thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: gratitude

the bubble

I attended a dance class the other night that cheered me up. It reminded me once again of all the things I’ve been able to do because I’ve been childless. I have had an unusually rich life in many ways, with many twists and turns. It’s too bad so few people are interested because I could tell quite a few interesting tales!

Lately I’ve been one of the few women who has been privy to the economic disaster that still continues to play out behind the scenes in the public sector. Firefighters, cops, public works… all are still feeling the effects of the economic meltdown of 2008.

In the midst of this I attended a daytime event for stay-at-home mothers of small children. It felt a bit cloying to me, as if those women are living in a protected bubble that one day may pop.

centering

Last night as I lay in bed I felt like I was saying goodbye to the calm, quiet, centered person I’ve become over the last year.

I hope I can still keep some aspects of her!

blessings

It’s that time of year for counting blessings and I can’t say enough about how wonderful the Gateway Women forum is (now over 1000 members strong):

http://www.gateway-women.com/community

Even though I’ve passed through my grieving process, I still “wobble” occasionally. In just the past year, some of the women I’ve had long, intimate talks with about childlessness have gone on to find partners and/or get pregnant, and if it wasn’t for the forum, I imagine these instances would have once again triggered profound feelings of failure and a 24-hour loop in my head going “what’s wrong with me, what’s wrong with me, what’s wrong with me.”

Instead, I check in with the forum and realize I am far from alone and that every sentiment I’ve explored in this blog is echoed there many times over. It’s been my virtual support group, and I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling without it.

Thank you Jody Day!

taking stock

http://www.wtfpod.com/dispatches/entries/i_am_50_years_old

On some days life is full of meaning and purpose and I am thrilled to be part of the living. On some level, I am 50, twice divorced, childless and living alone. It is amazing. I may have won. I just have to accept that certain things may not happen for me and which of those things are actually things that I want or things that I have been lead to believe I should want.

Family propaganda is very powerful and is supported by the biological fact that we are here to make more people. It is also disseminated by people who are in the thick of it and, in a lot of cases, trying to make themselves believe that they have done the right thing. We are animals able to ask questions and make choices. Maybe there are plenty of people already here and it’s okay to sit this one out and think about why some days my life lacks meaning and purpose. It’s because some days, it does.

More here at the five-minute mark:
http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_438_-_sally_kellerman

ashes

Fairy tales in all cultures are for the most part soul stories rather than spirit stories. The dwarf is a soul figure, as we saw in “The Water of Life.” Cinderella is a soul story. The archetype there is ashes, as Robert Bly pointed out in Iron John. You (because these stories are all about you) are kept down, in the ashes, close to the hearth, grounded but also grieving, your inner beauty unperceived and exploited. During this time, inwardly, a new development is taking place, a maturation, a metamorphosis, a tempering, which culminates in the emergence of a fully developed human being, radiant and golden, but also wise to the ways of the world, no longer a passive and naive agent. The fully developed human being embodies the unity of soul and spirit, up and down, material and non-material.

The meditation practice itself is a mirror of this journey of growth and development. It too takes us down as well as up, demands that we face, even embrace, pain and darkness as well as joy and light. It reminds us to use whatever comes up and wherever we find ourselves as occasions for inquiry, for opening, for growing in strength and wisdom, and for walking our own path.

— Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you Go There You Are, pp. 268-269

grace

She also wondered whether her longing for a baby would end once her fertility did. Did your body stop sending you reminder pangs when you were supposedly incapable of producing a baby? Was this God’s grace at work to soften the disappointment? Monica couldn’t tell because she felt fewer longings for anything or anyone. She didn’t feel the intense hunger for a man pressed up against her at night, let alone a baby in her arms. She just wasn’t as lonely.

–Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Motherhood, Rescheduled, p. 155

the lone ranger

I have my books and my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock, I am an island

–Paul Simon – I Am A Rock

One of the things that made my last job bearable was a colleague I enjoyed conversing with, an older man who had never married or had kids but who dabbled in writing and film. Because I’ve been bored at many of my jobs, I’ve found that having a colleague I click with intellectually makes all the difference. It’s been a long-standing pattern with me that my level of satisfaction with a job depends on having at least one of those connections, as any workday can be elevated above the mundane by stimulating conversation.

