This week has been an interesting one for me. Jesus christ interesting to say the least. Hurtful, eye opening, revealing, maddening, sad, confusing to name a few of the emotions I have gone through. In all my life I have never encountered such hatred and anger as I have this week directed at me and what I supposedly did...about gossip. Through my very abusive 15 year relationship with my ex-husband gossip was never something he did. He was from an upper class family, a good position in his company, he never wanted to gossip about what was going on in his family because he thought that would reflect badly on himself as a person. He was never one to scream on the front lawn at me, or tell the neighbors what was going on...it just wasn't thought of. The one thing that can be said for the guy...he knew when to keep his mouth shut.
As a girl, as a woman, as a human we all have been targets of rumors or gossip or just even the occasionally teasing about a new hair style or outfit that someone is going to inevitably not like and talk about. I was no stranger to that kind of childish form of entertainment...when I was a child. I have done it too, haven't we all? It seems though as we get older it should get better. As adults we should have learned better ways to communicate with one another other than gossip.
My group of friends in high school was a small VERY close knit group of girls and guys who were for lack of a better word, my family. We were fiercely loyal to everyone in the group. You wanted to say something about one of us? That meant taking on all of us and not alot of people wanted to do that. If we had a problem with one another because lets face it, no group is immune to the pressures of high school, we would talk to each other about it. We wouldn't spread gossip we wouldn't automatically decide we hated that person from a "he said she said" conversation. We talked things out sometimes screamed things out...but we always got to the bottom of the issue before we moved on ...usually to the next one. What can I say it was high school. I guess you could say we kept ourselves in a protective bubble that encompassed all of us, we watched out for each other, we learned how to spot potential trouble from a mile away and would do whatever we could to protect our group from that trouble. When I went off to college...I was still in that bubble. My friends went to to the same school as me or stayed in the same town. My friends in college had to merge with my high school friends or it just didn't work. It needed to be blended love or no love. You don't love every single one of my friends? Sorry move right along.
After a miscarriage, 4 babies, losing a child, a divorce, and a host of rather bad luck situations I thought I had come out the other side pretty unscathed. I mean I could change a diaper, help with Math homework and get ready for a date all at the same time. I felt like nothing could penetrate my feeling of invincibility. My core group of friends remained at my side but as time and life marched on more and more of them left the state or the country and I was somewhat alone in this town without a lot of really solid girlfriends. I missed that. I needed to have a female connection with someone, someone who could relate to my craziness at times or just someone who would love to spend the day shopping and drinking smoothies. Through all of those things I had gone through it was my girlfriends that got me through it. That picked me back up and did the whole "buck up soldier" pep talk and sent me on my way.
I bought a new house, I started school again and I started to blog by accident one day and I fell in love with the cyber community of women and men that I felt I belonged to when I read about someones semi private thoughts every morning with my oatmeal and tea. I felt connected again to something that I had been missing. I blogged about a lot of stuff, alot of personal private stuff that yeah would have been good gossip fodder back in the day.
I felt their love and support this week when I was the target of another woman's dislike of things that I had done. Gossip and rumors, and just plain hurtful comments were made and emails exchanged. I am not a confrontational person. With my ex-husband hell yes I was...we could barely speak to each to each other without confrontation or insults, but when he left alot of that left with me and I have never been more peaceful. I love to be around people. I love to ask questions and find out a person's history. If they are into the same things as me, I don't think twice before I send them an email or ask them about it.I felt like I was/am harmless. At least that is what I thought the impression was that I gave off. Apparently not to everyone. The person who was spreading the gossip? I didn't really know her. I had met her a couple of times, but I respected her and her career and what she has been through. I thought that we could get over whatever it was that I did that pissed her off in the beginning and move on with life. I was wrong.
I thought I had tougher skin I thought that with everything I had been through I could actually take someone just not liking me. I mean that's life. Turns out I'm not all that good at it. It sucks really. Really sucks. Through it all this week I have called, emailed, cried, talked much longer than I should have to my "new" group of women friends and through it all they have supported me, listened and thankfully emailed me back. Words can not express my gratitude. As a 32 year old woman I guess I need to learn that not everyone is going to think I am cool or want to hang out with me. I wrote to a friend of mine this week and said that I think I might be a tad bit narcissistic to think that everyone should like me but at the same time have the self esteem to totally understand when they don't. It's a hard lesson to learn after a lifetime of pretty much just sailing through life in my bubble. I suppose it had to be popped.
I am thankful for my group of friends and am reminded of the power that words have to hurt, to alienate and to embarrass but thankfully to also heal, help and connect.