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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Singlutionary Holiday Venting!

Oh! The holidays are stressful for everyone: If you're single there are minefields of "+1" invitations, awkward questions and family pressures. If you're coupled there is the ordeal of sharing family time between double families, in-laws (or in-loves) and having to buy way too many presents.

Or maybe there is none of that!

How about a pressure free, come-as-you-are-and-celebrate-your-life-holiday this year?

Too simple? Too trite?

The only way to get through a stressful time is with humor and a place to vent. So, for those who need some venting, here it is! Vent to your hearts content right here! No holes bared. Secretly, all of us will understand. In the good nature of venting, nobody is allowed to rain on anyone's venting parade! Venting ONLY!

Single people, married people and anyone in between.

Vent your holiday frustrations. My only requirement is that you at least TRY to be funny about it!

May 2012 come quickly and may the 1st 11 months of the year last long.

Love, Singlutionary

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Singlism on Prime Time!

So the comedy show "Whitney" has an episode about singlism! In this episode Whitney and her live-in boyfriend are denied adopting a dog because they aren't married. Of course this isn't about singlism in the "living solo" sense since they are a couple, but singlism is still getting some attention! I know this will spark some conversation amongst my blogger friends!

Here is the link which hopefully will be active for some time:

What do you think of this?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Singlutionary's Scuba Story

SCUBA diving isn't something you can do solo. You need a buddy.

I've got lots of buddies but none of them are into scuba diving. In fact, I'm surprised that I'm into scuba diving. As a kid I was alternately enchanted with and terrified by water. I'm not athletic and although I am adventurous, I've never been into activities that require a lot of gear and investment. So I've enjoyed activities which require little startup costs: hiking, running, biking, swimming.

But last year I went and surprised everyone, including myself, and got SCUBA certified. I took a class at my school where I am a graduate student. It is a Physical Education class and was filled with mostly 19 year olds. Everyone was skinnier and younger than me including the sexy hick instructor. The financial considerations were difficult but possible to overcome: I just had to postpone paying off debt and invest in a wetsuit and pay the extra fee instead.

I figured it was a gift to myself for my 30th birthday.

When the class was over, I was certified to dive but I still didn't have anyone to dive with. None of my young classmates were potential buddies and I didn't really know anyone else who dove. So I took another class. In the Master SCUBA Diver class, I had 3 classmates: Two almost identical looking 19 year old boys and another woman in her late 20s. I was excited about the other woman, thinking I might make friends with her -- until we dove together. I had to help her put together her gear because she "didn't like that part" so her boyfriend usually did it for her.


This shit keeps you alive underwater. You'd think you might want to know how it works!

She was a nice person but not buddy material. Plus, she already had a built-in-buddy -- one who would do her thinking for her.

So a couple weeks ago, for my 31st birthday I went on a dive trip to this spring fed pool in West Texas that I'd been dreaming of going to even before I began scuba diving. Imagine a giant swimming hole with crystal clear water in the middle of the desert? It is a full 6 hours from any major (or minor) city. This place is called Balmorhea and it is a mirage -- but a real one.

I signed up for a trip with other divers, thinking that there would be other people going without a buddy and I would have a whole bunch of potential future buddies to choose from -- kinda like a singles mixer for scuba divers. Of course I had to pay double the "per person" rate because I didn't have anyone to share a room with. A month before the trip was about to depart my best friend and roommate, the Handywoman, decided she would come. I had already paid for the room so all she had to do was drive (not an easy task really since Balmorhea is the very definition of "middle of nowhere").

Handywoman doesn't dive but there was swimming and hiking and lots of other activities.

We got there late on Thursday for the night dive. There were already some other divers in the water so I waited for some new divers to arrive. I saw one girl getting her gear together and undaunted, trotted up to her and asked if I could join her.

"What?" was her response. She acted like I was an alien -- maybe I was, I mean, we were near supposed alien territory -- the Marfa Lights.

"Do you mind if I get my gear and join you?" I asked again.

"Well. I already have a buddy" she said awkwardly and yet at the same time proudly since she obviously wasn't an alien like me trying to make friends with the already buddy-ready humans. "I don't know," she continued "are threesomes allowed?"

They were -- since the water was so clear and shallow but I could tell that she definitely wasn't interested in having a threesome with me and her boyfriend.

All of a sudden I felt like the uninvited guest to an orgy.

"Nevermind, I'll just wait for someone else to come down." I said.

And I did.

But nobody else came.

The next day was similar. I showed up to the pool at about noon and asked the group leader if anyone else had come without a buddy. She listed off a bunch of names and said another group was arriving at 2pm. I waited until dinner time but no other lost aliens-sans-buddy showed up at the pool. I did some swimming and taught Handywoman how to snorkel. I ate cheese and crackers and watermelon in the sun. I had a good time. But I was waiting.

