True tales over 50 (Love for self, the planet and that tricky teen) – by the infamous and wonderful, G
This is another in my regular series of in-depth and (hopefully) insightful interviews with bloggers who write on the topics of female sexuality, midlife adventures or dating in the modern age. You can find others here, here, here, here and here.
Firstly G, I’d love to know the backstory of your blog – why you started it, when, and what your goals were? Do ideas for topics just come to you or do you carefully prepare? Where does the name of your blog come from and what’s its significance for you?
My blog started as a motivator to write more regularly. I’d kept a couple in the past (one on puppetry, and one on dealing with the loss of my Dad, and whether to read his personal journals or not), but wanted more freedom to write about whatever cropped up. I started bone&silver in Aug 2015, as my son and I were about to travel overseas for 2 months, so I figured it would be a good communication tool for friends and family.
I don’t carefully prepare topics at all. I love spontaneity and the impulse of the moment, so try to follow the creative inspiration when it finds me; it can be an image, a feeling, a fellow blogger’s post, or an experience I’ve just had.
I brainstormed the name with a few creative friends, and love it so much! As it says on my About page, I write about the truths I feel in my bones, and am proudly a silver fox who refuses to dye her hair, because Ageism and ‘grey-shaming’ on women utterly sucks. I am proud to be authentically me.
Since that time, what do you think you’ve got out of it? The benefits and the challenges? What do you love about having a blog and so many loyal readers?
I’ve gained so much more skill and discipline in crafting good post. I just love blogging, and wish I could do it all day sometimes. I love the connection with other readers and writers, and the huge variety of topics I can learn about; I follow a wide spread of blogs and interests. Without doubt, I love my readers and regular commenters so much – they help and support me through deep challenges and fun times too. I’ve received such insights and care from my readers.
Because UTC focuses on relationships and online dating would you like to share some of your learning over the time you’ve been giving it a go? As an online dating veteran (since 2009!) you must have seen a lot, experienced a lot and made some changes in your approach or expectations over that time?
I began on RSVP, and quickly found it very conservative, and full of men over 50 who were possibly married and being deceptive. I found one treasure of a bi-man and we are still firm friends. A groovy online expert sent me to OkCupid, and I found my online dating home there in 2010! Don’t forget, I’m in Australia, so the dating pool is waaaaaaay smaller than the American one; OKC back then was full of all the kinky, poly, queer, open-minded, and fluid folk I adore. I had a fabulous time in that community, and encouraged many other women over 45 to join. Sitting passively at home wishing you were having more sex or romance IS A WASTE OF TIME LADIES: go out and get it. That’s my basic philosophy really. And I tell every woman who’s thinking of online dating to remember this: you are the prize at the top of the mountain, and people have to work their way up to you, rather than you selling yourself to them.
What is your current philosophy on dating, relationships and your goals now that you’re single again? Do you have any comment to make on relationship models and your journey, beliefs and what you’re seeking now and into the future? Has this changed much over recent years?
Currently, I just want fun, attention, non-monogamous connections, but always with good communication and mutual respect. ‘Having fun’ is a huge motivator for me. I get very excited by a wide range of relationship models, and have been exploring polyamory both theoretically and physically since 2011. Monogamy is easier, but kinda bores me after a while… I have no desire to ‘settle down’ and live with a partner, as I LOVE living alone, but having someone next door or down the road would be lovely. As long as there was a negotiated freedom for other connections, whether just sexual, or more emotionally-based. As a Feminist, I continually seek a sense of freedom from oppression, especially those imposed by the patriarchy or religious dogma. Stuff that.
Based on your experiences, what would you say about the differences between straight dating and other combinations such as same-sex dating? Is there common ground that is universal? What are some of the unique issues?
My immediate response to this question is of course unfortunately ‘safety’. I will meet a woman way more quickly than a man, and just feel less cautious and protective. I would be quicker to go home with a woman too.
Common grounds are definitely that we’re all looking for connection, whether just sexual or more involved. Unique issues for me are that women’s politics are generally the same as mine, as we have the same ‘lived’ experience in this world run by men, whereas men can be very diverse in their attitudes and presentation.
Do you think there are unique issues in relationship breakups between women? What are some of the stressors? Have you made any resolutions to stand by?
As a general rule, women will do a lot more mutual crying and expressing together. There is often an incredible sense of friendship and care, which can be complex to unravel from the ‘girlfriend’ connection. Women tend to get more intimately involved with each others’ female friends, so again there can be a challenge re loyalties and un-entwining. The only resolutions I’ve made are to try to be kind, yet also take good care of myself and my personal needs for healing, which may mean minimal or no contact for a while for example (I had to do this with one female ex, who just didn’t understand it at all- I even had to delete her from my Facebook to get some space) It depends on the emotional investment I guess, and the hurt being experienced by one or other of you. Mutual break ups are the best.
What are the challenges of writing about a relationship as it unfolds? What are your thoughts on the ethics of writing publicly about relationships generally? Is there a tension between the rights of the person expressing their truth and the rights of the person being written about? You write about a first meeting here, which is both funny and poignant.