I’m leaning towards one full-time job right now over another because I think I stand a better chance of clicking with some staff members there. Certainly the job itself is going to bore me, as I was doing the same work almost fifteen years ago and it bored me then (hopefully though it will position me for a better job not too far down the road). I’ve also been investigating after-work activities in both areas of town to give myself something to look forward to outside of the job.

It hit me profoundly the other evening that, socially at least, I’m becoming an intellectual lone ranger. I’ve written before that my old friends who shared my taste in books, movies, and music have all become preoccupied with rearing children or have otherwise disappeared from my life, and I’ve made few new ones to replace them.

It’s a real loss, as I feel almost no connection to the larger culture. I hardly turn on my T.V. anymore, and I rarely read popular literature or magazines. Somehow I still manage to find those lesser-known books or bands or what-have-you that speak to me, but I wish they were speaking to me and a few of my friends.

I do appreciate the friends I currently have, and I connect with them on various levels, but I confess that there’s a lot of polite chit-chat going on with them. I have to work at things, like how a middling date often feels like a job.

I do have a pretty strong connection with my roommate on certain topics, but I’ve realized the limits of his maturity lately, and his lack of energy and general snappishness (not just with me but with others) has put me off. Occasionally I still talk with my non-relationship guy on the phone, and it’s like a breath of fresh air, as I can bring up almost anything on my mind and he can riff on it.

Luckily for me I have some childless, single female friends here; however, I find myself unable to broach those very topics with them. They seem to have either suppressed their feelings about them (and a few seem to be acting out from this suppression) or they are still in a hopeful phase so can’t go there yet. Thank god I can check in on the Gateway Women Online Community; it’s been a lifeline.

As in L.A., I also have a few younger, twentysomething female acquaintances, and although I enjoy their company, they are not my peers.

Was it better in L.A.? The only thing that was perhaps better is that there were some really bright people in the Industry there, people at the top of their game, who would elevate my intellect when I caught them in interviews or performances. As to my actual friendship circle, however, it was pretty much the same deal.

This blog has become, at some level, not a choice but a necessity. I would say I’ve been backed into a corner and have no way out but to become a writer, but then I realize, I already AM a writer. Just not a traditionally published one.

summer break

If I do end up working full-time again, it looks like the job won’t start until August. I can’t complain too much about going back full-time because I’ve been enjoying a nice summer vacation.

I’ve been hitting the swimming holes on the weekdays and running into all the mothers with their children. Seems like a nice life.

We should all get a summer break every year.

sabbaticals

If I have to head back to the salt mines, I suppose I should feel some gratitude for the four to five months I’ve had off. I’ve done quite a bit during these months.

I took a short trip in which I learned some new recipes and cooking methods. I got rid of piles of old clothes, numerous broken appliances, and several pieces of furniture that had seen better days. I made it through a tower of books. I gave my condo a facelift. I practiced yoga every day and took a bunch of mid-day dance classes. I upgraded my technology skills. I enjoyed leisure time in L.A. and time to explore a bit in my new location. I spent a few weeks with my mom. I bought a rice cooker. I got a sense of what sewing entails and brushed up on my Spanish.

Not bad. It’s been a sorely needed sabbatical.

the what ifs and the whys

I have to prevent myself from going down these paths as well:

http://gateway-women.com/2013/05/20/leaving-the-story-behind/

Sometimes, I feel a bit sorry for myself. At first, it feels quite good to indulge in it, but after a few minutes it starts to feel like shit. Because then the ‘story’ in my head that goes with the feelings will start up – the one that begins with words like ‘if only’ and ‘what if I’d’ or ‘why didn’t I’ and which all boil down to a fairly core position: Why me?

I once heard someone say that whenever he thinks “why me” he will then consider “why not me.” Somehow that shift in perspective seems to help.