June 25, 2011

Single and Healthy?

If I had watched this show more perhaps I would
have learned from other's mistakes....
I have always wanted to teach a course on how to be single and healthy. You see, I was married when I was a mere child. I had no idea who I was or what I was capable of. I graduated from high school and went to secretary school...I even dropped out of that and got a job at BCTel as a word processing clerk (back when we still used IBM Selectric and cc was actually a carbon copy). In other words, I'm a secretary school drop out!

ANYWAY, I met this tall, dark, and handsome man and he promptly swept me away with all the romance, flowers, and poems...I was married one year later at the sweet age of 24 (I know...you may think that isn't young, but when I look back on what I didn't know...I may as well have been 12).  Have you ever walked down the aisle (looking fabulous I might add) thinking to yourself..."OMG..what am I doing?"  I remember the first week of marriage crying myself to sleep thinking that this is the rest of my life.  Needless to say, the relationship was rocky and we were separated twice with the divorce formal by 28 (I do believe he sent the divorce papers on my 28th birthday - how did he know?).

So....from 28 to 40 I lived the single gal life (at the time when Sex and the City was every single girls reference...good or bad..you decide). Over that time I had perfected the life of a single woman. I worked in the career of my choosing, I put myself through two degrees, I lived (albeit in tiny spaces) with myself - and of course the other symbols of female singledom; a cat and loads of candles. Above all, I was a dating artist and the Internet was my medium. I enjoyed meeting new people, the rush of the first coffee date, and - of course - the inevitable "it's not me it's you" conversation the usually followed. I was a picky dater.

Yup...I had my share of these too but at the time (and through my demented hot-pink coloured glasses) I thought it was sweet yet slightly hinting of desperation and low self-esteem...yet I still gave them a chance.
Although I won't recall them all (for fear of judgement and ridicule) I do remember the one that thought tattoos were the sign of the devil (luckily I had two at the time), the one that used someone else's picture in his profile (not to mention someone else's life), the one that was at my beck and call 24/7 (finally, I ended up breaking up with him on a road trip to Parksville...in Parksville as I just couldn't wait. You can imagine the uncomfortable silence on the drive home).  I remember one guy who gave me crap on the first date for wearing high heels (he was a few shorter than me...I had no problem with that - evidently he did) or the one that mowed "I love you" in his lawn after dating for 2 weeks (turned out he was bipolar and off his medication).
I guess there is a social media
support group now for those who
have experienced bad dates.
Why didn't I think of that?

Along the way, I dated a few crazies too crazy to mention until finally I hit the mother load. I met a guy from up the island who (like I didn't learn my lesson the first time) swept me off my feet with dinners, gifts, and all that superficial crap that only happens in the beginning of bad relationships. I accepted his offer of marriage a year into it and quit my job, quit my city, quit my life, to move to a small town in the middle of Vancouver Island (I bet you can guess what happened next). This one would turn out to be the craziest of them all; fits of rage, controlling behaviour, passive-aggressive communication, and that was before I broke it off with him. After that came the writing disgusting things in all my books, reading my journals, and other behaviour too disturbing to post. I do have to say, once I left him, I had strangers in the street coming up to me telling me I had really dodged a bullet there (ahhh...the benefits of small towns...everyone knows everyone else's business).

If you are lucky, you will make
some extremely poor choices
and learn from them. A "bad"
mistake is one that goes
unnoticed.
The funny end to this story (funny in a sick, twisted, and totally screwed kinda way) was I found myself 38, single in a small town, living in a mobile home (rentals were scarce at the time) with a bottle of wine in one hand and no wine glass in the other. At any rate, my extremely poor choice motivated me to take a step back and figure out why a smart, educated, experienced woman like myself, would have made such a huge mistake. The answer? I was scared to be single. I was desperate to find someone and projected all that on the first psychopath that would pay attention to me. So I spent a year in that mobile home (decorated with only Chintz and Co's finest) without a date and searching for the answers.  When I was ready to poke my head out like Punxsutawney Phil (a.k.a. the groundhog) I had a greater sense of who I was and was now looking to buy a place of my own and even researching the potentials of an overseas adoption (by this time my ovaries were acting like a couple of bitches from the bad part of town).


