#WomensLives :: Positive drowning out the negative

I’ve learned more and more recently that there is a serious strength in numbers, and I find myself spending a majority of my time online chatting in one Facebook group or another.

One group that I am extremely proud and honored to be a part of is Road Widows. We are the wives (fiances, long-time girlfriends, etc.) of men who play music or work as crew guys on the road. My husband being a touring musician is what spurred the name of THIS blog, and Road Widows just expounds on it. We use the name much like there are “golf widows” and “hunting widows.” (A legitimate use of the word “widow” from the dictionary!!) We are happily married, but we’ve also learned how to manage everything on our own.

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The women who participate and draw strength from our group inspire me, and they keep me wanting to keep the group going. The women who come to us in the dark days — the days they aren’t sure they can stand by their man any more as he travels the country (or the world!) for work — and suddenly no longer feel lonely and find the way to push through the darkness.

Now, there is a little irony in the timing of what happened this week, as we (the writers for the Road Widows blog) had just decided to migrate from a Facebook page (public) to a private group where all the women could talk freely and openly without fear of judgement or attack. Where they can talk fans, fears and loneliness. We’ve all grown so busy that getting together in person has become a juggle, so perhaps instead of dishing over margaritas and tacos, we can dish in our down time online.

The very day we announced the creation of the private group, we dealt with what I can only describe as an Internet Bully. A troll, perhaps. But for me, it was a classic bully.

…this is the most ignorant thing i’ve ever seen/ heard of in my life… they wrote

please, do your doomed selves a HUGE favor, and quit considering yourselves as being the victim. You are your own worst enemy. 

My head was spinning.

This page is an insult to touring musicians…

Okay now I was angry.

The post was quickly followed by a barrage of comments from what I assume are friends of the original poster supporting their point of view and further hammering nails into my heart.

I was angry. I wanted to sob my heart out. I wanted to scream at these people and call them names. (Okay, I totally did just that to my poor husband who became my sounding board.) This group I am so passionate about and love deeply was being insulted and attacked viciously. Why? Because they saw the word “widow” and took it very, very literally.

They didn’t bother to read any of our posts. They didn’t bother to read the many words of thanks from women all across the country who felt relief to find other women living the same lifestyle they were. And in a round about way, they were telling us to shut up.

Instead, I took a deep breath and tried to take the high road. My fellow contributors did the same. We responded as tactfully as possible, but we also didn’t lie down and just take it. Nor did we ignore it. Eventually, our followers started to chime in and the tide began to turn. The love and support began to drown out the negative words.

This page brought me help when I struggled hardest…

Yes! This! I swear if I wrote a mission statement for our group it would be to do just that.

I think it’s great to have a safe place to look and see that we are not the only crazy ones that have chosen this lifestyle.

And of course there is that, too.

I find great support and understanding in this page. I genuine thank you for creating it and being proud of it enough to share it.

We aren’t sure when or why the original post was deleted. I only have the text from having saved it prior to it being deleted. I like to think the positive completely drowned out the negative.  I like to think that the fact that we didn’t shut up but instead stood up for ourselves was an unexpected reaction.

Together we are stronger when we lift each other up. And this amazing, amazing group of women did just that this week and continue to do so every day. We are strong. We are confident. We are incredible.

How have you handled people in the past that decided to judge and critique you without bothering to know you? Did you have a support system to “have your back” in such a case?

#womenslives#WomensLives is a media partnership between Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows Media, BlogHer‘s parent company, aiming to change the portrayal and coverage of women in media. I felt our standing up for ourselves fell right in line with this initiative. 

In 1 Week, Hundreds of Women Stood Up to Change the News. You Can, Too.

