Ladies that tweet (warmly)

I’m knackered. Exhausted, worn out, past it, no longer good to go and totally flat with any sign of a spark left.

So that’s menopause for you.

Most of the time I feel like chewed string. Limp and flaccid and slightly soggy. Concentrating on anything is tricky because all the time I feel a bit wobbly and desperate for sugar and coffee to stimulate some energy. Sleep…sleep…sleep that’s all I can think about.

And I have dropped into my mother’s shoes. I am the same grumpy, critical, self-sacrificing martyr we thought she was when she was the age I now am. Pummelled and punished for being ego-centric in my youth, it’s my own kids who are wrecking havoc with my liberty and acting out my parent’s revenge for all the grey hairs I inflicted on them.

‘Feeling like chewed string’ was my mother’s expression. I get it now. It’s when the head doesn’t feel fully connected to the body, but feels wobbly and is spinning a little like a gyroscope. It could be because I don’t know how to pace myself. The common dilemma (I’ve discussed this with my pals) we don’t go to bed early enough. The older the kids get, the later they go to bed, and what was always important after the frenetic energy of food, baths and bedtimes was unwinding time and thinking space at the end of the day. That chilled glass of Chenin Blanc and feet up on the sofa time I imagine myself having at 8 o’clock, is actually a large glass of cheap red gulped down desperately during the washing up at midnight.

My mother took her time out at the WI, learning new skills and listening to women’s twittery talks on topics pertinent to women circa the 1970s. My sisters and I regarded the mere mention of the Women’s Institute with sneering cynicism as silly rubbish.

Last night, I went to the first ‘Ladies that Tweet’ event at the Eden Project. I shut the door on the sounds of cynical mutterings from my own family and tripped out with escapist glee in my heart.

Stepping out from the on-line world to the real life, flesh and blood, chatty world to meet women I only knew as @… was lovely. In spite of my on-off hot flush cardy fidgeting, and the fact the inspirational speakers Molly Flatt and Daisy Griffith (damn them) were young, beautiful and dynamic, I was relieved to discover lots lovely women who knew who I was and were pleased to meet me. I had a reputation, albeit as @Fishwifemark2.

Twelve months ago I also considered ‘twitter’ as silly rubbish. I passed judgement on ‘twitter’ as nothing more than millions of people all shouting random things and nobody listening? Nevertheless, in order to understand the social media age and to keep up to speed, I knew that I needed to create a twitter account and force myself into the conversation.

Tweeting for my employer changed that.

I had a reason to speak and needed to learn what people were saying. Once you have a purpose, it gets meaningful. Twitter is about social networking, but you don’t have to get up and go to a breakfast business networking event to do it. The best way I can describe it as entering a room full of people, whenever you want to. You can stand on the side, like a wall-flower and listen. You can stalk and hover like this for as long as you like.  Nobody will know you are there. Or you can take the plunge and politely interject, join in a conversation, respond to someone’s comment. The more you say, the more people will notice you. The rules of social etiquette are the same: be interesting, be funny, be generous, respond, offer help, tips and add interest. Just because you don’t know or can’t see the whites of the eyes of the people you are following or following you, it doesn’t mean that polite regard and respect isn’t important. Ideally, you will want to become one of the more interesting people in the room so that people listen and pass on your ‘pearls of wisdom’  (in no more than 140 characters to others). It isn’t about selling, or shouting stuff,  it’s about sharing what you know. I’ve tweeted suggestions of where to get a good meal or book a holiday in Cornwall so that other people’s business will have benefitted, I hope, from what I’ve shared. However, if I hadn’t been able to learn – through twitter – what was out there, I wouldn’t have been able to help at all.

In the room, there were women listening and tweeting. “Please keep your phones on,” we were told. Little bleep alerts sounded intermittently around the room indicating cyber asides to the speakers’ presentations. However, I’m still a dinosaur without a smart phone. I might have embraced twitter at my computer, but I can’t take it with me. Thankfully, therefore I’m not a twitter addict. Good thing too, or there be random menopausal tweets: “Hot and sweaty again.” And while twitter has it’s share of spammers, there’s certain attention I really don’t want to attract ;-)

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About Jessica Milln

Single life was full of many great and adventurous ambitions. The offspring curtailed all that. Thankfully, living in Cornwall keeps me chilled.

2 comments

  1. Thanks so much for such a lovely blog post Jessica – so glad you enjoyed our event

    Ladies That Tweet team – Jo, Clemi and Shelly

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