For some reason I've been drifting around in a bit of a funk since I got back to my
home life on Wednesday. I guess, and maybe I articulated this before, I felt an absence of something when I arrived back home. It was an absence that I wasn't aware of when I left, but seemed almost blindingly clear upon my return.
And I've found that even with many moments of true joy this weekend:
|one of the best films I've seen in a long time, a friend's sleepy dog, a dinner party, an engaging read, a walk with sunlight|
I've still found it hard to shake. Maybe that's to be expected - that there are times in life when we feel like we are just sloshing through muddy waters, not quite sure why. We're desperately trying to find the place we know exists, the place where the waters run clear and with it comes our own clarity. (I am suddenly transported to a ship deck, I am 15 years and many months old, and I looking out at Maine and the ocean surrounding, and my friend is reading me this poem and it seems so sad and so happy and so everything true and I know I will come back to this moment many, many times in my life.)
But back to today: Twenty-eight years of age and sometimes so certain of the path I am on, sometimes not. In the midst of a not, I think about whether this is just another version of the struggle I often face: the struggle of a young, single woman who feels strong because of her independence, but at times comes to rely on that identity in ways that weaken her. I often find myself pushing away from places of vulnerability and tension, places that are vulnerable because they prove I have the same needs and desires of my peers who are a little further along than I am. Kind of. I'm thinking I'm on the verge of needing to redefine a little about what it means to me to be a single woman because that's not exactly how I feel...
Strangely, as I myself got distracted from this wondering and rant, I went to etsy and saw this on the homepage, almost as a wink wink from the universe:
Be strong, yes, but at the expense of what? I am realizing that at times I've put preserving my strength (or the appearance of it) at the expense of taking a risk that could have big payoffs (and, of course by its very nature, be extremely risky). So now I am seeking strength that admits the times it feels lonesome AND the times it feels empowered. It's not all or nothing, it's both and everything. I created this project, as I tried to articulate in the beginning, as a way to address the needs I feel that aren't being met. As a way to push myself and push through myself into places that are scary or uncomfortable or new (or all of the above).
But maybe I'm also realizing I created this project as a way to be honest with myself about the parts of myself that already are fine but that I've convinced myself are warped. This sense of myself as a single woman in a sea of couples has the ability to bring me way down. I think, strangely enough, it brings me down partly because I know that I actually kind of love being single. And I'm afraid people find that weird. Why can't I just embrace being a....what do I call myself? What is this state of being I live within? Is there a better way to talk about being a single person who is totally fine being such, while also not being opposed to the possibility of a healthy partnership?
And then a friend sent me this: go ahead, I dare you to click.
It felt so timely:
Quirkyalone stands in opposition to saccharine, archaic notions of romantic love. It stands for self-respect, independent spirit, creativity, true love, and confidence...Out of that community comes a new social category beyond single, coupled, married or divorced. In the future, when you check quirkyalone on your W-2 form, you will be indicating that you are able to live a fulfilling, rich life whether you are coupled up or not.
This year I am trying not to do anything that feels like a "supposed to be," in my romantic life and beyond. This group of people seems to resonate with this part of myself that is coming to the surface, struggling for air, shouting: "The only life I'm living is the one I am inspired to live! I will do nothing just for the sake of being like the others! But I will do everything with the intention of being honest with myself about what I need to have a fulfilling life, with myself and with others!"
A quirkyalone is a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and prefers being single to dating for the sake of dating. Quirkyalone is not anti-love. It is pro-love. It is not anti-dating. It is anti-compulsory dating. A quirkyalone can be a man or a woman, gay or straight, teenage or elderly. It’s a mindset that you can come out of the womb with or discover later in life.