Looking for a good one

It’s been two years since I started this blog and I was just thinking that I don’t write nearly as much about my journey as a single woman as I thought I would. Maybe it doesn’t matter so much anymore?

Then I went to have my legs waxed.

I’ve been going to the same salon for at least 10 years now. The woman who does my waxing is great. And after ten years of small talk during some pretty intimate moments, we know each other pretty comfortably. We talk about our vacations, our families, her kids, my work and the weather. (hey, it’s Canada, we always talk about the weather!)

As I settled onto the table on Monday, she asked me “so, have you found a good one, yet?”

I started to think about what I was looking for the last time I saw her. It was before the trip to Florida, so maybe a good pair of sunglasses? Did I tell her about my car troubles? Maybe a good car? My hair clip sometimes falls out during our sessions, maybe a new hair clip?

Feeling bad about not remembering our last conversation, I finally asked, “A good what?”

“Husband!” she responded.

Immediately my mind bifurcated into two parts. The part with all the somewhat angry and defensive sounding answers like “I don’t need a husband to be happy/successful/a woman” or a few bitter, sarcastic responses “Is there such a thing? ha ha”

And the other part, which was stunned into silence trying to find a reasonable and calm response to her question. Because, first, she is a really nice woman who asked from genuine kindness. And second, she was about to rip all the hair off my legs and it seemed like a good idea to stay on good terms and not get bitchy!

Before I could get the two halves of my mind working together again (which I’m not really sure how long that might have taken), she said “well, I guess you’re too busy”.

Right. Somehow I forgot to put “find a good husband” on my to-do list. Whoops!! I mean, when was I going to get around to checking that off my list!

How is being less busy supposed to help? If I sit around at home, the only guys I might meet are burglars and maybe that guy who stands on the street each night and smokes a joint while his dog uses the lawn.

Finally, my brain kicked into some sort of action and I responded that ‘yes, I’m busy having a fun life and I think doing that alone is better than being with the wrong person”.

Luckily, she agreed and we proceeded with the rest of the small talk and hair ripping.

I’d like to say that this is the first time I’ve heard the “maybe you’re too busy” response to me being single but it’s not. I’ve also heard “well, you have a very full life”, said like some kind of accusation instead of the compliment that should really be.

I’ve also heard “well, you’re very independent and don’t seem like you need a man”, “you’re very smart which is intimidating for men”, “some men aren’t comfortable with a woman who makes more money than them”. There’s the always classic, “but, you’re such a good catch!” And, my personal favourite, “just get drunk and be slutty!”

But it’s been awhile since I’ve heard any of those. Or, maybe I’m just not listening anymore. Being single feel normal to me, rather than some kind of social abnormality that has resulted from a distinct lack of effort on my part.

Which is maybe why in all the range of responses that flew through the part of my brain that was still working, it never occurred to me to feel bad and say, “no, sadly, I haven’t found a good husband yet. Sorry about that.”

And maybe that’s why I haven’t been writing about being single very much. It’s not the important or the most interesting part of my journey right now.

 

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My top 5 TED talks

I love TED talks. So many interesting things to learn in 20 minutes or less!! Here are my top 5. So far.

1. Learning to be Vulnerable

Bréné Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability has transformed my approach to relationships. I discovered her talk when I was doing work with a style consultant. I thought I was trying to look more “corporate” in order to move my career forwards. In fact, I ended up learning how to dress so that people saw me, instead of my clothes.

Which meant that I had to be okay with being seen.  With being vulnerable. To shine a light on the dark corners where my shame and my “not good enough” voice lurks. To practice authenticity and to live and love whole-heartedly. In fact, the banner for my blog page is my beach drawing of whole-heartedness.

 

2. The Power of Secrets

Frank Warren asked people to send him their secrets on a postcard of their own making. The results are simply stunning.  Some of the secrets are funny. Some take your breath away and some will break your heart.

Every week, Frank posts some of the postcards on his blog Postsecret.com and I usually start my Sunday morning with a coffee and a sharing of the secrets. Some of them are hard to believe. Some of them are so much like my secrets that I feel like I could have written them. Or, maybe should have. The courage and bravery is inspiring.

 

3. A Stroke of Insight

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher, gives a beautiful and eloquent talk about the process of having a stroke. Of her having her stroke.  Of the two halves of her brain becoming separated from each other. The half that is in the here and how, fully in her body. And, the half that transcends the physical and becomes fully integrated into the universe. And of the possibilities around learning to move more between the two. And, the audience reaction to the moment where the stage hand walks out with a real human brain is priceless.

I have a Jill Bolte Taylor quote on my wall as you come into my home which says, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.”

