandmother always used to say: “consider the source.”
So I am considering the source, but I just find it puzzling and bizarre behavior. It makes you almost feel sorry for this woman, except it doesn’t.
I will never ever say “why can’t we all get along?” I am a realist, and I don’t think it’s possible. But what I don’t understand about these mostly women on social media platforms, is if they have such an intense dislike for someone on social media, why be in their groups?
What did I do in the end with this woman? I removed her from my groups. She doesn’t have to be my best friend, but life is too short for attack rats.
I don’t know if any of you are watching the HBO/MAX series on the life of Julia Child called “Julia”. I have always been a fan of the French Chef, and I love to cook and I have a bunch of her cookbooks so I really enjoy the show, which began before I was even born. I also enjoy the show and the way that it has blended the era in which she started in TV with the world around them.
In one of the episodes Julia Child has an encounter with Betty Friedan. My research indicates this encounter never actually happened. But another article I read said that the show was perhaps exploring Julia’s brand of feminism versus Betty’s. And that made me think of how do we define feminists and feminism today? The show makes valid points, it also makes you ponder sometimes why as women we are our own sex’s worst enemies.
When I look back on life, you naturally start when we were growing up. Especially if you grew up in an area like the Main Line, which isn’t necessarily the real world. Graduating high school in 1981 meant sure we were being groomed to have the big female careers, but conversely we were also still being groomed to be lovely hostesses in our husbands’ homes. And no one told us or showed which choice was the right choice for us as individuals.
My career was not some giant six-figure career with fancy cars and penthouse apartments. I think that was harder on my mother for a lot of years as opposed to me. Just like it was hard on her when I was single, and sometimes she made me feel like that was a huge flaw in me as a human being. I liked what I did. Never wanted to just be with a partner or date, or even marry just so I could say I did that. I wanted it to be right.
But what I discovered when I got what should have been a career dream job is I didn’t really like it as much as the other things I had done all the other years. But it was an accomplishment. I will note that I was definitely deserving of a six-figure salary for a lot of those years, and I honestly never attained it. However, you know what? That was fine. I wasn’t a millionaire but I had enough money to take care of myself most of the time, and sometimes it was tight and I managed. And the truth of the matter is, employers are cheap. The key to their particular brand of success is not making you wealthy, but making them wealthy. Just another version of plantation mentality.
I have also always been opinionated. Sometimes that’s welcome in a corporate setting, sometimes not. as I entered into my 30s I began to realize there were other things out there. There wasn’t just being on socially correct junior committees and going to the right parties and being seen with the right people. There were the things in life that you took a look at and made you realize that all the people you were on committees with would always need you more than you needed them.
Gradually I became active in my community. I became kind of a community/grassroots activist of sorts. But sometimes who I was clashed with some of the people I was a community activist with, as well as people I grew up with . And sometimes these two sides of me clashed within myself. It took me until I was well into my 40s to understand that I could be both of those people.
And then there is the whole me as I have gotten older. I married later than a lot of people, and when I was marrying for the first time a lot of people I know were not only divorcing but onto subsequent spouses. Sometimes in that part of my world I felt judged. And I don’t really know why I think it’s just because I kind of did me all of these years. Not always easily because as we grow we learn more about ourselves. Especially as women.
Sometimes now, I feel myself judged by an entirely different generation of women. I am a stepparent and I never had my own children, somehow that goes against you and I don’t quite know how. It would’ve been nice if I had been able to bear my own children, but medically that was never possible for me, and it just never would’ve presented itself as an opportunity in the more traditional “childbearing years.”
And there’s the whole idea of feminism and having it all. But at on the eve of 58 I still wonder if you can have it all? Or is what makes you happy in fact actually having it all? I think it’s that. I think having it all, is being content with your life. And maybe that runs counter to feminism. Maybe I personally run counter to feminism because I like to do things like garden and cook and keep my house. I don’t think for years you were supposed to admit that out loud.
I look around me and we all spend a lot of our time as women in general, telling everyone else what they should do with their lives. And now once again we are coming full circle to wondering if a bunch of folks in judicial robes are going to be telling women what they should do, and more importantly what they should do with their bodies?
Oh yes, readers, I am going there. No matter what my personal choices are vis-à-vis my own body, I have never believed it was my place to tell another woman what she should do with hers. And I have always resented it when those in clerical robes and judicial robes have tried to tell us what it meant to be a woman. And I resent most of all the politicians who take this issue on on both sides and pander.
