Monday, May 11, 2015


Dear readers, I'm struggling.

I am so good at being a PollyAnna that sometimes I don't see my feelings following me like a shadow; I'm so good at finding light that when I stumble into darkness it somewhat startles me.

I'm feeling startled.

This has been a particularly rough month: a death in the family that brought up old feelings about a different death in the family (someone that I still deeply miss); Bryan's stroke; my father's eye surgery; Katherine's flu (not a big deal except that she felt horrid and I had to juggle childcare versus work, and it's hard to see her sick like that); and the never ending saga of my dysfunctional work environment and some pressures I feel there and my confusion about what to do next.  I've had late nights working, and I feel worn through to the bone.

It should come as no surprise that a list like that would make me feel sad, and it did.  I plowed on through.  I kept going, keeping all the balls in the air.  I keep doing that, actually: spending half the weekend doing fun kid things and half the weekend doing chores.

I reached out to friends a couple of times this month, deeply.  I told one friend that I just felt like crying, and she said, "You need down time, a four day weekend...." and then she proceeded to ask for my help with some of her chores (long story involving a mouse that got into a cupboard and her freak out over it that involved throwing away half of her kitchen pantry and cleaning like a madwoman...with my help).  I called another friend and said, "I think I'm having a panic attack!" and she said, "Oh no!  What can I do to help?" and then we got cut off and she had a meeting and she forgot to call back.

I don't have shitty friends, but this was shitty behavior.

I believe in confronting my issues head on, and whether I want to or not, all of this has me looking hard at my life, trying to figure out what's going on in my head behind the positive attitude.

I'm realizing that, though surrounded by lovely, loving people, I feel isolated and lonely.

Oh, crapcrapcrap.  I don't want to feel like that.  Surely it's me?  Surely there is some attitude adjustment that I can make, some revision of my attitude, some way to shine light on the shadow to MAKE IT GO AWAY?  I have many friends: I feel liked, and I get invited to parties and whatnot....

But no, this is real, and ignoring it or pretending it away won't work.

The life of a 45 year old divorced woman who isn't into the party scene and doesn't want to go on dozens of first dates or settle for a "nice" relationship is lonely.  I'm lonely.

My friends, while well intentioned, really just don't get it.  Their lives are centered around their families, most of which include husbands.  At the end of the day, they crawl under the covers and say "Hey could you call the mechanic about the weird sound the car started making?" and "What do you want to do about choosing high schools?" and "Where do you want to go on vacation?"  They have double the financial resources, or more, because they weren't stay at home moms who took a decade "off" before going into nonprofit.  They have someone to help mow the grass, or they can afford to pay someone else to do it.  They have a built in support system, inside their homes.  I know that their support system is often imperfect, and that spouses can be selfish or thoughtless or forgetful....but at the end of the day, my friends choose to slide under the sheets next to the warm body of the person that they've chosen to share their lives with.

While I get invited to a lot of parties (usually kid-focused affairs with potlucks), I've noticed that my dinner invitations have dropped off.  My married friends invite married friends over; the guys want to talk about the Seahawks or man-stuff (clearly I'm clueless in this regard) and I don't bring a plus-one for them to play with.  Same is true of weekends away.  Some of this is financial: my friends are, for the great part, far better off than I am at this point, and I simply can't join the girls' weekend in Palm Springs or the ski trip to Sun Valley or rent a cabin in the Methow because I don't have the means.

I know how much I have to be grateful for.  I haven't forgotten.

But I'm lonely, and for good reasons.

I told one friend about my feelings about being single in a world designed for couples, and she got super-defensive about it, as if I were accusing her of being a bad person and a bad friend.  Dear reader, her reaction made me feel like their were some truth to her wasn't the response of a friend looking out for me, it was the response of someone who wanted to be told that despite her absence in my life, a fifteen minute phone call filled with "You know I love you!" and "I miss you!" and "Don't worry, I trust that you'll get what you need!" would somehow make it okay.  It's friendship-light.  I don't want shallow, I want deep.  I don't want nice words, I want the actions that support those words.  Have my friendships become friendship-light?  Airy declarations of friendship without substance?  A horrid thought, not one I've had before, and it's troubling, and it makes me feel lonelier than ever.

What I want is my plus-one.  I'm realizing that friends can't fill that role, and that I am spending far too much time alone.  How can I not?  I must weed the strawberry beds, go to the grocery store, drive to gymnastics.  Every weekend I gather with friends for three or four hours or so out of my long week....and it isn't enough.  But I don't want parties with breezy talk and I don't need grand vacations....I want the companionship of a partner with shared goals.  I want an adult across the dinner table; I want an arm around my shoulders; I want someone to chat with about the NPR article; I want a hiking companion.  I don't want to be surrounded by people, I want the depth of relationship.

I know how to find companionship: it's easy to find activities.  I want more than that.

I have more questions than answers, and I'm going to try to unravel these thoughts and figure out how to find peace with them.  I know that a work environment with colleagues would be a massive improvement; I know that lifting my financial purgatory (hey, it's better than hell!) will probably lift my mood.

I am not hopeful about finding a life partner, and perhaps it is this realization that has brought this loneliness about.

Life is messy and complicated.  I will figure it out, and I will find my joie de vivre again.  Somehow.

No comments:

Post a Comment