Only You Can’t Prevent PTSS!

Warning: Due to the serious nature of today’s post, there will be no pictures. Feel free to imagine a picture wherever you think there should be one.

I sat down today to write a light hearted fashion post. But this Very Important Public Service Announcement seemed to write itself first. It’s about something that may have already happened to you. Maybe you didn’t want to talk about it. I understand; I’ve been there.

Many people write blogs about their daily lives. Curious readers love to identify with the nitty gritty of the lives of others, from how they got into grad school to how they coped with their husband’s death. This practice goes right along with the well known advice for writers to write about what they know. I just want to go on record here to say that writing about what you know can have some unintended consequences.

A while back I wrote this post about a frustration in my daily life. I intended for the post to resonate with other middle aged crones such as myself. Maybe a few younger women would read it as well and vow, erroneously,  that my situation would never happen to them. Overall, though,  I hoped that we girls would all bond over remembering our first bras, and how we have struggled with the contraptions since. But believe me, the response to that post has informed me NEVER to write a post about bras again.

Because creepiness.

Because who knew, and who wants to know, how many persons are out there searching for images of bras and breasts? At all times of the day and night? And all over the globe? Not a day goes by that I do not have searches such as “little girl no bra,” “schoolgirl bra,” “girls in school uniforms no bra”? EEEWWWW!!!!! “Asian teens in bras”, “Pakistani girls modeling bras” DOUBLE EEEWWW!!!!! How could I have been so naive? I thought I said “For Ladies Only”!

Who are these people who are SO uninvited to my blog? My imagination goes wild: Adolescent boys in an internet cafe in a developing country? Preteen girls in Kansas City, on their Ipods at a sleepover?  Or, my worst visual, a pedophile of indeterminate age and nationality, slavering over his laptop at night in his rented room? ( No offense intended to those who rent rooms.) I know I can’t see them and they can’t see me, but I don’t like knowing they’re out there. It’s uncomfortable, kind of like having a dog watch you undress.

The only possible bright note is that there seem to be no searches for “saggy breasts”, “droopy bras”, or”middle aged woman no bra.” We girls of a certain age can at least know that our kind is not sought after by who- knows- whom  on the Internet. As we undergo the inevitable, and losing, struggle with gravity, we can console ourselves knowing the world doesn’t care.  It’s our secret.

I do not in any way mean to squash anyone’s creativity with my cautionary tale. In retrospect perhaps I should have been able to see that my post had the potential to attract  undesirable attention, leading to Post-Traumatic-Slime-Syndrome. This occurs when you look at your stat page and are grossed out by the searches which are leading to your blog. Symptoms are disgust, a scowling facial expression, and compulsive horrified re-reading of the searches, followed by a slamming shut of your laptop.

I know PTSS cannot always be predicted. When we launch a post into cyberspace, it can be found by anyone. We must not be deterred from our writing needs and dreams by something we cannot prevent. But forewarned is forearmed, I say. Should it happen to you, don’t blame yourself. You are not alone. And I’m here if you want to talk.

Fifteen Days In

One of the reasons I started this blog was to push myself out of my comfort zone. Committing to doing something regularly was part of the challenge. In my previous years I did manage to stick with a few things, like marriage, child rearing and graduate school, but the details of other activities were too overwhelming for me. I’m talking about not just writing a bill or letter, but actually buying a stamp for it and putting it in the mail. I’m talking about not just cutting out the fabric and sewing up an a-line shift , but actually hemming it instead of throwing it on the sewing table for “later”. My past is littered with pieces and parts of projects begun with enthusiasm and high hopes, but eventually abandoned under the crushing weight of too many steps, lack of skills, lack of remembering I had even started such a thing.

But now, with fewer responsibilities, I can cultivate the consistency I lacked in earlier years. For example, ( applause here) I’ve written this blog for over a year now. I’ve picked up a few other good habits as well, such as regular exercise. A couple of months ago I noticed my daughter’s post on Facebook, asking who wanted to do Thirty Days of Lists with her. Without knowing what it was, I agreed to do it. Then I sort of forgot about it until I saw her posted pictures of her newly decorated journal for the 30 Days.

Yikes! Turns out the 30 Days only takes place twice a year. I only had a day or so to sign up and to rush to Tuesday Morning for a blank journal. I didn’t even try to decorate mine. Just the opportunity to illustrate the blank pages with some of my best friends, words, would be enough for me.IMG_2272

The 30 Day format is simple: Every day there is a list topic. Period. Then people, lots of people, post their completed lists.IMG_2271

I am now 15 days into  a 30 day commitment. I would like to congratulate  the geniuses  who conceived this brilliant idea! The premise is simple, but the rewards are great. Who among us couldn’t use a few minutes more a day to ourselves? Or any minutes at all? The lists can be as short or as long as the author likes.  I love that there is absolutely no pressure to make your lists any way  other then what you choose. A commitment with no rules is just the right commitment for me.

