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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Singlutionary Admiration

I have an admirer and I like it.

Most of the admiration that I have received in my life was not really all that welcome. As a young teenager I was building a set for a Shakespeare play I was performing in when I heard a noise. I looked up and right on the other side of the fence was a man masturbating while staring at me. I was 13. Granted, we were building the set on the grounds of a mental institution but this guy was NOT locked up. He was one of the ones who was free to range and had a pass into the real world on Saturdays. I tried to tell my hot 20 year old co-actor about it but I stalled when I came to the masturbation part. I didn't know which words to use. I was so embarrassed. And while I had a deep puppy love crush on the hot 20 year old male co star, he was so freaked out by having to kiss with me in the play that he could hardly stand talking to me for more than 1 minute. During that summer he hooked up with an opera singer his own mothers age and then freaked out when he found out how old she was. But that is another story entirely.

After high school I gained a lot of weight and for most of my adult life I've been a little plump. When I began slimming down, I realized that I didn't want to be slender again. The extra weight had reduced the cat calls, the guys driving by in their cars doing the blow job hand motion and the dopey sweet-but-annoying types who used to follow me around campus like little puppies talking about their Dungeons and Dragons victories. Being heavy also made me -- literally -- harder to move. Shortly after college I had been walking in my own neighborhood (the one I grew up in) and had been suddenly grabbed in a bear hug by some guy. I started yelling but nobody on this quiet residential street took any notice or came to my defense. I did yell loud enough to startle him into letting go. I ran across the street where a neighbor boy was sitting on the front steps. He seemed unconcerned and seemed annoyed that I was bothering him when I explained to him what had happened. Since I wasn't getting any sympathy or offers to walk me back to my house, I decided to just make a run for it although I was sure the man was still watching me from the shadows. The man grabbed me again in my own driveway at which time my parents heard my screaming and came to my rescue. He fled. None of the neighbors ever inquired as to my well being although they must have heard me screaming. Did they think I was just mentally imbalanced? At the time there was another Shakespeare actor staying at my parent's house. He was completely uncomfortable with witnessing this experience, said it was just like "West Side Story" (huh?) and went out with (common) friends and didn't invite me. I hate my hometown but that is another story entirely.

So, you can see why I've never really thought much of being admired. Aside from perverts, I've been also admired by men and women for all the wrong reasons, for reasons that had little to do with me: I had a car, was educated, was a liberal, was an activist, wasn't an activist, didn't smoke pot, was educated by hippies, had a swing set, knew how to use email, knew so-and-so, had long hair, had short hair, liked hiking, wasn't their girlfriend, etc. 

Admiration sucked. 

Until now. 

At the new job I have a few admirers. There are many people who live at the apartment complex where I work who are sane and interesting. There are also the Dungeons and Dragon types but as they've matured they've picked up other topics of conversation with which to impress the ladies. And there are a few harmless nut jobs. 

My new admirers are cute. They're smart and not socially disabled and they will come into the office to talk. They come by now more than they did before and that was my first hint that they have little crushes on me. I have one in particular who is my favorite. He knows how to fix cars and doesn't talk down to me because I'm female. So I get to talk about cars and straw bale houses and alternative fuel sources with him and he talks to me like, well, a peer. Its good to be admired by respectable folk. And its good to be admired for the right reasons and to have someone see value in me beyond what I can give them. Its good to be respected AND admired. And its a new experience for me, in a way. I'm soaking it up. I never thought admiration could be so light hearted and simple. But this is. And at this moment, it is absolutely perfect.

This new experience is a result of becoming Singlutionary. Being entirely satisfied with my single life has resulted in a new confidence. Crazy people leave me alone because I am untouchable; I want for nothing. And folks who are also Singlutionary seem to recognize their own. How wonderful is it to find Singlutionary friends in my offline life as well as in my virtual one?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ahhhhh Solitude

If you are a regular Singlutionary reader, you already know that a) there hasn't been as much to read lately and b) I live with a bunch of roommates and c) I am a wanna be urban farmer.

Tomorrow, I am having a party welcoming my chickens into my backyard. They've already been out back for a while now but their little chicken coop isn't quite complete without roof tiles. And the roof tiles are going to be made out of cut up beer cans. It'll take about 80 cans to finish the roof. So I'm having a beer can emptying/chicken roofing party. Its actually the first party I've had since moving into my home two years ago and kinda also serves as a housewarming.

I thought that the house would be extra crowded this weekend with all the roommates home because the party is tomorrow.

Instead, I find myself all alone.

