thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: May, 2014

flow

But back to happy thoughts.

I’ve been experiencing a remarkable amount of flow lately. The kundalini yoga leaves me feeling as relaxed and rubbery as Gumby. This has increased my flexibility and I think my power of concentration too.

I have to pry myself away from the deep flow I experience while reading and writing. Sometimes I’ll pull myself away to attend a ballet class, and although my mind is still engaged with something I’ve just read, my improvement in dancing is, forgive the pun, in leaps and bounds. Because I’m lucky enough to live close to the beach, I can walk over afterwards for a twenty-minute dart in the waves. Then later I might hop on the beach cruiser to run some errands, peddling past skateboarders, joggers, and surfers on the way.

Not a bad life. For whatever reason, I still find Friday evenings alone to be incredibly melancholy, but the rest of the weekend alone can be divine.

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the needy

I’m not sure following his advice will make a whit of difference for this woman, but I give him props for including this quote:

http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/im-a-great-woman-why-are-there-no-great-men-out-there/

I’m reminded of a story that Rich Gosse, the founder of AmericanSingles, once shared with me. It was an amazing response to how he dealt with skeptical press inquiries about his new business model.

“What kind of loser (I’m paraphrasing here) would go to an online dating site to meet someone?” the press would ask.

To which Rich would reply: ‘Well, there are a number of people out there who are socially awkward. There are a number of people who are somewhat weak and needy. There are a number of people who are so desperate for companionship that they’d do anything to avoid being alone. I call these people ‘married people’.”

empty vessels

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/31/elliot_rodger_a_turning_point_for_men/

I’m beginning to wonder whether the Elliot Rodger story, in the long run, might be a more important moment for men than for women. I don’t mean to devalue or diminish the collective display of female outrage, and female solidarity, that we have experienced in the aftermath of the Isla Vista shootings. Quite the opposite. But it is overwhelmingly – indeed, almost exclusively – men who commit mass murder of this kind and on this scale, and the poisonous misogyny of Rodger’s worldview is a distinctively male phenomenon. Is it possible to find women who genuinely hate men? No doubt it is; our culture is a big place. But I am unaware of any Internet communities where women gather to demean and stereotype men in the most vile and reductive terms, or openly indulge in fantasies about raping, humiliating and enslaving them.

[…]

All men are implicated in a culture of masculinity that allows such things to happen. It’s a culture that looks away from misogynistic crimes, or proclaims them to be isolated and untypical events rather than extreme examples of things that happen every day. It’s a culture that does not ask whether it’s our responsibility to love and nurture our sons and brothers such that they grow up knowing that women and girls are not the enemy, not an alien species, not vessels for their lust or displaced self-loathing or misguided veneration but complicated and wonderful and exasperating human beings not unlike themselves.

dowries

I once placed a lovely but unusual artifact up for sale on Craigslist and had no takers. There was nothing wrong with the artifact itself, but at that particular moment in time, there was no market for it.

To a large degree I think that’s what explains my (lack of) a dating life. There’s just very few men in the market for the particular combination of what I have to offer.

The one thing that used to puzzle and hurt, however, was when I encountered men with whom I shared the same sense of humor, hobbies, politics, books and movies, education, and general outlook, and with whom there seemed to be physical attraction, and they still weren’t interested, or they weren’t interested in anything long-term.

Sometimes I think that it’s not just online dating– with it’s promise of endless possibilities– but our oversaturation in media culture that is to blame. I consider myself an attractive woman with a good education, a salary that has recently nudged me into the top twenty percent, and, I think, a nice and interesting personality. That, in combination with genuine compatibility, would, I assume, make an appealing package. But I’m not a traffic-stopper or a trust-funder, nor am I well-connected or famous. And, of course, now I’m “old.”

No matter how fast I run, though, that’s a race I can never win, not from my starting line.

amplification

While social media has the potential to make a big world smaller, to bring people of all kinds together, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship, its downside is bleak. Let’s face it: We don’t always experience joyous excitement when scrolling through photos and posts of our friends doing well, enjoying a vacation, or having fun together. Prosperity, pleasure, or an unexpected bonus in someone else’s life can stab you with pain. It might make you depressed or even ill.

Imagine my therapy client who has fertility issues. What does it feel like to her every time she opens Facebook to find a post from yet another former high school classmate announcing her pregnancy? Consider your neighbor who has been unemployed for a year logging onto Google+ only to discover that his longtime friend was recently promoted—again. Sure, there are plenty of people online congratulating one another, sharing in joy, and finding vicarious happiness in the success of others. But envy can be powerful and decidedly unpleasant.

Social media amplifies unintended slights or emotional injuries. Most of all, it exponentially increases the likelihood of social envy.

– See more at: http://www.rewireme.com/explorations/handle-facebook-envy/#sthash.FrgEQVvb.s4sKQ40v.dpuf

the sniveling

This passage perfectly encapsulates how I felt during my last dispiriting period on the job market, before I returned to my profession:

My parents… generation has watched the social infrastructure they painstakingly helped to build being dismantled and sold off, while at the same time having to rescue their offspring who cannot get an economic foothold. Even in our mid to late thirties, my partner and I are chronically financially insecure, always on the verge of packing up and moving back to our parental homes.

Bringing up a family on a modest income, improvising and making do, work was then a source of pride and stability, a solid base on which to build. Now, for us, the pressure of precarity demands a new sort of virtuosity and a different outlook… Work is no longer a secure base, but rather a source of anxiety and indignity, both a matter of life and death and utterly meaningless, overwhelming and yet so insubstantial it could run through our fingers. It is normal to feel under threat and undervalued, to feel snivellingly grateful to have a job, any job. We must be sure not to take work for granted and yet be willing to be taken for granted ourselves. We endure a similar level of “making do”, but without the home or kids, and without the security of regular employment. We can barely live independently now. How will we be able to bring up children, or support them in similar circumstances? The future is no longer something to look forward to, but something to dread.

