Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Suburbs Causing You Trouble?

We visit, once again, Becky the Blogger, our "How To Live With A Blogger" heroine.  Last month, Becky turned to us with her long suffering indecision as to whether or not to succumb to the suburbs. Here's what we told her, as she confided,    "When You're Having Problems in the Suburbs...." 

Becky was having trouble falling asleep.

Strangely, she was also having trouble waking up.

She couldn't go to bed, yet she couldn't get out of it, either.

Becky was feeling depressed.

Things weren't going well in the playgroups she was attending.

She had missed so much of the "Mommy and Me" gym class that there was talk of suspending her punch card.

Becky felt out of control: she was talking too much at gatherings with the neighborhood women. She was beginning to argue with the other moms at the community pool, sometimes even with the post office workers at the small office in town.

There were problems at the morning cardiopump class, and she didn't know where the next unpleasant situation would occur.

She didn't know what to do to stop all this.

It was starting to affect her home life, her meal planning, her ability to read a book with full concentration, not to mention her sense of well being.

Maybe you feel like Becky.

You're having trouble living where you live, and you don't know how you got yourself in this bind.

It is a confusing time: will things get better? Or will they get worse?

My dear Becky: they can get BETTER.

Here are a few ideas that may help you figure out what is going on, and what to do about it:

1.  Figure out where things began to go awry:

Think back. When did the anger and frustration and acting out start? When did you begin to feel and realize that you weren't part of the clan? When did you begin to try too hard? When did you allow it to bother you? Try your best to recreate the early days, recapture who you were before you began to censor yourself. Take some time to think about your life and reflect on the things that have led you away from who you really are.

2.  Ask for guidance from someone who looks like they've chosen the Road Less Traveled

You've seen them. The ones that have survived life in the burbs. Watch for the clues: tie dyed shirts, pants that are cut from a different cloth than the rest, earrings larger than a seed pearl.  Tune up the radar, you'll spot them.  Seek them out, and they'll take you under their wing. They've blazed the suburban trail before, and they've got the map.  Come up with a simple list of small changes to bring yourself back: perhaps reintroduce the red bandana around your head that you used to love to wear. Break out the big oyster shell earrings again.

3.  Find a new route

With your new off the beaten path friend in arms, you can take on the suburban army messin' with your mind. Create your own map, you don't have to be exactly alike once you decide that for yourself. Choose a new route, one that feels like the way home to you.  Not one that carries you further from yourself.

4.  Steady as she goes

Once you've chosen and committed to steer true to yourself, stay the course. Lock on to the way to live in the suburbs without giving in to the pressure of being like everyone else for fear you won't be included.  Figure out how you are going to make your way back to who you are. Do you still have that Psychedelic Furs CD you'd blare every morning once upon a time? Throw it back in the car. Play it.

5.  Keep your eyes on the prize

Look to your new future: brighter and clearer now. You know who you are, and don't be fooled into thinking you must change and fit in to find happiness. Better alone and with yourself, than in the company of many, and not with yourself.  (old Spanish proverb)  Even though you have chosen to make changes in your life, this doesn't mean that the world around you has made the same choice.

Keep this in mind, and stick to your map. 
Update: It's been 28 days since we last chatted with Becky, and gave her our advice.

Here's what Becky has to say now, "Though I didn't let anybody know, I felt really bad about failing at living in the suburbs. After talking to you last month and finding my suburban drop out mentor at the coffee shop, I was able to make up the painful last few years I suffered through. Now I'm winning at life! and feel good about myself again!"

You're welcome, Becky, we are so happy to have been able to help. 

Rock on.

In unrelated news: I have a post up  for consideration as BlogHer Voice Of The Year. I'd love to be able to read it at BlogHer, it's from my series, "When You Love A Blogger."  If you would, please, click here and vote for me. Voting closes in one week. THANK YOU!


  1. Sound advice Empress. I particularly like the part about The Psychedelic Furs CD. :)

  2. I am very happy that Becky is doing better at suburban living.

    I like #3, I could use a little bit more of that tin my life.

    REALLY loving that Spanish proverb, it is so perfect.

  3. Very glad to hear that she's doing better.

    What great advice. Those are things I could focus more on myself. Well said, as always.

