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Monday, August 30, 2010

Warming Up

Most of the relationships I've been in have taught me the same thing: I need a lot of time to myself. The last relationship I was in merely confirmed this fact.

There is a tension between the excitement of meeting someone and feeling that mutual attraction and knowing that I need to protect my time so that I can be happy.

It seems that whenever I've been in a relationship, or even just getting to know someone in a romantic kind of way, all the time that I usually spend on things like keeping the house/car clean and maintained, taking care of myself, reading, catching up with my friends, writing and art projects -- all that time gets eaten up by the new beaux.

And it is great at first, but after a couple months I get angry. I start wondering why I can't get anything done and I start to resent the time spent with said person. I try to draw back and start spending more time doing the things I need to do -- laundry -- for example. But the other person always sees this as a personal affront and the relationship starts to crumble.

What is the solution to this?

Always be single? That is the approach I have been taking for the past few years. But what if I am ready to be open to a functional relationship where I CAN have enough space. What if I've decided that this IS a possibility and that, now, after 2 years of going solo (and sexless) I am warming up to this option.

I've written recently about being an introvert. I think that the main thing I need to find in a potential partner -- from the get go -- is someone who can understand and respect my need for personal time and someone with their own interests and friends and passions. Someone who needs time for his own projects and interests and relationships.

And then, I need to allow things to be slow and easy instead of fast and hard -- which is my usual approach.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Singlutionary's 30by30

I'm back with a vengeance!

I'm blogging again -- all self-imposed gag orders have been lifted!

And I'm running.

And I'm going to quit eating like a teenager locked in an abandoned convenience store.

Two months ago, I went to a family reunion followed by a roadtrip with my parents followed by a childhood friend's wedding. I am not even going to touch upon the wedding on this blog (its all been said before) but what I decided on that trip is that I need to get my body back.

Get my body back from what? No, I didn't have a baby. But I feel like I did. I look like I did. But I have no excuse. There are no babies waking me up all night -- I sleep well. There are no children crying for a snack all day long -- I have a schedule where I can provide myself with nutritious meals without the temptation of grabbing something just to get through the day. I need to claim my body back from our culture of instant gratification, from two years of eating away my worries and sorrows, from the soon-to-be distant memories of struggling to become the Singlutionary that I am today.

On the trip I took my my parents, even my biggest pants were beginning to feel tight. And I realized that, as I approach 30, the time to deal with my bad habits is NOW. I want to enter my 30s in the best shape of my life. I want to be active. I want to climb mountains and forge rivers and do all sorts of Oregon Trail type activities. And I want it to be easy. So, while on this trip, I texted a Singlutionary friend and said "What about training for a marathon?" Her response was: "Sure, I need a absurd goal".

My absurd goal begins with running. I found a marathon training program online and, despite several little setbacks, I have been sticking to it. So far I've gone from not even being able to run a half a mile to being able to run over 1 mile without stopping. I've also gotten faster. I've never been a runner or an athlete of any kind. What I am really learning from this, is NOT to be intimidated by physical challenges. My body began to change right away. It tightened up. I have muscles in places that were formerly dough.

But I haven't lost any weight. This doesn't concern me at this juncture. As I keep running, I'll get more confidence and I'll be better able to keep those eating demons off my back. I don't want to diet. I don't want to deprive myself of food in the sort term because I know that I'll just end up pigging out in the long run. I want to finally overcome my horrible addiction to sweets and I want to nurture myself enough that I can create a lasting habit of cooking and eating good food at home.

So. Blogging: Check. Running: Check. Eating: I'll get back to you on that one.

The name of this project is titled: 30by30. I want to lose 30lbs by my birthday at the end of October.

But it really isn't about weight loss -- that is just the title of an absurd benchmark. This is about allowing myself to become the woman that I've always had the potential to be but never let myself become. It is about freedom -- physical freedom, freedom from my food issues, freedom from all the doubts that ganged up on me in my mid 20s.

On Halloween, I've invited my friends to run with me for 16 miles through out the city in our Halloween Outfits. And on New Years Eve, I am going to run 26 plus miles -- the length of a marathon.

Absurd goals are my new best friend.

Friday, August 6, 2010

How to Be Alone

This video speaks for itself. I want to make art like this -- although mine would be wild & irreverent where this is beautiful and comforting:


Thank you to Akirah Watt at Quarter Life Lady for finding this gem of love and inspiration

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Introverted Singlutionary

I am an introvert. This has been brought to my attention in many ways over the past several months.

