Another weekend is almost upon us and another week has gone by. I have to say that I have no idea where 2017 is vanishing to, we’re already at the end of April, spring is half-way over and we are four months into the year.
So far 2017 has definitely been eventful for me; I started a new job, got the offer of regular freelancing work (which, being honest is what I have wanted to move into for quite a long time – working from home, to something resembling my own relatively flexible schedule, and knowing that there will still be a regular cheque coming in), finally got up the courage to have all my hair cut off (well, not all, but over a foot of it) and realised that I am meant to be single.
Yep, I realised, after over two months of trying, that I was never going to find Mr Right, at least, not where I was looking. Being honest with myself I don’t think that I really wanted to. I kept on getting messages from men who seemed perfectly nice (or, in quite a few cases, incredibly strange) and I would befriend them and then realise that what we wanted was diverging.
This week, I pulled the plug on my dating experiment, for now at least. I deleted all the email communications that I had been having (which had, to be fair, dwindled down to one message with a single person every few days), deleted my pictures, then took the final step and deleted my profile completely.
The moment I pressed the button stating that “yes, I am sure” (they have several failsafes and, it seems, several “please don’t leave” screens) I felt a massive wave of relief. For me, the idea of searching, and contacting, was rather stressful. I am no longer putting pressure on myself to meet what my mother (and siblings) consider societal norms. I have to face facts, I am asexual! There is nothing wrong with it. Having a discussion with a friend yesterday I realised that I am frustrated with people who do nothing but whinge and whine about relationships that are falling flat. I don’t look at them and think “Yes, I want that one day” in fact, I never have. I look at them and think “why are you doing this to yourself?” The whole concept of a relationship fraught with stresses and worries just grinds me down, and I LIKE being single. I love the idea that I am not answerable to anyone. If I want to slob around in my pjs all weekend then I bloody well will. I will put on make-up when I feel like it, I will make dinner if I can be bothered, and go to the cinema at the drop of a hat whether I can find anyone to go with or not (here I have to state that I actually prefer going on my own if I really want to see the movie).
I am fully aware that people in relationships can do the above, if they want, but I don’t feel pressure to worry about what someone else thinks. The pressure from my mother to lose weight so I can “find a boyfriend” (yes, even though I am in my forties I still get that from her every single time we see each other) is something that has faded to a dull roar. I can ignore it by remembering that I am my own person and I can do what I want. Perfect example being last weekend. For some reason, we got into a debate about life (in general) and she asked me a few questions about why I didn’t date (previously she’d accused me, at a dinner with my brother’s friends, of being gay because I wasn’t showing interest in the vast array of single manhood I was being presented with – URGH) and then started on about “making something of yourself”. I have to be honest here, I thought that I was; I live in a flat that I pay for, myself! I have a job that I found, for myself (here I have to explain that I found jobs for both my brother and my sister, repeatedly)! I have started to build up a good freelance portfolio, by myself! I have two degrees that I paid for, myself! I don’t see any of these things as failures, not by a long chalk. The fact that I am not accompanied to family occasions by a man (or woman) is, to me, not important, so why is it so important to her?
As I ponder the peculiarities of my mother, she’s been single for over 20 years herself, I realise that maybe she sees in me something she doesn’t like about the person she is, and she worries that other people will see the same thing.
My mother is stubborn (as am I), she’s very independent (as am I), she doesn’t take shit from people (neither do I), and she likes her own company (oh boy, this is me). I admire my mother; even though a lot of the time I find her opinions old-fashioned, racist, frustrating, ill-informed (she likes Trump!), but admiring and loving someone does not mean you always have to like them. Sometimes when she starts in on me about my weight, or my politics (I try to NEVER discuss them with her because it’s exhausting) or the fact that, all of a sudden (apparently), I am deciding to show my creativity by doing different things with my hair and I’m considering a tattoo, I have to take her views with a pinch of salt. I also have to remember that just as I don’t think 16 year olds are informed enough to vote (unlike the millennials I work with) she also doesn’t agree that it’s “my body, my choice” when it comes to abortion and birth control (did I tell you that my sister is the apple of her eye because she’s got four children?).
As we move further into my 43rd year, and I try my hardest not to worry about life in general, and a few of my friends and their life choices specifically, I have to remind myself that life is what you make it. I made my choices. I have stopped being concerned about fitting into the rather complicated jigsaw that is considered to be ‘societal normality’, and started thinking about who I want to be.
Whether I am the girl with purple lowlights or a tattoo of a dragonfly on her ankle remains to be seen, but I know what I’m not, and that’s miserable with the path I have chosen to take. Granted, I am not sure exactly what the meandering walkway is directing me to right at this very moment, and I will reach several forks (I can see one right now), but ultimately the route I take is one that I will make for myself. I refuse to be dictated to. And I’m not exactly walking alone. Darcy might be pissed at me right now because I showed her the freedom of the balcony – she likes walking on it by herself – and I have now taken it away until I can make it safer for her, but she still follows me around and talks to me, and kisses me and (gross but true) likes to shower me with love by cleaning my face and hair with her tongue.
I have a friend who is, right now, on the horn of a dilemma, and it’s a doozy. I can see a way out and have tried to tell her, but she’s not listening. It’s frustrating, but this is her decision to make. The fact that the man-child is already in an established relationship with someone else makes me a little bit angry (okay, quite a lot angry, having been where this guy’s poor, oblivious girlfriend is). I know that she knows what is going on is not on the up-and-up, but she’s infatuated and in some ways she’s like the cliché mistress, “He tells me he’s going to leave/dump/divorce her”, an oft-repeated line that has been in so many exposés about affairs it’s verging on the ridiculous. Anyway, back to the point…paths. My friend’s life is at the fork in the road right now. On one side she has the ‘dump him, make a clean start, focus on the good things’ route. Going straight on means she continues down this path and waits patiently (and, I think, stupidly) for him to finish with his girlfriend (I don’t think he ever will) and believes every single lie he feeds her. Of course, she could always turn back, though this would mean going back to the ex and accepting that not only is he never going to change, but also that he will make her pay (emotionally) for going off with someone else.
Even better, this afternoon, just before I went to lunch in fact, an email was sent out to my team letting us know that on Monday there will be a department restructure meeting. Anyone who has read the posts previously made on here will know that I don’t have a good history where restructuring is concerned. Three times now I have been part of a department reshuffle, and three times I have lost my job! Oh well, this year can only get better, and I am still waiting to hear about the freelancing role!