Feminism in the 60s and 70s gave women the power to be whom they felt they should be. We have in a sense, enjoyed that since then. But we’ve all gotten lackadaisical and somewhat complacent. And that’s men and women, and look where it’s gotten us in this country? Politically, we are a cesspool.
I also get tired of those who go around proselytizing in political campaigns and even within our own communities telling us what our families are supposed to look like, and what our family values according to them are supposed to be. They also want to tell us what our sexual preferences and gender identity are supposed to be, and there’s no room for anything else because it makes all of those people uncomfortable.
All of this behavior has extended itself into our schools, our libraries, our daily lives. The ultimate echo chamber is social media and certain social media groups. And what they don’t understand is they are free to have their opinions but rights are not subjective and they don’t get to foist their opinions on us and tell us that is what we are supposed to do.
All of these people want to tell you that their First Amendment rights are of more value than ours. They also want to tell you how the life during the last political administration and president was so wonderful, and today is a mess. I am wondering if they will ever be able to pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize everything they are bemoaning as a mess today is a result of what we went through with the last administration? Do I think that the current administration is doing a particularly fabulous job? To be honest no not all of the time, but then you look at realistically what they were left to deal with. Also politics has gotten ridiculously reactive and over-reactive. Being a moderate is like a four letter word.
Then you look at what we are dealing with today. You have the people who are saying that they are so against socialism and totalitarianism and they are true conservatives yet they don’t know the basics of the United States Constitution, our history as a country, and what it is to be a true conservative. Truthfully, a lot of those people don’t even realize that they are closer to socialism, communism, and totalitarianism than anyone. Sometimes I wonder if what the U.S. is experiencing today is actually closer to what Great Britain saw in post WWII England? That was some truly ugly stuff for a while. And it seems to be here today.
What we are living today is what it’s like trying to exist in a country full of political extremism. And as women in this country, I think we are feeling that acutely. And I think as women we are looking at a horrible future for future generations of American women, if we all don’t speak up.
And we as women all need to stop thinking that there’s always something wrong with who we are because of how other people see us. I realized that again this weekend when a lot of high school reunions took place. Ladies, we are who we are, and just because the “it girls“ from back in the day still think they are “it girls” it doesn’t mean they are ….it just means perhaps they are stuck in a time warp. Interestingly enough, most of them still do not know how to behave, which is something I find very amusing personally.
When it comes to women there will always be strivers. There are strivers in the personal sense of those who have amazing career goals and attain them. Then there are the strivers who are perhaps not as appealing. Like social strivers.
The social strivers are often the women who are trying to run as fast as possible from what they’re from. Instead of embracing what they’re from, they only wish to project essentially a fake persona and are often label conscious, trendy Wendy types.
Where women always will fall short in this world is not embracing that part of who you are based on what you’re from. And maybe what you’re from isn’t what you feel is socially acceptable, but it’s stupid to try to deny it because everybody knows it anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with a woman who doesn’t color her hair, doesn’t have plastic surgery, and doesn’t get Botox and other fillers every few weeks from not even their dermatologist half of the time, but a spa or salon somewhere.
Women as a species will always be competitive on some level with other women. It’s human nature. But the thing is it’s how you use that competitive nature, and ironically some of the most hyper competitive women I’ve ever met in my entire life I’ve also been among the most insecure.
I’m not saying we’re supposed to all stop shaving our legs and armpits and we’re supposed to sing Kumbaya around the campfire, what I’m saying is maybe as part of the brand of the new feminism we need to actually be real.
So what is the new feminism? I’m still not really sure. But I do think part of it is being able to speak our peace. And I think part of being real is actually acknowledging you don’t want to lift up every woman. Because sometimes there are just some women who piss you off, or irritate you, or you question their inherent value as human beings and just do not like. And that’s OK as a woman to actually say that out loud. You can be your authentic self without worrying about having to be perfect every five minutes.
Obviously I don’t have the answers, and these are just some of my rambling thoughts. I’m sure not everyone will like what I have written today, but these are things I’m thinking about.
The other day I wrote a post called “whisper down the lane“. It wasn’t about me personally, it was more like life observations.
And yesterday, literally yesterday, a very dear friend told me something I did not want to hear, but had to. Someone else I considered a friend that I would like to say I was a good friend to and happy to know even when I did not agree with some of their behavior, had apparently had quite a bit to say about me that was quite unpleasant.
