Aging Gracefully

Millennial Women Rising

I’m worried about becoming a bitter old woman.

Things started out alright. Those of us born in the 1980s were given bunk beds, Kool-Aide, an education in the foundations of computing, and the assumption that we’d eventually end up better than we started.

I doubt we would have welcomed the new millennium with such enthusiasm if we had any idea just how disappointing it would be.

Graduating in 2002, I promptly moved out and into the dorms of a big state college. A year and a half later I found myself back in Mom’s family room, having left school to focus on a doomed relationship. It’s always a boy, isn’t it?

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Elder Millennials: Watching the World End, Over and Over

“A civilized divorce is a contradiction in terms.”  So says Danny DeVito’s lawyer character, narrating the 1989 film The War of the Roses. This dark comedy was released the same year my parents divorced. Mom has told me she can’t watch it, “It hits too close to home.” Such drama, Mom.

Personally, I think it’s hilarious. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner chew the scenery and DeVito twists the Greek Chorus he loves so much. A farcical gem and definitely one of the best comedies of the era.

The divorce rate peaked in 1981 and has been slowly declining since, for everyone except Boomers. So I venture to say that my experience is a pretty common one. I can think of two friends my age whose parents were still together by the time they turned 20. A couple had parents divorce in high school. Contrary to common wisdom, this seemed to hit hardest.

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Does A New Depression Mean A Sharp Turn Right?

We have all developed our little quirks in dealing with daily life during lockdown. Your faithful writer has been vacillating between following the pandemic and its politics like a sexy murder trial, and avoiding anything remotely topical to cover the smell of my brain sizzling. Last night I was pulled from panicked reverie by the compulsion to respond to an article on Medium. 

We’re Watching An Economy Die is one of those rare treats that is both inescapably enjoyable and deeply disturbing. Umair Haque goes to great lengths to convince us that we are seeing the death throes of democracy in the United States. That the inevitable, eternal outcome of widespread poverty is a hard turn Right. We will blame minorities, elect fascists and become “the world’s first poor rich country.“

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Coronavirus Exposes Personal Weakness, Too

 

Around the world, the spread of the pandemic has illustrated the existing social patterns in real time. Here in Tennessee, we are some of the last to see people getting sick. West Virginia was recently declared the 50th state to see an official case of coronavirus.

Watching it take over the conversation on Reddit, Twitter, and finally YouTube, was like watching a bowling ball from the perspective of a pin. I got to learn which of my friends pay attention to the outside world. Which of my friends, whether on purpose or not, had been absorbing right-wing talking points.

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Sex and the City is (supposed to be) Satire. Yes, Really.

Ah, Female Dating Strategy! This section of Reddit is always good for a laugh and some insight into what makes a good partner. A fair amount of male-bashing does go on there, but nothing I would be surprised to hear when mature women gather.

Perhaps the most famous gathering of mature women in popular culture is the foursome from ‘Sex and the City.’ This show was once so ubiquitous, I had absorbed more of it than I realized.

Why do I suddenly care? Funny you should ask.

Woman as Cultural Icon

I was 15 in 1998. Women in my age group are known to say things like, “It changed my life!” I did not want my life changed by a grown woman in a tutu, so I stayed as far away as I could.

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Take My Breasts, Please! Young Women’s Crisis of Identity

It’s time to talk about breasts.

Specifically, mastectomies – The surgical removal of breast tissue. According to the Mayo Clinic, this procedure is intended for those suffering from breast cancer, or those at high risk of same.

But, like so many other things, this procedure is being used in what can only be called an “off-label” way to treat transgender people. Transmen (that’s self-loathing women, for those keeping score) are starting to tell their stories of undergoing this procedure without understanding its ramifications. They describe a streamlined pipeline, wherein chopping off titties is treated as just the next step to fulfilling your dreams.

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Life is Weird, But I’m Not Giving Up!

It’s been a quiet few weeks here at BrazenShe. I have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline, but I have been focusing my free time on a business venture.

Applied Learning

Running BrazenShe is rudimentary and fun. I write whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s great practice at crafting engaging pieces around maybe less-than-engaging issues.

I adore writing in my own voice. It’s just about the most fun a girl could have. I have developed and tweaked my style for almost 30 years. But I don’t exactly fit your boilerplate professional mold.

