“Single by Choice” … what is this mystical phenomenon?

I find myself in the position for the first time since I was 16, “in-between relationships”. Truth is, I’ve always had a “person”, until 8 months ago. A long term boyfriend, a 19 yr marriage, “last first date” long term relationships following. Never in my life have I ever felt comfortable just “being”, until now.. and it feels pretty empowering truth be told.

What I have noticed as of late, others are somewhat mystified by my attitude regarding this current “status”, “Why are you single”, “How are you single”, “I have a really great guy for you”, “oh, … well, thats ok”… I can appreciate now how my other “single” friends must have felt all the times I couldn’t fathom HOW they could possibly be happy alone, suggesting they join a dating site or jump back into the dating pool. I’m being treated like I need to be wearing a black dress and veil like an Italian Nonna, after losing her spouse – #labelled. Why is there #shame attached to being a single adult female? When I first moved to this house.. I was the “single girl”. Imagine.. I can look after an entire house completely on my own… oh my goodness. I own a chainsaw and a big ass snow blower.. have looked after other “COUPLES” driveways during the winter too, you know, the women, who have a man to “take care” of THOSE “manly” jobs. Heres some insight.. I looked after the same while I was married… due to circumstance, husbands on the street admired it, wives, asked me to stop because their spouses asked them why they didn’t do the same. So clearly being independent is a true rare trait, or so it seems.

I’ve always preferred the company of men, much stems from my childhood I assume as being a country girl, my only neighbours were boys. I had two twin brothers…I had a dirt bike, a tractor and could drive a stick by the age of 14. I gravitate to the “real”, the zero BS, always have. Gossip, cattiness, jealousy and criticism, I’ve always associated these behaviours with females in general – which is why my social female “circle of trust” is very small. Men, can be single, single for years… hanging with the guys, rec. sports teams, just being, but unattached. Nobody bats an eye… For women however, I’ve now experienced the “stigma”. Its both concerning and pathetic. We somehow NEED a man or there must be something wrong… wtf, is this 1960? I’m only 8 months new to this, but its blinding evident.

When my marriage initially dissolved 6 years ago, I had lived my entire adult life at that point, playing a role. I was 100% a “Stepford Wife”. The “happy” homemaker who was there to keep up appearances, raise the children and look after her man. I own my choices, and what I allowed.. but regardless, with this, I gave up everything about me, that was authentic, as was advised it was “wrong”. As soon as it was official we were separated, I rebelled, and totally own this… didn’t make the best choices, I became selfish and did as I pleased on my new “free time” when he was now responsible for our daughters. Two BIG rebellions that were always forbidden, I booked my motorcycle licence and got not one, but two (tasteful) tattoo’s. G A S P . I finally spent time with my best friend who was also single, that was never “permitted” prior.. never going to bars, or meeting men, just girl time… movies, dinners, talks that lasted for hours… I needed it, never having a sister, my girlfriends are treasured bonds. I remember going out for dinner with a friend, I considered a really close girlfriend at the time. We were chatting away and she became serious ” Listen, so the whole “bike thing”, the tats, spending time with ___… have you switched teams”…. I was both shocked and felt so completely judged by this. Because I’m doing what I WANT to do, because I’m single now and spending time with a girlfriend that I was never able to do prior… this, puts my sexuality into question?… was she kidding.. ? Nope.. “Oh, just wanted to check”.. needless to say.. that placed what I considered a good friendship – into a bare acquaintance position. I can honestly say, I’ve never judged anyones simple basic right to be single -by questioning their sexual preference. I personally wouldn’t care who anyone decided to love… but because they’re single, choosing to be, are they suddenly gay? This mentality was foreign to me. This was going back just shy of 6 years ago.. so lets bring us to current day.

I’ve been single now 8 months. ZERO interest in dating as I’ve taken much needed time with self-care and awareness, which I can’t stress enough, is the best investment I’ve ever made. It seems almost constant now, “are you dating”, “Have you met anyone special”, “Are you on a dating site”, “You NEED to get yourself out there again”… I have zero interest, and yet feel the need constantly to validate this to others. I was at a friends, end of summer party last weekend… I went by myself – which is a big deal for me, as I struggle with social anxiety, but made a promise and HAD to commit to this, for myself. The party was incredible, loads of people, a live band (which I adore), some old neighbours of mine.. I was slowly feeling comfortable. My girlfriend who owns the house, brought me to a table to get to know a few other women, one, she mentioned “we really should connect”. Now, being who I am, I knew it was likely because she had recently gotten out of a toxic relationship and maybe needed a sounding board… I’m kind of known for this role, so I sat, introduced myself. The other women there, immediately spiralled into “why the need to connect”… hmmmmm “hey, maybe the host wanted you two to meet as a set up”…. my poker face sucks. I’m certain confusion was immediately surrounding me… “ummmmm, I may have had “bad man”, however… I don’t feel men are bad – sorry to disappoint ladies… no lesbian here (NOT THAT THERES ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT)… but I am confident, that in my 48 years.. my sexuality has never been in question. These ladies were pretty “solid” if I’m being honest, I enjoyed talking with them.. but it still left me feeling pretty conflicted.

