Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Widows and Little Girls with Issues


I wish I had the courage to be as open about my political leanings, thoughts on current events and opinions on social issues in my blog as Ronni is over at Time Goes By. She’s my new blogging hero. But given her long career as a TV producer for shows on 20/20, PBS, CBS and the Barbara Walters Specials I suspect she’s been seasoned well to take more heat than chicken me has ever taken for speaking up in public---if, in fact, she does get nasty, defamatory or hateful emails from people who disagree with the opinions she blogs. Her comment section is not moderated and I don’t see any signs of her getting disrespectful feedback so maybe it doesn’t happen? I find that fascinating. I don’t even see occasional spam in her comments which my moderator function catches from time to time. I mostly use the moderator function, though, so I don’t miss a comment because I feel if someone takes the time to leave one I want to acknowledge it.

Part of the problem with me being more open on certain topics is I’ve learned from early childhood not to talk about religion and politics in public because there were very real repercussions. For example, I had a friend in early grade school tell me on the playground that she couldn’t play with me anymore because I didn’t go to her church. I’d been to her house the day before and her mother had asked The Church question that I would hear often in my life. Have I mentioned that I live in an area once proudly labeled the City of Churches? I had a guy in high school tell me---after meeting his parents---that he couldn’t date me anymore because I didn’t go to the right church. Growing up and well into my 20s, “What church do you go to?” was the second question most people asked. Heck, even today it comes up often when I meet someone new. Early on I learned to lie and name one of the four “approved” churches in my neighborhood. I don’t lie anymore when answering that question but I’m very skilled at giving non-committal answers to the you-should-try-my-church comments that follow. During the Feminist Movement in the ‘60s (my awakening into the world of politics) the people I worked with were so anti-anything that didn’t involve women being subservient that I kept my involvement in the movement top secret. I remember once sitting in the coffee room and listening to a conversation and thinking, “God, these people think people who think like I do have horns growing out of our heads!”

Another part of the problem with me getting more open about the my thoughts on current events and politics here is the title and original purpose of my blog. It started out as a way to deal with my newly minted widowhood and it has evolved from there to a blog about one woman’s search for something elusive---new friends and contentment. I just don’t know how I can make politics and current events fit into my unwritten mission statement for The Misadventures of Widowhood but I somehow think they are connected. I have spent my entire life not being totally honest and open when I meet new people and that is standing in the way of forming anything beyond surface friendships. I'm tired of pretending! How’s that for a new revelation? They think I’m a nice, sweet and agreeable pin cushion and inside I feel like a phony who wants to scream, “I might not go to the right church but I still have good values and a code of ethics that has been intrinsic in every civilized society that has ever walked on earth!” I’d even settle for being able to say to someone face-to-face, “I don’t agree with you because….” I can do it on-line and with four people in my life, but that’s all. The little girl inside is still afraid if I'm honest about my liberal politics and Humanist-as-opposed-religious leanings people will say, “I can’t play with you anymore.”

This isn’t my first blog. I have/had seven others that cover different stages of my life. I could start another where I introduce the “me” that is striving to be more like Ronni at Time Goes By but it’s such a hard decision. My five blogs that are still available on-line plus my Yahoo articles have a combined view count of over 450,000. I think I’m afraid that a new blog would rack up a 50 or so before drying up. Okay, confession time. I’m addicted to my view counter. It’s like validation but the 64 million dollar question is: “What does it validate?” Maybe that a dyslexia, left-handed little girl who had trouble learning how to read, spell, tie her shoes and tell time didn’t deserve the “stupid” label she heard as a little girl? Or maybe that I am worth playing with out in the big scary world? I’m not sure which, but if there is a moral to this post it would be to be careful what you say to kids because they carry labels with them forever. Do you have a label buried deep inside of you? ©

12 comments:

  1. Of course--the ever popular, "How could you be so stupid?" From time to time, I think I am. Maybe that is why we like to write/blog. We do get affirmation from people that really seem to care and like what we write. In our family, it was religion, politics and money were never talked about. Too personal. Neighbors and friends had no clue what political party their neighbors belonged to or how much money they had. Oh and BTW--my Mother was a minister's daughter and a Christian woman--I say Christian, because she was not a "religious". She never gossiped, never judged anyone and certainly would have let you and I play together. I had church friends and non-church friends and one of my best friends was from a Jehovah's Witness family. I don't think Mother even knew, I do know, she certainly didn't care. I never ask that question of new people I meet. It doesn't matter to me--maybe if they belonged to a witches cult, I might not want to be friends, but other than that? I find it real refreshing and enlightening to talk with people who have differing views on all subjects. Perhaps that is why my minor in College was psychology? LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always amazed at how many things we have in common, and yet we were raised in such different homes and communities where church and religion are concerned. You and I went to college and studied psychology in the same time frame so maybe that explains some of it.

