Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Oh, Kaye!" - Girlfriends, Red Crayons and A Give-Away

Ta DA - - - -   WHIMSEY Winners - - - Charlotte (from comments left at a blog elsewhere) and Jayna.  Please send me an email (barleykw @ appstate dot com) giving me your mailing addresses and I'll get your copies off to you.  If you'd rather have a Kindle version, we can do that instead.

And thanks to everyone for stopping by and supporting me and Whimsey.  I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.  I hope you'll give Whimsey a try and I hope you'll love it and I hope you'll help pass The Whimsey Word!

See you all next month!


note:  if this sounds familiar to some of you, there was an earlier version posted at Meanderings and Muses a couple years ago.  This is a new and improved version! 

Did you have a special girlfriend when you were little? That "one" special person you would share your red crayon with?

Not just any crayon. That magical red one.

Every little kid deserves that one special friend they trust that much.

Sadly, my special friend ran off with my red crayon and then tried to steal my boyfriend to boot.

And then - years later after I had forgiven her (well, kinda), damned if she didn't try it again. For real! She did!

Try, that is.

This time though, I was ready. I was no longer the scared little girl who would just stand back and allow herself to be treated badly.

No one steals this gal's red crayon any more.

For a very long time, it was hard to admit how hurt I was, and once I quit dancing around it - along with a few other past hurts - I found it to be pretty heady stuff to be able to face those things head-on. Empowering even.

The things that hurt me in the past badly enough to sneak up on me and throw me for a loop all over again needed to be banished. I found one way for me to do that was to write about them.

Putting my thoughts and feelings down in black and white has become my most sure way of dealing with "stuff." Much better than carrying it around, mulling it over again and again, thinking about what I should have said, could have done - but didn't. The opportunity passes and those thoughts about how it could have been handled differently are a waste of time. So I just write it all out, read it and then firmly say to myself. "The End."

Does it always work? Not easily. But with work and determination, yes. It's, I guess, a form of journaling, a form of therapy. Whatever we choose to call it, I highly recommend it.

I've never been accused of "holding back." Not when it comes to saying what's on my mind.

Saying what's in my heart is a bit different though.

There are a lot of things I carry, just like the rest of you, that just aren't for sharing. Or if they do get shared, usually it's with Donald. He's one of the very very few who knows just how badly the hurt from all those years ago by the supposed best friend shifted how I felt about things for a number of years.

Donald and my journal.

The red crayon culprit (let's just call her La Beetch) is still around; but only peripherally. I see her at class reunions and I always speak and spend a little time with small talk. I no longer hate her because she broke my heart by betraying my trust, we just don't have much in common any longer. We were as close as sisters, in and out of one another's homes on a daily basis. Never once considered going to different schools when it came time to think about college. But now? Honestly? She's pretty boring, truth be told.

It's a heartbreak I'll never forget. Not the guy, pfft - but her. A girl I loved and trusted enough to share my red crayon with for my entire young life. To have her stab me in the back with it.

But you know what - I am one very lucky woman. I have a life full to brimming with a few special girlfriends I do trust. Who have earned the trust, and who I hope trust me in the same measure. Some I've known since elementary school, and some who have been in my life not quite as long, but who have become just as close and just as important. We may disagree about things from time to time, and we may scrap. AND, we may have hurt one another from time to time. But - not intentionally. Never intentionally. And we've gone out of our way to make up for those hurts. Because of those things, the friendships have only gotten stronger.

And now I feel free to leave a bunch of those red crayons just scattered about in my life to share with them. I love that. 'Cause big girls deserve to have someone to share their red crayons with too.

Here's to a life of red crayons and girlfriends to share them with.

Note: This post is a revised version of a piece I posted at my place, Meanderings and Muses, a couple years back.  If any of you have read WHIMSEY, you'll recognize a theme here.  Actually, a couple of them.  But yes - to answer those of you who wrote and asked specifically about The Wicked Women of Whimsey - that delightful group of women was pulled from years of experiences shared with sisters of my heart. 

So in a toast to girlfriends, I'm offering a copy of WHIMSEY: A NOVEL to one person who leaves a comment.  Check back tomorrow (Monday) morning and the winning name will be at the top of this post.

So - How 'bout you, Reds? Have any of you been hurt badly by a good friend? Did it change you in ways that lasted for a very long time? Were you finally able to forgive, forget and move on?  And do you have a group of women who you know will stick by you through thick and thin? 



Joan Emerson said...