“They are not your friend”
You never want to hear that. Ever.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the question of what was said, but that anything was said. Women always spill he proverbial tea. It’s the whole concept of a lack of loyalty to someone who was a decent friend, helped you out with some stuff here and there, and was someone who listened to you over the years when you needed someone to talk to…and who always kept what you said to myself. And in spite of what has transpired, I will continue to keep what was discussed to myself because that is what an actual friend does.
Women are bitchy. No other way to describe it. And when we should be supportive, truly supportive of one and other, we are instead tearing each other down. Living in the land of women needs constant translation and is like a field of land mines.
I am not perfect. I don’t pretend to be. But don’t ask me for an honest opinion on something and then kind of flip out on me when I tell you probably what you didn’t want to hear me say.
That was a year ago give or take with this person, but I just went on about my life afterwards. Why wouldn’t I? They asked me for my opinion after they asked me to listen to what was going on, I responded, they didn’t like it, and I put it out of my head. Not my monkeys, not my circus. Realistically, I figured things were maybe fading at that point. Which I also put out of my head probably subconsciously because I liked this person. The whole theory of reason, season, and lifetime where people in your life are concerned once again. It bothered me a little, but I figured whatever would happen would eventually happen.
Sadly, what happened is this. The whiff of friend betrayal and passive aggressive nastiness is slightly unsavory and unwarranted. And it’s mingled with a good dose of disappointment in a person that I initially thought was better than this, or at least more intelligent than this.
Sometimes people like to climb over others on that mythical race to the “top”. I always find that sad. I don’t judge my friends by their designer handbags and shoes or the size of their house or the make of their car or what they can do for me. It’s do I like them? Do I think they are good people? Do I enjoy having a conversation with them or hanging out with them? Do they pay it forward in this world? Are they interesting?
And the thing about “society” in any area of the country or world is you really do have to be invited in. If you are hungry about being accepted, or should I be kinder and say “motivated to be accepted”, careful on your climb. Why? Because this kind of behavior is what people remember. And eventually the fall can be hard and really hurt.
A dog that brings and carries the bone is kind of human nature but I find increasingly that people take issue with those who cannot display an iota of loyalty. Or kindness. Especially when they have been shown it. Again, not perfect, but I don’t betray friends or those who have shown me kindness. Essentially the Golden Rule or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12)
So could I be miserable back? Sure. But why? When women do this to other women, generally speaking, they sadly already have enough issues or insecurities of their own. So I wish them well as I bid our friendship adieu. I am seeking to take the high road, so here’s hoping they find other things to talk about, or learn not to do this to others in general.
Humans are unnecessarily unkind to one and other so often . I hope this person got what she needed by putting me down. I hope they find what they need in life. I appreciate the time they were in my life except for this.
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I believe that.
I have been really blessed in my lifetime friends. Some of them go as far back as grade school. (Including teachers!)
I have people who have come into my life for various reasons, and over the last 20 or so years a lot of it has to do with community things I am involved in or have been involved in. Or other commonalities. Or even through mutual friends.
And then there are the people who come into your life for a season. Those of the ones that can be the tough and bitter pill to swallow.
I don’t pretend to be perfect but I am a decent person and a loyal friend. Until you hurt someone I care about whether it’s friends or family…. or even me. I have let people into my life who have talked a good game and then used me. I have had people in my life who were just in the end disappointing.
It has been incredibly hard to learn to just walk away from these types of people. But as I get older, I’m getting better at it. Slowly, I am learning it’s life, stuff happens. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue to put one foot in front of the other.
Sadly, I have experienced some unexpected negativity that I am choosing to work through by writing it out.
I have written over the past few years since my move to Chester County that although living here in this amazing and beautiful county, it has not been without challenges. Moving to a completely new area after living in one area for literally decades is an adjustment. It has had parts that have been hard.
As an individual when you have lived in one area forever, it’s sort of like Cheers. People recognize you on the street and in the grocery store. You’ve known all of your neighbors for years. When you go somewhere completely new, while a whole new adventure, it’s also when you realize things you may have taken for granted. Like the pleasant simplicity of seeing people you know in the grocery store.
When I first moved here I experienced old friend/neighbor drop off. It was like I had moved to Iowa, not Chester County. Some of them just stopped talking to me. Not because of an argument or disagreement, but merely for the fact that I was no longer geographically convenient.
One of the people who did this used to live around the corner from me and I was in her wedding party. That was very hurtful losss and took a couple of years to process because I was literally grieving a loss.
