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!

Day 15: Shine

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I’d never heard of the Shine Theory until I saw this image on Twitter (above↑).

I fell in love with it hard and was even more overjoyed when it led me to Cattitude & Co, a blog run by Tara AKA Catstello. C&Co is one of my recent favourites (see Day 5) and I really recommend having a look for yourself.

Anyway, from the above, I found out that there’s a whole philosophy behind it. In my own words, the Shine Theory is the practice of eliminating rivalry between women, instead embracing each other’s successes, supporting and encouraging, and just generally looking at one another for inspiration, rather than throwing around the evil eye at those we deem glossier, richer and more awesome than ourselves.

We’re all on the same side after all, and haven’t we got enough on our plates smashing patriarchy on the daily?

Shining is about allowing yourself to be motivated by all the wonderful women out there in the world. Befriend them, love them, shout from the rooftops about how cool they are and embrace how that makes you feel too. Great isn’t it?

I know this is common sense and something we probably do anyway, we love our friends and we tell them that all the time, don’t we? But it’s not always easy. I can’t sit here writing this post without acknowledging that I’ve been the worst person for envying others. Throwing side eye at someone doing far better than I am, then looking at my own achievements in a newly negative light.

So I’ve been trying harder and it feels good. I’m surrounded by amazing women and incredible sources of inspiration and that makes me the most successful person, doesn’t it?

What makes you shine?

Day 5: Favourite New Blogs

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Day 5 and I thought I’d treat you to some of the new blogs (and a few old trusties) that I’ve been reading when I should be working.

First up, how’s your week been? Mine’s been up and down, but I’m here ready to embrace the weekend like a beloved old friend.

Feeling Christmassy yet? I think I might be, but until I’ve seen Love Actually, the jury is still out.

Anywhoo, I’m ready to share. You’re welcome!

Screenqueens – this blog is aces because it talks about feminism within film (and more) and tends to focus on exactly the kind of movies I enjoy. Recent posts include a closer look at Beautiful Creatures (2000), drug addiction and a film noir favourite. Run by a large staff of writers and art contributors from both sides of the Atlantic, I really recommend this if you’re into smart writing.

Fannie Frankfurter – I’m desperate to hang out with this woman. We share a common interest in graveyards but I also enjoy the candid style in which Fannie writes. I also enjoy her interest in the occult, intriguing architecture and recapping each week in ‘neatly organised sections’. My kind of woman.

746 Books – Confessions of a Book Buying Addict. Yep, that’s me too – I just can’t stop, especially Thrillers (too many thrillers!). Cathy named her blog because she has 746 unread books in her possession (maybe more) and has calculated that, at the rate she reads, it will take her about 20 years to finish them all. Now I’ve never counted my unreads (but now might) and I love the idea behind this blog. The challenge is not to buy another book until every one of these 746 has been completed. Cathy is also lovely and I love the reviews themselves! Might have a break and go read now…

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) – I’ve name-checked these Australian film dudes before but no matter, I love their work so it bears repeating. A mixture of reviews and opinion pieces, this blog focuses on new films as they’re released but also classics from a simpler time (Saving Private Ryan, anyone?). Sure, it would be impossible to agree on every film but Jordan and Eddie always make me feel excited about films I haven’t seen yet with their non-nonsense style. The blog also looks great. So, the question is, as the boys ask: Can the Force Awakens really live up to the hype?

Cattitude & Co. – This is a relatively new find but a great one. I was recently tagged by a friend in a Tweet where Tara appealed for contributors for her Feminist Film Club and I followed from there. I love the concept obviously and also love the film choices, including one of my neo-favourites, American Mary. There’s also a Feminist Book Club. The blog is clever, pretty to look at with lovely illustration and I expect to be a long term reader. Check it oooout.

Plus of course, I can’t talk about my favourite blogs without mentioning The Holy Trinity, can I?

Check them out here:

Camelia Ophelia – My work boo, real friend and inspiration. Check out Tatty’s recent trip to the British Fashion Awards for a pure injection of fabulousness, stay for regular outfit posts that don’t alienate you, or your bank account. ❤

A Stitch to Scratch – I can imagine a Christmas round Hayley Margaret’s, I bet it’s the cosiest, pretty environment ever, like Kirsty Allsop’s Homemade Christmas but not as annoying (my husband totally fancies Kirsty, I think she’s okay, I guess).  HM is the loveliest as well, another dream hang out. ❤

And last and by no means least, my radiant Blog Wife:

The Pink Panther Snipes Again – I’m obvs entirely biased here but I love Jillian‘s blog because it’s a) snarky and b) about films. You might notice a theme in this post, I just love the movies what can I say? Now, apart from Jill being a girl straight after my own heart, she’s also inspired me this year to step outside my comfort zone and explore film in my own style. That’s the beauty of humanity I think, taking natural cues from people who challenge and excite you. Our Film Collab has honestly been one of my 2015 highlights, so thanks for that Wifey. ❤

So these are my top recommendations. I hope you take the time to check them out and enjoy them for yourselves.

Which Blogs do you love and why? Always taking recommendations.

The Regular Show

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Like my good friend Hannah, I have recently been pondering this whole writing malarkey and what it’s really all about.

I’m the absolute Queen of thinking about doing something for a long time before I actually get off my lily white arse to do it. Look at running, for instance, an activity I am very much into the thought of but am yet to seriously attempt.

Writing is the same, although I do write from time to time. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t but what do I actually say most days? A lot about nothing and nail polish, that’s what.

It’s time to start stretching myself and with the help of some writing prompts, I think I can get a lot out. So, with the encouragement of Han, who has recently posted some brilliant pieces, I’m going in too.

I’ll be looking to The Daily Post and also Writing Exercises for inspiration. I’m also going to set aside regular writing slots every evening this week. Basically, have lap top will write; have prompts will free style. Something like that.

Where do you get your inspiration from, writers?

I’m as Fine as the Wine in Summertime

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Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Phenomenal Woman ~ Maya Angelou

Today my Queen quietly passed on from this life, aged 86.

I fell in love with Maya when I was a teen and we were studying I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I was not what you would call the academic type and I’m still not, but that term as I was falling under the influence of Ms Angelou and her beautiful words, I fell in love with the English language too.

It’s my longest love affair to date.

In addition to what she awakened in me, she was a great poet, an activist and a goddess of the highest order. I’m so glad she got the graceful ending she so deserved and I’m just terribly sorry there will be no more from such a gorgeous wordsmith. She leaves behind an army of women (and men, I’m sure) who have been inspired and moved by the things she did and that isn’t too shabby, is it?

If you’re not aware of her work then I urge you to go searching, you could never regret it.

I’ve included an excerpt from my favourite poem above. You can find the rest of it here. And honestly, what else is there to say about it other than “Yes!”. As far as I’m concerned, it is perfect.

*This blog title is a quote from Maya given in an interview in 2009 about why she was unwilling to retire. How wonderful?