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!

photo-1467830448165-2a33e133a752
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.

***********

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.’

Guest Post: It’s Okay to be Broken or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Flaws

UntitledFirst in my new She’s All That series is one of my dreamiest real-life friends. In fact, it would be true to say that Ms Lightle was my first real friend in Canada and one does not quickly forget that. United by our mutual love movies, amongst other things, Meghan and I used to work together then go and see as many films as we could get away with in one sitting. One Summer that’s all we did because we do what we want (and fuck the outdoors, apparently).

Meghan is a constant inspiration what with her strong writing, sharp mind and unlimited bravery. I want to be more like her when I grow up. For more from Meghan, go visit The Lightle Side of Life (for all sorts of life gems) and That’s Lightletainment! (for more entertainment based subject matter) and for now, enjoy this post. ❤

There’s something alluring about a mess, isn’t there? I mean, it’s overwhelming and sometimes you wish it would just go away, but isn’t there also some part of you that believes if you have enough time and the right tools, you’ll be able to square it all away and won’t that just be an amazing accomplishment? This is a metaphor for my life. I’m a mess. My house is a mess. My love life, such as it is, is a mess. I thought by the time I hit 30 I’d have it all sorted and be living in a clean and spacious apartment and hosting dinner parties on the weekends and curling up with my lover and our puppy at night.

So.. not quite.

But maybe that’s okay. And you know how I know? Because I’m not the only one still sorting herself out. And I know this because every once in a while someone creates a character, a grown woman, who doesn’t completely have her shit together and honestly if it’s good enough for them, what am I complaining about?

I’m speaking, of course, about the female anti-heroes.

Of course there’s already been a lot of inked spilled about your Cersei Lannisters, your Lisbeth Salanders (although I believe she’s pure hero) and your various Catwomen, but since I skew more comedy as a rule, I’ve decided to explore the female anti-hero through a different lens. One that makes me laugh.

bad-teacher-14In the beginning, there is the protagonist of Bad Teacher, Elizabeth Halsey, played with delightfully evil glee by Cameron Diaz. From the second she pulls the croutons out of her friend’s salad, uninvited, I was like YASS QUEEN this is my kind of woman. She picks the lettuce off her burgers and eats corn dogs for dinner. She smokes weed and drinks constantly. She couldn’t remember her fiance’s birthday. She’s selfish, cruel, manipulative, and conniving. Her only goal in life is to get a rich husband. To land one, she needs breast implants which she plans to pay for by stealing and cheating her way to the top. Does this sound like the kind of person you want to have over for Christmas dinner? No, of course not, but that doesn’t stop one of her student’s mothers from doing that exact same thing, which only leads to her making fun of said student’s sweatshirt. A gem, if ever there was one. Honestly, this movie made me a life-long fan of Ms. Diaz. I found her so enjoyable to watch and root for, I didn’t even care what a terrible person she was. That’s the kind of female anti-hero I’m after.

young-adult

Still somewhat in the vicinity of “evil doer” we have Mavis Gary, played by Charlize Theron in Young Adult. Mavis eats about as well as Elizabeth and I have to admit I felt a kinship with her when in her first scene she’s seen drinking Diet Coke straight out of the bottle while standing in the fridge. Take out the diet part and that’s me.

Mavis’ plan is even more simple. She’s going to save her high school boyfriend from his wife and new baby by blowing back into town and seducing him away with all the trappings of her (somewhat exaggerated) success. She is missing deadlines at her job and pulling out her own hair but all she needs is another chance with the one that got away. Instead she spends a few days getting to know the biggest loser from her high school. She teases him, drinks his limited edition “Star Wars” whiskey, and uses him to validate herself, all while being blissfully unaware of how her actions might be affecting people. I love this film because even in the end, nothing has convinced Mavis she’s doing anything wrong. She just packs up and goes home. Just like in life.

article-2676914-1F4E528200000578-19_634x355

Moving on to something even more depressing, we have Maggie Dean, one of the titular Skeleton Twins, played by Kristin Wiig. Wiig has a couple good anti-heros under her belt, if you include Bridesmaids (I do) but I especially want to talk about The Skeleton Twins because of how infidelity is portrayed in the film. Maggie has been cheating on her husband for a while when we meet her. She’s feeling lost and angry and instead of, idk, talking about her feelings, she’s pushing him away. It would have been really easy to make her husband an asshole (looking at you, This is Where I Leave You) so we would immediately sympathize with her actions, but no, Lance (Luke Wilson) is the sweetest, most laid-back, accommodating, and noblest husband that’s ever been cheated on. There’s no question that Maggie has some fucked up views on love and marriage left over from a traumatizing childhood and fraught relationship with her mother and brother. I really understood Maggie and I loved seeing the representation of an extremely broken woman up on screen.

2013_06_16_10_09_13

Bridesmaids was great for a myriad of reasons, the least of which was introducing the world to the comedy of the great Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy is a comic genius, an amazing actor and performer, and a plus size, big boned, voluptuous, fat woman. I adore her. As far as I am concerned, she has never made a bad movie. Her characters are fully realized, distinct, and compelling. Naturally I feel that Spy is her best work to date, but if we’re talking anti-heros, there ain’t no one greater than Shannon Mullins from The Heat.

Mullins should have lost her badge YEARS ago. She is unprofessional, rude, insubordinate, and terrorizes both her fellow officers and the suspects she brings in for questioning. However, she’s also a damn good cop and just as her male counterparts have known for years, you can get away with anything if you have the skills to back it up. She eats the same cheese sandwich for three days and has turned her fridge into an armoury. Her family is mad at her for doing her job but she won’t admit how much that hurts her. She is prideful and stubborn. She has no time for a serious relationship and has to constantly turn down former lovers who desperately want to be with her. She’s fiercely independent, a true lone wolf, and until she met FBI Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) she hadn’t a friend in the world. Not much changes by the end of the movie.

So if you’re a little crazy and jealous or boisterous and difficult, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Representation matters and there’s no shortage of flawed yet sympathetic women out there to relate to.

Riot Grrrrrls

 

photo-1445052693476-5134dfe40f70

“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!

spice-girls-1996-billboard-1548

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!