Other people made it easier. We invited them to get togethers in our home, and they just blew them off. No RSVP, just radio silence. Flat out rudeness. They made it easy to walk away.
But slowly I started to meet new people here in Chester County. That has not been without missteps as well, sadly. I kind of took it for granted that it would be easy. I didn’t honestly expect that it wouldn’t be as easy at this stage in my life as it was when I was say, in my 20s.
Over the past few years I have made the acquaintance and friendship of some truly amazing people. I have also met a few that have ended up not so amazing.
I have made the acquaintance of people running for public office that were all smiles towards me and friendly until they got elected. After they got elected, it is often a differentr story. One in particular told me that she couldn’t possibly be real friends with me because I was…. a blogger. I write, therefore I am walking poison ivy was the take away here.
Then there were the people I was warned about by other Chester County friends that there were these types who collected new people in order to use them, basically. I only really fell into this trap once and it was a lesson learned. Because sometimes with people like this when you don’t give them what they want, they can be quite unpleasant. But again their whole attitude, and treatment of fellow human beings makes it easy to walk away. However, it’s still disappointing.
Sprinkled in between were a few people I knew from before, but came to know again out here. Sadly, they weren’t keepers. Sometimes people whom you knew at a different stage in your life who were a lot of fun “back in the day”, but at this stage in my life were not completely palatable. So I chose to let them go. Not easy, yet not hard, and the right decision.
Recently I had another experience I shall not soon forget. Someone I met, thought was so fabulous and bright. I even had them as a guest in my home. Sadly, twists and turns in this person’s life have also resulted in my perceiving this person quite differently. Surprisingly they have ended up in the sad category of an adult petty mean girl. This one shocked me, truthfully.
It is a real grown-up lesson when you realize that although you know realistically that people come in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime that sometimes you end up quite surprised as to which people end up in which category.
Also recently I have experienced some rather odd types taking me to task over my blogging. Again, women.
One woman declared she was no longer following my blog because of my purported agenda of “liberal propaganda.” I am not sure she actually knows what that phrase means and it’s ludicrous. Those who know me well, know I am not necessarily liberal. My politics have actually evolved from being a life long Republican to becoming an Independent. I am beholden to no political parties. I blog about what interests me, and it doesn’t make me necessarily an internet vacation.
Am I supposed to be an internet vacation?
Another woman declared me a bad person because (if I have it right) I have a nerve to post news items, local issues and so forth while including my opinion. Ok do they know what a blog is? Or what blogging is?
A blog is defined as a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites. So yes a blog is something that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer/blogger.
That makes this first and foremost, my space. My blog has a Facebook page. That has similar rules.
Other things I think about?
I am not some bra burning feminist by any stretch of the imagination. What I find astounding at this stage of my life is how awful a lot of women are to one and other. On a regular basis.
Where is the sisterhood? Where is the mutual support? Where is the basic human decency and tolerance of the difference of others?
Ladies we don’t want to be Stepford Wives….or do we?
But I choose to remain open. I appreciate all of you who accept me for who I am.
And for those for whom it is a virtual experience, I appreciate that you are supportive of how I write and what I chose to explore.
As for those who don’t or can’t ? Or those who are either super judegemental or think it is your job to “school” me? Well the practical reality is I can only control me and my behavior. I can’t control you and I am not responsible for your personal happiness, am I?
It’s one of those sorry not sorry moments.
But ladies, really. We can’t teach our children and grandchildren to be kind and to not bully or be mean if we can’t do it ourselves.
We can’t teach tolerance if we can’t be tolerant at least some of the time ourselves.
We can’t teach the value of individuality and independance if we constantly go after those the least bit different from us.
Maybe our current adult society is in part a reaction to the political climate in which we live? I’m not really sure, as I don’t have all of the answers. But it’s what I was thinking about this morning.
Time for me to garden. Enjoy your Sunday.Thanks for stopping by.
As 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.
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 wantin 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 outrageouslyoffensive 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.
……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.
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
Human beings are a strange bunch. One thing that fascinates me endlessly is how some women, who as adults are still controlled by their parents, eventually come to mimic them. In both appearance and behavioral patterns.
Social media gives us a look inside of the lives of those we know. Sometimes it also gives us a look inside the lives of people used to know but no longer are in contact with or really connected to. I had one of those experiences recently. Outside looking in. Being a couple steps removed changes your perception, and often you see things that you wouldn’t have noticed before or didn’t want to acknowledge you noticed before.