I wanted to dive.

And more than wanting to dive, I wanted a dive partner. I wanted to make a new friend to dive with in the future. Someone with similar skill and interest and someone who would be fun to talk to in a car for 2 hours. It didn't seem too much to ask for when I had paid the double fee.

It was time to go to dinner and I still hadn't been on a dive. I was being positive on the outside but honestly I was frustrated. I had missed the night dive and now I had missed a whole day of diving. The next day was slated for hiking. I had to be more aggressive if I was going to find a dive partner. The dinner was my only hope. It was a group dinner with the other people on the trip and I hoped that I would meet some of the other buddyless divers there.

I was quickly disappointed. There were the dive instructors and their families at one end of the table, a mother daughter team and then an entire family of which only the mom & dad & daughter dove. The daughter was a teenager and the parents were parents. Plus, they all had each other to dive with and could afford to go on week long dive trips to exotic locations. I needed someone who could dive locally and, like me, would have to save up to go on a big dive trip.

To add insult to injury, in walks the humanoid-buddy-girl and her boyfriend. At first I attempted to make conversation with them but after overhearing a conversation she had with my roommate (which made no sense what-so-ever) I tried to avoid eye contact. That was fine with her as she proceeded to get drunk and interrogate her boyfriend about his family. It was impossible not to overhear but it was also like being on someone else's first date. I was impressed that people could be an official couple and know so little about each other. No wonder she was so reluctant to have a "threesome".

I did end up diving the next day. I just got in by myself and found the other folks who were down there -- an older couple who had told me that I could join them. I tried to get another night dive in but everyone else was done with diving by then.

The trip wasn't a total bust. I enjoyed it, enjoyed the time spent with Handywoman and got to see a place that I'd been dreaming of for a long long time. I got to dive once and the place is so small that I saw everything there was to see. Although I would really have liked to do the night dive because critters come out at night that hide during the day -- like turtles.

But I didn't find a buddy. Everyone already came coupled -- and not just with a scuba buddy but with a partner. I realized that scuba diving is something that couples do together. They get certified so they can go on vacation together. It is a couple-y thing to do.

Whenever I've wanted to do something that you're "supposed" to do with a partner, I've just done it by myself. But what happens when its an activity that can not be done solo? My first response was to join a group. But what if the group is already made up of unalterable partnerships?

I'm not sure what to do next to meet single scuba divers who need a buddy. There is a scuba meetup in town that I can attend when I have time. Meetup tends to have a lot of solo people looking for folks to do things with. But for right now diving is on hold. Plus, its getting colder and the drought has left our already nasty lakes even nastier.

Finding a scuba buddy is turning out to be a lot like finding a mate: a pain in the ass. But while I can continue to live my life without a partner, I can't go diving without one.

At least I have until the spring to save up enough hope to try again.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sticky Single Social Situations

Every activity comes with a community, even something as solitary as blogging. Of course, my blog friends never invite me to go out for drinks after a long day of blogging. And this is just fine with me (although in the early days of Singlutionary, Onely & I discussed a Singlutionary-Onely camping meetup somewhere in the USA).

The social nature of a work community can be an important one. It can also be incredibly annoying. I love my co-workers and I think they're good people but they're not my best friends. I don't want to go out after work with them to drink and I don't want to hang out with them outside of work. I am happy for them and their lives but for the most part I'm not interested in celebrating their birthdays, graduations, baby shower, moving, etc.

If I'm going to carve out social time in my life, I would prefer it be with the good friends that I rarely get to see.

What is the best way to politely decline social invitations from co-workers? I appreciate their humor and commraderie at work but I'm not interested in extending that work-friendship into what would be a social obligation outside of work.

Let me put it this way: If I'm not being paid to be around them, I wouldn't choose to be.

That is so RUDE! I know. But it is true.

So how do I avoid these social traps, these persistent invitations?

The 1st rule is: Don't start. Don't say "yes" ever. Sometimes I accept the offer once because I think that then I'll have put in my time and I won't feel so bad about saying "no" next week and the week after that and the week after that. But it doesn't work that way. I say "yes" once and suddenly there is this outside-of-work-bond, an expectation that there will be more socializing to follow.

The 2nd rule is: Always be busy. It is harder single and childless people to beg off from after work social activities. It is rude to say "Oh, I'd love to go out with you tonight but I have this book that I am really into" but it is totally OK to say "I'd love to go out tonight but my partner is waiting for me". So, as a single person, you have to make up "important" things to do that someone else will hold you accountable for the next day -- like another job or homework or some kind of volunteer activity. Or you could just tell the truth. But honestly, if we're talking about people who would be understanding of my desire to read a book rather than shoot the shit with them for 4 hours, they might actually be outside-of-work-friend material.

