The Truth About Being A Single Woman!

imageWith divorce rates at least at 50/50 percent it could be safely assumed that there are a lot of single people on our Planet at the present time. I will only share some thoughts about single women because my divorce was final in 2005 so I feel I could speak like a “pro” on the topic.

There could be a multitude of scenarios but they say to speak about what you know best.
For that reason, I will speak about the truth regarding single womanhood as I experience it!

There is a popular belief that one couldn’t forget or “heal” and place an old love on the back shelf of our hearts, unless a new Prince Charming appears in our lives, white horse or not.
Truth be told, if I didn’t have a Master’s in counseling and Psychology and years of sitting on the client ‘s chair, because how could one support a client if she/ he has never been one?
The story of my romantic relationships started early in my life, for strictly practical reasons:
I believed in love and my mother believed in being sexually active only if married! The result was that at 18, I eloped with my high school sweetheart and we got married!
Contrary the common belief, our marriage lasted about 14 years but ended tragically with my first love fathering a son with a coworker, while I was trying to find a job and bring him from then communist Romania to the United States.
This was the first time when I questioned my ability to tell truth from lies and TRUST!It took me about a year of emotional confusion and pain but then, I threw myself in the deep pond of dating in America! There were lot of fishes of all forms and ages!
My singlehood, as I define it now was rather a game of choosing my next male partner. To be honest, since my first love already divorced me and married the mother of his son, I felt kind of a biological competition, with my clock ticking strongly, as I was now in my thirstiest!
Tick tock, tick tock, after dating a few already scarred men, recovering themselves from failed marriages, I met the one, who came not on a hoarse, but in a talking car!
We dated about two years, which I believe showed maturity on our side and then we got married, had two lovely kids, several pets… We were living the American Dream!
We lived it for almost 20 years, until one day, I opened a letter from the IRS and discovered my rock, my husband holding an MBA in finances was behind paying taxes! Not a good situation and suddenly, I fell from atop my comfort zone all the way down in the arms of confusion and uncertainty!
Unlike the first time, now I had the responsibility of two teen children and several pets!
The years 2004 and 2005, described in my book, “The Gypsy Saw Two Lives,” as “The Year From Hell,” detail the Hellish situation, but the goal of this post remains to detail what truly means to be a single woman and become self- sufficient and know thyself before jumping in the pond again and repeating the same mistakes!
2005– I was divorced, my daughters moved as far from tragedy and me as the length of the USA permitted! In the minds of most of today’s adult children, as a mother, I had to be proud I raised self- sufficient, educated daughters who no longer needed my help. I was suggested to find another project since my two children turned so well, they no longer needed me! Again, the pain caused by such statements and the consequences will be the topic of other writing, and I am bringing myself back to WHAT it means to me a single woman!
This time, after my 2 ND divorce and all the education acquired, I knew I should know myself first before even considering a relationship.
What does this mean exactly?
A few practical examples first:
You have a flat tire on the highway, you call AAA not your ex.
A shelf in the house is crooked, you straightedge yourself, or you call a handyman at $20 an hour, if you find one!
You learn to mow the grass or pay for the service. If you need to go to the doctor you drive yourself and no one will be waiting worried sick about you!
Oh well, in all honesty while I was married I was still driving my self to the doctor and no one was worried! Perhaps this is why I divorced…
However, the point I am trying to make is that singlehood implies that you do not ask or expect help from any potentially romantic relationship or your ex.
To truly be ready, if ever, to trust again another human being, you have to first go through the stage of self-sufficiency and self-discovery!
However, singlehood it’s not all bad! You might discover people like you who love for who you are, make new friends and take up new hobbies.
After ten years of meditating and trying to understand my part in the relationships of the past, I feel ready to embark in exploring love, closeness but above it all: TRUST!
Let’s see what the future brings!