Betrayal by someone you’d thought was a friend, someone to whom you’d given your trust, is always, I think, a hard thing. I believe you can get past it, but I doubt that you truly get over it . . . It’s one of those things that tries to sneak up on you in odd moments when you aren’t looking . . . you can forgive and move on, but memory remains. Life being what it is, I imagine we’ve all been there . . . .

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Would that betrayal were only a girl thing. I still remember discovering that my (then) best friend had copped a special marble from my room -- and me being so hurt I couldn't even demand that he give it back (Later, I stole it back instead.)

Not exactly the path to mature relationships.

~ Jim

Jack Getze said...

Great post, Kaye. I'm stealing the plot for a future mystery: She ran off with my red crayon and tried to steal my boyfriend. Years later, almost forgiven, she tried again. I was ready.

I don't remember having considered others' bad behavior --male or female -- as a betrayal, more that I'd made a poor judgment. I blame myself for the ugly surprises in my life.

Most of the men I know carry around all kinds of terrible things inside. We're taught not to speak out -- don't complain, don't explain. The sign of a great indian warrior was to die in silence at the hands of his torturer.

Gram said...

I think we have all had at least one friend betray us. Most of us put it away without closure and years later it comes back to bite us.
I like your idea of writing it all down and saying The End! I know it takes more than that but it is a start and I think I may try that.

Anonymous said...

This was more than just charming ... I agree with Jack- there is a really BIGGGG novel here! I think your concept of the red crayon is pure GENIUS!!!! One of the most vivid symbols I've ever read anywhere! You are one gifted soul! Thelma in Manhattan

Karen in Ohio said...

Yes, a friend has betrayed me. Blast them. But in your case, Kaye, TWO friends betrayed you, with each other. That's the worst.

My sister and I used to fight over who liked red and who liked blue--blue was much the more desirable color, and since she had blue eyes (lah-di-dah), she always thought that was "her" color.

I'm cracking up over James Montgomery Jackson stealing his marble back!

Hallie Ephron said...

I have a true true friend in college and every boy who ever dated me and met her, then call her and asked her out. She was that gorgeous and also incredibly nice, and she had her own boyfriend, thank you very much.

My husband-to-be was the one guy I dated who DIDN'T call her, not even when I broke up with him before he won me back.

Red crayons... are precious.

Kaye Barley said...

Mornin' Guys!

Betrayal. Great theme, always, for a good book. Jack, maybe it's the impetus for so many great books written by stoic men.

Jim Jackson - Good for you! Stealing that marble back was exactly the right thing to do! Who cares about being mature when your heart's been broken.

Joan, I think you're right - it's something we've all experienced I suppose. That's a sobering thought.

Gram, it's surprising just how much baggage you can dump on a piece of paper. And it does help!

Karen - does your sister still love the color blue? I like blue too, but red makes my heart sing.

Hallie - what a good guy you have. Pricelss beyond measure and you've given us great insight into his character. I'm glad he won you back.

Thelma - You've read WHIMSEY?!

in case those of you who have not read WHIMSEY may have guessed - a red crayon (mysteriously) plays a large role.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Great piece, Kaye! I, too, think you've got a fantastic book in that story now that you can distance yourself from it.

A few years ago I met and became very close friends with a woman from another country who was a gifted writer of poetry and short fiction. She knew nothing and no one in the lit field in the US. I opened doors for her and found her opportunities and introduced her to people who could help her--gladly. I gave her her first publication in an anthology I edited. I thought we were dear friends. She wanted us to go on vacation with her husband and her, even.

Then one day, I found out she was trashing me to all these people I'd introduced her to, claiming that I wouldn't help her career because I was so selfish and threatened by her talent. (Fortunately, these people had known me for years and that I had helped a lot of others as well as her.) I was so hurt. I had thought we were friends and valued each other, but it turned out she just valued me for what I could do for her. And her demands were rising.

Then, when I won a big lit award, she said to me, "I should have had that. You deliberately kept me from getting it so you could have it." (She didn't have any of the accomplishments that were a requirement for the award, such as published books, etc., but let's not let rationality get in the way of fantasy here.) I hung up on her.

I still occasionally see her. I've never told any of the people we now mutually know what she's done, and when asked to recommend her work, I've still done it. She is a fine writer. But if it's for anything where she'll have to be part of a group or community, I abstain from giving a recommendation because I don't think she'll treat others well. I won't work actively against her because I don't want to sink to her level. Painful, yes.

However, I have done the same things for a number of women and men, and they have all become wonderful friends of mine, who cherish me as much as I cherish them. I won't let one betrayal (oh, that this were the only one, instead of the only recent one) change the way I deal with people.
But yes, as Joan says, memory remains.