Although I felt, for me, cupid may
be dead or dying...I was becoming
comfortable with the idea.
 It's interesting to me that while I was contented with the single life, my co-workers were trying desperately to match me up (all with the best of intentions I have to add). I remember fondly (read with a great deal of sarcasm) my 40th birthday. First of all, turning 40 tends to motivate people to take stock of their lives (and usually in a "what the hell have I done with my life" sorta way). I was 40, single, living in a trailer, a small town, and all dressed up at a ho-down walking up to my co-workers as I noticed the cake, the balloons, the "lordy lordy look who's 40" messages (there are no words).....and a little portly man who looked 10 years older standing there waiting to great me. I have never worked so hard to choke back the tears in my life. I promptly took the cake home, grabbed a fork and started from the center (or maybe I just stuck my face in the middle and ate my way out...it is all still a blur). Yes, I knew who I was. Yes, I took that year off and felt better and, yes, I was headed for a temporary lapse towards self-depreciating behaviour...what of it?


It's funny how sharing your true
feelings with someone can lead
to great things....
 At any rate, I lived through it and a week later was surfing the net (just for entertainment sake I promise you) when I came across this guy.  He was very cute (clearly out of my league) but I read his profile anyway. It went something like this.... blah blah blah looking for a woman blah blah not interested in anyone 40 and over.  So what did I do in my fragile state? Wrote him back, of course, asking him who does he think he is and how he is missing out on "all this" and how dare he be so judgemental and age-ist....you get the idea. We've been dating ever since. That was over 3 years ago.

The message to my long winded, self-centered story is............crap.......completely forgot what my motivation was for writing this.  (oh yeah) I think it is important for singles everywhere to ensure their own health (mental and otherwise) and happiness through other means rather than through another human being. B is one of the best people I have ever met and, even though we have our differences, he was definitely worth the years of dating and all the "bad" experiences crying in my ice cream and money wasted on single girl paraphernalia (i.e. candles, wine glasses, self-help books, and mud masks). I have learned that internal desperation can lead to bad mistakes but if you give yourself some time to feel the fear, the sadness, the pounds gained, the pounds lost, and the peace that finally comes from all of it, you will - inevitably - meet someone who makes it all worth while....(after saying that I am sooooo frickin sorry for the Maya Angelou-like message).
 
I have also learned you are who you attract (or you attract who you are). If you are feeling unworthy, angry, cynical, and rotten, you will attract like-minded people to you and this includes your friends. When I was going through my small town breakup I was hanging around people who didn't make me feel good. Of course, hindsight is...well you know. Now I have some amazing people around me. No drama, no secrets, no lies, just healthy people.

Can I also mention that as a result of my hiatus and "self-discovery" (if you don't get sicken by the term) I also got rid of my emotional eating habits. I rarely find myself hovering over a tub of Ben and Jerry's now but then it was a usually Friday night.

Me and B in Vegas outside Paris. We couldn't be more different....and more happy (of course, I'm speaking for myself...I may be driving him secretly insane and don't even know it). It may not be a "happily ever after story" but I'm hoping.

I hope you can forgive my post today. I was thinking of a subject matter this morning as I drove past my man-friend on the street and a wave of butterflies got the best of me. I thought it may be a good (albeit cathartic) article to write for all those single people out there waiting for "the one". I still consider myself single (I live by myself and am not married...and completed happy with it...although ask me again in a year and I may be singing a different song) and know that if "we" weren't to work out, I would be fine (although I'm sure that my recycle bin would be full of ice cream containers for a while). It is a great feeling to know that, no matter what happens in life, if you take care of yourself, you will fall flat on your feet and move on....well, healthy, and looking forward.


K

2 comments:

  1. Congrats Kathy, I am so happy for you! It took you some toad kissing but it looks like you got the prince!!

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  2. Kathi at Real Life HealthJuly 4, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Thanks for that, Anon;
    Yup...he's pretty great. To be fair, not all of them were toad-like.
    Hope you are well and thanks for the comment.
    Kathi

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