The 3rd rule is: Be vague. If you say, "I'd love to but I run at 6am every Saturday morning" you might find yourself with an unwelcome running companion or being asked to join every running group under the sun. Maybe this is welcome to you -- if so, great! That means that your work community is a good match for you socially. Currently, mine is not. So here is a vague answer, "I'd love to but I have to get up super early tomorrow to get some stuff done before noon".

These are my well practiced tactics for avoiding the after-work hangout but what about the facebook invite? People invite you via facebook and they act like its a real invitation. The 1st line of resistance would be to not have a facebook or have a facebook that is so secret that only your most inner circle of 5 people can find you. Of course, that totally defeats the whole purpose of facebook which is to kill time by making yourself feel depressed about how sexy and successful all your former classmates are.

I like to pretend I didn't see the facebook invite. But what do I do when I get asked about it in person? What do I do when I really do like and appreciate the person but simply don't want to spend non-work time with them when time is at such a precious premium?

I don't know. Not attend? Attend for a few minutes and then leave? Get them a card and give it to them at work in lieu of attending said celebration.

I am sure that the celebration would be fun. But it just isn't high enough up on my list of how I'd like to spend my time.

Coupled folks can always use the other person as an excuse but singles have to get creative.

There are all kinds of important relationships and work relationships have sustained me many times through out my single life. But at this particular juncture, at this particular job, I'd like to leave them at work. No matter how much I appreciate them as humans.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When Singlutionary is "Sick of Being Single!"

In my last post, I mentioned that, in part, my long hiatus from blogging was due to feeling "sick of being single": I felt like a hypocrite.

But Eleanore of The Spinsterlicious Life wrote a delightful comment which inspired me to write more about the very thing which prevented me from writing.

Being single is an adventure -- especially if you're someone who has never been single and suddenly finds yourself there or if you've lived a life where you've never felt comfortable with being single but suddenly realize that learning to be comfortable with being single is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

When I started this blog 3 years ago I was excited at the thought of learning how to be happy and single. I was fresh out of a pretty sketchy relationship with my former therapist. (Duh, bad idea, right?) I was still in and barely coming out of a deep-down-supper-shitty, bad-as-its-ever-been low point. I was upset with myself for making yet another bad decision when it came to a relationship (or relationship material) and upset at the universe for all the time and space I had wasted in my life wishing for some Knight in Badboy Armor to come trotting into my life only to rip my life out of my own hands and trample it under his sexy horse.

But after being single for 2 years, the gloss and struggle of singleness wore of. There was a honeymoon period that I had with myself and it was over.

But I loved the community I had found through Singlutionary. This blog fed my soul and my fellow bloggers were a rare light for me during a very difficult time. I felt sane and comprehended and like I was a part of something important when I wrote and read and commented and conversed in the singles blog-o-sphere. So I kept trying to keep this blog up.

But I was bored. I was bored with everything. After a traumatic experience, it takes a long time to feel stable again. And at first that stability is like this great and wondrous thing. It feels SO GOOD.

And then it gets boring. Suddenly, stability is taken for granted. I wondered what was next? What would I do with my life now that I had my life back in my own hands, mended of horse hooves and heartbreak?

I needed a new real life friend, some intellectual stimulation and a job that didn't suck.

And I wanted to be with someone in a sexual/love relationship because THAT seemed like the new adventure. And because I'd finally got enough confidence in myself and in the world to think that being in a relationship could be a positive thing -- as long as I did it Singlutionary style.

Well, the first relationship was a disaster of needyness. I was Singlutionary and the other member of this relationship was Needilutionary. It was over almost before it began, but not soon enough.

I was so glad to be single again after that 4 month 1st try.

But I hadn't had sex in over 2 years and I was on the prowl. But THAT story is the subject of another post.

The point of this post is that even if you're totally happy and comfortable with being single, sometimes you get bored. Sometimes you're bored because your job is boring or because your friends are all old farts or because you're an old fart and only like to watch old episodes of The Wonder Years on VHS and think about the olden days.

Sometimes you're horny because you haven't had sex in 2 years and you've just turned 30.

It is OK to crave a new adventure! Sometimes this adventure means going offline for a bit, or quitting writing for a bit. And sometimes this adventure means trying out that thing that we're all about doing just fine without -- a relationship.

What adventures are you craving? When do you know that you're entering into this new adventure not out a desperate need to get away from where-you-are but because you're ready to share where-you-are with the world?

Comment Away!


PS: The wordpress site isn't quite ready yet but getting a little closer every week. My new academic/work/social schedule permits me to check in, comment, read and post about once a week so it will be a matter of weeks before the transition to wordpress is complete.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Singlutionary Has Got Some New Moves

Hey. So, I'm back from outer space. I'm not sure what I learned there and I unfortunately wasn't able to master the native tongue of the alien people.

