I saw this question posted on GaG yesterday, and really didn’t give it much attention at the time. But the young man asking couldn’t figure out why these women “in their forties” were using GaG talking to people in their teens and twenties.
The question and his responses to others were full of contempt. As far as he was concerned, women on GaG who are in their forties must be unmarried (old maids), or were moms who wanted to know more about what their daughters are doing, or we were just simply losers that spent too much time on the site.
Okay, well, I can only speak for myself and tell you why I’m on this site, obviously outnumbered by younger guys and girls.
First of all, I’m not an old maid. I’ve been married for a few years, and prior to that had several dating experiences. I’m not a mother, nor plan to be as someone childfree by choice. I’m also not a loser. I’m proud to have accomplished many things in life, enjoyed a lot of travel, I have many friends, I’ve made many long distance moves, and have a career doing what I love – from home.
But why I joined GaG and continue to use it sometimes gives me a lump in my throat as I try to explain myself.
When I was 11 years old, I started my period and didn’t know what the hell it was. I was terrified to approach my parents about it, thinking I had a disease. The best I could do was hide it for an entire year with wads of toilet paper not understanding what was going on.
By the time I was 13 I had a full pair of breasts, had been wearing a bra for nearly two years, and was not entirely comfortable with the fact I was becoming a sexual being. I felt as though I was a pervert, and had no one to talk to about this out of shame.
When I was 15 I was frustrated that no boy at school would date me. I had been told often I was so pretty, yet I couldn’t understand why I was constantly passed over for the troubled girls.
When I was 16 I lost my virginity. Not only that, we had an interracial coupling, and had no one to talk about sex with or the fact we were interracial while everyone judged us.
When I was in college, my parents decided to split up and it devastated me. I had no one to talk to and kept a lot of my anger hidden. A year later, they got back together. All was right again, but for a year it was very sad for me.
At 21, I worked my first job in a small town where I was inundated with sexual harassment and general harassment by my supervisor. I made my atheism known and was ostracized daily for it. I was alienated and even told to shut up and put up with it since my choice was to be an atheist. Again, I had no one to talk to or turn to.
Then the internet happened.
After a lot of years with many more experiences, there still wasn’t much to research just yet. I remember doing a Yahoo! search for something in 1996 and half of the page was a white screen with no ads. As I went along in my adult life still more things happened. I was living with a guy who was suicidal. Years later, I was raped. Next, I fell in love with a guy who had been sexually abused as a little boy. I did a ton of reading on different countries’ histories, and took more classes to further my education. I’d been cheated on. I felt loss. I developed depression. I went through so much, and I went through all of this silently.
I had been on other discussion boards to talk about other things, but when I joined GaG and recognized the social culture, I felt a part of me came full circle. Here were young women asking questions, too terrified to ask their parents and friends – similar questions I had at their age.
It’s reasons like this I began to answer and help. I was in some way, trying to help that frightened young woman who never had the internet, much less GaG, when going through some scary times in her life. That young woman was me.
This is why a woman in her forties is on GaG. I want to give back. I also have gotten to know and like a lot of people here, and it keeps me logging in. No I’m not decaying and going through menopause. I’m vital, beautiful, and there are a lot of things I want to talk about.
I thank everyone for letting me do that, being a part of their lives and maybe just once, help that one person who feels so lost at a time while we do have the internet to reach out for help. I just wish I had that for me when I needed it twenty five years ago, but now that it’s here, so I shall be too.