I think I must have expected the list topics to be, well, easier than they have been. Simple the topics may be, but the thinking and feeling involved is quite complex. Some days i have not wanted to write the list, because I didn’t want to go where the answers would take me. IMG_2284Things My Family Taught Me was one  such topic. My family has clearly been very generous to me, but how generous have I been in return?That question caused some uncomfortable soul searching. Some days the list has taken me to  unexpected places. What’s New This Year made me see I have done a lot more than I thought. IMG_2269

And some entries are silly!

And some entries are silly!

And What Would The Young You Like About The Older You was an absolute confidence builder. IMG_2286Reading over what I had written, I had such an experience of the richness of my life, of having come full circle. Words have power. Taking the time to write them is the ultimate act of self respect.

I guess that’s all I have to say about The 30 Days right now. I’m going to rock right through until the end. Maybe I CAN do something 30 days in a row. Perhaps NaNoWriMo is in my future?

Summer, Seattle Style

Somewhere in the United States at this very moment, people are inside their homes , comfortable, without air conditioning. In fact their windows are open to a silky breeze that makes the curtains dance. In fact, their actual front doors are open to further appreciate the air circulation. In fact, not a one of them is wearing what I am wearing inside the house: one of those chamois neck cloths that keep one cool.

The fact is that I am no longer in Seattle Washington, blessed by a kinder, more gentle sun, but back in go-ahead-and-fry-your-egg-on-the -sidewalk Memphis Tennessee. The typical Memphis August is one I  flee as soon as I clean up my fig preserving paraphernalia. If you have ever experienced it I don’t have to tell you about the punishing heat and humidity that makes it difficult to enjoy any human activity besides imbibing iced drinks and taking cold baths. Those of you who have NOT lived through heat indexes of 104 degrees for days upon end may wonder why I am always complaining about the heat.

Here is why. The heat and humidity combined drain me of any energy I may have hoped to have. It’s hot outside and hot inside. I spend days either in a Twilight Zone of ennui, or else contemplating how I can keep myself from throwing a bag of lemons, one at a time,  at the next person who asks,”Hot enough for ya?” All that is bad enough without adding that all sense of decorum or fashion fly right up to the blades of the ceiling fan. But yet I am still expected by this unfair world to wear clothing when I leave the house. So yeah, I rock those tank tops.  I go barefoot at work. I sweep that red hair up into a comb, off my neck. And I am CRANKY!

This year Seattle was our refuge. I don’t know what it may be like there the other months of the year, but windows open in August is a BIG DEAL to me. The cooler weather, though warmer than usual,  was  restorative to my spirit. I felt like myself, a person of Northern European extraction who was not meant to wither in the tropical heat.   With my energy restored, I was eager to explore the city with two of my favorite people.DSC_0801

I had no agenda planned for the trip. Because it was too hot in Memphis to think ahead for more than one hour. I just wanted to be revived by my company and my surroundings. My husband and daughter had done the planning, and I was along for the ride. I only had to keep up with my camera, and enjoy the sights,

It was cool here at all times of the day, despite the crowds.

It was cool here at all times of the day, despite the crowds.

the sounds,

Lots of screaming going on under the water sprayer.

Lots of screaming going on under the water sprayer.

the smells DSC_0824and the tastes.

Oh yeeesss. Delencey.

Oh yeeesss. Delencey.

DSC_1097And drink the beer, of course.

I found had no yearnings to throw bags of lemons at innocent citizens. My attire was much more suitable for my age. In a word, I felt civilized. The Woman of Walmart look is not for me.

I write this post to encourage those among you who do not cotton to the heat. You are really NOT the underdressed crab you appear to be. Underneath your apparent contempt for those who  stay chipper at record temperatures beats the heart of a decent human being. You just need to get some clothes on girl, and get outta town, if only for a day or two. It doesn’t even matter what you do. You’ll perk right up just like a big hydrangea that just had the sprinkler turned on it.

It wasn't too hot to go walk down to the market and buy some fresh flowers.

It wasn’t too hot to go walk down to the market and buy some fresh flowers.

It will still be hot when you get back, but knowing about people somewhere having their front doors open will give you some hope. That’s what Seattle did for me, and I thank her. I owe her a more comprehensive post, which I will deliver… when the weather changes. Now pass me that chamois thing, will ya?