But I'm back. Several half relationships, several half jobs, a few whole jobs and maybe even some hand jobs later, I return to the blog-o-sphere.

I quit writing here not because I didn't love it but because my financial life needed attending, my physical self needed to be out of the house and off the computer and because, for a while, I just didn't know what to write about. I was at the same time sick of being single (what a hypocrite am I!) and unable to articulate how I felt about the few not-so-awful-but-not-really-great relationships or quazi relationships that I was going through or ending or starting (you never really know when a quazi relationship starts or ends, right?).

I had also exhausted a wealth of revelatory ideas about singleness and happiness. I knew that I was good at being single, that a lot of personal time and space suits me but I didn't know what else to say on the topic -- unless I started repeating old themes which was the most uninspiring proposition on earth. So I left for outer space.

So what are my new moves now that I'm back on the bandwagon? Just telling stories about my life and sharing insights about what other single bloggers are writing. And just being a positive source of entertainment for you -- be you single or coupled or something in between. I'm also beginning a project with my car, Tomatobot. I'm sure you can't wait to hear the stories that come out of me & Tomatobot's quality time together. Its like a slumber party with a giant diesel machine. The pillow fights are more like an oil spill.

I'm also moving my blog away from blogger and onto wordpress. I will miss my blogger community and it will take me a while to get all my blogroll and subscriptions back up to date but I look forward to easier blogging/commenting/subscribing.

I will post here again when the move takes place, but "singlutionary.com" will always take you to the Singlution.

It feels mighty fine & good to be back! And I look forward to settling in and catching up on my favorite blogs as well.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Living Single: Bella's Book on Singlism

Singlism activist Bella DePaulo is writing another book on being single -- this one is specifically about "singlism" and the prejudice single people experience socially, in the workplace, in advertising, on vacation and pretty much everywhere. Bella seeks to remove the stigma from single and she is very good at tearing down anti-single arguments. Both Bella and Christina and Lisa at Onely are my Singlutionary heroes, fighting the good fight to make single normal and not a state of emptiness or waiting or lovelessness as it is often perceived and projected to be. They even attempt to tackle institutionalized singlism like laws that make life shittier for single people. All I do is right this blog a few times a month. But Bella and Lisa and Christina actively fight singlism.

Bella has asked for contributions on her blog from other Singlutionaries and I encourage you to check out her post and her blog. She asked the following questions (please add your own to the comments):

  • Do you have a favorite answer to the question, "Why are you single?"
  • Have you addressed other people's false assumptions of what your single life is like? Which approaches have worked best?
  • Have you found any successful ways of dealing with singlism in the workplace? For example, if you have been asked to cover more than your share of holidays or overtime or travel, have you handled those experiences in ways that resulted in positive changes?
  • Have you ever let a business know that their advertisements or practices were dismissive of singles or unfair to them?
  • Have you ever written a letter to an editor, author, reporter, social scientist, or anyone else pointing out an act of singlism and explaining what is wrong with it? (Share your letter, if you are willing, and let us know if it was ever published or acknowledged.)
  • Have you ever stood up to a speaker at a public event and challenged their singlism? (Positive stories are welcome, too. For example, have you ever publicly thanked a speaker for acknowledging the real stories of singles' lives rather than perpetuating already-debunked myths?)
  • Do you write an enlightened blog about singles or maintain a website or run an organization or give talks or workshops that you would like more people to know about? If so, drop all modesty and briefly explain what's so great about what you are doing. (Please, no dating stuff.) I maintain a list of blogs and other resources at my website, but I'll probably only include in the book ones from people who tell me they'd like to be included and who offer their own description of what they are doing. I think it is important to have part of the book written in other people's voices.
  • Have you held political leaders (or other people in power) to account for their singlism or thanked them for their actions and policies that are fair to single people? Have you explained to any of them the kinds of policies and practices that would be fair to single people (without being unfair to anyone else)?
  • Have you knocked on doors, handed out pamphlets, given to advocacy groups (name your favorites), volunteered your time, or done anything else to raise consciousness or stamp out singlism?
Below is my contribution to Bella's project:

Fighting the good fight against any kind of prejudice happens on two fronts: There are changes in policy and there are changes in culture. My mixed race parents were married a couple years after the miscegenation laws were formally taken off the books in California. However, mixed race marriage had steadily gained cultural acceptance long before the law changed. The same could be said for singlism: We change policies as fast as we change culture and we change culture through changing laws. I've made a conscious decision to use my blog, Singlutionary, to work on changing the cultural perceptions and acceptance around being single. It takes many voices to make a shift like this and I am proud to be one of them.

