Here, they are single.
I went to a wedding last weekend, which in general, is a good reminder of not being partnered off (whether happily or not) but then we got on the bus that was taking us from the hotel to the reception hall and I sat in the single seat on the back of the bus. Sitting in the middle of my coupled off friends on the single seat just made me super single. I was also wearing a fur coat which for some reason made me feel like that crazy (but fabulous) woman that wears fur coats all the time, even in the summer, with lipstick on her teeth that people see and say ‘there goes that woman that wears a fur coat all year long….she never married….’ No one ever wonders if she WANTED to get married, they just think ‘who would marry a woman that wears a fur coat all year long?’ when they’re passing her on the street.
It all – but mostly the fur coat – made me extra special single. (it makes sense to me, that’s all that matters.)
To be honest, the feeling of extra-singleness isn’t really a bad one, it’s the feeling of other people wondering how I’m managing being extra special single that I find myself grappling with. Making sure I’m secure in my singleness, which, while in a fur coat in the single seat on the way to the wedding, was a little bit of a test.
Other singular updates from singledom:
The single best party of 2018 is currently being planned and you’re invited: I am turning 40 next year. Sure, it’s over 6 months away, but the best parties are planned well in advance, am I right? I was going to throw a prom party this year for 39, but in the midst of the debate – my friend Jen and I decided 40 is really more the year of a prom and we wanted it to do it together. The last time we double birthday partied, I spent the 6 months before our (disco) party saying to pretty much anyone I ran into in the street: What are YOU doing on June 22nd and then handed them one of these:
I realize now, after 20 years of growth and development, that the cops came only because I put it out in the universe that they WOULD come.
This time it will be a well-mannered, upscale event of course, and the only cops that will be showing up will be the ones we invite ourselves, rather than the ones that were called by the neighbors. I’m planning on wearing the same dress I wore to my freshman prom. It’ll be great. We think it’ll be 80’s, because how else will I fit in with that dress? And how else will I justify playing Atlantic Starr and The Pointer Sisters and Lionel Richie and Chicago? Exactly. I’ve added an 80’s love songs channel to my Pandora and I belt out the songs in my office by myself everyday while I work so I’m prepared, but honestly, instead of preparing me all it seems to be doing right now is serving my unhealthy habit of reliving heartache over relationships that only lasted for a few weeks over 20 years ago. (I miss you Matt!)
I was on the radio talking about single motherhood: and it was super fun. A friend of mine hosts a radio show and she is also a single mother, so it was like talking to a friend over coffee. Once in a great while, I feel like a single mother, but most of the time, I just feel like a mother who happens to be single. I shy away from conversations about it because I think it’s a world – the single mother world – that I can’t wholeheartedly identify with. When I think about it the most is when someone who is not single presents the information back to me – either purposefully or not, like, when someone’s partner is travelling and they’re stressed about doing it alone. Or, when someone who is not single, or a mother, tells me how hard it is to be a single mother.
What’s true for me (and I laid on the floor for hours thinking about this and making sure I wasn’t hiding from myself over it) is that being a mother is hard, and being single is hard, and being in relationships is hard, and being a woman is hard. It’s all hard. But it’s all amazing and rewarding and fantastic too – it’s all everything. What’s also true is that the only part I was hiding from in all of it was how much shame I’ve carried with me for so long over being single, raising a child. When she was little, it felt like women held their husbands a little closer when I was around, Anna on my hip. When she got to school, I felt guilty that upon meeting a couple, I couldn’t produce a significant other, like they wouldn’t like me if I wasn’t an even 2 on 2 match. And while most of that has fallen away as I’ve realized that those feelings are my own insecurities and no actual judgment or discrimination from the people in my life, I also recognized while I was talking to my lovely radio host that the talking was killing what shame had remained. The little that’s left – still – is tied up in the guilt that I think is part of parenting in general – not knowing ever if you’re doing enough, being enough, modeling enough, loving enough – and wondering if you’d done something different – like for me, having a partner, or living with one, or getting married – she would be happier.
So, if I were to leave you with one (or two) single thoughts, they would be:
1) The single seat on the bus is really comfortable. IN SO MANY WAYS.
2) No one is ever judging you as much as harshly as you are judging yourself, and
3) What are you doing on June 16th?