Recently I saw photos containing someone I used to be quite close to, and very fond of. But when I moved to Chester County it became too much of an effort for them to stay connected, so the relationship fizzled away. I wish this person nothing but the best, but after just catching them in someone’s photos from the holidays, wow, do we as adult women always run the risk of becoming doppelgängers of our mothers? In this case it almost made me sad to see.
This person I used to know at one time was extraordinarily vivacious and alive. And in all the photos I’ve seen for the past couple of years she smiling but it’s like there’s nothing going on behind the smile any longer. Truthfully, she’s looking more and more like her mother. Also, much like her mother she seems to have one friend she takes everywhere, and that friend looks enough like HERmother’s friend in photos I saw that it could be the daughter that woman never had separated at birth.
Someone said to me recently as they overheard a conversation I was having with someone that I had morphed momentarily into my mother. That kind of freaked me out. It’s not that I don’t love my mother, but I want to remain my own person. Not become a mini me of her.
Some women I know I do indeed resemble their mothers in their looks, but not the personalities and behavioral patterns. Perhaps men are like this as well, but this is a thing I have observed more so in women.
My mother has a very strong personality and so do I. But I would like to think and hope I am my own person. Not that I don’t love my mother but I just wasn’t put on earth to be her mini me.
And then there are the women I know that are all mostly chameleons, ever-changing. It’s like they can’t decide who they are even as adults.
And there are some women I know who seem to want to almost compete with their teenage daughters, something I completely don’t understand.
What happens to women as we approach and enter middle-age? Do we fight the aging process tooth and nail, or do we accept who we are? Or are we the balance somewhere in between those two things? And is this struggle which causes some women to head down paths already in place courtesy of their mothers?
What happens to female individuality as we age? Do we just get tired and in some cases give it up to Stepford? Or do we become more fiercely protective of our individuality?
Does who we are continually evolve or are we always basically the same person? I know there’s a lot about me that is considered constant, but I like to hope I am continually evolving to be the best person I can be. In the end I might fall short of the mark, but I at least want to remain my own person.
One of my mother’s favorite expressions is “never complain, never explain”. As I flip through Facebook this morning while having my coffee, I thought I would pass it on. Some people might actually need it cross stitched and framed. Do you sense sarcasm here? Just a little bit? Sorry, I just find women and social media an oddity at times.
There is a lot of glass half empty and what the world owes people going on online. But maybe that is just social media: our own personal platforms for way too much grexing. (“Grexing” is Pennsylvania German for whining, complaining, or brutzing.)
I understand that everyone has troubles at different points in their lives and I totally get feeling the need to vent now and then, but there are some who are always seeming to be this way. I don’t know if they are this way in person all the time at this point or if this is just their online persona. But it’s like they are constantly negative and chronically angry and how is that healthy?
Trust me, I can whine with the best of them. But when you seem to be barraged with it from certain people all the time it gives you pause for thought. Is the glass really always half-empty? Why isn’t it ever half-full?
None of us are perfect, but do some of us simply expect too much of other people without looking to see what we can do by standing on our own two feet? It’s just that when I see some of what some people are putting “out there” for the world to see versus friends I have who lives with horrible diseases every single day and are among the most positive people I’ve ever met, it just makes me stop and think. I know women who are living with diseases like multiple sclerosis and metastatic breast cancer. Truthfully, these are the women that inspire me. They have every right to complain, but they don’t. They live. And they live positively and with love.
Whatever happened to personal accountability? Why is the world responsible for everything that goes wrong in our lives? We are all capable of free will, so unless we are being dangerously coerced or abused, aren’t we the ones making those decisions? From businesses to kids to life to men it’s giant gripe-fest some mornings. In some cases I can’t help but wonder if it’s karma, and I feel bad even thinking that, but when you treat other people poorly or rudely for long enough, what happens? Is it the old adage of everything that goes around eventually comes around?
A dear friend’s husband said to me that I need new people in my sphere, and I don’t think I necessarily that but I think some need a new outlook. And I’m not Pollyanna every day, so don’t misunderstand me, it’s just sometimes I am left silently asking these people a question. That question is how are we responsible for your personal happiness? And I am not silently asking that question to be mean. I want to know how it is we are supposed to be responsible for own lives and our families and their happiness? And yet we are called disloyal and worse if we don’t jump on the online bandwagon of support, which I don’t get. Do these people want true friends or sychophants?