      I would have liked your mother. My mother was not a gossip either and she had a lot of friends but they weren't from the neighborhood where I grew up. She used to get so mad when the teachers would send religious tracts home with me. And we had neighbors who would give them out at Halloween instead of candy. Most of this stuff I didn't give much thought to until after Don died. Trying to network new friends brings a lot of those old feelings in not being good enough back.

      I couldn't be friends with someone who was into witches cults either. I don't care how much they claim they are different today from centuries ago. They are still weird. LOL

      Delete
  2. Teacher's sending home religious tracts? You'd think that would have happened to me--small town, two churches, 300 kids from K-12. Never happened. I guess our religion, like our politics was a private matter and no one tried to convince us otherwise?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were 4-5 of us whose parents didn't go to church and we were the ones singled out to get the religious tracts as we filed out the door. And get this, if my dad would try to do some house maintenance or yard work on Sunday a committee of church elders would come the next few days to tell him that wasn't acceptable in the neighborhood.

      Delete
  3. In a perfect world our quirks would win hearts and converts. I wonder, Does social finesse mean fitting in easily or being authentic at all times? Dunno. Don't take it from me, wallflower turned 'Here me roar' blogger. I imagine your readers and your late husband loved your uniqueness. Mine did, even more than I. He did, however, want me to be more tactful at times...

    The label I carry inside is 'idiot'. Now I'm beginning to question that. LOL If I looked into # of views to validate myself, I'd pretend to be Kim K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband did love my uniqueness. We both marched to the beat of a different drummer and we appreciated that about each other.

      Funny you should mention 'tactful'. Tactful is my middle name so to speak. LOL

      Delete
  4. Jean,
    This is such an honest post. I was raised "in the church" as we say down south. This past Thanksgiving, my aunt asked me where I go to church. I told her that I didn't go to church anymore. A little awkward to say the least. When H and I were first married, my mother-in-law told me that his relationship with his last girl couldn't have worked. She was Catholic. I'm sure she was worried about her grandchildren. It's kind of ironic that she ended up with a daughter in law who never took her grandson to church. But he has great ethics, and that matters to me. So many people think that religion and ethics are synonymous.

    I too wish I had the nerve to write more about politics. I know I have readers who are more conservative than I am. Heck, most of my family and friends are more conservative than I am. Virginia is getting more liberal, and we do have some liberals here, but most of them are in Northern VA. So I don't talk politics much. Sigh. It could be worse. One of my best friends lives in North Carolina and she is surrounded by very committed (some very right wing... Very) conservative folks. Oh, how I do go on. I will quit now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that Bella,

      My family is mixed when it comes to politics and religion but there are probably 20% liberal to 80% conservative and about 60% religious. I've always found it interesting that my brother raised three kids who all turned out different in their politics and religion or lack there of. Two of my best friends are totally the opposite of me in politics and one is very religious as in deacon of the church committed. We can have great debates but at the end of the day that sort of thing doesn't matter because we have great respect for one another. It's not the 1950 anymore so should learn to trust that others could do the same if I was more honest about my leanings in public.

      Delete
  5. I love the honesty of this post. My blog is basically about my life -- trying to make sense of it, finding commonality with others (many say they can relate to my musings), looking back and looking forward, but mostly just being in the NOW of me. So, I think I can write about any topic I want to. :) I've written about my politics (liberal; democrat; feminist) and my spiritual/religious journey (Methodist to Lutheran to United Church of Christ (Congregationalist) to my final home (for 23 years) as a Unitarian Universalist. I think politics and religion, even if not discussed outright, inform our world view and work in the world. I'm relatively new to blogging; mostly just did it for my own edification and shared with a few friends -- I'm just now learning about how to read the 'stats'. I think I could become addicted too. We all want validation, especially when one's childhood label is "timid". I'm glad I found your blog; I think you are worth playing with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks you! You're on a roll with your second blog up and running.

      That's one of the great things about the blogging community that we are able to find out that underneath the surface we all a quite a lot a like in our dreams and hopes. Our passion projects might be different but not our core values.

      Delete
  6. I feel our blogs are OUR personal thoughts and opinions. We don't print them and put them in people's purses or on billboards. Read it or not! Agree or not. I find it easier to talk about my views in writing, rather than in person. Gives me time to polish my words.

    I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for all 12 years. When I left home, I left that church behind. All six of us kids left the church. My parents raised us to be thinking people .... maybe they were sorry they did! I've tried a few other faiths but I'm comfortable living an ethical and moral life not attending a group at all.

    I do love the stats section! I wish I could figure out how to get the Feedjit thing to work!!! But I need to start blathering every day again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easier for me to get my thoughts and opinions down in print than in person, too. Some people are just the opposite, I'm told.

      My best friend all the way through school was Catholic and all my cousins on my dad's side are still in the church, so I have a little understanding of the "Catholic way" of educating kids.

      The Feedjit is not a Bloggers feather. You can get it from the link at the bottom of my Feedjit. I did mine so long ago I don't remember what I did but I "think" it involves putting a bit of their coding in on Blogger's gadget box.

      Delete