A Fabulous Prison, But a Prison Nonetheless

by Chloe Jeffreys · 23 comments

in Blogging

I thought of writing a lot of words, but I have decided instead to go outside and take a walk in the sunshine, which means few words will have to do.

I had a personal epiphany at Type A Parent in Atlanta two weeks ago.  When I wrote my post-conference wrap-up piece about my experience there, I was still in the grieving process, which may have been the reason I sounded grumpy, as Jane Gassner mentioned in her comment. This is unfortunate because it may have reflected badly on the conference itself, or made it seem not as wonderful as it really was for me.

I want to shout it out now that Type A Parent was a WONDERFUL conference. The best yet.

What I learned at Type A is that when you chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow you might just miss seeing the rainbow. And the rainbow is the most important thing! Kelby Carr created a conference that was peopled with rainbow-pointer-outers.

After seeing the rainbow, I came away with a clear sense of purpose and meaning, and no idea what is going to happen next in my life.

What I am clear about is that I don’t want to live in any prison, even a FABulous one. Because even a FABulous prison is still a prison.

My purpose for Generation Fabulous was that it would be a place where midlife bloggers would find support and encouragement. It has met its purpose. Generation Fabulous put midlife blogging on the map. In just one fabulous year, I got to be a part of an entire paradigm shift, within the blogging community at least, towards post-mother women.

I have seen midlife women go from obscurity to take their rightful place on center stage.

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Sandra Sallin, Queen Latifah, Lois Alter Mark, Janie Emaus, Julie DeNeen at BlogHer 13 Voices of the Year Awards in Chicago.

As I pack my bags for Haiti, and shift my focus to what is next in my life, I want you all to know that I am happy. I am sad for things that happened that I think didn’t need to, but I am happy to be free.

I have no idea what is to come, but one thing I do know for certain, I was not meant to live my life in any prison. Not even a fabulous one.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara October 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

As I’ve just watched and admired this whole GF thing from afar, I don’t really know what’s going on, although I can guess and piece it together. I’m glad you’re free. I admit that I never really “got it,” mostly because my 50s, while fabulous, to be sure, will look drastically different from yours. There will be no empty nest…ever, actually, a fact I’ve not only come to terms with, I’ve actually embraced and added to (and probably will again. I had no idea special needs adoption would capture my SOUL.) If my mid-forties are any indication, mine will be devoid of stilettos and expensive manicures, filled with teen-aged angst, possible diaper changes (please, God, NO!…but possible), therapy and specialist appointments, amazing sex with a wonderful husband, and lots and lots of laughter.
My point is that fabulous comes in lots of packages and no brand can possibly capture it all. You continue to be you and continue to walk in the freedom that is Chloe and you will continue to touch lives and, really? What else could possibly matter?

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Beverly Diehl October 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Funny, I assigned that song as the ringtone for my abusive ex-boyfriend.

If I had stayed with him, I would be much better off, financially. (If I was still alive and sane, that it.) But while money is a useful thing to have, helps keep the lights on, and so forth, money cannot be what drives us if we truly want to be fulfilled.

Freedom, reality, being loved for who we really are… so many things that are more important than what we can buy in a store. Every time I hear “I’m Free,” I celebrate being free, having my life back.
Beverly Diehl recently posted..Slut of the Month: CleopatraMy Profile

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François Roland October 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Hi Chloe,

Nice pick of song for the topic, I always adored it! Can I propose one, on the same theme?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBsh8QmnSz8

I wanted you to know I totally support your take on this, because I’ve been there and felt the same. My cage was really a golden one, I was one of the bosses, I made high money, drove a Jaguar and still my partner (sensibly higher than me in share holding) was making my life a hell. Doing things that I really disapproved, mistreating my staff and colleagues, I finally made myself free from the whole thing. Did I lose some money in the process? Yes and so what? Where is the point of dying unhappy on a mount of gold? I never regretted my move finding back my freedom of action, my peace of mind, sleep at night and this priceless thing: Being myself again and not giving my hand to things going against my principles and convictions.
Anyway I like what you are, what you do, and I’ll follow you.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm

No amount of money is worth your soul. The irony is that anyone would think this is about money for me. I don’t even know how much money was ever made, or what bank it was deposited in. The only thing I know for certain is that my name is nowhere on the account. Isn’t that sad? I truly was a fool, but now I’m a free fool.

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François Roland October 14, 2013 at 4:19 am

Yes it’s sad Chloe because it’s called “being used.” Of course my story is different because we were talking of real business from the starts, with offices walls and paid staff attached. Well, you don’t engage in that kind of deals with just spitting in your hands and giving a handshake as in the French old times. So believe me, I was legally in the shares and it costed very big money to have me out of them one day.
Your story is a little bit different because it started as a kinda hobby, and you progressively gave it a real work dedication, creating by your work “a brand”, “a name” or what we call in business a “goodwill”, well in other words “a value.”
If I understand well, things have been handled unbeknownst to you, in a way that you are now discarded form any claim to this created value. And if that is so, it’s simply outrageous.