My blog, Singlutionary, is about my life: I have been single for all 30 years of it save a few months here and there. My longest relationship has been with my car. I own a house, have been driving the same car for 7 years (which I maintain myself). I also have maintained friendships from Kindergarten even before the advent of facebook. I have three roommates, a dog, three chickens and a garden. I organize family reunions and camping trips and meetup groups. I'm a failed actor turned academic.

So what is so great about all that? I do it single. I navigate this world not with one partner but with a community of friends, co-workers, roommates and neighbors. My life is full and valid and equally deserving of praise and presents as is the 25 year old married couple who just bought a house in a great school district. So when my cousin prods into my dating life and desperately tries to encourage me to desperately try harder to find a partner so that I can be just like her, well, I write about it. I write about all the comforts and discomforts of being single because I wasn't always so comfortable with it. When I began writing the blog it was during a time when all my single friends would come to me for advice, not realizing that I felt broken and wrong for always being single. I was their single hero yet I felt like I had completely ruined my life without even realizing it. I was 27 and had just broken up with a man who I thought I would marry. To be honest, I didn't even really like him. But I wanted to prove to my family that I was not a failure. I wanted to do something that would validate me in the eyes of the world -- that would position me as a fully formed woman and not a girl lost in a sea of indecision. I didn't realize that the sea of indecision was merely a subconscious acceptance of our culture's concept that a person doesn't really "grow up" until they "settle down". I was waiting to commit to myself because I thought I had to commit to someone else first.

There are so many states of being single. There are so many experiences. Some people, like me, are single for long periods of time and some people marry their high school sweetheart and are not single until much later in life. Singleness in not a space of lacking: It is a space of wonder and excitement and peace. It is also a state of frustration, confusion and sadness. Being single is not better or worse than being coupled. But it is where I am and how I live my life and right now, I am going to rock the Singlution.

That is what Singlutionary is all about.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Singlutionary's Non-Solo Vacation

I don't want to go on vacation by myself this year. I am bored with myself. I am sick of talking to myself. So, instead of going home to visit my old parents and having to sit around doing nothing, in one of the most beautiful regions of America, I am going to take some hot young friends with me.

And by "hot young friends" I mean interesting, wonderful people who still like to do things and still have the space in their lives to go on a trip with me.

I am making new friends, yes. And most of them are younger. By the time they're my age, I don't know that they'll have the space in their life to go on vacation with me. Marriage changes many things and committing to living life with one person makes for less time to commit to vacationing with another person. Having children makes people homebound and unable to freely adventure.

For a long time I have felt that making new friends was futile, since eventually everyone would couple and abandon me. But now I am hopeful, that I can make lasting friendships which will endure marriage and children. I hope to make friends with people who's friendship and company I can continue to value and count on many years down the road, in part because we share the same basic ideals when it comes to how we want to live.

I don't need many of these friends because friendship like that is a commitment in-and-of-itself. I can only have a few best friends at a time.

But having some fun and active friends to travel with this summer inspires me and makes me excited about life again in a way I haven't been for a long time. My best friend from kindergarten and I used to travel together and we used to dream up these elaborate roadtrips which would be ever so much better simply because of each other's company. But she is moving to the opposite coast with her family and I need new friends with whom I can play.

After three years of solitude, I am ready to open up to some good company and to companionship which is mutually beneficial and inspiring. I've been with myself so long that I have grown all I can without some external influence, without a new voice and perhaps some challenges to my way of looking at things. I am ready to travel with wonderful others, experiencing old things through their eyes and visa versa.

I am ready to play with others.

Or at least I will be in 3 weeks. Right now I am drowning in the whole school/work/life/house/pet world which is my life these days.

But summer is almost upon us and with it, some of the best adventures I've had in a long time.

There is nothing better than good company. And for a long time, that good company was my own. But now I am ready for someone new.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Marching to My Own Beat, Dear

While writing is definitely my thing, being timely about it is not. In college, I turned in every paper late but I promised myself that I would not be a tardy student in graduate school. But here I am with a two week overdue paper and no time to write it in.

The problem with turning in papers late (aside from the grade aspect) is that I am missing out on a shared experience with my fellow classmates. I realize that, in many ways this experience is similar to being single over 30. Just as my classmates are reviewing and revising their returned papers, my peers are buying furniture with their partners and raising children. When I turn my paper in next week, it will be a solo experience because everyone else has already moved onto their revisions.

Of course, life doesn't have the same kind of deadlines that school has and there are many wonderful, fun & amazing single women over 30 -- I just don't know any of them in real life (I know lots of them online though!! Last week I wrote about looking for these wonderful single friends.) But I do have a different feeling about being single now that I've crossed the threshold into my 30s.

I am in no way saying that there is anything wrong with being single after 30 or that I am unhappily single. Nor am I saying that 30 is an age deadline for coupling. I am just saying that I didn't go with the majority. And I miss that common experience.

