Mood Indigo Blues: From the Archives of Not Your Grandmother’s 70 – May 2017

Mood Indigo Blues: From the Archives of Not Your Grandmother’s 70 – May 2017

You ain’t never been blue; no, no, no

You ain’t never been blue,

Till you’ve had that mood indigo. 

That feelin’ goes stealin’ down to my shoes… 

You know what it is.  The pits, the gloomies, down in the dumps.  Rolled up in a ball on the bathroom floor.  In bed, covers over your head.  Or maybe you are the outdoor type, and you howl at the moon or scream into the wind.

Nothing in your life is right. Nothing will ever be right.  I call it my 3 am darkness of the soul. It doesn’t help to know that everyone goes through it sometimes.  You also will chew someone’s head off if they tell you platitudes like “It’s not that bad.” or “It will get better.”  That was not what you wanted to hear.  Not now, anyway.

I also like to refer to the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible Very Bad Day, which Alexander keeps repeating after one more misadventure, “I think I’ll move to Australia.”  It ends with Alexander acknowledging: “Some days are like that, even in Australia.”  And they are.

There are books galore on how to get past this.  But right now, you really don’t want to.  You WANT to wallow.  You deserve to wallow.  We all do deserve some wallow time.  Never mind that EVERYONE on Facebook is having a WONDERFUL time.  Everyone is.  Really!

I  am not here to tell you what to do. I am not here to give you platitudes. I am merely here to tell you that it is ok.  It is ok to wallow, scream, sniff and cry.  Sometimes that is all there is.  When you are ready for more, you will find it.

In the meantime, get down with that feelin’ that goes stealin’ down to your shoes.  Some days are like that.  Even in  . . . .

Australia, or, or or.

What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

I recently took a group tour abroad with what we politely call “mature” people. Most were couples, and something that stood out as unusual for such a group was that most women had different names than their husbands.

I commented to one of the women that I found this remarkable because “back in the day,” women changed their names when married. This is understandable in second (or third marriages), but several of these folks had been married forty years or more. This woman pointed out that the women I was referring to did not have advanced degrees. Is that it?
If you had an advanced degree, did you not change your name when you married? Hmm.

I married at the age of 20 back in the very dark ages, and it did not seem to even be an option. It would be “weird” to have a different name than your husband. After 22 years of marriage, I did think about a name change when I got divorced. It was much more common then. However, my name changed when I was adopted by my stepfather at age 8 and married at 20.

Therefore I had this “married” name for much longer than any other. So I kept my name. When my daughter married, it was not even a consideration. Of course, she kept her name. Why wouldn’t she? Thus my married daughter and I have the same name.

I once had a friend who changed her first name also when she got married because she wanted a less ethnic name. A few years later, she found that an ethnic name was helpful for specific employment purposes and changed it back. And this was a woman with an advanced degree.

I work with divorcing women and always discuss name changes with them. In my state, they get a free name change with a divorce. Men can as well, but rarely do. I point out that it can be something other than a name you have ever used. You can be Sunshine or Rainbow. I even met a woman who chose Newborn. By the way, I detest the term “maiden name.” What does that even mean? How old-fashioned. I use “former name.” Even though one can get a free name change with a divorce decree, changing your name on your passport, social security card, employer ID card, credit card, etc., is challenging. Seems hardly worth it.

This naming convention is only the norm in some countries. In some, the custom is to combine both names. For example, in Iceland, you cannot change your last name to your husbands, but you can change your middle name to his last name. Confusing. Any more confusing than what we do?

Some of my women clients are concerned that they won’t have the same name as their children. I point out that it is not unusual for children to have a different name than their mothers. I cite my own grandson. This raises the question, why does the American naming convention determine that children have their father’s name? There is no such requirement. Don’t get me started on hyphenated names. A whole new challenge.

Maybe both parties in a marriage should change their names to something else. Wouldn’t the family tree researchers have fun with that?

So what has been your experience with name changes? Do you have some cultural norms? Do you wish you had done it differently?

Funny Girl

Funny Girl

(Yes, these are words to a song)

Funny
Did you hear that
Funny
Yeah, the guy said honey,
You’re a funny girl
That’s me; I just keep them
In stitches doubled in half
And though I may be all wrong for the guy
I’m good for a laugh
I guess it’s not funny
Life is far from sunny
When the laugh is over
And the jokes on you
A girl ought to have a sense of humor
That’s one thing you really need for sure
When you’re a funny girl
A fellow said a funny girl
Funny, how it ain’t so funny
Funny girl…

This song started resonating with me lately, and I had to look up the words. It seemed so relevant. The last line was, “even a funny girl can cry.” Well, maybe another version, or I made it up.

It was playing in my mind because I wanted/needed to write a blog post. I try to keep them light and funny—encouraging—it’s never too late. But what if I am not feeling funny or reassured, and it seems too late? It happens.
It happens to everyone.

One of the first things one must notice is: are you making stuff up? That friend that hasn’t called, the money didn’t show up, someone frowned at you, and myriad unfunny things.
But do you know the whole story, or did your imagination fill it in?

Then there is the real stuff-a health crisis, divorce, job loss. What to do, then? Indeed, these things are not funny. You have every right to put your head under the pillow and stay there—for a while. Then you must “pick yourself up and start all over again,” as another song says.

How do you do that?
Here are some ideas for you to take action on:

  • Talk to a therapist. (Well, duh,)
  • Journal —write it out
  • Communicate with a friend
  • Give yourself time to cry it out. Really cry it out
  • Take a walk—in nature, in the rain, on the beach, walk
  • Make an action plan with a giant whiteboard—cross off as you complete
  • Color (I have not tried that yet)
  • Music that lifts you up (playlist, anyone?)

I want to punch the person who says, “this too shall pass,” in the face. Or “look for the good” and all that blah blah. That is not what you want.

I am reminded of a therapist’s advice long ago: “only be depressed in this room. When you walk out, pretend you are not depressed. Just pretend.” You may still be depressed, but you might be surprised at how you fool yourself.

Go ahead—be a funny girl.

Rituals

Rituals

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My Rock

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It’s never too late-Or is it?

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Day 3

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Why a Blog?

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Day 1

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It’s never too late to begin again. Or is it?

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Karin Quirk