Sunday, 19 July 2009


Last night I went to a swishing party (clothes swap) and I realised this morning, as I've reflected on what happened how out of kilter I am with people round here. Now I know this is nothing new, it's an old theme.

But last night was one of those nights when I tried to be part of a social group, and I failed miserably, but was also a resounding success as I have my own way to cope.

First of all I realise I'm a clothes snob, I'd taken decent clothing, the sort I'd love to have chosen, and all the clothes there without fail were the cheap end of the market. Yet the women who brought them weren't,they were all dressed beautifully with designer bits and bobs about themselves.

I looked at the clothes and wouldn't have given any of them house room, so decided that I didn't have to play. This meant that as everyone else was having a lovely time trying stuff on I was wandering around not part of any group smiling and nodding in all the right places.

I watched women, get secretive and greedy as they fell upon something they liked and hid it from everyone else, to ensure that they would get it in the end. I didn't like seeing this, but I realised that if I'd seen anything I'd actually liked I'd have done the same. That is not a nice thought. It shocked me with the knowledge that I was capable of such underhand behaviour. But also because I wasn't part of it I watched with a fascinated horror. Bit like being the only sober person around a group of drunks, and knowing how isolated that can feel like.

Eventually when everyone more or less had got what they wanted everyone got down to the business of talking to each other. The room divided into two groups as people were from two different towns. I only knew the hostess and she, of course knew everyone. I knew that when this part of the evening came I'd be useless, so I took my secret weapon with me.... My Tarot cards, and lost myself in doing readings.

When I finally emerged there were only a handful of people left. They wanted me to stay, but my ability to be sociable in a crowd is non existent, so I ran away home and took Trix for a walk instead.

Don't get me wrong these women were all lovely, and if I had the ability to make the right sort of chat, then I would have been part of the group. I just can't do it though. I am the person in the kitchen at parties. That crippling shyness I had as a teenager has been conquered everywhere except social gatherings. If you met me you'd never believe I had a shy bone in my body, I breeze about with assertion and confidence, until.....

And this moved my thinking on to here....
My blog roll is made up of 28 names, of those 1 person figures twice. There are also three private blogs I read. So 30 people, of those, I knew 1 before started blogging, and I have become friends with 6 others in real life. I email 15 people, two of whom I either know I'll meet in the future, one planned for September and the other likely if she moves to Dublin. And there only 8 people who I just know through comments. There are also 4 other people who don't blog anymore that I've also met and stayed with, two of them were lovers. The first man set my blog up and the second I met through blogging. And 1 person who doesn't as yet have a blog, but has emailed me a lot recently

And to be honest this is the place outside of a few very strong friendships I feel safest. This is the place where I bring my worries and my pain, my joy and highs in life. My friends here are the people I never feel judged by who accept me unconditionally.

In the last couple of weeks when I've been feeling so exhausted and worn out it has been the emails from my friends here that have kept me smiling. I feel utterly privileged to have you all as friends.

I love that there are two extremely strong women in Germany, who tell me off if I don't tell them how I am. I can't wait to meet both of them. It is wondrous to me that there are two women in Africa who want to know about me... can't wait for November. That in California a gorgeous blonde sent me a present just cause. Australia has another two amazing women who I love having in my life.

Then there are the three people who I'd have never met if it wasn't for here, who I know are going to be life long friends. One of whom I will only ever see once a year, if we are lucky, but who I have such a spiritual connection with that it can't be broken. Or the wonderful American in Paris, oops Liverpool, who once we get together we can't stop talking. Or the lone man in all of this, I can't tell you what a wonderful friend Trousers is to me, but I am lucky that he is.

All of this thinking made me realise that the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, about being odd, which I wrote as my friend was upset by being called it, really is true about me. And I suspect a lot of you. I don't think we fit into the conventional model of being able to mix at cocktail parties talking utter gibberish just to fill a space in the air. That's not to say any of us couldn't do it, of course we could, we are all gifted and talented people.

What is more important to us is that we can talk in depth about who we are, and what we stand for, knowing that the people who read us by and large, actually get us when we do. So we are free here to expose our vulnerabilities, knowing that we are safe and being held by people who may never get to meet us, but who care enough to leave a loving stroke by way of a comment. So that we can be frightened here, but know that whatever the feeling is that others have for us here, that we will be cherished.

Me,I think it's love... I am happy to own that those people on my blog roll are people I care deeply about, worry about, smile with, cry with, want to help, and if that's not love then I don't know what is.

So I want to say thank you to all of you for being there for me in all the 275 posts I've written in the last couple of years (it's no wonder I think I've run out of things to say!!!). You make my world rock.

And of course why would anyone in their right mind want to stop doing something so amazingly wonderful as, getting strokes/emails/love/whatever in their world.
So I guess this means, I'm back!!!


trousers said...

You just brought a tear to my eye.

Mel said...

Ack! I was doing 'okay' til trousers shared that.

(((((((( the byrdie )))))))))

Paula said...