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Why You Are Turning Into Your (Grand)Mother – Consequences of Consistent Mate Selection

Humans select animals with traits we like, and breed them together to create more animals with those traits. This is common practice everywhere, it’s how we get “breeds” of anything – dogs, cats, horses, bovine.

It’s also done with plants. Controlling the reproduction of flora and fauna is a big part of agriculture.

I’m simply saying that we do it to ourselves, too.

No One is Born Blank

And I’m not the first one to ponder this. Gordon Allport founded the study of personality 100 years ago. His work is the garden in which all others bloom, such as the Meyers-Briggs and Big Five systems.

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Unpopular Opinion: Maternal Regret is Normal

“Traditionally, regret has been viewed as the purview of the childless.”

So claims an article in Canadian classic Maclean’s.

What? I understand childless people are often threatened with regret, but they don’t tend to voice it themselves.

Whereas, any parent can tell you, none of us do it right. Everyone comes out on the other side wishing they had known or understood something better. That they’d had more money or perspective.

But author Anne Kingston says when mothers express regret it’s “taboo.”

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Fight Despair Together: What Does Life on Your Terms Look Like?

You see the well-trodden paths in your life. You learn ways to stop getting stuck there. You go, killer! The next question is, “Where do we go from here?”

We have to forge new paths, create new ways of relating to people around us. If we are doing our inner work well, this should be obvious to us. We recognize familiar situations and remember how we would have reacted in the past.

Take Responsibility for Your Reactions

Personal example, a weird thing I have is I hate waking up alone. Like, if I went to bed alone, okay. But in that half-awake haze of the Night Owl at 8am, I seek out the comfort of my beloved.

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Fight Despair Together: How Do I Know It’s Working?

When we are going inward and doing personal work, the most important thing is to stay on-task.

How Do I Choose Which Path to Take?

Stay focused on a simple goal, don’t be distracted by side paths that may pop up. If you are working on expressing yourself more clearly and you realize that you are experiencing social anxiety, it’s tempting to run off and treat the anxiety.

But why? Who’s to say the communication issue didn’t cause the anxiety? Or they could both have origins in a single, forgotten event from childhood.

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Something Fun: Being Grounded is Totally Different as a Grown-Up

We have been doing a lot of important stuff lately. Today we’re going to take a break and ground ourselves with simple pleasures.

Our yard has been full of mulberries for a week. Nature’s candy, so plentiful I have collected bowls of them and will never be able to get them all.

Hubs made some delicious sweet bread. I want to make a pie. Today I resorted to just eating them off the ground. Perfect packets of juicy goodness.

I was supposed to be watering the vegetables, and I got sidetracked.

Hubs also got adopted by a dog. He jumped in the car at a gas station. He seems pretty young and very mellow. He lets the toddler hang off his face!

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Is Fear of Abandonment the Root of Narcissism?

The similarity is unmistakable – Narcissistic people, who appear grandiose but are actually cripplingly insecure, tend to follow a cycle in relationships.

While reading about the Fear of Abandonment I was struck by how they are essentially the same reaction. The main difference is that the Narcissistic Cycle dominates a person’s relationships.

Idealize – The beginning is beautiful, often called ‘Love-Bombing.’ Their partner is the most perfect person to ever live.

This is a hard one because it mimics normal infatuation. In the early stages of romantic love, people are notoriously rose-colored in their estimation of their crush. Much ink has been spilled, thousands of songs written and enough films for a weeklong festival. It’s cruel because this phase can actually be terrifying for people who have been involved with emotional vampires before.

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Dementia Trumps Donald?

The time has come once again to name names. Donald Trump is draped in red flags.

I usually save my political rants for more general social themes but, once in a while, I feel compelled to get specific. If you like my Trump posts you are in for a treat. If you don’t…. who am I kidding? No way Trumpers read my blog!

Several years ago I worked as a Certified Nurse Aide. Seldom have I felt as entitled to the space I take up as when I was changing dementia patients’ diapers. (Not sure what that says about me, but I digress.)

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Summer Series: Fight Despair Together

Summer Series 2019 is all about finally moving forward.