Karen in Ohio said...

Kaye, what a good question! Now she loves purple-the combination of red and blue.

I never thought of it that way. Hmm.

Hallie, that sounds like the perfect way to pick the best life partner!

Kaye Barley said...

Linda - this story makes me angry as all get out! There are givers and there are takers. We all know some of each, but I move away from the takers as quickly as my feet will take me. And I have to say, I wish I could be as gracious as you. You've shown yourself to be a much classier person.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Kaye, and wonderful comments from friends who would never steal your red crayon (or even your black one!)

Meredith said...

I love the idea of writing The End after a journal entry about a betrayal. Much better to get it out and draw a line under it and move forward (although if I'm entirely honest, in some instances, stealing the marble back still holds a lot of appeal...THEN maybe writing about it and saying The End).

Margaret Maron said...

Actually, that wasn't meant to be anonymous. I just checked the wrong box!


PlumGaga said...

A good friend since my teen years, who only knew my husband casually, became his confidante when he was deciding to break up our marriage. I haven't seen her since.

PlumGaga said...

A good friend from my teen years forward, who only knew my husband casually, became his confidante when he was going to break up with me. I haven't seen her since.

Anonymous said...

My best friend of 30 years just stole my crayon! She decided she would rather go shopping than attend the book launch for my first book. I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. Sometimes we have to move on. Wonderful column. Molly Campbell

Linda Rodriguez said...

Oh, Molly and Plum, how awful! Friends like those are no loss at all--no matter how sad their going makes you feel.

Kaye, I thank you, but you don't want to see what I wrote about her in my journals, which I consider a real survival tool.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Well, there was the time my "friend" invited me to her Halloween party--and told me the theme was "girls dress as boys, boys dress as girls. "

WHich I did. We were maybe--13.

However. That was NOT the theme. She'd made it up to make me look silly.

And now my powerful red crayon is LIPSTICK!

Kaye Barley said...

Linda, Journals can truly be more than a non-journaling person can imagine, I think. Quite cathartic. Now, if I can only limit myself to saying the bad stuff only there. I'm afraid,

Molly, that I would have spoken my mind. Loudly. Sadly, I have to admit there have been a couple of "friends" who have yet to even acknowledge that I've written my first novel.

Plum - I hate this! As Linda said, the loss of a "friend" such as that isn't a loss. That doesn't make the hurt any less though.

Meredith - Writing "The End" in any capacity can bring on some pretty strong feelings, can't it?

Margaret - you, my friend, are never anonymous - I can pick you out from a mile away! (hugs)

Kaye Barley said...

Thirteen year old girls can be SO mean! And, I'm afraid, they just grow up to be mean, hateful women.

But Hank Phillippi Ryan - you were still the most beautiful person at that party, I can guarantee it.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

No, indeed, dear Kaye. Bit I appreciate your rose-colored imagination.

It would be so lovely if we could convince ourselves as kids that eventually, things things like that wont matter. When my mother told me it would be okay, I didn't believe her for a second. NOw, I do.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Excellent post! Don't add me to the drawing pool- I have Whimsey already!

Jan Brogan said...

Hi Kaye,
I had the opposite experience. I had a best friend named Karen who all the boys were absolutely crazy about. But she was such a nice person that when I said to her: Listen, I have to go there alone, or I won't stand a chance, he'll fall for you instead, she completely understood.

(So for me, the name Karen always suggests beauty, kindness, and sort of magical powers.)

Once when we were about fourteen or fifteen, Karen tried to fix me up with a boy -it didn't really get off the ground. There wasn't a rejection or an injury, She wound up marrying him. They are still married.

Deb said...

Oh, Kaye, what a shame. But good for you on moving past it. There's another step to the journaling process when you write down something that's really hurt you. You can burn that page (or pages.) Not, of course, your lovely RED journal. But the burning is a very symbolic letting go.

I would still share my red crayon with my very best friend from third grade on. (Are you listening, Mary Frances?) And I've been so fortunate to have added more wonderful friends along the way.

Morgan Mandel said...

I was never betrayed in such a way as you describe, but I can relate to going separate ways. I don't have much in common with two of my closest friends from years ago. One I see occasionally, the other seems to have vanished from the face of the earth. Fortunately, I've found some really great friends I can relate to at this phase in my life.

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

Kaye, Thought I would drop in and say Hi, and see what Jungle Red was all about. Loved your story about the little red crayon.

