Born to be wild! I have joined something even tougher than a gang – a group of lady bloggers!

canstockphoto15264155 (2)I have recently been blessed beyond belief to have become part of an incredible group of women! A few months ago, Deb Neuman, of Maine’s own Back to Business radio show, invited me to be part of her new blog, “Not Your Mother’s Menopause.” I was already a big fan, so I jumped at the chance to join this talented, enthusiastic and awesome group of women!

This was exactly the camaraderie I had been looking for several years ago when I started blogging about “negotiating mid-life in mid-Maine!” I had researched blogs about divorce, mid-life and empty nests, and found very few. The ones I did find were not as positive as I had hoped they would be! At that time in my life I was not my most optimistic, but even “The Bitter Divorcee,” while amusing as hell, was too bitter for me! I needed hope, and I needed it badly!

So I created my own, with “Postcards from a Work in Progress” and sought to gather a circle of  women, and men, who could offer each other hope about the future, despite the past! When I wrote about the most difficult times and the most difficult topics, those who emailed me, who thanked me for saying just exactly what they needed to hear, held ME up, encouraged me, and gave me strength!

Yet still, sometimes, when I write about something personal and raw, for days afterwards I just want to hide under the covers in bed and not face people. I wasn’t sure that other people understood that, really got it, until I had the privilege of joining this group of crazy, awesome blogger ladies.

Along with all the blessings of sharing my life with readers, have come other challenges I wasn’t expecting: how to handle critics, how to be a critic, and how to discuss your most private issues while still trying to maintain some amount of privacy for yourself and those in your life! (Sometimes friends and family enjoy it if you write about them, and sometimes they don’t! It can easily frighten away new relationships and I’ve discovered that x-husbands especially do not find it amusing)!

We’ve talked about all this at our lady blogger lunches while also talking about future plans for “Not Your Mother’s Menopause” and a future product line (oh just you wait and see)! What I have loved more than anything, is just getting to know these women in person. We’ve talked about everything: careers and children and grandchildren. We’ve talked about aging parents and facing our own mortality. We talked about surviving illness and learning to take care of you first! We’ve talked about spouses and partners and Xs, and dating and sex, or lack of sex! We’ve talked about grey pubic hair! (Seriously, no one tells you that is going to happen)! We talked about learning to be comfortable in our middle-aged bodies, or at least trying to, and it dawned on my part way through our last lunch – oh my goodness, these women get me! And I get them too!

What we forget sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of our lives, is that we all really want and need the exact same things. We are all afraid sometimes. We are all vulnerable. We all feel alone, even when surrounded by people!

One of the ladies shared that when she was going through an especially hard time recently, someone called a family member to express concern and check on her. It was someone who she never would have suspected would have noticed her pain, or cared, but they did, and they reached out to help.

You see without realizing it sometimes, just by being us, just by sharing our stories in an effort to help others, we have built a community; we’ve built our own support systems.

When we are down, instead of isolating ourselves, and feeling like the only person in the entire world who ever goes through what we go through, we need to have the courage to reach out. We need to share what we are going through because we are never the only one going through it! What all of us lady bloggers have discovered, is that in sharing our stories, in sharing our struggles, we not only help other people, but lift ourselves as well.

Everyone has their group, their peers, their people. We all need a gang, or two! We need people in our lives who are not there because we were born into the same family, but are there because they CHOOSE to be. They are there because we share experiences often more bonding than simply sharing DNA. Whether you are a struggling college student, a disabled veteran, a single mom, a newly out gay person in need of support, or a retiree with too much time on your hands, your group is out there, your people need you as much you need them, don’t rest until you find them!

Even the Hell’s Angels need each other! Where’s your gang at? I’ve found mind! Join us if you dare!

Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.