When it comes to time management, I've always been a busy person with this demanding Drill Sargent in my head saying "Get up. Work out. Quit being lazy. Keep going. Are you a quitter?" This Drill Sargent was effective for the first half of my life but has recently become this thing that I rebel against daily. I watch TV just because it temporarily silences the Drill Sargent.

The other morning I woke up angry and tired after a semi-sleepless night. I had so much to do and this unfinished paper tugging at me and a dirty house and an unwalked dog and a car that needs work and a garden that needs planting and chickens that need a chicken run (and on and on and on).

And then I thought to myself "What would I do for myself right now if I were my own best friend?"

And the answer was: "I'd go get myself some water and make myself some breakfast and a cup of tea and then I'd clean the house."

The thing is, those were the things that I was going to do that morning anyway. But approaching them from a nurturing perspective, from a place of caring for myself, was so much more joyful than just jumping at the Drill Sargent's commands.

So now I am trying to cultivate this new voice in my mind which sounds like a sweet little old lady and ends every sentence in "dear": "You might want to work on that paper now, dear. You will feel so much better when it is done, dear."

I call her Mother Nurture. She is very encouraging.

So, when it comes to being single I could listen to the Drill Sargent who says: "Quick! Quick! Quick! You aren't getting any younger! Get online. Date. Even if you don't like him and he is ugly and negative and a total downer. Give it a shot. Do you want to die lonely and miserable? Everyone else is already married. They have something to live for! What is wrong with you? Hurry up. Get in line. Do some pushups and put on some makeup -- you need it!"

Or I can listen to Mother Nurture: "Dear, you've got plenty of time. You're a wonderful person. You have done a lot today, just think of all you've accomplished. You listened to your friend and talked to your dad and you worked in the yard and went to a rehearsal. Look at how accomplished you are, dear. Now, I know you're tired, dear, but wouldn't you feel better if you finished up that volunteer work you've been trying to get to for a month. It will only take an hour or so. Just finish that up tonight and then tomorrow afternoon you will have time to work on that paper. You have enough time, dear. Don't worry."

Now this is either schizophrenic or totally awesome. I love Mother Nurture. She helps me take care of myself instead of beating myself to bits every day. I think I might be able to turn papers in on time now that I'm not just trying to silence the Drill Sargent with compulsive Hulu watching.

I can't say, however, that I'll be "on time" with the rest of my life. After all, I march to my own beat, dear.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Small Community of Close Friends

Since my post earlier this week on the Chicken Funeral, I've been thinking: Why am I such a whiner? I have wonderful friends and know really good people? Why am I so pissed off that nobody wanted to participate in my chicken funeral. I mean, it sounds like tons of fun, right?

After I performed the solo chicken funeral (in which even the chickens refused to participate), I went to a work meeting. And as I was arriving, a married couple who have a farm were dropping off their 1st official produce delivery EVER. They had two friends with them who were making a documentary about their farm and were taping this milestone in their farming business/life together.

For some reason, this added insult to injury. These people have a whole group of people who care about what they are doing and all support each other in doing it. They are making an official documentary about what they are doing and I am a one woman chicken grave digging idiot who props a camera up on a fence to document the death of my pet because nobody else is there to witness it.

Why am I not simply single, but SOLO is so many of my endeavors? "Wah wah wah! Why am I always alone? Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I guess I'll go eat chicken."

Well, the pity party ends here. Because after further thought I realized that I do have community. But my community isn't based around one interest. I know a lot of wonderful people all with different lifestyles and callings and professions. There is a backyard chicken keeping organization in my town that I am 100% inactive with although I do check their bulletin board on a regular basis. However, I've never been to an event or contributed. I don't have time and honestly, I'm not THAT interested in having my chickens take over my life. If I were a more active member of the group, I would have a serious chicken community of live chicken lovers and dead chicken mourners.

Then, I received a video from my friend that her sister, sister's partner and their friends had made. The video is funny and slightly like unto the funeral video except that they behead one of their chickens and prepare it for dinner. There are several people active in this video and there is more than one person to hold the camera, and a person to hold the chicken and another person to wield the axe that chops off the chickens head.

They all decided to do this together. This is their life and their friends and this is what they do for fun (make a video about killing and eating their chicken -- not the actual act of killing the chicken).

THAT is what I want (just the vegetarian version).

This seems every obvious to me now.

I've always been pursuing groups of people and volunteering my time and getting involved in community hoping that I'll find a community of my own. But the truth is that all I need are a few good friends with an inclusive attitude and a long-term commitment to our friendship.

