There are a small number of single women in my current city with whom I have gone to social events in the last few months. One is in her twenties and lives an hour to the north. Another one in her twenties lives about half an hour to the west. One is recently divorced, in her late thirties, has a child, and lives an hour to the south. The fourth is long-divorced, in her fifties, and lives a half hour to the east; she has gotten back in touch since her recent break-up with a boyfriend. I know them all from work. North and west know each other but the rest don’t.
I appreciate being able to invite these women to things so that I don’t have to always go everywhere alone, but it’s not really enough to make me feel secure. I wouldn’t call on them in an emergency (well, maybe the woman to the east). We talk about work and dating and being single, but our conversations are too infrequent for sustaining depth.
I am still thinking I should move back to my home state because at least I have family there. It’s difficult to imagine growing older with such tenuous real-life connections.
Thankfully for my psychological health there is the blogosphere:
In my Real Life, I can count the single/childfree close friends who are my age on ONE FINGER (I’m looking at you, Kathleen. Wait. You’re almost a decade younger than me… LOL.) Everyone else has a boy/girlfriend, a live-in partner, a husband/wife, or at minimum one child.
But on the Internet? There are a TON of us. I was lucky enough to meet some of these people at the BlogHer conference, and I hope to meet many more next year (I’m planning on pitching a session idea for My Peeps). And I know from just reading Going Solo that there is a HUGE population of singletons out there in America — and in the world.
…look around. What messages are you getting? …we are different. In HUGE ways.
So I battle the outside and inside voices that beat me down for being single and childless. I work on my mental health every day to find the strength to be enough just as I am. It’s hard work! I’m completely serious. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m worthy and special, despite SO MANY commercials, movies, books, and magazine articles that speak otherwise. I have to fight to keep my childfree head above the water sometimes. I feel like a failure sometimes. I get my feelings hurt a lot. I feel ostracized and outcast. I end up questioning my purpose in the world.