Finding gratitude in loneliness

You know what I'm not thankful for tonight? This brain that won't shut up.

Dude, shut up already.

I'm tired and I just want to fire off some cursory I'm grateful for fuzzy puppies-style post so I can meet my gratitude requirement and go the fark to bed.

But no.

This brain cannot ever let anything be simple.

So I sincerely hope this doesn't take too long. But it probably will.

Let's do this thang


Tonight I am grateful for clarity.

Or at least the beginning of clarity.

Those of you who are my Facebook friends have been treated to all manner of silly online dating antics in the past few weeks since The Big Breakup with the Irishman.

And those of you who aren't my Facebook friends: Hey. I'm doin' that online dating thing again.

I wasn't entirely sure that dating should be happening in my life right after the breakup. I was super sad. I was angry and confused. I was disillusioned.

But what is it about us people-beings? We're driven to couple up, I guess. It's a tough instinct to fight.

And if anyone can fight it, it should be me. I don't want to brag, but I do singlehood really well. I just do. I get out when I want to. I stay home when I want to. I have 8 billion friends to share my time with. I don't need that other person to validate me or entertain me or have sex with me ...

Well, I'm not gonna say there aren't drawbacks.

The fact of that matter is that whenever I'm with someone, after the whole "introductory period" is over, I usually start trying to think up ways to get the hell away from them.

I need my space. I need my time. I need my solitude.

People do not always understand this. But if you are a person who also needs these things, you know what I'm talking about.

Come here, come here, now get the hell away

 

So after the breakup I started thinking about whether or not I really, genuinely wanted to date anymore. Maybe, I thought, I'd just table that whole part of my life and pursue my hobbies of writing and getting fat.

But something was nagging at me to get on that stupid dating site anyway. I wrote a profile and then I immediately took it down. Then a week later I put it back up. I decided to just hang out and kick the tires a bit.

And then things got silly. It was so Trish's-life-as-a-romantic-comedy. My Facebook pals and I had a great time deconstructing all of my wardrobe choices and my dates and the whole thing made me laugh. I'm probably in the minority of women in saying this, but I actually enjoy dating. I love going on first dates and seeing what sort of ridiculousness ensues -- and it always does. (I had a guy ask me what my BMI was the other week. I was like, "Dude, I'd rather tell you how much money I make.")

But there was a bit of a problem with dating. I guess I wasn't feeling particularly driven to be someone's girlfriend -- I couldn't imagine getting into a relationship and doing alla that relationship stuff. And the casual thing isn't anything I do well ... so what was I doing dating?

Whatever it was that triggers that desire to be a "unit" of some kind with someone else just wasn't firing.

I was sad about it -- and I was sad that I was because I wanted to feel liberated by it. I wanted to be all, "Well, GOOD! Then I can just go and write a goddamn masterpiece of a book and be a fucking intellectual or some shit like that and not have to worry about shaving my legs again ever."

But no. I couldn't even work that up. Nothing. Just a big nothing.

Even though I have seen and experienced some crushing disappointments and horrible betrayals related to love, I had, until that point, never stopped believing that true, mutually respectful, long-term love was possible.

I wasn't sure if I had given up.

The small spark

 

Then one day a few weeks ago, in the middle of a few weeks that were incredibly ugly, something nice happened.

The women's blogging site, Blogher.com, featured one of my posts.

I was excited about it. This is what I want out of life -- to write things that matter to me and to put them out there in the world to touch other people.

It felt like a start.

I posted the news on Facebook and called my mom. When my kids got home, I told them, but they weren't too impressed as they were too busy with Kidworld to think much of it.

And then I realized it: I'm lonely.

Because while I have lots of people to spend my time with, I do not have anyone to share my life with.

My kids will grow up and leave me -- as they should. My mom, my sisters and my friends all have their own lives -- as they should.

That night, I realized that I really would like someone to walk through the rest of this life with me.

I was grateful to know that.  It meant that I hadn't given up. It meant that whatever little spark that I thought might have gone out was still there.  I hadn't died inside.

A tiny flame remains.

Trish Sammer Johnston

accordingtotrish.com

@singlemommaTSJ

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