And it feels great. Even when I'm in my room with the door closed, I am aware of other people being in the house. I make sure to be considerate, I try and look more presentable when I leave my room and I don't talk to myself out loud as much.

It feels great to have a day alone with just the dog and the chickens. I like being the only human in the house every now and again. I actually like it a lot. 

I think that I'm particularly sensitive to others and try to be considerate of them. So it is only when I am 100% alone that I feel completely myself. 

Of course, I've also been adjusting to going back to work and I'm around people a lot now. I enjoy it just as much as I enjoy this Saturday afternoon solitude. 

I know that this isn't a particularly insightful or interesting post but I just wanted to say something!

How about you? Do you enjoy solitude? Why? What is different about having other folks around and how can that be enjoyable too? 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Off-the-Grid Singlutionaries

With all the recent changes in my life, I've also got a new obsession: Creating (in my mind for now) an ideal off-the-grid resort community in rural Southwest, TX. I have always longed to create communities in which visitors could spend time being creative, being quiet and hearing their own voice again (how many times have I longed for a place like this where I can find some solitude?) and I've always had an interest in sustainable living. 

And so have other folks too! Turns out that there are lots of people who gave up their jobs and their busy "successful" life in the big city to move out to Southwest TX (and other places) and built their own super simple home-on-the-range. One thing I notice about these folks is that many of them are single. You'd think that if you're gonna move out into the middle of nowhere (and I mean the MIDDLE of nowhere), you'd need at least two people to make a go of it. Not so. These single folks have friends, they have community and they live on vast tracts of land with only a few longhorns in sight. 

And none of them seem lonely. In fact they seem entirely satisfied with their ultra-simple lives and their acres of solitude. 

Of course, this lifestyle is a lifestyle and is obviously not for everyone. I'd like to create a community where people can come and go . . . visit for a weekend or a month or a year and then go back into the world more inspired and joyful and centered and healthy. I just always thought I'd be creating a place like this in the redwood trees along the Pacific coast. But land out west is pretty expensive. And, besides, who wouldn't want these folks for neighbors:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Holiday Card (in July)

I've been inspired by a great post over at The Spinster Chronicles. Spinster Leese wrote about receiving Christmas cards as a child and enjoying the updates from relatives and friends near and far and dreaming of writing her own one day. I enjoy this too. As a single person, it would be easy to think "Well, I've got nothing to write home about". But as a Singlutionary, I can't even wait for the holiday season. I am going to write my (summer season's greetings) holiday card right now:

Dear Friends and Family,

Its been quite a half year for the Singlutionary and I hope that your half year has been ripe with blessings as well. 

Singlutionary DOG is now eating a new kind of dog food which she much prefers and which is less expensive but just as nutritious. She escaped into the neighborhood three times this year and has not yet been run over by a Prius.

Meanwhile I went a got myself a full time job, installed two low flush toilets, built a chicken coop, picked out some young Singlutionary hens (with a little help from a friend) and met up with best-friend-since-kindergarten for a half day during which time we "ate and ate and then ate again" according to her 3 year old. I successfully got friends from another time zone to quit calling after 10pm (with a few exceptions of course). And I think (this may be premature) that my sister has forgiven me for whatever I did because she kindly allowed me to take her out for lunch and a margarita and to buy her a flamingo on her birthday. Haven't heard from her since. 
I welcomed a new roommate, met up with my mom in Canada, visited both my parents back in the homeland and will be attending the wedding of my cousin to "The Fanny Patter" next weekend. My (insane) ex-boyfriend quit trying to win me back by leaving kinkos-self-published books by his-truly on my doorstep or in my mailbox and he has finally been reported to the proper authorities by his other (ex) girlfriend. I attended a screening of the first full length movie I ever acted in and realized that I don't suck as much as I thought. I cut off all my hair and rekindled my love affair with water. I have not had sex this year and I'm not really bothered by this fact. Oh, and I started a blog.

Have a Singlutionary Summer!


OK. That was pretty cheesy.

But what is your list of accomplishments and new beginnings for the half year? What do you have to celebrate? What news do you want to shout from the rooftops? What have you overcome, overdone or overcooked since January 1st? What would your Summer Singlutionary card say?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cutting My Singlution Some Slack

I had a 4 day weekend. And I didn't post once. Not once. I thought about Singlutionary. "Singlutionary" was all over my to-do list. I love writing this blog and participating in this online community of awesome happy singles. I have a list in my journal of things that I want to write about. 