I moved far away from my hometown (where the friend with the chicken head chopping sister lives) and in doing so, left behind many of my childhood friends. But I've been in my new city five years and I've put down roots. At the same time, I've been so busy building community for other people (through my meetup or my dog rescue work or through volunteering my ass off for one cause after another) that I haven't really taken the time to build my own individual, long term friendships. My roommates tend to be temporary and so I have quit letting them too much into my life, knowing that in a few months they'll move on. I've quit seeking new friends because so many of my friends disappeared once they got into a relationship. At some point I gave up on friendship.

I'm seeking people (not just one person) to live life with and share in the victories and failures. The community doesn't have to be big and it doesn't have to be centered upon ONE mutual interest. Maybe we enjoy each other's humor or maybe we enjoy the same activities. But we somehow commit to being there for each other as a small group and holding the camera for each other whenever it is needed.

I see how the friendships that I have continued to nurture are not practical ones, mainly because these friends live far away or are married and have children. What I need to allow myself to let into my life are friends with a similar mindset and lifestyle who live where I do and are available to support me as I support them. What I am looking for is not only a partner, but a small community of close friends (of which some may also be lovers).

Instead of welcoming people into the city and helping them get adjusted and saving dogs and film and blah-de-blah. I need to save myself a little space to make a life in. A life filled with friendship and caring and community to which I contribute, but also receive.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Singlutionary Chicken Funeral

I have pet chickens in my backyard.

My least favorite chicken died yesterday. We weren't that close. I have a special bond with my other chickens -- they all have strong personalities and are feisty or stubborn or friendly. They stand out from the crowd but Little Beer was a quiet simple chicken. Maybe she had a deep inner life.

Who knows? She was a chicken. And now she is dead.

Yesterday, Little Beer's sister, Mohawk -- the other silkie chicken that she was brought up with from chickdom -- was bereaved. Mohawk wouldn't talk or eat or move. She just stood there stunned. Last night, instead of making a perch on the toilet in their coop (where she usually sleeps), she curled up on the floor of the coop. I poked her to make sure she was still alive. She looked at me without any recognition. I tried to get her to eat the most delicious chicken feed but she wouldn't budge. I thought this morning I would have another fluffy yellow chicken body to bury.

But this morning Mohawk hopped out of the coop with the other chickens, her period of morning, at least temporarily, ended. I brought her her own food and made the other chickens back off so she could eat, but there was no need: Mohawk was hungry and wasn't going to be bullied. She was back to her better self.

I have great plans for a chicken funeral. I want to dress up in my farmer outfit (where I look very much like my avatar from the formerly addictive facebook game, Farmville) and say some words over Little Beer's grave with the other chickens in attendance. I want to bury her with some good food and a bottle of beer. It would be fun and playful and a genuine celebration of Little Beer's life.

Lately I have taken to obsessively videotaping myself giving monologues while doing various things or going about my life. I do this because I do so many things alone and I want someone to share them with. So, I video them so that I can either edit the videos and share the online or so that I can just feel like there is someone to talk to about my experiences -- even if that "someone" is a credit card sized crappy video camera.

I would like to videotape the chicken funeral. But then I realize, it might be difficult to find someone to hold the camera. And there isn't enough time to train my dog to do it.

Like many single people, I have friends. I have wonderful friends and wonderful roommates. But as Special K commented on my Vday post, my life lacks intimacy. In the past, I have had intimate friendships where we knew everything about each other and talked all the time and we were available to each other for support no matter what. But as my friends coupled off or married, our intimate friendship was crowded out by their intimate partnership with their partner or spouse. And now, all too aware of the energies a romantic relationship demands, I am reluctant to develop new intimate friendships because I know that they are essentially temporary, a stop gap until one of us couples.

Although I take issue with the way our culture works, it is still the way our culture works.

And so, with the death of Little Beer, I also realize that what I would really like is a capable, supportive person in my life who would enjoy participating in a chicken funeral and would gracefully hold the video camera while I perform the necessary invented rites required to lay Little Beer to rest. It is an odd request and one made on a weekday in cloudy weather. If I am going to put the fun back in chicken funeral, I would like another human to share this unique experience with.

There are a few people I could call upon. I could ask one of my roommates, I could ask my best city friend. But people are busy. There are so many other things to do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

V is for Victorious

Thank you to Onely for their wonderful Valentines Day profile of happy single bloggers (of which Singlutionary is included).

This Valentines Day, I feel victorious. Not because I have a boyfriend to shower me in calories and crap but because I am not angstified over not having one.

I've actually never had a boyfriend or partner or date on Valentines day. I've always celebrated alone, not understanding what all the fuss is about. When I was a teenager I worked in a chocolate shop and had to wait on all the angsty men who came in knowing that whatever they got their woman would somehow not be enough or somehow be wrong. As a result, they would not only NOT get laid, but they would end up sleeping on the couch.

