How To Be Single

Love, science says, therapy

If the word single reminds you of the number one, or an old sitcom from the 90’s, or a hot new Beyonce track then this post is not for you.
For the rest of us:
If the word single sounds like a metaphorical probation officer strapping your ankle with a bracelet of how in the hell do you portion a meal for one, piling the other side of the bed high with pillows so that sleep doesn’t feel so hollow and the constant impasse of dragging yourself out in public alone, again, then have a seat, let’s talk.

Singledom… singlehood … is a spectrum really. There are all kinds of ways to be single, maybe it’s working for you maybe it’s not. Single feels to me like skinny dipping on a pitch black night all alone. I’m not quite sure if it’s wholly exhilarating or if it feels like I might accidentally crack my head open on a rock and bleed to death right there next to the dock, fishermen stumbling over my corpse in the morning. (I thought about being less dramatic in that illustration, but it’s actually pretty accurate.)

Where ever you fall on the single spectrum here’s some advice, from a professional.

 

Step 1: Take Care of Yourself-

This means so many things. At the very least you need to maintain the status quo of standard of living, attention to hygiene, time in nature, amount of exercise that you were gifting yourself while you were still in a relationship. Derailing into a bowl of pity soup is not helpful. It is helpful to increase your self care from the tinniest things to the big ones. Those things are quite literally the antidote to depression. Think you’re above becoming depressed, well you’re wrong. Also, take some fish oil, it can’t hurt.

 

Step 2: Put Out the Word that You’re Single-

but also that you have a black belt in Karate and a ferocious guard dog. Your people might know their people. Seriously.

Gone are the days of the small hunter and gather community where one moment you’re gathering sticks for the fire and the next moment Fred Flintstone comes over and clubs you over the head drags you back to his cave and has his way with you. Not that any of us are upset about that. But what I’m tryin’ to say is that humans have not evolved to comprehend solitude. Our psyche, our physical bodies, our hormonal bodies were not wired for you to sit your ass on the couch and binge watch Game of Thrones every weekend. Neither can we make any sense of Tinder, isolation, self-loathing or the sinking sense of hope inching further and further away on a physiological level.

All of that is to say, do not allow yourself to be alone all of the time. Put some thing exciting on your calendar and…

 

Step 3: Go Out in Public-

Maybe your goal isn’t even to get into another relationship. That’s totally fine, great even. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek human contact. We are social creatures, surely you know that. Every single thing about life that matters in the end are the relationships that we created at this phenomenal meeting of place and time. Don’t miss a single day of the opportunity to be you in relationship. It’s the why.

 

Step 4: Make Friends Above All Else-

The wind might blow South one day and that guy or gal that you were ‘talking’ to, might just fade away. All of those pieces of yourself that you hooked into them, because you were grappling and any hand up would do. Those just get ripped out. And it will be fine, but it will be just you again. Well you and your friends. Make sure they’re there first.

 

There’s more, I’m just figuring those parts out still.

how I loved your father

Ever Sophia

The vessel that contains every ounce of my love, devotion and hope weighs 47 pounds and wears a size 1 shoe. Her name is the most perfect word that I could conjure. Ever. She is my dear sweet baby girl and I need to give her better answers:

Dear Ever,

Well Sis, you’re six and half (yes we’re counting the halves and every day in between). At this point I have lived the past seven years through the lens of you. I know that that’s hard to believe as a daughter myself. It’s hard when the world is convoluted and puzzling. Things feel unfair and unsolicited. And at the top of the list of WHYS will always be my name. I’m not particularly thrilled with that reality but there’s no escaping it. Our lives, our wellbeing are the ultimate responsibility of our mother. Mine, Grandma’s, Great-grandma and all of the great-great-great-grandmas before have fucked up their children’s life in one way or another. It’s the human condition. It’s inevitable.  Let’s talk about the elephant in the room that has hurt you so from the tender age of 3 and will still at the age of 33.

“I want you to love Daddy”.
“You weren’t nice to Daddy”.
“I don’t like it when you meet new ones”.
“I want you to marry Daddy”.

That’s how a verbose toddler and kindergartner breaks down– I have a broken family, one parent and I’m hurt.

*Fucking gulp.*

I have tried my damnedest since you were 2 to explain to you succinctly, using all of the made for emotional support children’s books words. “Mommy and Daddy love you very much. We tried very hard to live together  but we just didn’t get along very well”. There’s only so many ways to say that. Maybe it feels hallow. Maybe you can see right though me– well you definitely can. But up until a few weeks ago I haven’t blatantly lied to you (what, sue me if I bribed you to come into the house to see a surprise so that you would stop having an epic crying fit on the neighbors front porch). After which I told you in a very sobering way, more so for me than you, your’e right I did lie, that’s life, people lie.

