Several years ago, I met my best friend: the Internet. She introduced me to people and places I would have never met, opened my mind and allowed me to see beyond myself and into the worlds of others. At first, she showed me it was fun to pretend to be a vampire and that IRC was an amazing social venture where one did not have to be dressed. Um, wait, I mean dressed in anything other than pajamas. I got plenty of penis pictures during that time, effortlessly.
Lesson #1 – Everyone on the Internet is beautiful.
Lesson #2 – Don’t blindly open photos sent to you because in reality, the photo will be of a dick.
After our vampire adventures ended, she showed me that I could create my own web worlds complete with photos and text. I began my travels into web design with an art collection of nude women. It was great and it led me into a new career of web design.
Lesson #3 – If you show your boss your online collage of nudies, he will think you’re cool as shit.
Lesson #4 – If your real life BFF starts working on a website for you, remember that it will get you fired if she’s caught working on it while you are both “on the clock,” especially if the disgruntled employee that you got fired mentions it to the Big Bosses.
The Internet found me a job with a B&B. We loved this job, but the boss there was very “Devil Wears Prada” and eventually, the beautiful decor of the house weren’t enough to keep us happy. Fortunately, the Internet was slick enough to secure us a part-time gig with this same lady, but working from home on her website. It was a great compromise.
Lesson #5 – Working from home, at first, and especially when pregnant, will turn you into a very lazy person.
Lesson #6 – One day, you will look back fondly on the last “real job” you ever had and almost wish you had it back, even if it made you nutso at the time.
After having another baby, my family and the Internet and I all moved to hell. No, wait, it was just hot as hell there. The Internet and I tried very hard to work from home, as it became a big soapbox of mine that women could not only raise their kids AND work. We found a group of women who felt the same way and tried to start up an organization. We lost momentum, however, and eventually we all stopped working on working together, and just started working.
It was then that we tried to do some online nudie pics again, because 5 years prior, we were cool for doing that. It wasn’t as cool this time, in fact, it was a lot of work. We really should have looked at some sort of forum software (cue the foreshadowing music).
Lesson #7 – Working from home is great when you have clients. Clients are hard to come by if you’re not a natural salesperson. This is a vicious cycle that will only enable you to hang out at the pool all day and raise ducks on your patio.
Lesson #8 – Nude beaches are cool as shit.
We (the family) and we (the Internet and I) all moved north, because we wanted snow. Well, the Internet could care less about snow, but she was coming, too, whether she wanted to or not. Once again, determined to make this “work from home” thing, well, work, I started into online consignment. Fail. Then I tried selling jewelry and tie dye… and then WHAM! I got pregnant, again… with twins.
Lesson #9 – Be careful what you wish for.
Lesson #10 – 4 months of bed rest will do very strange things to your mind and body and you will really only have the Internet to get you through those months.
HELLO FORUMS! IT IS SO NICE TO MEET YOU!
Maybe its because I never really had a large group of female friends. Maybe its because I was on bed rest, dealing with 2 other kids and I was completely overwhelmed with being a mother, wife, friend, human and not a robot… or maybe its because I was about to embark on a most fascinating and frustrating journey, but I did it. I started up a forum for natural parenting, spirituality and all Hippy pursuits. It was a technical challenge, it was a personal challenge. I let my BFF (The Internet) introduce me to a world of women with problems I’d never heard of, issues I had dealt with, and more laughter and tears than I ever thought possible.
I had found my calling – women.
Lesson #11 – You will need years to establish yourself as a sane person in the sea of women you encounter. It doesn’t matter what happens, everyone will think you are insane at one point or another. Just go with it.
Lesson #12 – You can definitely sell your services as an “online community manager, ” but people won’t necessarily see that as an employable enterprise. Keep the faith, baby, you got mad admin skillz.
So, here I am, with an official BA in Women’s Studies. Many dots have been connected in terms of where I came from, society’s role in keeping women “in their place,” and the personal knowledge that together, we can all be happy, sane and healthy… without marginalizing each other. How to make the personal, political, I’m unsure, but I know I’ll get there.
Lesson #13 – You are not Superwoman.
About a month into my last term in school, after the 2.5 DC-area monster snow storms, I lost my mind. My first essay I turned in tried to compare romance/feminism with Greeks and homosexuality. Needless to say, I’m fairly certain that I only graduated because I paid the money and sounded pretty pathetic. It wasn’t the snow, it wasn’t school, it was the snow, school, four kids, a less-than-available husband, a house, animals, websites and my own issues with who I am that all created one large snowball (heh) of insanity. I’ve since been on a sabbatical of sorts, trying to get my head together for the next lesson: making it on my own.
Lesson #14 – Take the Leap
A friend of mine, she knows who she is, encouraged me to just “take that leap” when it came to being single and trying to make it on my own. When I realized my marriage was over, my choices were to get a job and throw my kids into a completely different life, or work my ass off to keep their lives as normal as possible. I did take the leap, and each night, each hug, each time I see the smiles on my kids’ faces, and those from my clients, I know I made the right choice.
Lesson #15 – Your Blog is Your Life
Not entirely, but, after blogging for like five years, with half of that in silence over shitty relationships and pending litigation, the blog really does reflect a lot of where my head has been. Biggest lesson right now… if a person who has been a huge part of my life never actually makes it to The Cast page, then there is a problem. Sigh.
Lesson #16 – Lemons, Lemonade… Vodka
So, we move forward. We find a reason to smile each day, we give the past our middle finger, we start speaking in third person. Montel was right, as always, and for the next decade, I plan to live life to the fullest, as much as possible, when time allows… or we just settle for crazy books, even crazier friends, and that little touch of love from a bottle of Big V.