Aging Gracefully

Schroedinger’s Queer: Who’s Your Identity For?

*Women’s History has grown into a series! The first installment, featuring the oldest symbol of our oppression, will be up before next weekend. Meanwhile, we have a cautionary tale of validation mania…

Writer and Queer Theorist Kate Raphael struggled during lockdown.

“I felt flattened by so many weights: COVID-19, Zoom calls, the grind of winter running, depression. I was desperate for a change.” Her ennui is matched only by the drama as she sets the scene –

“I stepped into the bathtub in a sports bra and shorts and held the first ponytail perpendicular to my head. Wielding a pair of scissors, Cole sawed through my thick mane, tugging at my scalp as he hacked through the hair, and the first ponytail fell to the bathtub floor.” 

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Laurie Penny: Love & Hypocrisy in the Time of Covid

*This week’s post about Women’s History is taking longer than expected to research. I don’t want to give you something half-baked, this came across my desk and I just had to…

Laurie Penny’s squandering of talent and privilege comes from the same pain we all feel.

Another 80s baby, Laurie used her degree in English to build a personal brand from the remains of 90s Girl Power. She’s somehow been composing feminist screeds for major publications since her mid-20s, possessing an enviable list of credits and media awards.

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Boomer Bust: For Us To Grow Up, You Have To Get Old

Bill Maher makes a great Boomer spokesman.

Sitting halfway between Bill and the Young People I think he’s yelling at this week, I remember his firebrand image from 25 years ago.

He’s always spoken for that segment of liberals who fancy themselves independent thinkers. They made a big splash as the new kids in town, when I was a kid. But the turmoil of the past quarter-century hasn’t triggered any growth as they became the dominant force in American liberal politics.

Think of them as liberal Libertarians – People who are Democrats because they want to avoid the Right’s racism and sexism, even if they’re not really interested in social programs. Identity politics is the perfect strawman they can slay over and over to avoid doing any collectivism. And it has many forms besides Wokism.

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Is Trans A Form of C-PTSD?

If someone’s identity is built on lies, refusing to play along might be a kindness.

Tough love is out of vogue, but it has its uses. As we argue in circles while Identity Politics and Gender Ideology rewrite our cultural rules, it’s worth considering this as a possible strategy.

An Uncommon Manifestation Of A Common Problem

Why are young girls rejecting their developing bodies in droves? Why do men want to escape manhood?

I really think it could be an unrecognized presentation of C-PTSD.

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a newish idea. Psychology has been shaken recently by lots of famous experiments failing. Decades of results have suddenly been called into question.

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Hand-Me-Down Liberalism Taught Me Some Expensive Lessons

When I was 24, I committed an unforgivable crime.

I’ve learned to live with it, but my life has never recovered. Permanently marked, I have probably missed or been denied more opportunities than I even know.

For years afterward, I was unable to work full-time. The messy aftermath of my error demanded most of my energy. Nursing the whiplash from my hard left, course correction slipped further and further down my list. It’s been more than 10 years, and the career I had been building is a distant memory. 

What choice was there but to throw myself into reality as I found it? Along the way, I had to wrestle some big personal demons.

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The Feminine Hustle – Is ‘Having It All’ Worth Doing It All?

I was 20 when I read The Feminine Mystique.

Six months after dropping out of college, my education had become self-lead. My newly-minted adulthood, the oversized title of Woman, demanded some effort to understand my place in the world.

Plus, my boyfriend had dumped me over Xmas, so angry distraction seemed like just the thing.

At the time, I assumed I didn’t understand it. Bored suburban housewives didn’t have much to say to an anxiety-riddled romantic.

And her advice boiled down to, “Get a job, honey, but do it for you!“

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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 Cracks Under All of Us

Around the world, the spread of the pandemic has illustrated the existing social patterns in real time.

Here in Tennessee, we are almost last in line. West Virginia was recently declared the 50th state to see an official case.

Watching it take over Reddit, Twitter, and finally YouTube, was like studying a bowling ball from the POV 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.

My state was also one of the last places to roll out closure rules, closely following President Trump’s timing. The US’ lack of readiness appears poised to puncture our arrogance. We’re about a week away from getting to see just how bad it might get.

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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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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?

No one talks about it this way, but lots of people selfishly sabotage their relationships. Lots of them are called narcissists. 

But most of us have some kind of damage… How do we know who’s who?

Narcissistic people, who appear grandiose but are actually cripplingly insecure, usually follow a cycle in relationships.

One big tell is that the Narcissistic Cycle dominates a person’s life. All their hang-ups, all the time. Abandonment phobia is only triggered in certain circumstances.

But both people enter relationships with high expectations that they can’t help – They are needy to a fault, and they don’t see it.

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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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