How Do You See Others?

Hello, fellow fence jumpers! It has been close to a year since I last stepped deep into the Cow Pasture. Like many of you have been caught up in the strange world of Covid-19, the quarantines, rules, regs, and controversies. It feels as if I have stepped from my world onto another planet.

Uncertainty, fear, isolation, social unrest, censorship, confusion, and even a cultural war have dominated the past year. All of which, looking through a writer’s eye, would make a great start to a sci-fi novel.

So, I sat back and thought about what was happening. The first thing I noticed was how superficial we had become.

Fear does strange things to people. It makes some of us vulnerable, some of us dig down and find our courage and push through, and others become opportunists. The vulnerable retreat to safety to wait out the worst; the courageous push forward and find ways through the challenges, and the opportunistic exploit and take advantage of the situation. It is the opportunists narrative we hear the loudest. And as a result, we stop listening, talking, or hearing each other. We hunker down in homes, groups, or “tribes,” throw ourselves into survival mode, and all the while our world vision narrows to the point we could no longer see others. Really see them.

We have become a nation of paper cut-out people, flat characters who define each other by our most basic and outward traits. Most notably, the color of our skin, political affiliation, or the values we espouse. But, as writers, we know that people are not flat. They are not just a color of skin, or a profession, or gender, or any of those outward characteristics, traits, or appearance.

When writers begin the process of character development outward, physical characteristics such as height, weight, gender, hair/eye color, dress, and so on are the things that we build upon to create living characters. But at that point, all we have is a paper cut out, a sketch. It is by no means the sum of the personality we are developing. We research, plot, plan, and delve into the revealing, intricacies, and intimate details that make our character a person. We want to know what makes them tick, why and how they make decisions, what influences them, or what makes the character act or curl up in a ball. We want to know their biases, preferences, desires, hopes, dreams, deep dark secrets, and the history of their failures. Those things make our character come to life, leap off the pages of our story, and relatable.

Despite all the challenges we’ve faced in the past year, it became clear to me what we need to do. First, we should never give in to the temptation to see others through the lens of what they look like or what group they belong. Each of us is a whole, complex person, made up of our unique life experiences. You can’t tell that by looking at someone from the outside. Two, we should always refuse to accept the narrative of superficial labels. Three, make it a mission to get to know people.

We live in a beautiful free country where every individual deserves respect and to be seen as a whole person. A character of their own making and the way they look is just the beginning. They have a history, an intimate story to tell, complexities unseen by our eyes. But when we take the time to speak to each other, to talk, and to listen, to really listen, we often discover a friend.

As writers, we always strive to be better writers. As one of the millions of characters in this big beautiful world we inhabit together, we should expect nothing less of ourselves than to strive to be a better person. Look beyond watch you see. Dig deeper, reach out your hand and make a new friend. After all, we’re in this together.


 

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. I’m all ears and look for me on my Facebook Pageat SheilaMcIntyreGood,PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgoodContently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Do You Have Your Life Story Plotted Out Like a Movie?

As writers, we often find ourselves sitting in the movie theater breaking down the plot. We whisper to each other about the implausible moments, poor character development, sloppy and incongruent plot, or the surprise ending we didn’t see coming. Occasionally  the end leaves us smiling, in awe of the way the plot played out and all the loose ends came together in a tidy bow.  But then there are the times it leaves us with our mouth hanging open and muttering …“What the hell just happened?”

The truth is we all live in a novel or movie of our own making. We all have a story and our lives are filled with endless inciting events, complications, and twists and turns. We rarely know how our story will end, but love, commitment, and values typically keep our story going. Until it doesn’t.

It’s been a long time since I have ventured out of my safe place, the Cow Pasture.  I’ve spent the last year asking, “What the hell just happened?” I am now a statistic. One of the many women thrust into the unknown world of a Grey Divorce The  increasing demographic trend of women who have been married a long time, typically 25 -30 years, over the age of 50 who separate and divorce. According to Psychology Today, the rate of those over 50 who are divorcing has doubled in less than 30 years and the  implications for women are staggering.

The divorce rate for adults ages 50 and older in remarriages is double the rate of those who have only been married once, Pew says. Among all adults 50 and older who divorced in 2015, 48% had been in their second or higher marriage. (Market Watch/Pew Institute)

This past year has been a difficult, challenging, and enlightening year for me. I am not one to lie down and curl up in a ball, even at the young age of 66.  I have always been the type to dust herself off, pull her big-girl pants up and get on with living.

As difficult as this journey has been, I intend to rediscover who I am, forge my own future, explore new adventures, and in the process share what I have learned about navigating this new life, and the phenomena of Grey Divorce.  I hope to offer tips, what to look out for, how to prepare, and what to do if it happens to you.

Based on the statistics, there are many like me out there and  I’d like to hear your story. If you would like to share your Grey Divorce story with me, contact me at sheilagood52@gmail.com with Grey Divorce in the subject line.

This is not about bashing our exes but about not only surviving but thriving through the trauma of a Grey Divorce. 

I’m making a new life for myself and 2020 is going to be a good year.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

 

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. I’m all ears and look for me on Facebook Page  at SheilaMcIntyreGood, PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.