I am frustrated because I am a perfectionist. And since going back to work full time PLUS still working with Bosslady part time my perfection level had dropped to complete non-perfection. In my 4 days off I desperately tried to catch up on stuff and only finished half my list. I did clean the house and finish building the chicken coop but I didn't fix my car window or catch up on blogging or even exercise. 

So I've decided to relax my standards. For now, at least.

And as a Singlutionary, I feel that relaxing my standards and cutting myself some slack is an excellent thing to do. Sometimes I expect myself to run my life as if I were a couple. I expect myself to bring home the bacon, cook wholesome meals, look pretty at all times and maintain an immaculately vacuumed carpet. You know how feminists talk about how women work and then they come home to the "second shift" aka housekeeping, child rearing, etc. Well. I have my own second shift, third shift, 16th shift. I expect myself to build chicken coops, work two jobs, fix my own car (which, by the way, is older than I am), eat super healthy organic homegrown and homecooked meals and write every day all the while looking like a lady of leisure with blow dried hair and manicured nails pushed into cute little heels.

Sometimes I think that I forget to take myself seriously because I am single. I forget how much I work or the value of the work that I do. I forget that I am running a household of four and despite the fact that I am biologically unrelated to any of of my roommates, I am still in charge of making sure everyone communicates, is generally happy and has enough toilet paper. I fall into thinking that I live a frivolous life because hey, I don't have a husband and kids so everything must just be easy like giggling while eating marshmallow fluff. Its OK. Every Singlutionary has her moments of non-singlutionary-ness. I forgive myself. 

But it is time to extend a few reminders to my Singlutionary self:

You're just one. This doesn't mean that I'm alone or lonely or that there is anything that I can't do. But it does mean that I can't expect to keep up with the JonesES. One person might be able to do more than half of what two people do but I still can't expect myself to work 50 hours a week AND have a normal life AND fix everything around the house in one weekend.  

You're just one AND you're part of a community: The only reason I was able to complete one of my long incomplete projects (namely, building a chicken coop which is all done save a lack of empty beer cans to tile the roof with --we'll be emptying the beer cans en masse in a few weeks) was with the help of my Habitat-for-Humanity-friend/former-roommate. She liked the chicken coop idea and has worked tirelessly with me to bring it to eggtion (I was trying to play on the word fruition but it didn't quite work). 

You're just one AND you're part of a greater community which you serve through your actions: Singles are often accused of being selfish or self centered by coupled folks. We're also accused of not being grown up. I think that sometimes I let this sneak in and eat away at my Singlution. Sometimes I think that my life is so fantastic that I MUST be selfish and self centered and that since I don't really have anything "serious" to do, I can just get all caught up in my own private and perfect life. 

Well. My life is great. I am so grateful for everything, for this blog, for the communities and friends which do support me, for my new job, for Bosslady, for my dog and for chicken poo. 

But that doesn't mean that my actions or my projects are irrelevant or unimportant. I am attempting to grow my own food not only for myself but to be shared with my roommates and friends. I am getting chickens to assist in pesticide free and organic pest control and to lay fresh eggs which I will not even eat (I'm allergic). I've created a sustainable business model by renting out furnished rooms in my home to people relocating to my fantastic city. I've installed rainwater collection barrels so that I can consume less water during times of drought (and its always a drought down here). 

I'm no Mother Theresa but my ideals and actions are not as much about myself (although I do enjoy my projects immensely) but about creating and sharing a wonderful space with people in-between cities, contributing to the quality of air and quantity of water in my city and basically being a good friend and neighbor. These are my interests and I am blessed to be able to pursue the life that I want to live and to see the things that I do have a small but stealthy impact on the world around me. Just being a joyful, loving person can uplift and inspire someone. 

Lately my volunteer duties have fallen by the wayside as I have had to spend more and more time on the house and then at work. And I've felt selfish. But the stuff that I do is a far cry from spending all day shopping for a new Segway. 

I am at once grateful for the wonderful people in my life and grateful that I can be a wonderful person in other people's lives. 

I still feel angst about the hallway being un-sanded and half prepped for painting six weeks and counting. I still want everything to be perfect.

But as I am learning with my car: as soon as one part is perfect, another part falls off. 

That is life. Its true if your single and its true if you're coupled. And its time I quit resisting and started celebrating this fact.  

Dear Reader: Please take a moment to pat yourself on the back. What do you do with your life that is doing good in the world even in a small, quiet way. How are you, even through doing things you love, unselfish? Where could you loosen up your own self imposed standards of perfection and cut yourself some slack?