So, I’m left wondering… why is it so difficult to grasp or comprehend that a seemingly, well put together, independent, confident, intelligent single female, would or could possibly “choose” to be single, unless of course – she’s a lesbian. When I was (unhappily) married, I looked at my (few) single friends as so lucky to be free to just “be”.. but admit, I too, was the first one to bring up dating to them, finding them a man… so for those friends… I can say, from the bottom of my heart.. I am sorry.. I completely get it now.

I don’t require a label to define who I am (anymore), I AM HAPPY, CONTENT, AT PEACE – just “being” … in a relationship, with myself… and for the first time in my whole life, I finally feel like I truly “belong” here. If and when the day ever comes where eyes meet, and he stops me in my tracks… I know without question, life is about to change… I’ll be open and excited for that, but until then… my relationship status will remain “between relationships indefinitely” and as shocking as that may be to some.. it truly works for me.

Remember Her?

Remember how simple times were when we could just be who we are.  Never being concerned of judgement or criticism…  we just “were”?  I know we all grow up, mature, become responsible participants in society… blah blah blah  … I appreciate this.  Somehow between, dreaming of the wedding (for those who married), finding the boy/girl, buying all the pretty magazines, picking your Wedding party, planning the big day, then shortly after comes “when are you having a baby”?  Lets skip ahead to the house, the white picket fence, the little family, the mini van (wasn’t ever me), becoming the “wife”, the “Mom” (all wonderful – yes)…  the children grow older, as do we.  All of a sudden, as the years somehow seemed to be a blur and BAM – kids are young adults and somehow “I” am the “old mom” we once viewed our parents as, our friends parents.  When did this happen?  When did I get “old”?

My children were young teens, marriage had dissolved over years and years – just growing too far apart, beyond repair.  Somewhere during adulthood, I had forgotten who I was as my own person, my own individuality.  When I found myself at the new stage in life, middle age, I realized that I had moulded myself to fit into a self created cage, to be everything I was “supposed to be” and had lost my own fire and passion within.  Once I was out of the cage to fly free, I knew there was no cage large enough to confine me again.

IMG_1557.jpg

The term “mid life crisis”, perhaps it may be for some, for me, it was allowing out all of the qualities about myself and bright flame within to become un-authentically me.  I grew up in the country, my picture could have been beside the definition of “tomboy” in my youth.  Once on my own, I sold my conservative SUV, gave away all my sweater sets, bought a Jeep, obtained my motorcycle licence, bought a bike, went to Las Vegas for a conference with work, got a tattoo… ALL things that felt so natural or me, but they weren’t “allowed”.  I’m no victim, I allowed my voice to be silenced… I own this, becoming who I always was, again.. was the best most liberating, honest life I remember living.  So, was it a mid life crisis, or was I finally being who I always had been – until becoming a “grown up” slowly dimmed the once vibrant blinding light to what I allowed it to become, a faint blue flame, flickering to stay ignited.

Being authentic, following the passion that fuels our souls in our own unique way, deciding “today”, not “someday” to truly LIVE and the freedom to do so, this is the most honest way to live, peace and happiness is found when we stay true to who we really are, and the people in our lives, our relationships, our own outlook on the world – all become so vivid, because we took the time to remember our own amazing inner child, that somewhere along the way, we forgot.

Uniquely You

I’ve spent so much wasted time looking outward instead of in.  Constantly feeling like I wish I was more, wish I had more.  I pointed my view to the labels, the stigmas, the “perfect” personalities, appearances, marriages, decorating styles (NOBODY is perfect by the way)….   I’d spend hours getting lost on social media – Pinterest especially saving recipes, decor ideas, do it yourself projects..   hundreds and hundreds of “pinned” items – countless hours actually, never to go back and actually make one of the recipes never mind chalk paint some treasure found at a restore and create a refurb piece.  I was going to become a seamstress, a scrap booker, candle maker.. yup – HUNDREDS of dollars later, to be given away or sold (I won’t even go into the infomercial phase I went through, I remember eating a bowl if ice cream while watching my 1of10 Intro to Aerobics DVD from the 90’s, it looked so engaging and motivational on tv, I wanted to be one of those girls.  true story,,.).

