Guest Post: Ghosting Amongst Friends

kenziejenningsI was recently lucky enough to find Kenzie via her GREAT blog This, On Purpose (or she found me, it doesn’t matter). What matters is that I love what she writes and we share a love of horror films and pop culture in particular.

Based on this, and the fact she’s a very cool girl, it was a no-brainer to ask Kenzie to be involved in the She’s All That series. Go check her out on her blog forthwith!

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Image via Unsplash

Christa, the lovely creative behind A Voluptuous Mind, has graciously invited me to guest blog here. I’ll readily admit I’ve had one premise in mind for it as it’s kicked me hard over the past couple of months, so I thank Christa for giving me an alternate outlet for it.

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There are no greater friendships than the ones that press on.

At 43, I ought to know this by now. At 43, I still sometimes have trouble.

“Ghosting” is a strangely appropriate slang term often reserved for when one is dating. One is left in the lurch, completely disconnected of all communication from the other. It’s an invisible-man sort of phasing out of existence, a shitty passive-aggressive “good bye” consisting of no return calls, no return emails, no return texts. Nothing.

Frankly, I think the term is too limiting in its definition because “ghosting”, such as it is, occurs amongst friends as well.

I was eleven when I first experienced ghosting from a friend. There was this girl gang, a clowder of cats with feathered hair and pastel-neon colored clothes. Eleven, and I was too earnest. I didn’t understand “mean” coming from girls my age whatsoever. “Mean” belonged at home with angry family members. “Mean” came from schoolboys confused about the changes happening, the wolves coming out to hunt. Susan led the girl gang, the clowder. Susan with her glinty eyes edged with bright blue ice queen liner.

Susan didn’t like me much. Maybe it was my naturally curly hair that hadn’t been frizz-permed into a sticky Aqua Net mold. Maybe it was my pale skin that couldn’t turn golden in the sun. Instead, it went all strawberry and wetly peeled. Maybe it was my temperament, the fact I cried about anything because I didn’t understand.

Or maybe it was because I had something Susan wanted: my best friend, Holly.

Holly and I had shared much and had been through even more together. We were also survivors, sisters-in-arms, having been stalked and tormented by a nasty trio of teenaged boys with their jagged leers and switchblades. We were inseparable; we were true.

Then one day, Holly shut it off, she shut it all off. We’d no cell phones in the ’80s, but we didn’t need them. In middle school, back then, we were all about passing notes and recording, whispering secrets and communing. One day, Holly simply disconnected me by ignoring everything I said, everything I did, anything I could do to get her attention. All I saw of her in those weeks after was the view of her rigid back coupled with the occasional sidelong glare and eye roll.

It was Susan, of course, the one responsible for Holly’s ghosting of me. Susan would say something that scratched and left marks, often something scathing (and utterly unoriginal) about my appearance, and Holly, standing there, finally in the midst of the clowder, would laugh as it was expected of her, glancing every so often at Susan for approval. Even still, Holly didn’t look at me when she joined in the taunts and jeers.

In middle school, cats like Susan would inevitably get tossed in the water, left to fend for themselves. It took both time and a horribly embarrassing situation for Holly to reappear in my world. I was several weeks into my Susan-concocted invisibility when my first period (yes, that) hit me while I was on the school bus on the way back home. I was sitting in the back, well away from Holly and her siblings. They all sat in the front of the bus, her siblings acting as a barricade in case I tried to come up to talk to her.

It was always a long ride after an arduous day at school. We had a bus driver who made it clear to everyone on board, every day, that he hated kids. He also had a habit of pulling over to the side of the highway to take a piss right there, out in the open, in front of the world and its children. Anyway, the bus driver regularly screamed all sorts of colorful obscenities if any of us attempted to shift into another seat, so I quietly stayed put in my misery, thanking the gods of frumpy clothing for the long, baggy windbreaker I had on that day. I don’t know if it was an act of blatant stupidity on my part, but I was so desperate for a friend who would sympathize about the torment I was going through. So I did what any other eleven year-old girl would do in such a predicament: I sent Holly a note from my place at the back of the bus, one of those meticulously folded things that would’ve taken a Rubik’s Cube expert to unravel.

