My daughter wrote the book Earth Hates Me. Own It! Please.
Five years ago, I was at a low point in my career, working for a misogynist that delighted in the practice of squashing. Can’t quit, college is looming. Can’t quit, I make a good living. Can’t quit, ageism is real. I was stuck. Stuck., that paycheck a noose around my feminist neck. And a lightbulb went on in the dimness: what about blogging? Blogging? Yes. Writing again. With purpose. On the daily, or maybe weekly (well, now, definitely less than that even ). Okay, so there won’t be a salary attached to it, but there would be a nourishing of the soul, the spirit that beats throughout. A creative one, one I needed, thrived on.
Something I needed. This thing that I cite all the time, of having a way to pay rent but also a way to take care of yourself, this creative outlet, whether you are painting or planting. This thing that gets you through the other thing.
And then, the tumble of change occurred, the Kickstarter really:
I got laid off, and a few weeks later, my Dad died.
My close circle of friends held my hand through the darkness and when I began to see glimmers of light, I started writing.
Four years ago, I launched BARB. With the help of a generous builder of sites, Hank, and Brian who designed the logo. And now, now I’ve been BARBing for four years, celebrating this thing called life, the life of a woman who is solidly working her way through another transition.
Today, I am a freelancer-for-hire. It’s still hard, out-of-pocket heath insurance cost is astronomical, my savings account has suffered, and then there is college which I am paying for, rather than have my daughter confront her twenties with student loan debt. There is the pandemic which has put the world in suspension, and jobs, especially for a freelancer, are elusive. But. In the past year, goals have been reached. I am six months from graduating college with an eye on a Masters. I got a book deal. I started writing book reviews.. I am in constant contact with my family of friends. Rocky is now twelve. My daughter is in her third year at college. My Mom is alone in Florida, and we are FaceTiming now every day, missing each other terribly as we wait wait wait for the numbers to drop. I am indeed emotionally healthier than I was when I first starting blogging.
Blogging was a good idea.
Blogging. Yes. Writing and sharing. Growth would be nice, but the integrity of blogging is what is top of mind, making the time to do so as well, which, in the past few months has dwindled as I have been juggling, and the juggle is real but it’s also as fulfilling as the blogging. And that’s the key: having the space to be creatively nourished particularly as I bounce off the walls avoiding the world and the droplets outside it.
. The following is the very first BARB post, that piece of purpose. Of what was going on in my life, my mind. I write from the driver’s seat of the female experience. Every entry has its meaning in my mind, finding its defining life on the screen. I’m so happy to be here. To be BARBing. I hope you continue to be with me, week after week, as I continue to explore.
Here we are. November 2016. Fresh into our New World Order.I mean. Okay now. Okay. I’m not going to talk about it. I just don’t have the vocabulary. I am going to talk about why I am doing BARB. Because BARB is what I’m about right now.Last summer, the summer of Obama’s 2015, stuck in a go-nowhere corporate job, surrounded by suits and guffaws, I realized I wasn’t actually doing anything with my professional life that was fulfilling. Not anymore. Whereas, once I was. For a solid decade, I had the Best Job Ever. I was surrounded by creative people that I managed, I curated inspiring artists to be a part of my tiny world, I was actually and truly happy coming to work every day. And then, I lost the job. Found myself in that rut. And while trapped in that rut, I found myself reminiscing.About the past. In particular the ’90s. Fueled by my restlessness and my sense of being trapped by my need to pay my rent, I partnered with a likeminded feminist and start BUST. A zine. And I found my outlet. For seven years, I spent my days working as a freelancer promo producer, my nights seeing Pavement and myriad other bands, and somewhere in between, publishing a feminist zine that filled the white space of female-generated content during the ground swell of third wave feminism. By far, the most inspiring period of my professional life.In my current life, I am so romantic about my BUST days. About the long nights we spent printing out every page and laying them out on the floor, moving the pages around as we tried to place the order of each issue in such a way that would make the zine read seamlessly. About the long walks to the post office box on Hudson Street where I collected the CDs and videos and stories our readers sent to us every week. About the long talks I had with women I met along the way, of what feminism was to each other us, and how if we closed our eyes, this is what our future as feminists could look like.In my current life, I was living my feminist future-past. Except, I was in a holding pattern. Over dinner, one September night, I told my daughter about my BARB idea. How I wanted to create a website for women over 35, women approaching the next chapter of their lives, women who may or may not be married, woman who may or may not have children, women who may or may not be working, but certainly women who, when they looked in their mirror, still connected with that 25 year old self of hers. Women who enter middle age enter a world of an unknown, a world not laid out to them by their mothers and older friends. Our bodies start to change, our ideas evolve, our health becomes elastic. We start to think in acronyms and numbers: IRA’s, 401k’s, 529C’s. Having health insurance becomes key to survival. Our friends start to develop the lady cancers. Our lives become the Once In A Lifetime Talking Heads song, and we do wonder, Well How Did We Get Here. We also start to feel a certain confidence we didn’t have in our youth, particularly sexually. We know what we need to do to get off. And we aren’t embarrassed about it. We have dating apps where we can shop for humans, and if we want, have a 25 year old one night for kicks, and Mr. Right the next for soul-kissing. Being in your 40’s and 50’s and 60’s and beyond is a trip.And I want BARB to be a place for your journey. For Ladies Like Us. So that’s what I want to talk about. And I want you to contribute. Because I want to hear what your life is like. I want to know how fuckable you feel and what menopause is like for you and whether you have a vibrator. I want to see what you look like today. I want you to know that I know how you feel. And I want you to have a place to go to, every day, where you can see some version of yourself, and go hell yeah.That’s what I want for BARB. So please. Subscribe. Follow BARB on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. And let’s start talking.