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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Local Lady: Making Friends, Google Searching for Sisters

Do you have trouble making friends with ladies? I know a lot of women who try to select their friends from the opposite gender, believing that their lives will be less drama ridden by friending exclusively the opposite sex. Whether or not this is effective depends. I've found personally that it does not work for me. I can't help but feel that if you want to be friends only with men you are nixing half the population from the globe! This is sad!

Women having women friends is such a wonderful, meaningful part of life. It's crucial, especially for people who do not have ready made familial "sisterly" ties. I am so grateful for my women "besties", my sisters.  In fact, if it weren't for these ladies in my life, I know I couldn't process the natural drama of life on my own. Their listening ears, sage advice or simple comforting presence enhances and lifts my spirits every day.

I know some ladies have trouble meshing well with other ladies, and as an adult it doesn't seem easy to forge real connections with others. You are not forced into structures and common ground outside of educational institutions or religious institutions and in the workplace you may find special people- and you may not. Some people are more comfortable remaining business acquaintances, never moving beyond the coworker or employee/employer relationship model.

It isn't always easy to move past our own insecurities and the tangle of the others'. Maintaining close relations isn't easy in a busy life style, but I think real friendship is necessary to live a healthy life.

Now technology gets a lot of flack for modern isolation. People sometimes feel like islands attached to a phone or screen, missing "real" human interaction. But it doesn't have to always be or feel this way.

I have three four lady friends who don't even know me! I met the first three several years ago via Netflix around the New Year. You know you want to get fit and get a brand new start- and it's hard to get that motivation. I abhor workouts in public and have zero, zip desire to see the inside of a gym. On Netflix I discovered "Bikini Ready Fast" a Vogue workout (don't laugh or do, I am!) with Ellen Barrett. Working out with the three ladies of Bikini Ready made me feel instantly fabulous- the exact opposite of how I used to feel in PE or during workout videos.

Ellen felt like a friend and her back up girls were so encouraging. One named Marie had such a sparkle about her that I would find myself smiling back at the screen while doing the cardio and weight lifting segments. For months I was able to consecutively exercise daily for the first time in my life. When I got sick and too weak, "Low Impact Deborah" helped me to keep going, leading me to rebuild my lost strength. She ought to be called High Impact Deborah for encouraging me to resume! When you fall off the exercise train, it is not easy to get back on.

Now the funny thing is that I rediscovered each one of these gals on-line completely by accident this year! It turns out sparkly Marie is the woman dynamo behind MarieForleo.com! Marie is famous for helping people to create a business and a life that they will love. I love her videos! Check her out!

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Ellen has her own on-line workout/health business too! And when I tried her Yogini workout for free, I was delighted to see my friend "Low Impact" Deborah! Thank goodness! Because to be honest, I hadn't exercised in weeks. 

Ellen Barrett: Image Source

The fourth friend I found through one of my nearest and dearest. The fourth friend's website was given to me in an e-mail. Jen is the founder of Wild Sister, an on-line magazine by women and for women, all around the world. I'm a frequent buyer and I can't tell you how refreshing it is to get a women's magazine that isn't telling me to lose weight and obsessively bake at the same time. The topics are wide and varied. While their articles encourage you to reach for and make goals, they never do so in a guilt inducing "Pursue an unattainable, goose chase perfection" sort of way. The perspectives are helpful. And the messages of positive encouragement, even if it's just the bright colors and affirming words radiating from my computer screen have always been a sincere, much needed boost.

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Jen, Ellen, Deborah and Marie, who I'll probably never meet in person are there for me on-line, cheering me on and making me smile. Thank you internet!

So, even if you aren't ready to go out there and find some gal pals in the flesh, maybe you could look for some female role models or on-line sisters to support you in some way? Let me introduce you to a few resources that have boosted my morale:

Meet Ellen (and Deborah!) HERE

Meet Marie HERE

Find a Wild Sister HERE

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<3 the Local Gal


Ready to reach out? Say hello to a neighbor. Be brave and ask them over for coffee or even just offer an open smile and friendly wave. Don't be disappointed too much if they don't reciprocate. Who knows what they have on their plate! Just remain consistently open. Some people need time to come around. In the meantime, do something for yourself! Go to a salon and get chatty with the gal doing up your do! Are you more extroverted than I am? Take a dance class or a spinning class! Who knows where it might take you and who is waiting out there waiting to bump into you, to become friends.

Can you think of a woman you admire? Tell her in person or in writing today! We could all use some friendly acknowledgement from time to time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Literary Love: Wonder & What's Real

“Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.” 

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One special aisle in the children's department of Morrison Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana held on its shelves a row of magic portals to the Land of Oz. I liked the movies, but I revered the books. Time and time again I would return to check out the Patchwork Girl of Oz, Queen Zixi of Ix, Ozma of Oz and the Emerald City of Oz. There were other magic countries by the Baum series. Not all of the books were even written by Frank himself. Some of the other countries I grew to love as much as the land of Oz, if not more than that first magic country.

As a child, I was troubled with big worries: mortality, religion and fear. It was thrilling to escape into a world where I was sure to be safe from these and where I could be sure that even the villains couldn't harm me or my beloved protagonists. 

My family did not go in for feminism (at least by label). Sandwiched between so many boys, who I sometimes envied, I did not catch onto the girl power trend that was present in the 90's. However, in an outdated series from long ago, I saw the future. 

The Land of Oz was ruled almost exclusively by women. The one male leader was a fraud (not malevolent), succeeded by a scarecrow (who was less and yet more of a man?) and all true, best governance was issued by a wise woman, namely Glinda the good. When the rightful ruler is restored to the throne, you find a female too- a young one at that! Ozma of Oz shares her power with Dorothy of Kansas, an ordinary little girl from the Midwest, who is a savior and liberator almost by accident. 

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In Oz, Glinda has a magic book that she can look into to see what is happening in the world (more than one!). I realized recently, as I pondered the wonders of the worldwide web that The Magic Book is very like the internet. In the morning, I like to wake up and Google countries to see what is happening. Because of the internet I can! I look to see what is happening in Nepal, in Latvia, in any country I might know by name. The internet is magic! Sometimes Ozma wants to look in on her dear Dorothy who lives in another world on Earth. She consults the Magic Book, just as I login to Facebook to see my friends on this side of the world and on the other. How far we've come from when I was young, and lucky enough to have access to an early computer the Tandy

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On Facebook, I watch the exploits of astronauts on the Space Station. On the NASA site I can see photographs of the outside of our world. And the magic of all of these things, stokes my imagination and my heart in the same exciting way I experienced as a little girl in the local library. 

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Now the Oz series is not exactly revered in most literary circles. I can't be sure that it isn't Science Fiction, and I can't say with conviction that it is, either. They are silly books for silly children. But even in these silly books, I look back and discover wisdom, social commentary and forward thinking. There are beautiful ideas described so succinctly that even a small child can absorb them. For example: 

“In this world in which we live simplicity and kindness are the only magic wands that work wonders” 

Just a thought.

Because it is nearly Christmas, I'll end with this quote:

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“. . .It is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the power of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil. . .” 
― L. Frank BaumThe Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and an Insightful New Year to all my readers!


the Local Gal