I’d taken a risk, of course. The bus was dotted with kids who’d be more than likely to attempt to unfold my note and read it aloud to anyone even half-listening. Luckily, everybody on the bus then was much more engrossed in the thrash metal music one of the 8th graders insisted the bus driver play on the way home (he didn’t like the 8th graders either, but if it got everyone to shut the hell up, so much the better). I watched her from the back as Holly carefully unfolded the note and read it, her lips moving as she took in every word I’d written. When she’d finished, she carefully folded the note and stowed it deep in a backpack pocket. Her gaze was steady towards the front. She seemed deep in contemplation rather than apathetic, which was a good sign. After a minute, she shifted in her seat, facing the aisle and rear of the bus, her eyes locking with mine. She nodded at me and held up a finger for me to wait. Then she glanced over at the bus driver, who was focused on both the road and the cassette that was suddenly being eaten whole by the cassette player.

Holly quickly slung her backpack over her shoulder and, head down, scurried to the back of the bus. When she finally reached me, she plopped herself down right beside me, and I knew right then the ghosting barricade had been lifted, especially when she leaned against me and whispered, “Does it hurt?”

“Not anymore,” I said. We grimaced at each other, at the very thought of womanhood, so gross. Just as the bus driver caught on to what had happened and yelled at Holly for having moved, we started giggling like mad.

Our bond reinstated, we dealt with all the Susans, all the unlucky circumstances, all the mishaps and dangers that come with the cusp of teenaged life. We remained friends until our families relocated due to military obligations.

It was like that then, far easier to forgive at eleven years old.

I’d not really been affected by “ghosting” from adult friends until the past several years or so. One good friend in particular quite recently decided it best to cut me off for some inexplicable reason, to “ghost” me, if you will—this, even after we’d talked a lot about just how shitty the act of “ghosting” was. (Yeah, I like my betrayal served with a hefty side of hypocrisy. Who doesn’t?)

Adult friends recognize that ghosting is not polite, it’s not civil. Adults are meant to talk to each other. If there was a problem, drinks and conversation ought to do the trick. It’s the kind of talk that lasts well into the evening when the sky is a bruised, brushed curtain and time has grown meaningless. There’d be some tears shed, some egos deflated, if only for a moment. Nevertheless, it’s a time when hats are off, but no one goes home without answers because that would simply defeat the purpose.

There are some adults around though who’d prefer not to face their problems with another, head on, and I don’t understand it at all. It’s almost as if they believe that by cutting off someone else, they’re doing that particular so-called friend a favor. After all, what kind of person in her/his right mind enjoys confrontation?

Hell, I call cowardice on the matter.

So I end this with a(n unsolicited) warning for those friends, good friends, better friends, and best friends out there, particularly those grownups who are on the cusp of ending it outright without informing the other about it:

If so inclined to keep things mum, be well aware that friendship’s done. An attempt to rekindle that friendship true will undoubtedly be greeted with a fitting ‘Fuck you.’

Riot Grrrrrls

 

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“When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.” ~ Ann Friedman

God knows right now, in the wake of Brexit, the American election race, the sharp rise in hate crimes in the UK, Michael Gove‘s fleshy bottom lip and all the horror going on in the world (from Iraq to the USA), that we need a little reminder that life is not fucked up or all bad.

Things they are a changing but the fundamental elements of what makes life beautiful still remain, we just need to take a moment and believe it. With this in mind, I’ve decided to enlist the help of my very favourite gal pals and writers to ramp up the positivity around here. You see how generous I am with the sharing? Although technically, my collaborators will be doing all the work, so really they’re the generous ones.

My plan is, over the next couple of months to share a weekly post by one of these remarkable women. Many of these writers are actually you, dear readers, and some of you know of one other already which warms my cockles.

My brief on this project was laid back:

It should be empowering, perhaps about how you stay positive, your views on feminism/body positivity/*insert topical buzz word here* – that sort of thing or anything really than inspires you.

Could I be any more vague?

Failing that, you can honestly contribute anything, a favourite recipe, a post about a crush you have, I’m easy. I just want to hear your voice and share it with my minimal readership – in other words, pretend you’re writing a post only likely to be read by yourself and my mum, my biggest fan!

(Hello Mum!)