  4. Good for her. Life is not a "one size fits all" proposition!

  5. hehe life in the suburbs is truly interesting to say the least...your advice has wisdom and humor....

    hi to e!

  6. Only you could weave a post like this Empress. This is great advice, the only other thing I would tell Becky is that when in doubt and feeling that there is no one else like you, turn to twitter.

  7. Alison: you need to do a post telling us about life where you are. That would be so interesting to us.

    From Tracie: how about you doing something about how life is for you, in your surroundings? I want to know.

    Kim: I'm so glad I just visited you. You'll make it. Just hang in there...I know what it's like.

    Brian: this is the "nice" version of poor Becky Blogger's life. Gotta keep it positive. xo

    Saucy B: poor Becky. She spent 3 years with the blues in the burbs before she said, "hey, MAYBE it's them and NOT ME.."

    Jessica: I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You're so good to me.

    Bossy Betty: do you remember the days with young children, and just trying to fit in so your kids would have friends? I know you do.

  8. I think poor Becky has finally found her own way...the life of the 'burbs woman is not for everyone.

    Thank God.

  9. We all need help surviving the suburbs. Great advice. Dig the tie-dye bit. My own life has been a bit saner since I dug the tye-dye and old hippie skirts out. Tell Becky a bit of wine helps everything too.


  10. Aw Becky I'll be your friend, you know I will.

  11. good advice...i love this...really, i do

    VOICE OF THE YEAR...hahaha...i nominated myself!!!

    You are awesome you know

  12. I need to send this to my cool younger sister who is afraid of the suburbs. Great advice here empress.

  13. Glad that Becky's doing better. The suburbs can truly suck your soul. Stay strong!

  14. I will definitely vote for you!

    And it's tough living in France too.

  15. I have a feeling I may need to find some tie-dyed clad mamas come the start of kindy in august.

  16. Ugh - gah - seed pearls! I need to start cultivating these non-conformists now before it's time for school to start.

  17. i'm such the suburban misfit. i show cleavage and don't even wear cropped pants. scandalous.

  18. I voted!! If anyone can win the people's vote it is YOU, Alexandra.

    This is great advice.


  19. What's wrong with pearls?

    (they're awesome when you're sixteen and going to prom...where you'll dance to the Psychedelic Furs...just a suggestion.)

    p.s. And now, I'm taking off my high-waist jeans and voting. (pantsless. try to stop me.)

  20. Wait, are you saying that tye die shirts are not in? Damn.
    Love Becky

  21. "It's been 28 days since we last chatted with Becky..." Oh, I get it. It all goes back to "the cycle."

  22. So Perfectly True. "Better alone and with yourself, than in the company of many, and not with yourself." Halleluia! Putting my B52's in right now ; )

  23. Kudos to Becky. We all know that life in the burbs can be brutal to say the least. If I may add, a bottle of good Tuscan wine also alleviates stress. I'm just saying. :)

  24. i agree: find the person in the tie-dye shirt. you will officially be part of the 'other' crowd by hanging out with such an individual, but sanity might be yours:)
    have a great weekend. also, i tried voting for you as per your most recent post, but there was literally no password i could create that would satisfy the system and give me an account which would then allow me to vote. i pumped in several, including numbers and punctuation marks. so just know i love your stuff.

  25. Life in the suburbs can indeed be frightening and lonely. We're rooting for you Becky!

    I love it when you're funny, A, just love it.

  26. ED--you are so wonderful to try and try to log on to BlogHer. I appreciate it beyond words.
    Amanda: 28 days. You got it. xo You always get it.


  27. There's nothing worse than feeling like you don't belong. But the advice you gave here (particularly about finding the one in the tie-dye shirt; come on, you KNEW that would appeal to me!) is wonderful. I'm glad Becky feels right at home again :)

    What a ridiculously awesome bloggy friend you are, Empress. XOXO

  28. I heard over at Absolutely Narcissism about your voice of the year nomination and went right over and voted! Congrats to you!

  29. This is a wonderfully helpful post! I also advise growing pot under your deck. Like my, um, neighbor.

  30. The suspended punch card is like the suburban sucker punch.

    Great post, A. And B.



Related Posts with Thumbnails