Rain and tears in Germany ;-) good u being back

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Glad to see you back on form! This really resonated with me, blogging has brought me into a world I longed for but wasn't sure existed. I'm happy you're part of that world! Love BG

Linda - Gold Coast said...

This is such a beautiful and moving post Mandy. I'm so happy to see you back (((hugs))) Linda xoxo

Cynthia said...

Fire Byrd, I'm glad to read that you decided to come back to blogging.

I know what you mean about loving and honest relationships here. It's also a place where you can communicate very early in the morning or late at night, before you're dressed, or when you have so much on your mind and need to create something from it.

Your visits to OWL blog are treasured. I hope that you continue sharing your life and reading my blog long into the future. <3

Lady in red said...

how many of my other friends would suggest we rob a bank? or give me a hug for deleting an email address?

We might not get together often enough but you are in my thoughts daily which reminds me.........could you text me please my phone died taking most of my contact to the grave with it. I have the same number bit lost yours

glad you are not giving up

LiR xx

Angela Recada said...

You are back!!! I saw so much of myself in your description of yourself. I think many of us feel anxiety in modern social situations. There's so much more pressure, so many more people to interact with, so much more expected of us to be interesting, engaging and fun. But you know all this.

I'm glad you're back and feeling better about things. And I thank you for leaving comments on my blog while you were away.

Dark Side said...

That made me quite sad, but also so very proud to be part of your blog roll.

Welcome back to the old Mandy, we all love you loads...xx

lakeviewer said...

What a heart-warming post. Your blogger-mates are special folks. We all reach out and have become an extended family, in some ways. We get to share deep issues, and familiar worries. And people care enough to respond in kind. Nicely said.

nitebyrd said...

I love you too, you magnificent, funny, odd, beautiful, brilliant, sexy, Byrd!

Helen said...

I can't recall how I 'found' you or when .... but once I did, I knew I was hooked. I so enjoy reading your words ... the honesty, the candor, the everyday.

Sorrow said...

Ahh Byrd~!
you are the best!
I am so glad to see you writing again. I love how you connect the dots to my heart so easily.
You have a wisdom, that is so beautiful! Shy or not, you add to any gathering, I enjoyed your introspection so much! I hope that you are physically feeling better! and have a trip to the sea on the menu soon!
be good to you!

Merry ME said...

Woohoo! So glad you didn't stay gone long.

Unlike Trouser's lone tear, my cheeks are all wet and snorty!

I LOVE being in the kitchen when all the people are in the other room. I listen and smile and hope they enjoy themselves, and I feel so safe behind the apron in front of the sink.

Thanks for sharing this and making me feel less "odd".

swallowtail said...

thank you, Fire Byrd. what an amazing post. and thank you for visiting my house. and thank you for this sharing of heart and love.

odd, very odd, said the duck on the front porch.


CheekyDani said...

Awwww, sweet pea, what a lovely post. I'd have joined you in the kitchen I expect... x

karen said...

So glad to see you back here again, after all! Here's a bit more love from another resurfacing blog friend xx

Sage said...

And a good job too.... would have missed you but understood your need for some space... {{hugs}}

Gin said...

This was an absolutely beautiful post. I feel like all of you are part of my extended family and I would miss you if you were to go. I share more at times with all of you then I do with my own family. I am glad you are back.

Lori ann said...

i love the way you put things, and i second what all your friends here have said. don't worry byrd, i would be in the kitchen with you too!
love and hugs!!

miss*R said...

and don't forget me... thousands and thousands of miles away.. probably the furthest of all your blogging friends..who will hopefully meet you next year..

now, at that party, you should have taken the camera and taken photos for your blog.. when I am at places like that.. the blogger comes out in me.. in my head I am working out a post about it.. that is sad.

((thanks so much for the love & support over the past week.. in the emails and comments.. I truly appreciate it Pix.. if you lived near me.. I would be a client of yours ))

Angela said...

Only 55 days till you come here, Mandy!!!! We`ll not stop talking till you leave! And I hope you`ll go home happy and uplifted. As much as I will be, from enjoying your company. Meeting blog friends in real life must be something really special! Have you read Cheaspeake Bay Woman`s report (Life in Mathews) about her Blog Fest? It must have been incredible. The ones who open up on blogs and share their own feelings and musings, they cannot be shallow and insignificant. So we ARE part of an extended family! Welcome, cousin Mandy!

speck of dust said...

Hello. I don't know you and you don't know me but I really loved reading this post. It made me smile :)

Picsie Chick said...

ahhhhhhhhhh, what a beautiful post and so glad you have returned! We kept your spot warm for you. ;-)

I'm hoping that you consider me one of those friends who might meet some time in the future. I would be honoured.

And, yes, I'd want to be in the kitchen with you, too... but I'd probably be forcing myself to struggle through small talk....

Hugs and butterflies,

VICKI IN AZ said...

Fire Byrd,
Your post is a lovely tribute.
I am in awe of your photographs, thank you for sharing them.

jerick said...
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