Christmas and Buying STUFF! How to slow down … or at least, TRY …

It is still fresh in my memory, the time when my daughters were growing up. We were shopping crazy until the very last moment, and it still didn’t “feel” enough. Toys, clothing, books (yes, we still read good old fashion  books in a paper format) more toys, more of this and that…

Looking back, I confess that perhaps, in those times I thought this was how I could buy my daughters’ love… or may be I was subconsciously making up for growing up in communist Romania, where Christmas celebrations were either low key, or non-existent but we were allowed to celebrate The New Year and still had a Tree and presents. In truth, a PRESENT.  In those  days, getting one toy and having the luxury to eat bananas, was enough.

But this was not communist Romania, this was America, the land of plenty and I was integrating, plainly said, doing what the vast majority of us does: BUYING INDISCRIMINATELY.

Whatever the combination of psychological reasons, just wrapping up our daughters’  the presents was taking us hours, and with the awareness of today, I wonder how many trees we helped destroy unknowingly…

The feelings I recall having  in those times, when my kids were growing up in America, were of panic… anxiety that it was not enough. It seemed that the measure of love was how much STUFF we were able to place under the Christmas Tree. There was also a “high,” I was experiencing when getting all the stuff, and an even “higher high,” watching my girls unwrap the presents. Some were immediate favorites, others were thrown in a corner and forgotten. Today I would take those less fortunate toys and donate them to a shelter, but in the years of my youth I lacked such wisdom, so, the “stuff” was stored in the basement, and when the basement overflew with unnecessary objects, I started to use the barn in the back of our yard…

Years went by, and after twenty years, our marriage was about to end up in divorce. Divorce, like cancer or suicide are events which in my opinion are so painful to even think about, that as  normal human beings, out of a need to protect ourselves, as a coping mechanism, we refuse to believe they could happen to US. If and when they happen, it is   a shock.  No matter how much our logical minds know all along that  over 50% of marriages end up in divorce, that a suicide is completed every 14 minutes in the U.S. and people die of cancer, it is hard to believe any of such events could be close to our home.

Yet, here I was, in the mist of  the “stuff” accumulated over a period of 20 years, trying to clean the house, no longer our home, before settlement, before the new owners came to inspected their new home. Yes, we sold the house and it all needed to be removed, memories of good and bad times illustrated by the accumulation of things.

At the beginning of the cleaning process, I tried to discriminate, to determine what was worthy of moving with us and what needed to be thrown away.  Suddenly, I realized that more than half the things we have accumulated over the years were not necessary for anything, except the impulse and the greed of the moment to HAVE MORE of this or that!

That feeling of desperation is still with me. The moment when I realized that I was running out of time and  the mountains of broken plastic toys were still spread allover, and I no longer had the time to sort them out.  Things which at the time of purchase had meaning, brought joy and I thought of them as being necessary, suddenly transformed into disposable “stuff.” I started shaving everything in big, extra strength plastic bags. One, two, three, four bags… By the time I was finished placing the trash on our  ex-front lawn for the township  pick up in the morning, the entire fresh, well-maintained lawn was covered by ugly black plastic bags! An ocean of stuff put in a hurry in impersonal black bags. I stopped counting at 53!   Our life of 20 years summed up,  ready for pick up and taken somewhere, in a place I’d never know. What I do know, and am ashamed of, is how I contributed to polluting our Earth and how useless the “stuff” turned out to be.

Since our divorce and the sale of the house, many years ago, each time I am tempted to buy an object, I close my eyes, take a deep breathe and instantly in my mind’s eyes I SEE the ocean of black ugly bags filled with the unnecessary “stuff” of a broken relationship and the pain and confusion that accompanied it. This image alone, is sufficient to make me put back the “stuff,” and instead offer gifts of my heart, presents that could be used. It could be baking a loaf of bread, offering a necessary service, such as a hair-cut or simply writing a note showing love and appreciation.

The lesson I learned is that who truly loves me, appreciates  the part of my soul that goes into  the simple gifts of life.

If there are people in one’s life who measure love by the amount of “stuff” they receive, it is one’s choice to stay with the big black trash bags or not.