Once upon a time, Stay at home moms communed over their backyard fences while hanging laundry out to dry. Their social needs to bond and chat were met because their days required them to be outside with their neighbors doing the very same chores. When the “automatic” washer and dryer arrived to make life easier, laundry became an inside task. And being inside meant a new era of isolation for the very people who needed community support.
Where once women were connected and substantiated over our fences in the sunlight with sheets dancing in the wind and children shrieking at our heels, now there’s a disconnect to our backyards and to ourselves. Garden and card playing clubs and porch sitting gave way to soap operas and TV sitcom addictions. We’ve fallen out of touch with our natural need to bond with people in our community, the ones we are always a part of whether we know it or not. We’ve forgotten how to request support. We suspect it might be good for us to have community “if we could just find the time”. We are unaware that the smile from someone and human touch can heal us from so much pain and fear.
Long disassociated from our fellow women folk, we surprised ourselves by embracing the internet and, stripped of all our pretenses, we delved into the online world of social media bearing our sorrows and struggles as we posted soulful paragraphs and square photographs. Suddenly a generation of turtle women is coming out of their shells. And we are connecting again with our global community albeit a sometimes faceless one as the rare selfie is all we have to go on to know what our new friends look like. What is truly amazing is that we already know each other even though we’ve never spoken.
I was buoyed this month when I came out of the box and met with fellow Mother and creative Leah, a contemporary who I have much in common with and met through Instagram. I needed to hear her voice as she gave words to the same struggles I’m experiencing and suddenly, those struggles were smaller. We are more empowered to create plans of action together when we hear the same worries and realities behind others’ stories and we can say, “I’ve been there. This is what I did”. We allow ourselves to move on then.
My new friend and I met for the first time at the Walters Art Gallery in downtown Baltimore, the city where we both spent our teen and young adult years. And what a delight to talk creativity and artistic direction. We talked about motherhood, childhood, stumbling and rising again.
I have a new friend and renewed hope that where I’m headed, and the lovely women I am headed there with, are all my destiny.
I like the view of my life’s possibilities standing out in my backyard, standing out in the world, standing with people I met through our new playground telling and listening to one another’s stories.
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And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.