The Spinster

I read an article recently, which set me thinking about my age relative to how truly not driven I am to get married.
When I was young, the women who were single were the ones who crossed my eyes with stars. I saw a few of my Mom's friends who weren't married, perhaps lesbians but for the most part, I knew whom was attracted to men and who wasn't. I've always been boy-crazy, and it almost drove me crazy, descending as I did into a long, co-dependent spiral of making decisions based on the man in my life who was never equipped to be a partner in the first place whether from loving alcohol or self with the smoldering ever-present love that should radiate between actual partners.
After my life was derailed by a break-up at the end of 2013, I let it happen. I let myself admit all of the discomfort and awkwardness. In the past, I'd sugar-coat or see things with rose-colored glasses. I saw this for what it was. I saw me for whom I am.
I let myself experience the deepest part of me, the part that isn't driven by the need to be with someone. I love the pace of my life. I love the dogs, and the garden. The years right before these were huge - I traveled often, playing roller derby and spending time in Seattle, where my boyfriend lived. At first, after I'd left derby, I felt compelled to replace it. He was a ref, and subsequently to our dramatic end I got to be divorced from derby entirely. I took time for that to settle, but since it has I have to admit to feeling at my when I am... alone.
My work, my physical self, my family connections with my Mom and several cousins are all entirely stronger and deeper for the time I've spent not subtly tuning myself to a man or a community's frequency. I feel a sense of internal stability that I'd previously misunderstood to be something that came from someone, or something else.
Those women who stand on their own in the world, who share connection to but not dependence on, something external were my heroes before I knew it. I can't name anyone specific per se. But I know I spied them at parties, and in stories told between my parents at dinner. I know I felt that I got them; maybe more accurately they got me. they got my deepest curiosity, along with the women who married later in life. I didn't know how powerfully I needed to embrace being a loner.
Understandably, somewhat. There is no judgment. I lacked the maturity to see that everyone has something weird, or that feels like it would be weird if you admitted it. As a woman, a great deal of messaging about your identity is in relationship to your being 'Mother' 'Wife' 'Girlfriend'. Women diatribe about it on TV and in movies, countless articles are written about When Are You His Girlfriend.
That has never, ever felt okay to me and it has never, ever set well with men. Or at least, not the men I was dating. The men I'd met are great guys, some of whom called themselves feminists, and they were. They contributed, no question. But at the end of the day, they were focused on knowing me in relation to themselves. Women know people as whom they are, again in my experience. Women want to know who a man is because they want to know HIM. Men, while they want to know us, I do feel like it comes down so often to deciding on a degree of exclusivity or partnership based not on who I am but on what I could bring to his life. That's part of it, absolutely. But I want to get there after someone really knows me.
Which is a tall order, as I am a complicated woman. There is no question; as a tween, my Dad took my sister and I to see Taming of The Shrew. He meant it when I told me I was his Kate, and he loved me so but it would not be an easy road for me. He was my first soul mate; he said things that have proven to be true only many long years after he died. I still can viscerally remember the way our eyes cut through one another's as he laid some insane-at-the-time truth on me. Insane because I got it, and knew at my core what he was trying to teach me but also insane that you know... parent-child thing. It's intense sometimes. You see so much of yourself in one another yet you are completely separate people. Ideally. Anyway.
Knowing me as a person in a way that defies a title.
It's some out-there shit, I know.
A friend once thought she was telling me like it was, saying that I was just trying to say I didn't want this guy I was seeing to get serious about me. I dunno. Maybe I did? I thought I did, but I feel that I thought I did because I thought that's what all humans had to want. I thought that radiant love could only come from one place - a partner - because that's what everyone said. Take a boy-crazy chick, who was riddled with insecurity and wanting help with defining herself, who would go far to please people, and I would never say that I was under some media-frenzy spell but I would say that I had too much going on inside to be able to see around those messages. I wanted external validation. Badly. I wanted approval, desperately. It seemed like an easy thing since pretty much everyone was getting married and junk.
But if that's really not how you're built, if you don't date the people who can connect as solid partners than settling down is a fantasy at best and a nightmare ending in jail at worst. I think part of me made the choices with men that I made for approval, sure, but healthier aspects to my remaining single are not to be dismissed. I knew I was a mess. I didn't want to be with someone great until I could get my greatness going. I knew I would, too. I never for a second in all of my incredible naivety, and dumbassery thought I wouldn't figure out the peace I longed for. I knew I would get over those insecurities, always. I didn't know when or how, so I wanted to leave good people out of it.
I also believe that life is short. I lost my Dad as a teenager. I know that you take the day that's in front of you and you decide what it is. Maybe you decide it is a fucking terrible day. Fine. Totally great, but decide it. Don't let it be what happened that got the best of you. That can be new to people who haven't had a similarly profound experience. Other traumas and circumstances within and without my control have taught me that the only thing you have any control over is your response to anything. I make every effort to live a Daily Life but that does make it easy for me to not be unhappy with one that doesn't include a boyfriend. Sometimes I have a boyfriend, and it's more of a pain in the ass.
It's fun to date, but sometimes it's just that I do not want to deal with someone else's crap. That's basically utterly preclusive to having a partner. Too many judge women for feeling like this, but they shouldn't.
If we were all able to be ourselves, to choose to be ourselves - no, our best selves - than we could all have dream relationships like my aunt and uncle. There are people with beautiful, astounding, decades-long love affairs. Many of them... many, many, many. In no way do I disavow the idea that I too, may one day meet someone who challenges me to enjoy my single life more than the partnership we could share. I welcome that, in fact, I even believe that it will probably happen for me.
But it's not where I've hung my hat. My heart feels no less full for not waking up with someone else in my bed. My smile is just as easy with a fella on his way to meet me for a bite as it is when I'm on my way to a Stephani yoga class. Either I've always felt this way but couldn't admit it, feeling like I was letting everyone down for not depending on finding a man to call Mine. Or, I newly arrived at it over the last year. It probably doesn't matter, since the point is that being a Spinster works for me. It isn't bad. It's just me.

arizonasarah at 8:16 p.m.

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