First, it has been so long since my last post that I feel I should apolo…
You know what? My life has been crazy, the dust has been settling, and I’m done apologizing for things that don’t really require an apology to begin with. No offense, but my life was falling apart, as you know, and I’ve been busy putting it back together. Divorce is a tricky business and it tends to leave one reeling. So, I love you all, but you’ll just have to get over it.
I can remember in years past, prior to marriage, how difficult it felt to be alone on Valentine’s Day. I would dread its approach like you might dread having your eyes gouged out with an ice pick.
Ok, maybe that was a little dramatic…
Uh, NOPE! On second thought, that seems about right.
I found it difficult to face the idea that marriage was probably becoming a big improbability in my life plan. Knowing that my child-bearing years were numbered fewer than most, I had planned to marry fairly young by the world’s standards. I was hoping for roughly 22 ~ 23 since I wasn’t expected to last past 25 before needing a hysterectomy. Then, despite the world’s views, and by the standards of my religious culture, when I turned 27 with still no prospects on the horizon and the nail in the coffin of my ability to bear children having been firmly set, I thought life was clearly over as I knew it.
My point is this. It is very hard for most people to be single on a holiday that is meant to epitomize romantic love between two people. “What a waste of a perfectly good day,” I used to think to myself. My heart and mind during that time after my hysterectomy were plagued with the idea that my self-esteem was tied to the fact that I was alone. This led to feeling quite conspicuous about the fact that no one claimed me as their special Valentine. I mean think about it, we are brought up to invest in the idea that life is better with a loving partner. Indeed it may be for some, but for others we are left to consider the fact that we might need to know happiness in solitude.
For instance, the idea that my “aloneness” meant that I could never be a happy, whole individual left me feeling truly self-conscious. I’d try to stay well hidden in my apartment all by myself on the dreaded V day. I was sure that the lady helping me check out at the grocery store could tell, just by looking at me, that I was all alone and pathetic. Maybe it was the fact that I broke down and left the house for the sole purpose of purchasing a chocolate cake meant to be consumed by me, and me alone, in hopes of drowning my sorrows.
Why, oh why does the lady at the grocery store have telepathic powers? Why does she have the uncanny ability to read my mind and know that I am so lonely? Clearly everyone around me can see how pathetic and alone I am just by looking at me. Oh, my goodness, pardon me, my “alone” is showing. Let me put it back where it belongs, hiding away in my apartment. It couldn’t have been the fact that, facing the certainty of everyone already knowing my plight anyway, I may have rambled on a bit while standing there about how the chocolate cake actually personified my romantic dinner date.
Of course in my youthful state of mind I had decided alone equaled pathetic, or less than. This was my ultimate downfall. The idea that alone meant I was nothing, a nobody, completely and wholly insignificant. Oh what a world, what a world!
And then I met my former husband. Saved at last… Or so I thought. All I’m going to say about that is that irony is a brutal reality of life. I discovered that having a partner does not necessarily mean you don’t feel alone.
That was the sad part. The good part? Well, that was when I discovered that my self- worth is in no way tied to whether or not I have a partner. Rather my view of myself ought to be invested in the ways in which I conduct myself apart from any such partner; which leads me to the present day.
It sounds counterintuitive, I know!
But, let’s face it, counterintuitive is my middle name.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know what I mean by that. Ha!
Truly, though, I have never felt so free and happy to be alone. I have discovered a universal truth, which most of you probably already knew, but give me a break; apparently I’m a slow learner. I must be catching on because what I discovered was that it is certainly better to be alone and happy than to have a partner and yet be completely and utterly miserable. Wow, what a revelation!
I know some of you just did a face palm and thought to yourselves, “What, you’re just now figuring this out?”
Yes, yes I am. Not that I didn’t know it before, but I didn’t know it.
There’s a difference, you know…
At the ripe old age of 38 I am single and finally learning to embrace it. I’m embracing the impossibility of it all and the possibilities that are born of my crazy life and the situations that I find myself in. A year ago I was seriously contemplating suicide and yet from the outside looking in you may have thought, “Hey, that girl’s got it all figured out!”
Uh, uh! No way! A year later and I feel happier than any person in my situation has a right to be. Mostly because, counterintuitive to what you might think, I’m happy in the understanding that I really don’t know much of anything at all. I’m almost giddy with excitement at the thought of being alone this year. I went to the grocery store on Valentine’s Day and held my head up high hoping that the telepathic grocer would be able to read the hope in my mind and the wealth of opportunities now garnered there. What a world indeed. The counterintuitivity of it all! (By the way, apparently I’m making up new words here because spell check just yelled at me. Oh well.)
The really crazy thing is that I actually had several offers. Who knew that I would be dating more at this age as a single mom than I ever have previously! Good grief, really, who knew?!? Oh yes, and the crazy part is that I chose in the end to turn every last one of them down in favor of spending an evening enjoying my “singlehoodniship.” Or whatever this. So there!
Take that world!
Counterintuitive is my middle name and I was happily alone this Valentine’s Day. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Don’t be afraid of your “aloneness.” Embrace it, love it, and be the best you, you can possibly be because of, and even in spite of your circumstances. Life is too short to wallow in misery. Oh yes, I get it. There will be those days when wallowing is just about all you can muster. I’ve been there. I’ve even taken you there with me so don’t think this is lip service; when you can, climb out of the pit and look around. Life is truly a beautiful thing when you accept, even love the counterintuitive bits.
This is the stuff life is made of, experiences good and bad, that shape and mold us until we reach the potential at which God sees us. That’s where I want to be, counterintuitive bits and all.
Ta, ta for now, love to you all!