IMG_0992

I set myself up to be constantly disappointed..  I wouldn’t ever be the “perfect” I saw in everyone else.

I’m not entirely certain when my perspective changed, but it did at some point.  It became too exhausting trying to fit the mould or constantly try to achieve the unattainable because I was trying to be something that wasn’t authentic to ME.  I saw the beauty all around me, in everyone and everything – except myself.

There is nobody else in the entire world that is the same as me.  If I see the qualities in others that I admire so much, is it possible, others may see something special in me also? It wasn’t hoping for being accepted, it was appreciating others, but learning to appreciate the qualities in myself that make me, me.  I can’t be anyone else, I’m not supposed to be.  The icons of past present and in the future didn’t hold that title by blending into others.  They stood alone, unique, and gets what?  We ALL are.. there’s not another you – anywhere.  Learning to embrace our perfect imperfections and allowing the outward appreciations to resonate inward also…. a wonderful feeling takes over.  Its a freedom to recognize that in our own special way, we each leave our imprint on others and shine bright and sparkly in the night sky,

Embracing the Empath

em·path
ˈempaTH/
noun
 (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.
images-1
I reflect back to my childhood often, looking at the little girl through my much older and dare I say “wiser” eyes in the attempt to put together and make sense of this box of puzzle pieces that make me, me… I was familiar with the term “empathy”, however  it was during a visit to a Therapist when I was asked if I knew what an Empath was  –  I apparently held these traits in full.  I remember the exact moment, I sat staring blankly, the light bulb moment happened and  “hmmm,… well this certainly wold explain a lot”.  Being told there is a reason for feeling what I’ve always felt, someone can understand why I feel how I have always felt when I had ZERO clue – an actual description!!!???  The weight release I wasn’t even aware I was carrying,  I don’t know how to even put that feeling into words to be honest.  “Who am I”… The jotting down characteristics is like putting a never ending puzzle together, knowing there a many missing pieces.  Understanding the reasons “why”… is like finding them.
As long as I can remember, I always felt different, like I saw things and felt things so much differently than those around me.  I didn’t just look at people around me, I SAW them, I FELT them…  If we made eye contact, I somehow (maybe it was in my head) saw into you.  Social settings sometimes can result in complete exhaustion.  The emotion’s in the room resonate, best described – it feels like each persons “spirit” is trying to reach you, weighs, pulls, tries to reach you.  Others sense it without even realizing.  It used to be a running joke with my ex-husband “how do you find these people”???  Whether standing in line, being in a restaurant, sitting on a plane, anywhere – more times than I can even begin to remember, I was confided in.  I was told I engage people too often, perhaps this is true… regardless, our paths cross and a connection is made, I listen and continue on.
I always felt I had to be the “fixer”, I’ve always been the “listener”, the one people regardless of age, felt they could comfortably confide in.  I had no answers, just had the ability to listen which seemed to allow others to answer their own questions.  People need to feel heard.
In high school, a friend used to call me “Dr. Ruth”… (aging myself), I was “Dear Abbey”, I didn’t choose this, I didn’t strive for this, I didn’t have to try at all to be honest.   I just “was”.  When their energy changed and I felt the air lighten, I felt lighter.  It gave me purpose.   I had such clarity when others asked for advise  – The popular phrase “he’s/shes’ just not into you”…  I remember saying these exact words back in the late 80’s, when others were making excuses for the reasons “why”, attempting to make the friend feel better…. it was just so obvious to me, so if asked, why sugar coat it.  Deep down, we all know when something doesn’t feel right, we don’t REALLY listen to the requested advise….   we’re just struggling accepting it.  Our inner voice is there for a reason, its our primal instinct…  we just choose to block it out because sometimes the truth is simply too difficult to face, but truth always surfaces no matter how hard we try to smother it.
The Empath mind – doesn’t allow the same clarity towards itself.  Its an outward view (a one way street) only.  Its a feeling or “energy” that surrounds people, looking into the eyes of another that the senses heighten.  Practicing what we preach, taking our own advice …  doesn’t apply.