Five on Friday :: Feb. 6, 2015

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It’s been a long time since I did Five on Friday, because I felt a self-imposed pressure to always have a theme. But for 2015, any Five on Friday will be free-form with no promise of it having any sort of theme or point outside of whatever is on my brain on that given day. So without further adieu…

1. I became reacquainted with a love of mine this week. The power of the blogging world. My focus on blogging has diminished over the last few years. I guess you could say “life happened.” Life is still happening, but I feel like I need to make more time in said life for the blog world. It’s served me well over time, introducing me to amazing people that I admire and learn from almost daily. The #WomensLives initiative has made me many, many new people to get to know. And I CAN’T WAIT to do so. We can learn from each other — and I’m embracing this opportunity to expand my world, and I hope maybe I can teach others as well.

2. My brain is almost always on some level thinking about our opening a bar. I’m overwhelmed by all the questions that must be answered before I can even call a bar my own. I learn (again) something new every day about this endeavor. Sometimes I don’t like the answers to the questions we have, but I am ALWAYS better off knowing the answers and dealing with them than I was not knowing. It’s going slower than I hoped it would… and yet in other areas its going faster than I was braced to go. But here we go kids… we’re doing this!

3. I feel like I owe a lot of friends apologies for being preoccupied with my own life lately. I strive to be a good friend and truly want to know whats going on in my friends’ lives. They are all so important to me, and I want to be there for all of them. And lately… lately  I’ve not done so well with that. And for that I do apologize and will try my best to do better.

4. Just yesterday, I decided on one word I would use to describe myself at this time: Versatile.

5. I gave myself a silent goal this month to make February fitness fabulous. So far, I’m doing pretty good, I think! What spurred this? Oh, just putting the 7 pounds I lost in September back on since the bar closed. I knew it was going to happen, but I still reached for pecan pie for breakfast, and figured one more beer in the evening was okay. But February 1st hit, and I just went, “Okay, time to fix this.” I’m consciously trying to keep my step count up (for me!) using my Fitbit, and I am back to tracking my food. Here’s to being fabulously me just for me!

#WomensLives :: Something important happened yesterday

There’s something about me I don’t (think) I talk about all that much. It’s the fact that my degree is in journalism. Oh, I talk about being an Aggie and what Texas A&M means to me, but I don’t talk much about the fact that my degree is in journalism. But. It is:

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My final semester, Texas A&M University decided it would no longer offer Journalism as a major. (It has since changed its tune… it only took 10 years to do so, though.) I suppose that should have been a foreboding of sorts for me.

Between when I graduated in 2003 and today, I worked about a year and a half at a newspaper (click here to see my personal article archive) before walking away from the field. I consider this blog and interactions I have often on Twitter as my keeping up with my interest and deep down love for the field of journalism.

But as with things you love, its easy to also hate it… and to perhaps hate it a little more than anyone who didn’t at one time see it as their future. I know what good journalism is… and its very, very hard to find today.

It is for this reason that I jumped on the opportunity to join the #WomensLives initiative, a media partnership between Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows Media, BlogHer‘s parent company. (I’ve proudly been a part of the BlogHer network for years.) Perhaps I could be part of an initiative to fix a part of what is wrong in the news media today.

Did you know that only about 24% of all news subjects talk about women in any way, and only six percent of news stories highlight gender in/equality. Staggering, but true.  Staggering and unacceptable.

This initiative — #WomensLives — kicked off yesterday with a bang. Literally hundreds of women’s voices have come together to be heard. SheKnows Media is helping us as members of our community start conversations about the PRI’s Across Women’s Lives series using the #WomensLives hashtag across social media and through individual points of views on personal blogs.

I am SO excited to see where this initiative takes me — takes ALL of us. For the rest of this year, I’ll be blogging on topics directly related to #WomensLives as well as sharing links to other article. I welcome an open — respectful — dialogue about all the topics that will come be brought to light.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and keep checking the #WomensLives hashtag regularly to find even more open and interesting discussions directly relating to women and media.

Let’s make a difference together!

#womenslivesLearn more over at BlogHer about #WomensLives!

You’re Invited: SheKnows Media and PRI Announce News Incubator #womenslives

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…

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