And then there is my friend who's then boyfriend got her a dead plant for V-day. She married him anyways, found out he was a freeloader over the course of the next 7 years and is now engaged to someone else.

If I were in a relationship, I would want to pretend that Valentines Day doesn't exist.

As a matter of fact, I am avoiding one of the men I've been dating this weekend. This particular gentleman -- I'll call him Suburban Sailboater -- seems like he might be a bit into romance. We've only been out twice and I like him but I need to tell him that I like him as a FRIEND. I realized during the second date that I am simply not interested in him romantically -- mainly because I can't see being in a relationship with him due to a lack of conversational chemistry but also due to his making some weird kissing NOISES when he was kissing my neck (like a hissy kissy sound). I don't know why but the hissy kissy sound made my vagina immediately close up shop for the night and drove him straight into friend territory.

I know, I know. I shouldn't be so picky about the hissy kissy from the Suburban Sailboater.

Whatever. If a guy isn't hot on the 2nd date, things are NOT going to get better. And by hot I don't mean tall, dark and handsome (although Suburban Sailboater is definitely tall, dark and geeky) but merely a good sexual match -- someone with whom I share a massive sexual chemistry worthy of sixteen condoms.

But I digress. This Valentines Day I am victorious because I am not TRYING to make something work just because I want something special to happen on V-day. I am not going on a forced date or pining away for Mr. Awesome. I am grateful for Suburban Sailboater and hope that we can develop a friendship sometime NEXT weekend when we are safely out of the V-day zone.

I am comfortable with myself, proud of where I am and satisfied with the work meeting/job interview/audition/homework that I will be doing tomorrow on St. Valentines Day.

Romance is always the best when it is organic and unexpected. The pressures of Valentines Day would best be served somewhere else. With less pomp, less force, less candy, fewer creepy pink bears and less expectation. And, dare I say it: With MORE love.

There are many folks who take the opportunity to celebrate Valentines day by celebrating all the non-romantic love in their lives. While I would prefer and just hide out from the holiday, I think that is a wonderful idea.

So if you want to buy someone a creepy pink bear, buy one for the people who love and support you no matter what -- even when you're in the doghouse, on the sofa and hornier than a rhino because you've been celibate for 3 to 30 years.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Seeing Singlutionary

I've been more or less absent from blogging for over a year now. And although, during this time, I very much wanted to write, wanted to continue to participate in the happily single online community -- I also felt like I had nothing to say.

Either I had nothing to say, or I couldn't figure out what to say.

Writing stopped feeling cathartic because suddenly, being single & happy was, well, boring. I was content. My issues weren't around being single but around working out other kinks in my life.

And, for part of the past year I was not single. I was unhappily coupled, trapped in a strange relationship that I have no idea how I wound up in. It was a friendship gone awry which did teach me a few things about myself that I wasn't aware of: That I am seduceable despite my better intentions, that I am ambitious beyond my wildest beliefs and that I am incompatible with a broad range of personality traits which include heavy drinking, annoying questions and general neediness.

I tried to ride out the relationship with grace in order to save the friendship and failed.

It just wasn't something that I wanted to write about. Especially knowing that my blog would be read by said love-disaster.

A good portion of the year has transpired since that relationship came to a close and I am beginning to experience new revelatory interactions which might result in something more than a post saying "I'll be back soon".

I've also been blessed with many free books which need to be reviewed.

So, tonight, this Friday night, three months after my last post, I am finally on that long awaited date with my blog.

I could be on a date with a man. I have a few prospects, all of which are promising both physically and intellectually. But I am not. I am at home, being the homebody that I am and grateful for this time to jump back into the Singlutionary world.

Even though I suspect that I will not feel single much longer. Because, I have now at my disposal a growing community of smart, funny and interesting men.

Being without men was the only thing that was an issue before. Not in a romantic or even sexual way (although missing sex and intimacy was definitely an issue at times) -- but in some kind of yin/yang balance. I need men in my life just as I need friends with various perspectives and upbringings in my life. I need that male perspective and -- to be quite honest -- the masculine quality in general.

Some of the best times I had this year were with men who I am not romantically involved with -- I hiked to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion and spent a week in Chicago discussing Shakespeare with my Comical Cousin and a week ago today I spend the day hiking outside of Vegas to a delicious hot spring with (an admittedly sexy) Future Fed. And lately Tall Turtle has been buying me beers and generally showing me a good, laid back time (OK, so there is obviously some potential romance there).

But, in general, I think I've finally learned how to be friends with men. And it is a great experience and fills the place in my life that was made empty when my female friends all defected to marriage and babies.

And this blog, my Singlutionary life, is here on Friday nights when the best thing to do is check up with all the wonderful single people out there and their creative, interesting, engaging lives which are so full and joyful and positive despite being considered, by many of our culture, to be missing their "other half".