Monday, July 27, 2009

Single Is Working For Me

I've gotten a lot of advice since the break-up. Advice on how to move on, when to start dating, how to feel better...that sort of thing. And some of it has been useful. But most of it has been utter nonsense.

I've had people tell me that I should just face facts that because of my advanced age (32) and the fact that I have a kid, there's no way that anyone will ever want me. And you's not my happily coupled friends who say these things. It's my single friends/relatives who say these things. And most of them are older than I am. I assume it's projection on their parts. And if it turns out to be true for me, then the fact that they are single will somehow have nothing to do with them, and everything to do with age and family status.

I've also had people tell me not to wait. To "get back on the horse" again. But, you know what? I am loving being single. I love it. I haven't been single as an adult. I was with my daughter's father on and off from the time I graduated high school until my daughter was a few weeks old and then I was with the girlfriend. So for the last 13 years I've been in a relationship with someone who shared none of my interests, whose interests I didn't share. I've spent 13 years apologizing for being intelligent, for loving to learn things about religion and politics and history and for sticking my nose into every book I find. I've been told that I'm condescending and patronizing when I tried to talk about what interested me.

I don't have to try and please someone anymore. I have issues with conflict. As brash and loud and opinionated as I am...when it comes to actual conflict with a partner, I twist myself into knots trying not to make them angry. Because in my warped mind, nothing is worse than having that person be angry at me. I know why I do it...I've had enough therapy that I get that, I just don't know how not to do it. And so, I'm not constantly worrying about that anymore. I'm making decisions, big and small, based on what I want and need and what's best for my mini me, rather than what is likely to piss someone else off the least.

And you know...I have friends. I have my family. I'm not in the least bit lonely. I'm laughing more..spending more time with people than I have in years. It's good. Really good. I'm not ready to bring someone new into my life. I want to really get to know me...I want to indulge my need for new and useless information. I want to focus on me and my kid and not deal with the guilt trip because I'm not worried about taking care of an adult.

I am not only not looking for a new relationship...I am actively resisting the idea. I am not ready. I know what I don't want, but I don't have the first idea of what I want. And until I'm sure I'm not going to end up in screwed up long term relationship volume three, I'm going to run as fast as I can from even the slightest hint of romantic entanglement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It Isn't the Entree

So, I made the mistake of clicking on one of those "recommended" stories on Yahoo. I won't link to it, because it was lame and I don't like to share lameness. But, basically it was yet another story telling women just what is wrong with them that they are still single. straight girls actually believe this shit? That the reason they don't have fulfilling marriages with 2.1 childrena and picket fences and all of that crap is because they ordered a salad on their first date? Or because they didn't order a salad on a first date?

I'm single, for the first time since the summer after I graduated high school. And I'm actually beginning to really enjoy it. And realize why it was so damn necessary, but that's a whole other post. Now, I have no intention of being single for the rest of my life but I'll be damned if I'm going to try any of these "tricks" to find myself a decent partner.

First of all...finding someone isn't really all that hard. I know happily partnered people with all sorts of really big character flaws that would send me screaming in the other direction and I'm by no means the pickiest girl on the planet. (Honest self-observation or subtle dig at my exes? You decide.) The question isn't so much about finding "someone" as it seems to be about finding The One. You know, the one person in all the world that was created just for you, who will make up for the prom date that stood you up and the lover who stole your entire dvd collection.

The only problem with that little scenario...It just isn't that easy. You aren't going to find that person until you really know you. Because, while the drummer who broods mysteriously in the corner while laughing at your attempts to seduce them is exciting...exciting doesn't help when you are working out the details of a life together. If you're an intellectual who would rather spend an evening reading the latest issue of your favorite scientific journal while your partner would rather be watching a marathon of The Real's not going to work.

There just isn't any magic rule for being lucky when it comes to love. But, if you're reading books that tell you the reason you're alone has anything to do with your choice of entree on your first date, you're looking in the wrong direction.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Communal Living

Things are going quite well in this little corner of the universe. I've had a very fun week, thanks to the fact that two of my cousins are in town. One of them has moved here (woohoo!) and the other is on an extended visit. They both have children, so we've basically just been spending the day together. Today was the first day of swimming lessons for the brood. My mini me is taking a stroke refinement lesson and her younger cousins are either doing their "Mommy and Me" class or the "Intro to Swimming" class.