Great question. For me, writing about my new online romance was part of the creative connection and inspiration I shared with my beloved ex ‘H’; I would write them stories or blog posts, and in return receive hand-drawn comics. From the very beginning, ‘H’ was clear that I had the freedom to use my creativity to express and explore via my blog; I did sometimes worry if I’d written too intimately, and would always have deleted if ‘H’ said so, but they were often the posts ‘H’ liked best.
Now that I’m dating new people, I am choosing to write about them so far in general terms only, and wouldn’t involve them in greater detail without a clear discussion and their full consent. As a mature woman and artist, I believe it’s my duty to reflect a positive ageing experience, which includes dating and sex, but I need to find the balance between respecting privacies, yet creating intimacy with my readers. It’s a fine line, and I admire bloggers such as yourself who go for more in-depth details.
How do you see the evolution of dating and finding a mate unfolding across the generations or the eras? For example, we are both Gen X women over 40 and I’m sure we have a lot of common ground in the challenges of being single at our age and stage. Thoughts?
I refuse to stay home and grow old + lonely on the couch; I love online dating, and the thrill of the chase. I’m certainly not looking for a life partner ‘to complete me’ though, as I have achieved a lot by myself, and love the life I’ve created. I have my awesome son, amazing friends like family, and own my own home. I have travelled the world by myself, and love my own company… it would be nice to have someone special to snuggle up with sometimes though, hence my online dating skills. I don’t necessarily believe in a ‘happy ever after’ with one person, but I do enjoy spending precious time and adventures with meaningful people.
You have used the phrase ‘the dating roundabout’ a few times – why is that? Do you think it’s like a roundabout with no one destination or …?
There are certainly patterns that I can see in online dating, such as signing up with enthusiasm, drooling over various profiles, sending out a bunch of messages, hearing nothing in return, and getting jaded by the whole process within a fortnight. In that way, it’s a roundabout, as I search, message, meet, decline/get declined etc. But I don’t keep going round and round mindlessly; I have learnt an awful lot, and when I feel like I need a break, I happily step off.
Your blog topics are wonderfully diverse and I guess the common theme is your interests and your life over 50? Tell me about how and why you started some of them, eg France and travel?
I got more serious about the blog when staying in France for 2 months with my son; we had lots of time to read and write, so I got into a blogging habit. As an artist, travelling to perform at festivals and events, I have a fairly interesting and unexpected lifestyle, so can always find something to blog about. I also live in a pretty quirky corner of Australia, near Byron Bay, so am exposed to lots of different viewpoints and experiences; I like to share new ideas.
How much does your everyday life inform your blog writing? Is there much crossover?
They are deeply intertwined! As a writer, I’m always noticing details, or finding story ideas in the way someone walks past me, or something I overhear in a café. And when I go through a personal drama or challenge, it is often mirrored in other blogs I’m reading, so I will reach out for advice or to offer empathy.
Your popular ‘Teenage son’ section has recently become controversial – I’d love to hear how that started and about the challenges of writing about our children once they become ‘of an age’.
Ha: ‘Controversial’ in that he told me to stop writing about him! He is an important part of my life (obviously), and quite a character, so to NOT include him would be difficult. The ‘Teenage Tuesdays’ just evolved as we were practicing driving on his Learner plates, and he kept saying funny things I would remember… but now he’s banned me from using his humor. I absolutely have to respect his privacy.
I’d love to hear more about your writing – goals and ambitions? Where you’ve come from… I like this piece where you talk about how important writing is to you.
I’ve always kept journals, as did my Dad. I’d love to write a book (or 10), but what about? What genre? Could I keep the discipline of working at it? I am an avid reader (my Mum was a librarian), but blogging’s immediacy seems to suit my personality best. Writing is definitely one very important way I process life experiences. I also enjoy the freedom to press the ‘Publish’ button without needing anyone else’s approval.
How much does your environment and location stimulate you to write or give you a focus for your blog?
Great question. My creative training is as a dancer, clown, and Improvisor; so being Here, in this Moment, is the major aim of all three disciplines, which easily translates to blogging about what happened this morning in the car, at the beach, or on the news.
How do your beliefs or convictions as a feminist, someone passionate about caring for the environment and sustainability, and performing/art intersect and connect in the blog and in your life?
If asked to define myself, the first word I would choose would be Feminist. Then Artist/dancer, then mother/vegetarian etc. I feel fiercely that we all need to honour and respect our only Earth, especially for our children and grandchildren; these filters are how I live my life, and I’d never change them. For me, they all feel right.
How does it help you to express and share a piece like the one about your father’s passing? Is it in the getting it outside of us, or the sharing that seems to help for you? Are there any downsides to writing personal tragedy or deep feelings?
Losing my Dad was a terrible shock, which rocked our extended family for a long time; expressing the rollercoaster of emotions that follow a death helped me experience that sharing is a way to dispel pain, to offer hope or advice for others, and most importantly to break down barriers around mental health or other taboo subjects. It also builds community, and reflects other’s experiences back to themselves as valid, unique, yet also universal. I often cry while writing deeper pieces, which feels good afterwards. As an artist/performer, some of my best performances are the ones which move others to tears, so to be able to do that with words is wonderful. We’re all here to connect and share our experiences I believe, so that’s how I try to blog; my readers’ comments are without doubt my most treasured gift from blogging.