All of that is to say that it has never been my intentions in life, love or motherhood to sugarcoat things. Sure I get stuck in my good Midwestern passive aggressive nature where I choose to bottle, bottle, bottle and inevitably explode. But we never got off on that foot and there will never be wool over your beautiful eyes.

There are some things that I want you to know. Things that I am afraid will get lost in time, space and animosity. I want you to know that love though flawed always shape shifts over the lifespan. Two people in like, lust and love are still two people. Human. Imperfect.

I could wax poetic about being young, irrational, adventurous, naive and brimming to the top with ego. But that would only provide a cautionary tale for myself while serving you in no way. Your own choices, trials, successes and God willing adventures are your only lesson. Some will turn out, some will turn you under. You may learn, you may not but one day the reverberations of LOVE IS COMPLICATED will reach right in your chest and grab something. The fog of applying logic to love will dissipate a little.  It still won’t make sense but you learn to look at all matters of the heart with compassion.

Forgive but never forget, that’s how we grow boo.

Tonight I talked (at) to your father. The sound of his voice makes me go numb. It’s not a healthy reaction but it is adaptive. I had to let him go from my heart some time ago. Our relationship ended in total exhaustion. We tried we just didn’t know how.

Though I wish for you to find a (mostly) perfect love with great speed as to spare you the upheaval of loving and loosing I know that isn’t realistic. Especially when you like I, infatuate easy. Jump in without checking the depth of the pool and fall down a lot. Ouchies heal but sometimes the scars linger and that’s okay because they show that you got back up.

The details of the breakdown have seeped out in many ways, it’s not a secret. I just want this one to be different. I want to reminisce about when things were good. When we had a house full of love. The palpable amazement that we shared for you. A friendship. Loyalty. Family.

Your dad is such a tactile person. Love manifests through him in a way that you can touch and measure. He loves to be the one who came through in a pinch, the guy who fixed it, the first at the scene. When your great-grandma died I drove myself out to her funeral and felt more alone than I could ever explain. Your dad, at that point only a friend, called me constantly, insisting that he would come out there just so that I wouldn’t have to drive home alone. I had to forbid him from coming. He just wanted to make things better for me the how was the only thing that was ever askew.

Your dad was like inhaling light for me at a time when I was in the doldrums of life. He was so young. Bubbling with jovial shenanigans. We had a lot of fun. We were reckless and hell bent. That was the only reprieve that I had in a year of emotional anchors. I would have been a very different person today had I not lived that first year of us with out you.

When I was growing you from embryo to eight and a half pounds of utter perfection your dad would get so excited. I was very pragmatic about the lot of it. There was an itinerary, deadlines to meet, mountains to move before I could make a suitable world for your to land softly into. Not Dean. He told everyone about you before I was willing to tell myself. He got so excited about your crib that he built the whole thing downstairs without thinking about it needing to go up the stairwell and through a door. Without skipping a beat he tore it down and rebuilt it before I could notice.

He would gently cradle my belly in his gorgeous manly hands while peering into my soul with those exact big beautiful brown eyes that you bat me. After you were born he would still reach out to rub my tummy and look up bashfully when he realized that you lived on the outside now. I didn’t mind it still felt like love.

evey

We would make really nice dinners every night. You would sit in your highchair stripped joyously directing everyones life with your laughs, points and NO!’s . You would smear your food everywhere, chuck bits of anything to the furthest baseboard. We swept and Swiffered every single day then. It would unravel out into music, dancing and harmonizing poorly to Crosby, Stills & Nash.

This song feels too real even now. They are one person, two alone, they are three together, they are four each other. Confusion has it’s cost.

You were such a complete and total brat about sleeping in your crib. It didn’t last long after 9 months you would climb out and attempt to squeeze through. We all ended up in a big familial pile on the floor every night. You know how you insist on having your back rubbed before bed? That was your father’s doing. I would always be the first to pass out and there he was rubbing your back and singing Hush Little Baby out of key. He was never in a hurry to put you to sleep.

sleepy

There were the sobering times when you were sick and hurt. When you had a fever. When we rushed you to the emergency room. When we so desperately would have given up either of our lives to make you healthy and happy. There were so many times when we were a unit of three out of necessity. All of the crumbling pieces of logistics were futile at those times. We were simply a little family with the biggest concern in the world, you.

Evey, I agree that it was all to brief, but it was there. You were made in a place of love. Were you a life raft out of a storm in my heart? Yes. Was that fair to you? No. In the light of retrospect I can confidently say that becoming a parent is the most selfish thing that a person can do? Yes. Would I change a single choice, fork in the road or excruciating decision that came before you? Never. All of the signs pointed to you in some mystical way. It was you that I found so that my life could begin. Know that it has been you many times that kept your dad from choosing to end. You are my destiny and I your starting line, I’m not going anywhere. You were loved fully and deeply then like you will always be.

-Mama