Yes, when we are young, things seem to stick with us through our lives, even stolen red crayons and stolen boyfriends. How small it my seem to some people. But, to us when this happens it means alot at the time. Sometimes it just continues to live in us for awhile.

Trust is build at a young age, and when someone betrays us, It does leave us with broken hearts, and an awareness to never let this happen again to us. I can say honestly, have never had this happen to me Personally. Lucky I guess.

Yes,little kids do need a best friend one they can share their red crayon with without it being stolen or broken. I had one "Special" little girlfriend when I was young. She lived in an apartment down the street from me. We shared many good times together. Never remember us getting upset with one another. No broken red crayon there that I can remember.

She had a sweet Mother and very tall handsome Father. As we grew up, we kind of went our separate ways. She moved to another state, married a Wonderful man and is a very inspiring writer now. So proud and happy for her. She even has a dog, just as cute as Harley Doodle. We have been in contact with one another for several years now, and share a red crayon with each other.

You see, one must be careful who you share your red crayon with. Childhood, High School, College, or New Friends. There will always be those kind of people that just should never color, are for that matter borrow another one's red crayon.
Sister from Hooper's

Patty said...

Yes, I had this happen, I think most girls do (and apparently most boys). You almost have to feel sorry for them, they don't know how to be true friends and in the end will probably never have a real friendship.

I have much harsher memories of the bullies of the world, teenage boys and girls who are determined they will make someones life miserable. Moving from a fairly good sized city (Sioux City) to a really small town (Hayti, SD) at 15 meant being the but of all jokes and the most awful rumors you could possible think up. Their loss.

Patty said...

Oops, hit send too soon.

Bullying people doesn't do anything for or to you, it only hurts someone who can't defend themselves and we have to address this issue in schools because I can tell you from experience it hurts, a lot.

Jayna said...

I met my first real best friend in Junior High and we were best friends for four years. We were not popular with boys but we had each other. Then her father died and they moved to another state - and boys discovered her and how! They still hadn't discovered me and her letters made me so jealous. So I pretty much stopped writing and so did she.
Now I am a long way from those days. Boys discovered me in college - I've been married to the same wonderful guy for 45 years. And sometimes I wonder what happened to my former best friend...

Shirley said...

This was a beautifully written story of betrayal but then I'm not surprised. Your Meanderings and Muses has moved me to tears and made me laugh, and you even throw in great photos.

Kaye Barley said...

Kathleen, Hey you! Thanks for stopping by!

Jan - now this is a story I love. We should all be lucky enough to have a Karen in our lives.

Debs! Burning Journal Pages - YES! What a perfect way to end a personal drama. I love it and yep, I'm gonna do this.

Morgan, there are friends we just lose touch with, sadly. But I think, like you said, our lives change and there's just not as much there to hold us together. Trying to force a friendship based soly on history is a waste of time, I think.

Patty, I've said before and I have to believe it. There is a special circle in hell for bullies. And being the new kid in school has to be one of the hardest things ever. But girl, look at you now! And I am proud to call you my friend.

Jayna - one of the things Facebook has been great for (or maybe not in some cases!) is tracking down old friends. Even if it just means saying "hey" and catching up with what's going on in one another's lives. I love that. And I also love that one of the guys who discovered you is still your main squeeze 45 happy years later!!!

Darlene Ryan said...

I had a stupid fight with the man I was going to marry. My best friend suggested I take a little time away from him. They ended up getting married instead.

After I nursed my broken heart for a while I made better friends and met my husband who has been a wonderful partner all these years. I realized the only thing I felt bad about was the fact that she kept my favorite sweater.

Kaye Barley said...

oh my. Y'all. Did you read this beautiful note signed "Sister from Hooper's?" THAT, my friends is the adorable little girl that I had some of my grandest adventures with when we were growing up as "sisters of the heart." We may have lost track of one another for a while, but we continued living in one another's hearts. Now, we're back on track and I am SO blessed to have her back in my life. Jackie - I love you, girl. To the moon and back (and now I'm gonna go have a bit of a cry. Good tears).

Libby Dodd said...

I have rather selective memory. Over the years I have learned to use a mental "eraser' over the transcripts of betrayals. Sometimes the writing disappears completely, sometimes a lighter image remains.
But the important thing to remember is that whatever you put your attention on grows stronger.

Kaye Barley said...

Shirley - Thank You!!!! It always touches me to hear nice words about Meanderings and Muses (AND the photos!).

Darlene - And you know what? I don't blame you about being mad about the sweater! I have sweaters that have been WAY more loyal than some of the men in my past and that's the truth. What bugs me the most about a situation like you described is that so often, we just never see it coming.

lil Gluckstern said...