I’m really excited about this because I know you’re in for a treat. I’ve already read a few ideas from my first guest and she is the flaps (not nuts, flaps). So I hope you will join me in showing her love when she makes her A Voluptuous Mind debut.

Let’s get the PMA flowing, remind ourselves that hate will never win and be fucking fabulous at the same time!

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Do you want to be involved? If so, I want you! ❤

If I haven’t already emailed you and you like the idea, why not sling me an email (on the contact form on the About page). I’d love to hear from you!

P.M.A and Work Self-Love

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Do you ever sit there and suck up all the negative energy in the room? Every so often, sat at my desk at work, I realise I’m scowling for no good reason.

I’m a sponge. When people are happy, I feel happy to. When they’re crying, I can feel my own tears welling up in support. It’s nice to be in tune with people but not when you’re magnetically pulling other people’s anger and despondency toward you. Not when you have your own issues to work through, man!  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way btw.

When a day like this is happening, and I want to avoid making my face wrinkles any worse by frowning all day, I do one, some or all of the following:

  • Type up a five-minute blog post like this one
  • Eat something cheerful, like pink marshmallows or strawberry laces
  • Go onto ASOS.com quickly and buy something small to be delivered the next day. This is why I’m poor FYI
  • Eat cake
  • Look at pictures of Panda’s cat, Pudding who is my new one true love
  • Ditto photos of Bertha Mason, sweet princess baby of my Blog Wife
  • Listen to podcasts – usually film or true crime (I recently got onto untoldmurder.com and really need to get round to badfatbroads.com, which is neither film or crime themed)
  • Go for a walk and talk to colleagues under the guise of ‘working’ for ten minutes (more often 48)
  • Think about my new tattoos and future tattoos
  • Talk about the Kardashian/Jenners – I know this is lots of people’s idea of hell but their lives are pure escapism to me and I kind of love them (I know Camelia Ophelia shares this)
  • Make a 77th cup of tea
  • Water Kieran II
  • Watch this YouTube clip – or this one
  • Take a quick selfie in the loo (Snapchat filter optional)
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Cake ~ Kieran II (the plant) ~ Puddin’ ~ Prison Tatt

I’m a big believer in PMA. I know people have bad days and miserable ones, I do too but generally I try not to let inertia creep in too much. Self-care is a very important topic for me and there are many more things I love to do to administer that. These are just the ‘work friendly’ ones I can conceivably get away with at my desk or around the workplace.

I’m not sure how ‘Dance around naked to Aerosmith’ would go down in our open plan office, truth be told.

BTW, I know this post is very ambiguous and it’s not like the cause of the office grump will ever read my blog. But I need to get it out every now and again, you know?

Out of interest, what do you do when the work blues kick in? ❤

And yes, I know we’ve got bigger problems in the world than a slightly bad day at work.

Rock N Roll

I feel like I owe my blog some sort of essay that isn’t about film, though for the life of me I can’t think which topic to pick. So a freestyle post it is. These are usually the most honest, if flawed pieces, right? This may be a bad idea.

I’m going to start with what’s most prominently on my mind: Age.

I’m in a rut. I’m 38 years old, the wrong side of 35 and when did that happen? My thirties have been my best, of course they have but they’ve shot by and now I’m here mildly fretting about the impending 40. Forty fucking years old.

I remember my mother’s 40th birthday party, which was thrown in our house by her cousin, who lived round the corner with our cousins. If you knew my mum (who I am very much like) you would be able to picture her face when she found out what was going on. I was ten and enjoying the party as ten years old do, through the milling legs of the adults, admiring tarty high heels and asking for sips of alcohol like a maniac.

How am I almost there myself?

Rather than lamenting the passing of time here though I think I’m going to draw a line under my fear, take a deep breath and move it forward. Like what do people who are nearly 40 do? Plan a party and freshen up their Bucket List? Get a drastic new haircut and take a lover? I’m down with all of the above, though the lover part sounds exhausting and/or messy. I’m pretty sure I’d prefer a weekend away to a house party too but I guess that’s down to the people who love me, they plan these things right?

Oh God.

But this rut, it has a lot to do with the turning of the tides but I guess it comes with being in any place for a long period of time, doesn’t it? I still have no clue what I want to be doing with my time. I’m neither creatively fulfilled nor rich as shit. I haven’t had kids but I also don’t have a career.

