Circling the Wagons

Here is the oddest thing about the closing of ye olde widda board for me, personally.

When the board closed, the alumni site at Facebook cranked up the invites/adds to its page. A group that was fairly dormant. And I was added.

Okay, the fact that I was added is not odd. I did make friends in my time at the YWBB. Yes, I did. Don’t look so incredulous. A few anyway. So my inclusion in the round-up as Rome fell isn’t all that a weird thing.

The strange part is how nonchalantly I have been included in the conversations and happenings.

As I mentioned in another post, it’s just like a high school reunion where the most popular girl in the class, the one that married the star of the state championship basketball team, was a cheerleader and never gave more than a withering glance of disdain to you, is suddenly all smiles, hugs and

“Oh my gawd! you look GREAT! I am SO glad you are here.”

Alright, not that exactly, but creepily close.

Rob just chuckles.

“Back with your besties from the board, eh?”

I had no besties at the board.

In fact, the few YWBB members who I count among my friends are folks I met at the board but got to know via our widow blogging. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be friends.

Like most of my friendships – virtual and in real life – I grew on them slowly because I am something for which the taste for needs to be acquired and that takes time. Instant friendships have never happened for me. Ever. Except maybe Rob.

And I tend to develop friendships with people that no one would ever suspect me of being friends with.

As I recently told a very conservative political Twitter acquaintance (who follows me only because I confound her definition of a “liberal”),

“I have an open mind, a preferences for people who can pry theirs wide a bit too, and enjoy a healthy give/take debate. And snark is good too.”

Of course, I paraphrased into 140 characters.

Yes, I can be brief, but I don’t enjoy it.

So, where did I begin? Right, wagons circling.

Old board members do nothing well at all if not circle up. The founders should have remembered this if going quietly into the good night was their aim. (And they’d do well to remember it in the future if the rebrand of Soaring Spirits includes YWBB terminology, stories or ideas stolen from threads. Yeah, stolen. Really hope I am wrong about this.)

They posted a terse and uninformative message when they locked all the forums, which effectively threw the lurkers under the bus and sent the newbies, who generally have few contacts inside the board (forget about outside) in grief spins I don’t want to think about.

But if they thought this was going to satisfy the GenNext widdas, who really founded the current incarnation of the board, they’d apparently been away too long.

After the shock and the scramble to contact, add, send out the word and help – as much as possible – support the YWBB survivors as they hastily set up a new forum at Widda, the questions came.

What happened? Why so suddenly? What will happen to the thousands of pages of posts? The history. The stories? The resources? The friendships?

OMG! How will people find each other again!

All good questions and – as per usual – the founders were reluctant to come down off the mountain to deal with any of it.

My history with the founders is slight but contentious.

I took them to task about the cyber-bullying, and their non-to-tepid at best responses on a few occasions, and the few who bothered to reply to me were condescending when they weren’t just dismissive.

So while the others were willing to give a benefit of the doubt, I suspected that the founders probably had motivations that were more about them than the widow board or the members because that’s how it’s mostly been since they stopped actively needing it.

Is that judgmental?

Yes.

But I am just as harsh a critic of widowed folk who spring board their tragedies into careers that milk the vulnerability of grieving folk.

While the YWBB founders may have simply walked away after having picked up their lives, at least they didn’t sell hoodies and mugs with logos and pretend that somehow this was good works. And, thank the goddess, they avoided the Oprahfication of being widowed into a 12 step program where slapping on the stilettos, working out and attending weekend seminars to work that grief will land you in the valley of the happy widow dolls again.

Eventually the idea – a good one – took root among the alumnae of kicking in cash to maintain the board as an archive.

Posting agitation ensued to the point that one of the founders agreed to talk with the others, but the ultimate answer was still “no”. Closing down the YWBB was just a “business decision” that made the most sense.

Nothing personal, ya’ll.

A kind of dismissive, sucks to be you but I’ve moved on and what do you people want from me after fifteen years?