Personally, I am someone who can be extraordinarily hard on myself. I am probably harder on myself than anyone else ever is. But when I see other people’s negativity head on it gives me pause, and makes me look inward at myself and my attitude too for that matter.
And then there are the women I see in groups who ask questions of total strangers that I don’t know that I would even voice out loud to people I know. Some of the questions range from the “lady you need boundaries that’s very personal” to “say what did she really just say that?”
And in group forums, there are some women who seem to view everyone else as the Shell Answer Man for lack of a better description. Sometimes I wonder if these people can get out of bed in the morning without seeking consensus first. Looking for referrals for a doctor, hair salon, restaurant, service provider I get those questions. But what I don’t get is when people post things like they have a cheating spouse and spouse was a cheating person before they married them and they just caught them at it again and what should they do should they just stay or should they leave? Really??? This is something you ask a thousand strangers ??
Another another favorite topic in the group forums is what to pay the babysitter. I’ve come to the conclusion there are a lot of cheap women out there.
And then there are the women who seek actual medical advice from a thousand strangers they don’t know and who definitely aren’t medical professionals- yes, that consensus seeking syndrome again. And I’m not talking about their asking medical related questions in a group that is geared specifically towards a disease or disorder. I’m talking about the women who should be filed under the category of “there are no boundaries on this bus”. And really, I don’t need to read what color your kid’s poop is either. (Yes seriously I have seen people post things about that.)
The thing that amuses me about some of these women when I see what they’re writing in public (and if it’s on Facebook or Twitter or other social media, it’s in public) is that these are often the type of women that I would run into a few short years ago who would say “I don’t know how you can blog. It’s so public.” And the tone of voice and face that would accompany comments like this was like I was doing something well, dirty.
Yes, to an extent, the Internet is like a giant bathroom wall. Which means what exactly? A society we are changing how we share? Or it’s just nice to have a place to vent? Or we should learn to once again to occasionally curb the streams of flowing consciousness?
Another amusing thing about women and social media are the ones who try to develop a particular persona that’s really not who they are in real time. I’m talking about the ones who are all so sickly sweet and posting cute little phrases often with photos constantly while they God bless everyone and thank God for blessings everything. And I am not speaking of the people I know who are truly good and Christian women, I’m talking about the ones that think we don’t know how they treat other people in real time and how viciously they gossip when they’re off their social media pages.
I really respect women who are who real and true online and off.
One of my favorite things hands-down still about connecting with women I know on social media is it’s a way to keep up with relatives and friends who are spread out and scattered to the four winds. It’s really nice to see pictures of their kids, and hear about what everyone is doing. One of the sad things however, is you can also see those who are starting to self-destruct and disintegrate. It makes you wonder why their families don’t see it too at times.
And then we all know people who seem unable to have actual conversations any longer, yet you can read all about it on social media. Maybe I am showing my age that I lament the lost art of conversation and even thank you notes. But I do think people don’t talk to each other enough any longer. Texting and tweeting and Facebooking are not talking. They might be a form of communication, but it is not the same nor a substitute for speaking and having conversations. And this doesn’t just occur with adults, it occurs with the young – our kids. And I think our kids need to be able to communicate and express how they’re feeling traditionally not just via social media and texting. And a lot of times they can’t.
I know some people I know are going to be annoyed or almost paranoid by this post I’ve written. Ladies, rest easy, the one thing that has never changed with me in all these years is telling you exactly how I am feeling person to person. If I had an issue with you I wouldn’t allude to it vaguely on a social media feed or in a blog post, I would tell you. In other words I’m not gonna play whisper down the lane behind your back yet in front of your face like a lot of people do on social media, this is just something I was thinking about as I was drinking my coffee this morning.
Thanks for stopping by and please, try to see the bright spots in life. It’s really easy to be negative, it’s much more work to be positive but so worth it. Life, every day, is a gift.
What is beauty? When it comes to nature as in flora and fauna, it’s easy to point out a beautiful bird or a flower. But when it comes to humans, can it be said it is not only more subjective, but societally subjective?
Yes this may indeed be a post that some consider a flowing stream of female consciousness and that’s ok. No one is after all, holding a gun to their heads and say read this, right? And yes, it is all the chatter about actress Renée Zellweger which made me think about this.
I will start with this article I read this morning:
(CNN) — Renee Zellweger looks different than she did 10 years ago.