As an introvert, I need a lot of "me" time. I need quiet. I get easily overstimulated. The only problem is that, I don't LOOK like an introvert. I am animated and gregarious and very talkative. I enjoy people. I am always planning activities and building community. I live in a house with 3 other people. Writing this blog is a great way for my introvert to relax because I can be alone & quiet when I write it, but I can still engage in lively interaction and conversation with others.

Is it easier for an introvert to be a Singlutionary?

Spirited Children (or something like that)
My best friend, the Purple Turtle is an introvert with an extrovert for a husband and a 4 year old extrovert for a son. I used to find her husband exceedingly annoying because he never rests. He never stops talking and he doesn't understand that other people need time and space to think. Purple Turtle read this wonderful book about raising her extroverted son but she really learned more about how to nurture her introverted self. This book talks about how to deal with introverted children (of which I was certainly one) as well as introverted ones. It says that when they get home from school, introverts need time alone and so it is best to let them be by themselves until dinner time and then engage with them, ask them how their day went, etc.

When I come home from work, I do not want to be bombarded with hugs or requests or questions or invitations to go out. I don't want to interact. Or, maybe I do want to interact but only with very specific people in a very specific way.

Sacred Solitude
The reason I haven't been writing much lately, is that I've been in a very conflicted relationship that I was never fully on board for. Many people in my inner circle don't even know about this relationship because I didn't want to announce something that I was never sure was going to last. It didn't. There are many reasons for this. I learned a lot about myself, who I am and who I am not. Perhaps the biggest lesson of all (aside from being a little more cautious before committing to being in a relationship and NEVER telling potential partners about this blog) is that I am intensely introverted. Yes, I go out in the world and interact with strangers. Yes, I am always creating events and hosting get-togethers. Yes, I even have my own meetup group. But I have a secret life outside of all of that that most people never see. This secret life is quiet, introspective and solitary. I need this secret life to be well and thriving in my public life. In order to go out into the world and be the vivacious, active, creative and ambitious person that I am, I also need this deeply personal sacred time. And I need a lot of it. In a relationship, a lot of this time seems to, for me, get negotiated away. It disappears under the expectation that being involved with someone means wanting to spend ALL free time together.

Deceptive Appearances
Our culture worships the extrovert. If you are a quiet, shy or reserved person, you might be perceived as rude or unhappy or maybe even stupid. Social, gregarious people are seen as smarter, sexier and more likely to be successful. I've adapted. Last week, I was told by a friend of a friend that I seem to be an extrovert. This makes it even more offensive to people when I frequently turn down social invitations. There is often an attitude, especially amongst younger folks, that if you're not doing anything particular, you're available to socialize. So, on a Friday night, if I don't have plans, I am expected to accept invitations to go out or do SOMETHING. When in fact, I do have plans -- with myself. And no, this is not lame and pathetic but vitally important to my well being, my ability to function in the world and my ability to be who I am.

It is difficult for me to explain this to people sometimes. I've had to become comfortable with saying "no" and knowing that for some people, it will seem as if I am rejecting them entirely.

Private Life
This private, solitary life that I lead in the corners of the day when I can sneak away from demands and social expectations is usually enjoyed 100% alone. There are a few people who I could be in the same room with and still feel this sense of peace and rejuvenation. The folks are also introverts. I suspect that all introverts have private lives and sometimes we lead them in the same room. Purple Turtle, my best friend from childhood, is someone who I can be around for days on end -- mainly because we have the same need for quiet and introspection. If she grabs a journal and a book and goes to sit in a chair on the other side of the room, I know what is up and I follow suit. I have a cousin that I also can spend a lot of time around -- and my parents -- the biggest introverts of all (almost to the point of being hermits).

It was very difficult, in many of my past relationships to have this private, quiet, reflective time. The extroverts that I was dating did not understand. They felt shut out. They wondered why I didn't want to do things with them all the time. Meanwhile I felt drained and angry. Sacrificing this time is not an option for me.

Now that I am back to being single, I feel this huge sense of relief. I can be myself again. I can shut the door and lock it. I am free to be alone. And then, when I am done recharging, I am free to go back out into the world and be me.

Does my introversion prevent me from being in a relationship? No. It just narrows the pool to people who can understand my need for solitude. Should I only date introverts from now on? Maybe. Or at least people who understand the need for quiet and peace and aloneness and who enjoy it themselves.