 

 

4. Texting is not our downfall

Have you ever listened to anyone bemoan how texting will be the death of the English language?  How young people aren’t learning to communicate properly?  Well, here’s your ammunition to prove otherwise. John Mcwhorter gives a great explanation of how texting has the characteristics of a new language. One that can better represent human speech than written English can.

If that doesn’t convince you, maybe the long list of people who have complained about the degradation of the state of the written language going back several thousand years might at least make you feel better.

 

5. The stress of being creative

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the best-selling book, which was turned into the blockbuster movie, Eat, Pray Love. And then she had to produce her next piece of work/art.   She talks about how the pressure to produce good art (writing, music, painting, whatever) takes it’s toll on the modern artist. From alcoholism to drug abuse to depression and mental illness, it’s no wonder we don’t consider going into the arts a good career choice!

So she goes back to the Greek and Roman idea of the creative inspiration, the genius, and looks at the idea that creative inspiration lies not within us where we are responsible for it, but outside of us. And that our job is to do the hard work of writing or painting or playing music and rely on the muse to show up. If it’s crap, it’s your muse’s fault. If it’s genius, it’s not you, it’s your genius!

I am a fledgling artist with my photography, my glass art, my music and my writing.  I can put the stress of creativity aside, and just do my art work.  Sometimes, genius and inspiration are there. Sometimes, it’s just a practice session. And, that’s okay.

 

So, those are my top 5. For now. What are your favourite TED Talks?

Thoughts on turning 45

Last week I marked my 45th birthday and I discovered something neat. I actually really like me.

I have always found birthdays slightly stressy. On the one hand, all the birthday greetings and love from friends and family are wonderful. They remind me how blessed I am. I have been whisked away on surprise trips, had birthday parties and I usually treat myself to an extra long massage session. I mean, pretty blessed, right?!

But then there is that niggly feeling, that “still not good enough” gremlin. Still not married. Still not thin. Ungrateful for what I have. And, somehow the “middle of the decade” birthdays seem worse. Somehow, 35 felt closer to 40 than 30. Time slipping away into another year of failure. And, 45 has brought 50 into view for the first time.

So, while I love celebrating my birthday and being reminded of all the great things about my life and especially all the wonderful people in my life, I find myself unconsciously bracing myself for the emotional blow of “not good enough”.

When that didn’t fall this year I was left a little like a stranger in a strange land. It was a new place, a new landscape. I felt my shoulders gradually begin to loosen from their tenseness of the anticipated blow and I realized –  I am so okay with where I’m at this year. Life is full of wonderful things which I am ever grateful for. And, yes, it still has the struggles that I still keep chipping away at. That’s what exploring is. Enjoying the journey, the view and the scenery while facing the unknown and doing my best to change directions when I need to, with honesty, gentleness, compassion and fierce loyalty to myself and my path.

On the day of my birthday I took myself off to the glass studio for some creative time. And, I made myself a heart. This was only my second try at making this kind of pendant and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I’ve been working on pieces for other people over the past while but I decided on my birthday I would make something just for me.

Only later did it occur to me that I had made myself a heart.  A manifestation of love for myself.

Self-love is a pretty awesome gift at any age.

 

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Making waves

When I picked fierce as my word for this year, I had no idea that the Universe would so quickly and eagerly leap to answer my invitation!

The idea of being fierce was to be clear in walking my path. To be 100% fully me in my life.  Fierce, as defined by the Urban Dictionary –

the combination of a positive mental spirit, bold words and unapologetic actions used collectively.

I think I should have also ordered a large dose of bravery to go with that fierceness.

Because here’s what I’m learning in just the first few weeks of my word.  I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do and how I want to be in this life. So deciding *what* to do isn’t the issue. The issue is in putting it into action. In stating my truth and then letting the chips fall where they may.

There is a terrifying moment when you state your truth and it hangs there in the air in frozen silence and you wait to see how it will be received.

I am afraid of the falling chips. Of disappointing my friends and loved ones. Of letting people down. Of making anyone feel sad. Or angry. Of being anything less than perfect. Of not being what others want me to be. What I am “supposed” to be.

In this integrated, intertwined world of mine, decisions have ripples. I am afraid that they will become waves.

I’ve already made some hard decisions, taken some firm actions and drawn some boundaries. I’m not sure how they’ll be received. But, even in just these first few forays into being fierce, I already know what has been holding me back.

My fear.

So, I guess I’ll see how the waves are this year. I hope that true friends, who know the real me, will support me and celebrate in my journey. Those who don’t can be forgiven for not knowing the real me. After all, what have I shown them?

Already the Universe has brought some amazing new possibilities into my life. And, I am more excited for this year than I have been in a long time. Especially in a cold, dark and rainy January.

I guess I’ll see how many friends I have left at the end of the year!

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