Last year I did my Tripping the Fright Craptastic series, where I told you all about my struggle dealing with my parents. I was attempting to show some of the crap that comes with being in the middle of life while supporting either end.

This year’s Summer Series is about all of us.

Reality is sinking in for the 90s kids. The reality that we may never own a house. That the endless ascension toward a blissful, shining future full of robots is not going according to plan.

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The Nothing is Spreading: Millennials’ Company in Misery

 

By now, everyone has heard about the depressed blue-collar White Guy. His jobs have dried up, the mainstream is leaving him behind, and he’s paranoid about signs he’s becoming a minority.

People have blamed this demographic for the Alt-Right, electing Trump, and for generally being a cesspool of simmering privilege. The consensus seems to be they are upset because they are entitled. The world doesn’t revolve around old white men anymore, and they need to adjust.

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Shaken, But Not Stirred

WARNING: Rant ahead!

I’m so frustrated lately with my job search! I keep applying for writing gigs, but I only apply to things that really seem like a good fit. And running into the same old problem of not really fitting in anywhere.

This last one was a blog ghostwriting service. They literally wanted me to do what I do here, for money. On whatever topic was provided. I let myself get excited when they responded positively because it seemed like a natural step.

So today when I read they were “going another direction” (I’ll go whatever direction you want, that’s the whole idea!) I was unprepared. And embarrassed at being so upset.

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Beware The Were-Bitch: PMS & You

I’m not sure how to write this post. I only just came to the idea that the sheer bald-faced panic I faced recently wasn’t cured by the extra sleep or the vitamins or my husband’s attention. It basically seemed to evaporate along with my menstrual period.

Fucking hell.

I have had this thought before, but my cramps are mild and I only bloat a little, I have always counted myself lucky that I don’t get a lot of the physical symptoms. So it never occurred to me that I might need to look out for extreme mental ones.

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Adulting: Fighting The Don’t Wanna

They say having kids around keeps you young. Conversely, I actually find that having kids makes me feel older, but usually in a good way.

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Into my 20s I was still waiting for the day I would grow into my life like a new pair of shoes. Extended adolescence is a thing, and everyone I knew seemed afflicted. My generation was going in many directions and none of them were toward stability.

Then I unexpectedly became a parent. Conscience demanded that I drag my hungover ass to the park every day, make real dinner and read baby books over and over. Sometimes Fake It Till You Make It is your only option.

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Mad Woman

For reasons lost to the meanderings of my mind, it recently dawned on me that my anxiety isn’t really anxiety at all.

I am filled with submerged rage. I didn’t ask to be born to a bunch of emotional idiots. I struggle daily with the effects of their bullshit. To some degree, I’m still angry for every pointlessly mean thing, for every clueless utterance.

Because I never found a way to express my anger. I have been afraid of it, afraid of losing control of it. I don’t want to hurt myself or anyone else.

So I tamp it down. I keep it contained as best I can but it rattles its cage and howls at night. It vibrates my nerves and keeps me agitated.

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They Said I Could Be Anything, So I Became A Robot

This is just your faithful narrator checking in. It’s been a while since I’ve published anything and I’m frustrated because it’s not that I haven’t written anything or have run out of ideas. Far from it.

But I recently started a job that has me standing in an industrial environment all day. The stories I shared this Summer about my parents are both still ongoing. We have been struggling financially at home and I feel like I have been living in a pressure cooker for six months.

It makes me sad because, back in June, I hit a stride and the world seemed to burst with inspiration. Thoughts came together naturally. Writing was fun and I put a little money into promotion. I got over 550 hits that month. I made connections with some great people. I could see it growing, envision myself getting somewhere with this.

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Feminism In Action: How to Spot A Bad Boyfriend

[I’m writing from a straight lady’s perspective, but most of the things that make a relationship suck can come from men or women.]

Hubby and I had a little rough patch recently. We’re both stressed and tired and started nipping at each other. But we never stopped talking, and we managed to tough it out. After about a week we found our way back to baseline, a little stronger for the struggle.

This is still a new experience for me. At the beginning of our relationship, I had to fight back terror that every little imperfection was the beginning of the end! It’s funny how moving on makes you think back on things, and I got to comparing what works with this relationship that didn’t in past ones.

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