Big deal—who doesn’t?
Maybe she had plastic surgery. Maybe a little lipo, too. Or maybe her new look, at 45, is truly courtesy of her living a healthier, happier life away from the constant media glare, as she reportedly told People Magazine.
Considering how mean-spirited some of the response has been since Zellweger showed up at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards much slimmer than we remembered, who could question the effect time away from the vitriol can have on a person?
….The face and body we associated with her for all these years was, in her words, a byproduct of having “a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself.” Makes sense to me. I can’t tell you how many former NFL players I have come across who look nothing like the men I saw on the field—significant weight loss, clean-shaven, hell, just being clean for a change. And dare I say healthier.
I then read something on someone’s Facebook page (also this morning):
Can we leave Renee Zellweger alone, please? As a woman, I’m offended by the criticism she has received for doing something personal and private. Do the talking heads have nothing better to discuss? And seriously, if we should fault anyone, shouldn’t it be the entertainment and fashion industries for harping on their own standards of beauty? Sorry, I don’t usually take public stands, but this issue hits home.
So this is true…..but I am tired of what the media and Hollywood puts out there as far as women and aging, aren’t you? Renée Zellweger is a victim of that cycle I believe, but unfortunately she is also in the public eye. Why are people talking about Renée Zellweger? Because she did the all-American mid-life woman thing and apparently got some nipping and tucking and filling.
Why do women have such a hard time aging? Or admitting they are getting older?
Maybe we all play a part in this?
As women, we need to stand up for what the definition of beauty actually is. I don’t know a single female from 15 to 70 plus who doesn’t fight with self body image at times. And how many women just want people to notice sometimes when they look nice and not that they have a few more wrinkles than last year?
As a 50-year-old breast cancer survivor who did not have breast reconstruction when I look in the mirror I often only see a lopsided me. I have to remind myself how blessed I am to be alive. But how hyper-focused are we often as a society and the concept of the perfect female form and does that perfection even exist naturally?
In that vein, after seven weeks of radiation coursing through my body there were a lot of things about chemicals that I decided to shed from my life. That included hair coloring. I decided I was going to let my hair color change naturally to what it was meant to be, versus trying to cover it up every few weeks.
Truthfully I am very slow to gray up and in three years there is little difference. Yet if you look around all you see is advertising aimed at women which subliminally tells us day after day that aging naturally is BAD. We are bombarded with hair color and cosmetics ads, ads for injectibles like Botox and Juvaderm, ads for plastic surgeons, commentary on what unnaturally thin actress with unnaturally large and upstanding boobs are wearing.
And of course there are our more local influences. Our mothers, siblings, friends, spouses, and so on. For example, I adore my mother but you can ask anyone and they will tell you she is obsessed with appearance. The flip side is that is probably why she looks so good for her age, but you can’t wear sweat pants and a t-shirt around her! However, in her defense, as opposed to many of her contemporaries and my own contemporaries she is not someone who has been nipped, tucked, or injected. Which I am glad about because there have been some older ladies I have seen in society photos recently who look downright scary they have had so much work done. They don’t look attractive, they look freakish.
Most of the time I am good with me at 50, but there are days where I look in the mirror and wonder where I’ve gone. And then I have to remind myself that I’m not 24 anymore I’m 50 and that’s ok.
But societally in this country it seems to be the exception rather than the rule as far as aging naturally versus not aging naturally. The funny thing is when I was about 22 I wasn’t sure if I was going to like myself as a 50 year old. But that was a 22 year old looking at what was then, older than dirt.
Now that I am 50, it doesn’t seem so bad or so old. Yet because of what I see put out there some days I struggle. But when I lay it all out I would truly rather be a more authentic me and I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to be that woman….and that is what women forget.
Women forget that we do have the right to be whomever it is we want to be. Societally we are often judged if we don’t wear makeup, don’t color out hair, haven’t been augmented and injected, and wear more age appropriate clothes rather than looking like the teenage daughter’s closet was raided.
Can it be said the obsession with appearance versus the inability to deal with aging is pervasive and damaging? And have you ever noticed the men who will sit and judge a woman like she is someone’s prize cow? My ex was one of those kinds of men and I think individuals like this need to take a long, hard look in the mirror before they judge another human being. Yet, it is often through eyes like those that women judge themselves. And yes, we are our own harshest critics
Getting older is a challenge. Of course it is. But it is part of the cycle of life, right? So what if societally we were a little more accepting?