All the Single Ladies

Photo by  Dorey Kronick

Photo by Dorey Kronick

I've been reading the book All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister and it is fabulous. I never thought that at 41 I would still be single. At the same time I was never the type of girl who day dreamed about her wedding.

I do want a partner in life. I want someone to share my life with, and yet at the same time I want a relationship that affords me the freedom to pursue my passions. I'm strong, independent, smart, have a decent job, pay my own bills and I'm building a business. 

In my teens through my mid-twenties I was in a relationship. Someone I loved with all my heart who pushed me to be better academically and intellectually (without his support I may have never left my family to go to college) and yet he cheated on me. 

I went into that relationship not knowing I deserved more. My mom and stepdad got married because his younger sister was about to get married. He felt like he should get married before her. That's it. Their relationship was not good before they married when I was twelve and it only got worse. 

I was raised by a verbally abusive sexist man. My mother was responsible for all of the household chores and even for making sure he had money in his wallet before he left the house. He called her woman and me little woman. My mother finally divorced when I was in my twenties and she delayed telling me because she was afraid of what I would think. My response was "thank god". 

So going from my father's house to a seriously flawed relationship was actually a step up. By the time my next serious relationship started (we had been friends for years)  I had done some healing but I was still not in a very good place. I ended up with someone who had their own flaws and wasn't able to be a 100% present in the relationship. We lived together, shared a bank account and at one time I thought we would get married. 

Yet, I was the one responsible for the home. What people don't realize is that it is not the time it takes to vacuum, cook, clean and do the grocery list, it's the mental energy. I felt like there was more to life and a lot of living I wanted to do and so I ended things. 

After that relationship ended I took french lessons, dancing lessons and started going to different events throughout the city. I started dating, although that was really challenging because I hadn't had to date since I was 16. I was offered a job in Iraq and with no hesitation I took it. When I got back I started a business, got a new job, did this crazy thing called Fear Experiment. My life was full of exciting adventures and an amazing community.  

On and off I try dating but with every short failed relationship I need to take time to recoup. I try to be open and hopeful with each new person I date, but that is emotionally taxing.  

Over time I find myself choosing myself. I would rather be single then in a relationship that does not provide me a solid foundation to live my life and I've found that there is a lot of life worth living. 

While I don't have a man in my life I have some awesome friends who are like family to me. My interior design business is starting to thrive and my life is full. Do I want to be with someone? Yes! But I'm not willing to sacrifice my career or desires for someone else.

I'm willing to bend and compromise, but not when it causes me emotional harm. So, for today I will continue to be single. Although I did spend the weekend redesigning my bedroom, which makes me think I might be ready to date again! 

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Thoughts on being broken

I've been blogging for awhile now and I went back to my old blog (which was super private and only select people knew about it) and realized that I've been blogging since June of 2006. That's a long time! Re-reading some of those old posts brought back some great memories and also made me see how much I censor myself on this blog. I do try to be open because I want to bring attention to issues like depression and help other people going through it, but my voice was still not completely my own.

Originally when I started blogging Meandering Design did not swear, wasn't very snarky and in general was a very prim and proper lady. Yes, I can be a lady, but I also sometimes swear like a sailor. There is also a fine line between sharing and over sharing. Let me know if I cross it please!

I went to an awesome event last Tuesday night called Idea Potluck.  I've been going to Idea Potluck for a year now and every time I walk away feeling energized, inspired and amazed. There is always a great mix of speakers including improvers, storytellers, musicians and some every day folks telling their own narrative. 

One speaker in particular really touched me with her story. Maria spoke about her father leaving her family when she was 17. I'm not going to be able to quote her properly but something she said about being broken in relation to having someone in her life today was a huge aha moment for me. 

My biological father left when I was 3 or 4. Looking at pictures of that little girl I don't understand how anyone could walk away. 

While I've done a lot of intensive therapy around some of the other trauma in my life- this is something I never really acknowledged. It's funny because sometimes I'll joke about abandonment issues. Once a boyfriend was late picking me up and I was practically hysterical because I thought he'd left me. 

I jumped back into the dating world a couple of months ago and it has sent me into a tailspin of anxiety and uncertainty. I generally think of myself as pretty confident and self-assured but I've been the exact opposite of that lately. It also didn't help that I was feeling sexually harassed online.  

Hearing Marie speak made me realize that I've never dealt with my father leaving. I called a really close friend who went through therapy with me and she confirmed we never really talked about this. Plus I keep expecting men to walk away. Hey guess what- that's what keeps happening because I keep picking men who will walk away. 

This hurts. This old gaping wound from my childhood. I know that I'll get past this. I know that I'll find a way to reassure that little girl that not everyone is going to fail her. I also know it's going to take time and probably quite a few tears. 

Thanks for going on this journey with me. 

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Thoughts on dating, vitamin d and being an introvert

A little over a month ago I decided it was time to start dating. So one whiskey infused evening I posted my profile on OKCupid. I am a relative dating novice. Most of my adult life was spent in relationships and so thankfully my friends have been extremely helpful while I try to navigate the dating world. 

I had a coffee date with a gentleman and, along with a case of nerves, I felt those hopeful little butterflies. He would text and call occasionally but he never invited me out on a date. In fact after coffee I pretty much thought he wasn't interested.  He left town for the holidays and called when he got back. I invited him to a dinner party at my house and he said he had other plans but he would stop by. He sent me a text the next day saying sorry and I responded with 'no worries'. 

That would be when my friend Kristin stepped in and reminded me that I would never let a friend treat me that way. I deserve way more respect and she was right. I've been viewing myself through a distorted lens and thinking that I was too difficult and way too independent. I've been trying to be easy going to the point where I was becoming a door mat. 

I do deserve someone who respects me enough to show up when they say they are going to and to show up on time. I'm not difficult, but what I am is smart, sarcastic, driven and adventurous. There is going to be someone out there who will appreciate those traits. 

Along with dating anxiety I've been feeling a bit run down for the last couple of weeks for two reasons. The first is simply because I forgot to take my vitamins, which causes big problems  for me because I run out of vitamin d pretty quickly. 

My vitamin d deficiency symptoms mimic depression, which can be confusing. Especially since life has been full of so many fabulous things lately. If I could I would be mainlining vitamin d (which would basically be like streaming sunshine into your veins), but since I can't I'll just take my vitamins. 

Another reason I wore myself to a nub is because I've been spending time with people. People are great, but I haven't had any down time. When I don't have my alone time I start to get anxious, I want to push people away, I nap at the drop of a hat and I want to curl up into a little ball and never come out. 

I need to be better at putting down time on my calendar. I'm not very pleasant company when I haven't had some time alone because basically I want you to go away. 

To recap I am going to expect a man to respect me, take my vitamins and hibernate a little more. 

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