Please my dear Chloe, try to make it a lesson. Whatever will imply your real working dedication in the future, tie it in legal forms before. What I can tell you from harsh experience is that when money comes in the game, nothing holds anymore, and certainly not friendship! You know what, even families are broken by Mammon, unforgiving God of money and only ultimate master of this sad world.

Kind thoughts my friend
François Roland recently posted..Bus Shelter Mania!My Profile

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virginia sullivan October 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

I hope the experience in Haiti is everything you hope it could be. I started blogging because so many of women I know are unhappy at this time in their lives and want something different than what they have (even me). Sometimes the roads we have to take to find out what that is are tough. Take care of yourself. You are great- and this is a good time to figure out what works for you. Virginia

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Chloe October 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thank you, Virginia. I appreciate your kind words.

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Sharon D. October 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I’m happy that I know you at this stage of life as well as less wonderful moments in the past that we never have to repeat!!!!!!!

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Chloe Jeffreys October 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

So true.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..A Fabulous Prison, But a Prison NonethelessMy Profile

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Carol Cassara October 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

My dear Chloe, it sounds like this is an important turning point in your life. What you’re doing in Haiti is way more important than anything else. It’s inspirational, this trip. I admire you tremendously for doing it.

And, of course, all things will be revealed in time.

I write this just moments after watching Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 program on Malala, which I couldn’t get through without bursting into tears. It just seems that the stuff that we spoiled Americans think are such huge crises pale in comparison to what’s going on in parts of the greater world, and in this case, Pakistan, where a teenage girl was shot point blank in the head for wanting to be educated. (And in Haiti, where basic medical care would make us cringe.)

When I look around at people behaving badly in silly, spoiled American ways and contrast them to brave Malala’s story I get, well, disgusted. And saddened.

Which is to say this: I love that you want to provide us midlife women a voice, but you are off on an important mission that’s way more significant than any online community.

Blessings to you. May your trip to Haiti help you better understand and set your own priorities and look at recent events in a clearer light. I know you can let all this go so that your Haitian patients will have your full attention for the important work you’re doing. Safe travels to you and your colleagues.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Three weeks ago I was stressing out about Pinterest and the fact that I don’t have a big enough (or any) interest in spending hours there figuring it out, finding followers, finding interesting stuff to pin, and repinning stuff. I mean I was actually very stressed out about it. Then a voice in my head said to me, “It’s only blogging. It isn’t like it’s life or death, you know.” And that was the beginning of the dam bursting.

It’s only blogging. It has its place, but it isn’t life or death. It only blogging.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..A Fabulous Prison, But a Prison NonethelessMy Profile

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Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) October 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

So–we’re in my car driving back from Creative Alliance ’12 last year. It was an incredible weekend and we’re both full of what we want our futures to be. What I absolutely remember your saying to me was something like, “I feel like I’ve found my tribe this summer but I don’t know what I want to do about it yet. I have a friend (Anne) who has grand plans, but I’m not sure that’s right for me.” So it took you a year to find out it wasn’t. But think of all the experiences you’ve had this year that would never have happened if you hadn’t kept moving forward.
Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) recently posted..Finding One’s Form: Writing from Multiple PerspectivesMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys October 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I will never forget that car ride, Jane. Not ever.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..A Fabulous Prison, But a Prison NonethelessMy Profile

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lillian Taylor October 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

So very grateful to read your poignant words!

As much as I have enjoyed being embraced by GF I have always questioned why the real life challenges many of us face on a daily basis were not addressed or transparently glossed over. Please don’t get me wrong I understand the greatness of positive thinking but often it can leave folks feeling isolated as if everyone else moves through mid life happy and content.
I applaud you choosing to share your personal thoughts with the rest of us and wish you a safe and successful journey.

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Janie Emaus October 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I wasn’t in that car with you and Jane, although I wish I had been. But what she said has so much truth in it. I do believe all things happen for a reason and for the best. Onward, my friend.
Have a great time in Haiti. We’ll all be here when you get back.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I wish you had been there, Janie. You’d be a eye-witness to what an idiot I turned out to be.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..A Fabulous Prison, But a Prison NonethelessMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys October 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm

There were many aspect that were fabulous, but nobody can stay fabulous every stinking minute of every stinking day. Not even me.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..A Fabulous Prison, But a Prison NonethelessMy Profile

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Cathy Meyer October 13, 2013 at 2:03 am

Chloe, you are too real to ever be superficially “fabulous.” Happy to hear you’ve realized that.

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Chloe October 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I think that was the problem. To real to last forever as the opening act of anyone else’s dog and pony show.

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