I really love this post. I think we have to go through betrayals to learn what really matters to us, and who remains important to us. Also, to remember that our red crayons are very precious, and we don't have to share with everyone. And finding your crimson really matters in that :).

Anonymous said...

Last line should have read:

"There will always be people that just should never color, are for that matter borrow another one's red crayon".
Sister From Hooper's

Kaye Barley said...

Dearest Sister from Hooper's - There truly are people out there who just should never color - you are absolutely right! And I just hope I'm smart enough now that I've reached a certain age to spot them and avoid them. <3

Kaye Barley said...

Lil, Thank you. And here's to finding our crimson, girl!!!!

(that's an inside joke for those of you who haven't read Whimsey yet. Now what are you waiting for?? :-) )

Kaye Barley said...

Libby - Yes, it does, I agree!

Charlotte said...

We all get hurt by someone if we live longer. There are some hurts that take a long time to get over. Some people never carry their hurt to the grave.

Kaye Barley said...

Charlotte! Hey you! Joanna Campbell Slan and I have been trying to find you through her blog and mine. You won a copy of Whimsey for leaving a comment at her blog. Send me an email, please, so I can send you your copy. Let me know if you want print or Kindle version. And thank you for dropping by again!!!

Kaye Barley said...

Charlotte. Darn - forgot to include my email address! It's

Susan Kennedy-Kalafatis said...

I have been very fortunate not to have been betrayed by a friend that I shared my "red crayon" with, but I have seen my loved ones hearts broken by someone who did it to them. Hindsight is nearly perfect but as a young girl it is nearly impossible to know ahead of time who you can safely share your red crayon with!

ANNETTE said...

My best friend in high school was nearly a part of my family. We stood up for one another at our weddings. She stayed in our home town and my marriage took me away. She did the ultimate betrayal. I had not heard from her for a time and I found out she had taken her own life. I am not sure if she realized all the people who loved her and still miss her, 30 years later.

Earl Staggs said...

Kaye, no matter what you write, you make me smile. I thought you used the red crayon ("crimson") theme brilliantly in WHIMSEY. Anyone who hasn't read it yet is denying themselves a treat.

Denise Ann said...

As a child I lived in a development near Poughkeepsie, NY where nearly every Daddy worked at IBM -- when I was around ten years old, the company opened plants all over the country -- IBM was the betrayer!!

My best friend, Claudia, ended up in California. :(

In life I have been very lucky with friendships -- I just spent a few days with my "best friend" from the time we met when we were high school freshmen.

Without my friend these days, I don't know what I would do! May they live forever.

Kaye Barley said...

Susan, you are a lucky, lucky woman, and also right, I think, about it being nearly impossible as a young girl to recognize the signs of betrayal until its happened. And while we're at our most tender age, the hurt truly is one that seems unbearable at the time. A rite of passage for some that I dearly wish could be by-passed.

oh, Annette. I am so so sorry, and those words are not nearly enough.

Kaye Barley said...

Denise - our friends really do help us through the good and the bad, don't they? Hard to imagine carrying some of the things we carry all by ourselves. Not just the bad stuff, but the joy also.

Kaye Barley said...

Earl, Darlin'! thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I couldn't have done it without you, and wouldn't have wanted to.

Karen in Ohio said...

Jan, I love that Karen tried to fix you up first with the best boy she could find! What a sweet story.

Love "Sister from Hooper's" post. Such a dear friend. Makes me happy for my own "sister of my heart", my best friend of the last 35 years. It helps to take away the sting of betrayal by other friends to have one really good one, doesn't it?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I just love the first Sunday of the lovely to see you all!

Anonymous said...

In the fifth grade a girl who had been home schooled, because she had cystic fibrosis, finally got to attend public school and we became friends immediately. Her mother, overprotective because she had lost another daughter to the disease, allowed my friend some freedom if with me. I don't know how I earned that trust, but the only normal things she got to do was when I included her. One day we were at the park and she was on the spinning wheel and I was pushing (she couldn't run, no air). When I looked down at the rut made by many people running the circle I saw some metal buried in the rut. I found a stick and dug and dug till I freed a pocket watch. A very old pocket watch. I was thrilled. For days we made up stories about how it was lost. But the next time she came to my house it went missing. She never admitted anything, but it was obvious. Our friendship cooled, though her mother kept pushing it. Four years later she succumbed to her disease. I'm still conflicted about whether I should have cared so much about a silly watch or was right to feel betrayed. Carol Robinson