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.

 

profound_relationship

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.

 

 heart_pendant

 

Dancing on the edge

The last 5 days have felt like dancing on the edge of a pothole.

There is a really great poem called Autobiography in Five Chapters in which life is described in 5 beautifully short chapters of the process of learning to make changes. From falling into a pothole, learning to get out, learning to avoid the pothole and then, finally, learning to take a different route.

I love this poem because so often depression feels like falling into a pothole for me. Last week, the pothole opened in front of me and I have been dancing on the edge  of it ever since.  I keep trying to figure out what causes the pothole to appear. I know that depression and loneliness are doing their own little dance around the edge, intertwined in their downward spiral that often takes me with it.

I try to pull them apart, to separate their co-dependence. To convince my heart that the depression will pass no matter how much it hurts right now and that loneliness is not proof that I am unworthy of being loved.

And then I try and do my own dance of healing. Staying away from numbing comforts that sideline me in my own life (hello internet!), reaching out for support, writing about it, getting out for a walk, eating well. Trying to be gentle on myself and reminding myself that I am not a failure as I do each of these things imperfectly.

Trying to take the word “just” and “should” out of my vocabulary. Cracked.com had a great article recently on the 5 most useless pieces of advice ever given. Number 5 was adding the word “just” to your advice. You know, “you just need to snap out of it” or “you just need to eat less and get more exercise”.  If it was that simple, trust me, I would have done it by now!

I know that this will pass. And, that like a dance, it is complicated and dynamic and changing. It is a chance to understand myself better.  A chance to figure out how to adjust my sails in the wind.

As I dance around the edge of the pothole, I know that this time I didn’t fall into its depths. And, if I do, I know I can get out.

Maybe someday, I will know how to walk down a different street.

aliceinwonderland

IKEA Round 2

When Single Girl last battled the mighty IKEA in the Case of the Two Side Tables, the score was a very close IKEA 1.0, Single Girl 1.5. Proud to report that in Round 2, The Mystery of the Six Drawers, Single Girl soundly defeated IKEA with a score of 6-0.

There is something about putting together IKEA furniture by myself that triggers my grumpy single girl bitching (aka whining). And while I’m sure that lots of couplehood people have stood alone and hex-ringed IKEA in frustration, I miss having some shared misery as I stand by myself  in the suddenly vast and quiet space of my apartment surrounded by numerous confusing parts with their slots and precisely drilled holes and their right-side wrong-side left-side right-side challenges.

Problem is, the two side-tables I conquered look so great and there is this matching dresser that would look much better with my bedroom decor. So, if I want to be grown up and have “bedroom decor” on my budget, I figure I’d better just suck it up.

Step One, the bag of parts.

Ikea_parts

Seriously, look at this bag of parts!! I’m sure fewer parts were used in the moon landing. Feeling the need for support, I posted the picture to Facebook.

Now, I don’t want to cast aspersions on my Facebook friends but the three most common comments were “wow, that’s a lot of drugs for one person”, “what’s with the big bag of cigarette butts” and “oooh, I LOVE putting together IKEA furniture”. Two somewhat reasonable responses and one clearly crazy one.

Step Two, mix a gin and tonic.

Step Three, check instructions.

I greatly admire the people who create the instructional diagrams for IKEA. Explaining how to assemble furniture using only pictures and no writing is a truly admirable skill. But, the first thing that becomes clear to me is that not even the gurus at IKEA believe that you should assemble furniture by yourself. Check out this sad single guy, and then how happy he is to have a friend.

Ikea_alone

Ikea_friend

Bravely, I decide the hell with IKEA and their anti-single instructions, I am doing this by myself. Even if, as the later instructions show, it might lead to me attempting suicide by trying to crush myself under the dresser.

Ikea_death

Step Four, mix another gin and tonic.

Ikea_gin2

I’d make this a longer story but things got a bit fuzzy after that.

I’d like to say that I was filled with profound insight as I assembled my dresser. I’d like to say that. But the only things I really learned were as follows –

  • some yoga stretches come in handy when working with carefully balanced parts by yourself
  • finish all the bending over before dinner and not after you’ve filled up on butter chicken
  • good music and a few gin and tonics help take the pity out of the party
  • when you start using the screwdriver backwards, you’ve had enough gin and tonic

It took me four hours and I got a blister on my hand from the screwdriver but I did it. Sure, there were a few leftover parts but I didn’t do any of the steps wrong, requiring an undo and redo, AND I managed not to strip any screws. I count that as a giant victory.

Single Girl 6. IKEA 0.

Self-esteem, priceless.