Still, the circling efforts and the fact that I was included (granted that some of the others probably didn’t/still don’t know who the fuck I was on the board) made me reconsider the nature of the board and whether or not I could really participate in the start up of the new one.

I am nine years out. Married again for nearly eight years.

I am not grieving anymore. Even the odd memories don’t knock me off course.

Although, I hate the fact that I cry easily now. I never did pre-dead husband and don’t like that I have lost my ability to be like a stone in the face of manipulating commercials, songs and YouTube videos.

Oh, I blame it on the approach of menopause, but it was widowhood that reduced me to this female cliché.

I have participated in these early days of Widda. I post. I share. I try to let people know that nine years out is a good place. It gets better.

But I haven’t totally hated the reunion. It’s good to see how far I have come in stark terms and how the people behind the aliases have done the same.

The furor is dying down now. The YWBB goes dark this coming Friday and now that the shock has passed and the posts are being archived on hundreds of different hard-drives, most of these people will go back to their lives. Just like people do after high school reunions.

10 thoughts on “Circling the Wagons

  1. I’m not a member at the new place, and I can’t figure out why exactly. I tried, the very first day … but just wasn’t feeling it, so I deactivated my account. I honestly don’t know what my hang-up is! I like everyone there, love seeing all the vets posting, and am so happy that a new place was created. I am very sad about YWBB closing, but am processing the emotions it brought up, and accepting it. So … why am I so resistant to jump back in? It’s really bizarre. 😉

    1. I would guess that for right now, you are good with being “off the island”. Nothing wrong with that. I went years without even lurking. And then my search terms lit up, I went to check on the fuss and started reading sporadically again. Sometimes it inspired me to blog. Sometimes I sent a PM. Mostly, I didn’t do anything.

      Now, nine years out, I feel like I have things to say and offer. Also bizarre. But I am just going with it and you should too. Resistance. Ambivalence. Things we should heed. Listen to. Honor, maybe.

      You might decide to go back. You might decide your time there is over.

      1. Thank you! It’s good to hear another perspective. I posted SO much at YWBB (not so much in 2014, but racked up over 6,000 posts before that) … could be feeling some burn-out. I found that I was feeling impatient, getting a crappy attitude, at some things, and that’s not what a wid board needs. And, like you, will maybe get a second wind later. I’m really glad to see you posting there, you DO have a lot to offer, and a fresh voice (since you’d been away for a while).

  2. It is a precipitous event. Who owns the material? Do the posters have any rights to it? Are they heading under the ‘dar for some reason? Do I, for one, want to know what it is? I was shocked and saddened, and like you I have to wonder at the real intentions from the outset. I agree that the management style didn’t make much sense, yet somehow this slamming on of the breaks seems consistent with everything else they do. And what is done and said doesn’t seem to match. By the grace of God, I will walk away caring not to know what happened. I survived YWBB. I survived widowhood. No post mortems here. Nope. Take care and happy blogging.

    1. I have nothing against the fake it to make or positive is good approach. Both are valid. Even huggy touchy feely sharing stuff has its place.

      But roll it into a pretty pink package with a guru on it? Rob it of the true venting – not the kind that is shushed with hugs or made less uncomfortable with jokes and platitudes – but the real ugly, raw sharing that the only thing that can be said after is “fuck yeah”. I am not down with that.

      To me, the Oprah widda is someone who has decided to slap on a Stepford wife face, shed a few Tammy Bakker tears when necessary and stuff down her actual experience in favor of tweetable inspiration and LifeTime moments that can be repackaged for Chatelaine and Ladies Home Journal.

      Ugh, widowhood needs its ugly. It’s raw. The admissions that come after years of stitching yourself up that it does get better but it’s not the better of before. It’s the better you found again and cherish because you know it can be ripped away.

      Gosh, that sound so depressing. When it isn’t. It’s just life.

      .

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