I couldn't sleep last night because I had so many great ideas about how to write this blog. I really should have gotten up and done it because now I can't remember one damn thing.
Oh, well. We'll just wing it today.
As with most things in the last 8+ years, I feel like I'm going backwards. I wrote about that a lot in my book - in fact, that was the main reason I felt so "mediocre." I kept thinking that I was grieving backwards and mourning my husband in the wrong order. I lived life at a break-neck pace in the beginning, only to crash months later. I threw parties and emmersed myself in my friendships and then isolated myself later in my dimly lit basement where I cranked out a book.
And I dated early...which brings me to where I am today. Not wanting to date at all.
There are moments when I let myself remember what it's like to be part of a relationship - to hold hands walking through the mall, to ask someone what they think about what's on TV, to have that blind acceptance of someone else because you know they feel the same way about you.
Yes. I miss that.
But it's the getting there that I can't do. Years ago, after Brad died, I was so determined to find someone else and settle down again that I was open to just about anything. Now, eight years later, alone and somewhat jaded (I'll be the first to admit it), I'm not open to anyone. I don't know when it happened. It just did.
Well, that's not entirely true. When I look back I can see the progression. I was married to a good man and I lost him. I had a relationship after that that hurt me deeply which was yet another loss. Both of those experiences left me scared. And being scared forced me into a life in Singleville. And being single became something I cling to.
In other words: all those years ago I was scared to be alone. Now I'm scared to be attached.
So, here's what happens. With every man I encounter, I pick them apart to the point where there's nothing left. I'm the relationship vulture. If you have a flaw, I'll circle until I find it. I'm not mean about it - it's all in my head. But if they have any of the qualities of the men that haven't worked out since my husband died...I'm outta there.
And what if they don't have one? Well, that's the pickle I'm in now.
I went on a date last week (my mother's going to read this and say, "What? And you didn't tell me?") and it was lovely. He showed up with rose (who does that anymore?), took me to see a jazz band (points for creativity), and we went out for a bite to eat where he suggested we order just about every fried item on the appetizer menu (I hope he's still around when I'm PMSing -that could come in handy).
Up until that point, I'd already been testing him. Oh, yes. Me and my wicked ways. I'm widowed. I have three kids. I work. Which makes me unresponsive, unavailable, and usually has any man saying after a week, "You know what? It doesn't seem like you have time for this."
Not this one (so far). I get text messages that tell me how much he admires me for taking all of this on my own. That he doesn't want to push, but he would be really happy to see me when I can make it work. That he understands if I don't call when I say I will because I have so much going on.
Well, shit. Now what do I do?
Here's the sad part - the part where the girl finds a nice guy and realizes that being single has nothing really to do with the men out there. It's entirely her doing and she has to decide if being with someone else is worth the risk. She has to decide if the fear that she's allowed to take over her life (in many areas) is what's going to be her companion. If it will keep her safe.
I don't know.
I had a consultation with an author yesterday who is working on a memoir about the abuse she suffered when she was first married in the 1960s. She never remarried and she said, "I never wanted anyone to have control over my life again."
And I found myself nodding along to everything she was saying. I've never been abused, but I am a control freak and allowing someone else to influence my life is a very scary prospect right now.
But I listened to this woman, who is now in her 70s, tell me she's been alone since then. And that got me to thinking.
Do I want the next memoir I write to be about all the fear that's kept me from living?
I don't think so.
I mean...who would read THAT?
Being single awards us certain privileges like not having to consider a partner in decision making and taking up literally all the space on the bed at night. There are 17 things you should consider when you start dating someone who has been alone for a while.