Again, from my family I inherited no world-shaking political beliefs, just a desire to be part of a community, to do a useful job which was not driven by private profit and to cultivate outside interests rather than be defined by a 24/7 career. Such an attitude, far from being revolutionary, used to be the norm, even a non-attitude. But now the tide has come in, and anyone with such eccentric ideas finds themselves stranded way out to sea on a sandbank with the waves lapping at their feet and the vultures circling above. By maintaining the same moderate position we have become radicals by default. Smiling swimmers beckon toward us (“Come on in, the water’s lovely!”), but we know that we are in a contradictory no-win situation: our future survival depends upon immersing ourselves from head to toe in an ideology which we know is poisonous.

— Ivor Southwood, Non-Stop Inertia, pp. 76-77

the fundamental

http://www.alternet.org/5-things-never-say-woman-who-doesnt-want-kids

Even as women continue to break down the barriers of gendered expectations, they’re still faced with an allegedly fundamental question: whether or not to have children.

We still live in a world where family and children are deeply associated with women, to the point where women are taught that having children is essential to having a strong sense of self.

[…]

Collectively, we tend to be extremely uncomfortable with the possibility that a woman could put herself before someone else—even above people who will most likely never exist!

We continue to associate womanhood with selflessness and self-sacrifice. Children are a fundamental manifestation of this mindset. A woman is expected to prioritize her kids first, but particularly at her own expense.

There’s a definite labor to motherhood in more ways than one: late nights, the responsibility of looking after someone else, and more bodily fluids than you ever wanted to imagine, not to mention the financial burden.

You supposedly can’t be a good mom without some sacrifice. Since the maternal archetype continues to be so closely associated to the core of women’s identities, it follows that the “right” kind of woman is willing to sacrifice other things in favor of her goal of raising of family.

But not everyone wants children, which creates a weird materialism vacuum in the minds of many.

Why do we have to subscribe to the belief that being a good person or good woman automatically means going without?

There’s nothing shameful about indulging yourself or living your life to the fullest on your own.

People try to guilt women with the myth that there is a certain type of happiness or fulfillment that only mothers can know. That might be true, but it’s also true that having kids may prevent you from having tons of experiences that could change your life.

recolonization

I started writing this blog two-and-a-half years ago and the changes that have slowly come over me during that period have been profound. To wit:

1. When I get up in the morning my first feeling isn’t “Why get out of bed?” but the desire to fire up my computer and read my favorite websites and blogs and do a little writing.

2. On the way to work I practice Spanish via listening to audiobooks– I haven’t let full-time work prevent me completely from pursuing some other long-term goals.

3. I no longer have the sense, as I did throughout my twenties and thirties, that I’m waiting for the “main event” but it isn’t happening. When I was younger I would get distracted for long periods of time by interests and hobbies but was often hit by the feeling that another year was passing and I was still in the same dreary position. I had chosen my career out of practicality and had never expected it to be my whole life. At some point it was supposed to either end or be supplemented by a husband and kids. That expectation is gone and with its disappearance has arrived the anticipated relief that the wait is over.

4. My solitude has become gold. Being social is still valuable and gets me out of my head and introduces me to new ideas, but having alone time feels like the bigger treat. When occasional loneliness strikes I reframe things so that I view time with myself as the ultimate luxury. I truly have become my own best friend and have to fight not to see other people as an imposition. The upsides are that my expectations of other people have become almost nil so I never stew anymore over perceived slights, and I don’t feel the need to verbally “vomit” everything I’ve been holding in when I do have conversations. Part of this change in perspective is that the conversations I have with other people, while enlightening, are rarely as rich as the conversations I would like to be having and that I have with myself (and in my head with other writers).

5. I have meditated nearly every day for close to two years. That probably factors in.

6. After my recent bad experience with having a roommate, I no longer want one.

7. I have “recolonized” my mind while at work. As I’ve written recently, I’ve had to rein in my personality on the job. At first that felt painful, but it’s amazing how easily I’ve since adapted. What keeps me sane is the idea that my mind is still my own, even while on the clock.

ending points

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-what-kristin-newman-was-doing-while-you-were-breeding-20140527-story.html

As you were going on these trips around the world, were you aware that you eventually wanted to write about them, or was that something you discovered afterward?

I would keep little journals throughout, but it felt so personal at the time and I didn’t really know what it was.

When I met my new husband and two children, I think a part of me knew it was over and wanted to write about it. Only at that point with it being over did I have the right perspective to understand that what I thought had just been a fun series of events, clearly had a big life lesson for me. Also, it had an ending. It had a place to go to as a story.

Plus I’m getting to the age where if I wrote it while I was in the middle of it, people would have said, “Oh dear God, you’re still doing this?” I do feel better that I was writing it from a more appropriate life point.

the princess

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

We (male) nerds grow up force-fed this script. Lusting after women “out of our league” was what we did. And those unattainable hot girls would always inevitably reject us because they didn’t understand our intellectual interest in science fiction and comic books and would instead date asshole jocks. This was inevitable, and our only hope was to be unyieldingly persistent until we “earned” a chance with these women by “being there” for them until they saw the error of their ways. (The thought of just looking for women who shared our interests was a foreign one, since it took a while for the media to decide female geeks existed. The Big Bang Theory didn’t add Amy and Bernadette to its main cast until Season 4, in 2010.)