What am I expecting though? Exactly the right job for me to come knocking one morning, asking me out to play? Life doesn’t work that way and it shouldn’t either, aren’t we taught that nothing worth having comes that easy? Too right.

Okay. This is what I’m going to do. Stop beating myself about not being on the property ladder, not being one of those glossy chicks or on any sort of career path – and just be thankful for what I do have. Health, friendships and a good relationship. Booty. A job that might not be forever but that let’s me work with people I really like. An income that supports my ASOS addiction.

And I’m going to make a plan. A list of little plans even, that lead me towards a bigger plan. A life plan of epic proportions – there’s still time. 40 is only really 21 these days, innit?

I need to remember that age is more than just a number, despite what they say. It’s scary and it marks the steady flow of time getting away from us but it also represents experience and life stories, and I would never go back, not even a year, or a week. Even a day.

The other night I was talking to a friend and she said,”If I get to the end and I still have this life and the same circle of friends, even if I don’t meet anyone, I will die happy”, and I thought, that’s perfect. I want to feel that way too.

I’m going to get out there and kick rut in his arse (being weighed down by an unseen entity? It’s got to be male). I’m going to prove to myself that almost-40 is fucking fabulous, crow’s feet and all.

I might even think about this bucket list but I’m not jumping off anything high or swimming with any living thing. Thems the rules.

The Secret

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Door’s on the latch, Tom…

Before the madness of Blogging 201 kicks off on Monday (yes, I’ve decided to keep going), I thought I’d record a few thoughts as they lie right now.

More a record for my own sake than anything else, I just think sometimes putting things out there makes me accountable for them, and for any changes I wish to make. We’ll see about that of course, I thought talking about running would make me do it all the time and I’m still working up to that.

Anyway, the first thing I want to say is that I’m not that big on self-help books and all that jazz.

I believe in self help, am all for loving yourself and doing whatever it takes to make yourself happy. I’m respectful of other people turning to books, videos and anything to get what they need, but you won’t find me in the Self Help aisle rummaging for answers. Maybe I’m missing out.

But once upon a time I did read The Secret and it changed something. I’ve talked about it before elsewhere but the gist is that I was at the end of a bad scene, feeling hopeless and I picked up the book my best friend had left lying about after a visit.

It just made sense. Put out positive vibes, ask the Universe for the things you want and get them. Sure, it’s unlikely Tom Hardy will be knocking on my door before the weekend is out just because I want him to, but it’s an attitude I can get behind. Think about what you want and envisage yourself getting and keeping it. PMA all day, every day.

After I’d read it, I wrote a list that looked a little something like this:

  • Get out of this relationship
  • Get a new job

Underneath the two main wishes I detailed what I wanted in a new man (call me shallow):

  • Tall
  • Dark
  • Green eyes
  • Reads Comics

I didn’t dare write any more than that but I hid that list and thought of it often. Perhaps the Perfect Boy list was subconscious since I already knew my husband then, though we hadn’t spoken in years and I couldn’t have imagined we’d end up together. (You guessed it, Mr B ticks all those boxes).

Maybe just admitting you want more is enough to ensure you make moves to get it. Or maybe it’s magic. Whatever it is, it works. It worked then and it can work now.

Houseboat in Amsterdam, you will be mine
Houseboat in Amsterdam, you will be mine

I did get out of that relationship, less than a month later and then I scored my dream job at a dating agency. So I believe in The Secret and I’ll tell anyone. Sorry, not sorry.

Today I think it’s time to go back to basics. I’m getting to the point of being done at work for many reasons and it’s making me feel sick. Things need to change and whether that’s me moving on or something more drastic, I have to think about it. I’m not comfortable with the way things are and I need to fix it.

I know I’m worth more and right now I’m working in an environment that makes me feel insecure, paranoid and frankly undervalued in every way.

Time for a Positive Thinking Spell, I think.

I might update on this topic every so often, you know just to check in. Hopefully the next instalment will be a more positive one, rather than “I screamed, threw something and was escorted from the building by the caretaker”.

Do you have a go to method for making changes/getting happy? If so, what is it? Are you willing to share your secrets with me?