As we've coralled our children and helped each other with cooking and cleaning, I've been pondering the advantages of having "sisters" for lack of a better term. In our modern society, we're all really focused on "doing our own thing." Which has its advantages and drawbacks, but the biggest drawback is the loss of community. We're all very focused on our lives, our own children, our own needs. It used to be that neighbors, friends and families spent time with each other at home. It was nothing to pop next door for a cup of milk or to gossip about the neighbor on the other side.

And not that I'm looking to get married...but I understand some of the appeal of polygamy. Not the lock the women and children on the compound kind of polygamy, but polygamy as it is practiced in other cultures. Motherhood can be a lonely and frustrating time. Even if you don't work and can spend all your time parenting, you still feel like you don't have enough hands or patience. And having other women around who are also mothers, who love your children, who are willing to help care for them, there is something very comforting about that. There is always someone there to lend a helping hand, a comforting shoulder and a supportive ear. And it's just more fun.

To tell you the truth, I've lived in apartments where I didn't know the name of my next door neighbor, let alone any information juicy enough to use as gossip fodder. I love living this close to my family. I love that my cousins and I are so close and that our children are so close that we dump them all in the bathtub at the same time. I can't ever give my daughter siblings, but she has her cousins, and they are as close as siblings, with all the good and bad that comes with it. Yes, they squabble over who got more ice cream or whose sandwich is better, but they also cuddle together while my daughter reads them stories.

I love, too, that because of all this time we're spending together, my nieces and nephew (okay, well I suppose you could say cousins, but they call me "Auntie" and I call them my nieces and nephew) have become so comfortable that they will let me pick me them up the second I walk in the door, they give me hugs and kisses and don't seem to notice which one of us is bathing/feeding/changing them, and know that coming to any of us for help is an option.

My daughter and I are close, in part because I've not worked in a quite awhile due to my health so I've been able to be home with her. I'm glad we're as close as we are, but I've always wished that weren't so constantly alone. Because even before the breakup, my daughter and I spent most of our time alone together due to the exgirlfriend's work schedule. And, frankly, even though she was working, she hated us leaving on the weekends to go and spend time with family. I'm loving that I get to spend time with my cousins any time, that I don't have to worry about someone else's schedule.

My sister and I are putting in a rental application for a house that will give us all a bit more space and privacy. Which means that in just a few short weeks (hopefully) I won't be hearing her scream "Seriously?" every time someone else uses the bathroom. Because, you know, we should only use it when we are certain she isn't going to want it. What was that I was saying about sisters? Sigh...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm Rubber, You're Glue....

All my life I've listened to what others think of me. Not the others who love me and actually know me. Know what's in my heart and who and what I am...No, those loving, compassionate voices are a whisper beside the shrieks of the few people who dislike me.

Now, I'm not everyone's cup of tea. I get that. I'm not the nicest girl in the world and I'm flaky and more than a bit lazy. But, I'm not cruel, and hurting someone, regardless of what they've done to me, hurts me. I don't like it when I know I've let my brain get ahead of my heart. Because my brain is quick and clever and has a tendency to lash out before I can "filter" what's going on.

It's time for a change, though. I need to stop listening to the things that people who don't like me say simply to hurt me. Generally speaking, the feeling is quite mutual. It's rare for me to want to befriend someone who doesn't want to befriend me. So, why on earth do I ignore the words of the people I love most, the people I admire and respect?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

...Because I Knew You'd Freak Out!!!

I have a reputation for being high strung. I'll be the first to admit that it's not an unearned reputation. I have said frequently that I wouldn't live with me, and I wouldn't...I'm opinionated and neurotic and melodramatic. Not a picnic by a longshot.

But some people would have you believe I'm a compassionless shrew who freaks out over the least little thing. Not true. If I'm stressed and tired, I might flip out over nothing. However, both of my exes love to excuse lying to me, or omitting the truth or waiting until the last minute to tell me something by saying they didn't tell me something because they knew it would upset me. And, yes, sometimes the truth that they omitted or, frankly, hid would cause me to freak out, but lying? That will always cause me to freak the fuck out.

Here's the thing...while I'm the first to admit that I'm highstrung and dramatic, I'm also fairly logical. I don't freak out over nothing at all. If you're sure that whatever it is is going to freak me out, then hiding it or postponing is hardly the best way to go about defusing an imminent breakdown. And these are people who have lived with me. Not casual acquaintances...they've heard my monologues about how much I hate lying, what a waste of time it is. Especially since it's really hard to keep the truth from coming out...what's that line about how two people can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead?

I often wonder how much my flying off the handle at them is self-fulfilling prophecy...that in attempting to keep something from happening they actually set into motion the events that cause me to lose my shit.