10.22.2006

Singleton Svithe

Daltongirl, Sakhmet, and Cicada are my Circle of Truth. We've been sending each other group emails for years. They're the ones I tell my absolute most embarassing/pathetic/paranoid stories to. We get excited over little triumphs and big ones, such as Daltongirl's victories in parenting and yard-saling, Sakhmet's grad-school change-the-world coups, Cicada's fab new job which pays her to exercise and be creative, and my not getting trampled by moose yet.

A few weeks ago Cicada started a discussion of how we stay positive (or don't) when it comes to being single and having no romantic prospects and facing a lifetime of dried-up spinsterhood. Daltongirl isn't single anymore, but she was for a long time--and a single mother at that. She and Sakhmet both had wise things to say. Here was my contribution to the Dying Alone Eaten by Cats issue:

For some reason, over the last couple of years I have not felt as anxious/bitter/depressed about the whole thing as I have in the past. It has manifest itself in other ways, though, to be sure. Like the part where I kept dating WR even though we were both miserable because subconsciously I thought this was MY CHANCE, DANGIT!!!! Little things like that.

Part of me was afraid to go to England because if I didn't meet anyone there that would mean at least 2 or 3 more years before I could conceivably meet someone, date, and get married. But I think being away from UT for a little while actually helped. Not that I think UT is bad, but for a year I wasn't continually confronted by evidence of my supposed failure to find someone and get married. I didn't have to watch what seemed like every other person in the world being all schmoopy and married and dating and together. And the year before that I lived in a ward made up of amazing single women in their mid-to-late 20s who were gorgeous and talented and smart and doing fabulous things with their lives. So when I looked them I thought, "Okay. These girls are SO not pathetic. Being single like them does not make me pathetic either."

And even though I was not as global-minded as the fabulous [Sakhmet--who talked about how lucky she is compared to women in places like Darfur], I know that there are women who have it a lot worse than me. There are women who through phsyical or mental disabilities or poverty or illness or any number of other reasons will not only never get married but will also not get to have the kind of life as a single woman that they want. I am blessed because I'm not limited in that way--I can get the education, I can pick up and move, I can support myself, I can travel. The only real limitations I have are the ones I impose on myself, either through fear of failure or worries about "will this make me even more intimidating to men?" etc. So yeah, I don't feel justified in complaining too much about being single.

I also found that complaining about men & singleness makes me unhappy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I still do it, but I think I've gotten a little bit better about it. I feel better when I let myself feel optimistic that there is someone out there for me. And when I hear about deserving friends who are dating/getting married to nice men I've gotten better at thinking, "See? That proves there are good guys out there" rather than, "GAH!! The pool is shrinking, SHRINKING!!!! There will be nothing left for me!!!" Having experienced both, I would have to say that hope feels nicer than despair.

So. There are my tangled thoughts. I hope I'll be able to hang on to such admirable optimism when I leave the Land of Lumberjacks and head back into the dating scene.

11 comments:

deseretmama said... [reply]

I didn't have to watch what seemed like every other person in the world being all schmoopy and married and dating and together.

I hope I never make anyone feel this way. I still remember how it feels to wonder what everyone seemed to be doing right and I was apparently doing so wrong. I think your optimism is dead-on. I wish I would've figured that out sooner.

Cicada said... [reply]

But the pool and my ovaries are shrinking!! In response to this, I could post snippets of what I emailed to the group. You know---the parts where I said that I have got it together and I'm never afraid of dying single and how being single gives me more time to focus on others and serve others selflessly. Remember when I said all those things?

Nemesis said... [reply]

I'm sure you don't make people feel that way, Desmom. You are everything that is classy and right-thinking.

Cicada, I would have posted those snippets myself--because they exist--only I didn't want you to steal my optimistic thunder.

Melanie said... [reply]

Every time I see the show Men in Trees I think of you Nem and your fabulous beautiful blonde Alaskan self surrounded by hulking lumberjacks. I'm not sure if that's how it really is, but that's how I picture it.

Living in Missouri has not officially helped. I go through an on-again-off-again thing where I'm okay . . . and then not-entirely-okay with singleton-dom. I think that part of it is that Clone 2 has a boyfriend, but really, who's comparing.

On an optimistic note. All is well.

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

Well, that was weird and strange that it didn't let me post as me right away. Hmmmm....

kristen said... [reply]

I think you can be optimistic and complain about boys/men--a little cynicism makes life more enjoyable.

I don't think Utah is the mecca for dating/finding a mate. (However, you're still kinda young, so it might be better for you). I sometimes wonder if I moved back to the west coast my chances might actually be greater. For some reason I feel like I'm supposed to be here.

BTW--we were mind-melded :)

Th. said... [reply]

.

I'm not sure it would be wise to be the first man to post here.

daltongirl said... [reply]

I think you could definitely be the first man to post here--as long as you say the right thing, which I have no doubt that you, th., would.

For instance, when my first husband left me, one of my male professors (also a dear friend) said to me, "I hope you don't think that this reflects poorly on your . . . er . . . abilities . . . uh . . . to attract men . . . ?" It was the sweetest thing ever. And it helped me through some long and lonely times. The fact that you are okay, and that cool married people realize it, even though single men don't yet, is a very comforting thing to be aware of--as you feel your ovaries shrivel.

Anonymous said... [reply]

May I say something?
As a former roommate of Miss Nem's, I read this blog religiously and have actually met some of you. I don't like to leave comments, purely because I feel silly and a little intimdated by your combined intelligence. (It's a little daunting.)

Anyway, I'm just so impressed by you and have remained silent for much too long. You are hilarious. You are brilliant and witty, fun and uplifting. I love you people.
You happy me.

Thank you. All of you.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Aww, I totally know who anonymous is. And even though I really wish that this brilliant and talented individual would feel comfortable speaking up more around here, I will take what I can get. Love you too, dearest!

chosha said... [reply]

The three years I spent in Japan was probably the best three years of my life, but I never wanted to live that life forever. The four years I was at university I also taught four years of seminary and they were busy and amazing years, but I don't want to be a student, or a seminary teacher, my whole life. Being single is awesome in many ways. If I am single till I die, I KNOW I can still lead a fabulous, fun, productive life, and I will certainly have many experiences that my married friends won't have. I still hope that one day I will be married and have THOSE experiences, too.

All I hope is that if that happens that I will never assume that marriage alone will make me happy, and that I will work as hard to make my married life great as I have to make my single life great.

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