In Defense of Rory Gilmore

gilmore-girls-netflix-revival-rory

Alexis Bledel as ‘Rory Gilmore’ in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”; photo taken from Hypable 

I wrote the following after seeing multiple posts on blogs, Tumblr, and legitimate news sites basically slut shaming Rory Gilmore in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” for decisions she makes regarding men.  Some of it isn’t actually slut shaming, some of it is simply die-hard fans who, like me, have probably watched the original series many times and have a romanticized idea of what Rory is like and how she should behave; they are disappointed, these fans, that thirty year old Rory isn’t making the same decisions as twenty year old Rory.

I think there are many factors to consider before judging Rory too harshly.

First of all: it’s been ten years.  No one dates exactly the same way they did ten years ago.  She’s in her thirties now, she’s less inhibited, less shy, more open to experiences.  As humans grow, we change, see things differently.  Rory is going to have a different mindset at 32 than she did when she was nineteen.

Secondly: We don’t know what her dating experience has been since leaving college.  Previous relationships have a great affect on how a person treats future romantic partners.  It’s possible she’s had one too many terrible boyfriends since Logan.  Also: Rory’s a bit of a nomad, it’s difficult to maintain exclusive relationships when you’re constantly moving.  Believe me, I know.

Thirdly: As a person ages, she becomes less idealistic.  Young people often have a rigid sense of morality, Rory certainly did.  This is why kids will often (foolishly) write off friends for not meeting a certain moral standard (see Veronica Mars).  But as we age and mature, we realize there’s a lot of gray in the world, and we are not the ultimate voice of right and wrong in the universe.  So we sleep with that guy we met at that party, and we drink the tequila, and drive to NYC to watch an SNL rehearsal and get a hot dog just to turn around and drive home again the same day.

Fourth: People also become less optimistic.  Which seems strange considering people become less cynical (unless you’re Louis C.K., or a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker) as they get older, but when it comes to relationships and dating, single, straight, American women seem to become more pessimistic about relationships.  Consider this Garfunkel and Oates song.

Fifth: We don’t know what sort of relationship Logan has with this French woman.  Maybe it’s an open relationship?  Maybe he has the same deal with her as he has with Rory?  The French are way less puritanical about sex than Americans.

We, especially those of us who grew up alongside Rory, want her to be a sort of moral beacon since she’s just like us only better, but really she’s not.  Rory is just as flaky as we are, she’s just as confused, just as meandering, just as flawed.  She is searching for her place in the world the same way we are.

And, as with all things, the viewer brings his or her own experience to the story.  All my girlfriends who are married, engaged, or in long term relationships had the same reaction: “Rory has had ample time to find someone new, loving, and stable, why is she back with old boyfriends and making these decisions?”  While all my fellow single girlfriends in their early thirties looked at Rory and said: “Yeah, nope, that’s exactly right!”

This post is edited slightly from the original post on Tumblr.

I’m telling you the Truth: you gatta believe me!

Just so you know: My friend is a Good Guy.

Of all the stupid, thoughtless, insipid things that people say to single, childless women approaching thirty (or not approaching thirty) that the Internet loves to list alongside GIFs of celebrities rolling their eyes in exasperation, the one I have been getting since I was nineteen is the following.

Me: No, I don’t think I want kids.

Them, turning around and seeing me play with a baby: Sure you don’t.

Recently I had lunch with an expecting couple.  In the car the man said something to me about “when I get pregnant”; I exclaimed, “why are you so mean to me?”  We laughed.

At the restaurant, a couple with a small child were seated next to us.  The baby was somewhere between six and twelve months.  She was sitting up and smiling, but not running around yet.  My friends and I smiled and played with the baby from our seats after one of them struck up a conversation with the other couple.  My friend, the expecting father, takes a good, long look at me and says:

“See?  You changed your mind.”

As if I’ve never seen a baby before and my eyes were just opened to their sweet adorableness.  Let’s forget the fact that I have four nieces and nephews, I used to live with my nephews and one of my nieces, and that I was present for the birth of one of my nephews.  Also I lead middle schoolers on nature hikes, and, in high school, I used to babysit and work in the church nursery during Thursday night services.  But, of course, it was seeing that adorable baby in the Boston restaurant that opened my heart and my cervix to having one of my own.

OK, some women want children.  They know this ardently in their hearts.  Some women I know have described it like a switch being thrown.  One day they were cruising along, not caring they didn’t have children, then, the next day, BAM, they were filled with a desire to have babies.  This might happen to me.  Other women I know have known for many years they want children, and, therefore, are actively pursuing relationships trying to find the man with whom they want to pump out some rugrats.  This has not happened to me.  Still other women I know have fallen in love and married the man with whom they want to share their lives and haven’t given a second thought to producing any wee ones.  This neither has happened to me.  Many other women I know are single, dating, childless, and aren’t giving much thought to having babies.  Like me.

I am turning thirty in the next few months, but I look like I ought to be declaring a major, I tend to paint my nails black, and I don’t drive.  People don’t often ask me when I think I’m going to have children; they tend to think I am a child myself.  After a little conversation, new people tend to ask “how are you single?”  It’s once people get to know me, know that I am smack dab in the middle of my baby conceiving years (literally, if women in my family really tend to hit menopause at forty five), that they call me a liar about my lack-of-desire for babies.

“But you’re so good with kids!”

“I want to see your beauty and intelligence passed on!”

“Kids love you!  You’d be such a fun mom!”

“You don’t want to be an old mom!”

“You’re going to change your mind one day.”

Thanks, friends.

To be fair I am fun, intelligent, pretty, and good with kids.  But I am also seasonally employed; I have trouble keeping both plants and pets alive; I don’t have a permanent address; my savings account is dismally low; I don’t have health insurance; I am single; I’ve never had a romantic relationship that remained healthy longer than six months.  And, probably Most Importantly: There are a number of things I’d like to do before I settle down with a husband and/or a baby (if we decide to have any).  Babies are so far off my radar, the SONAR doesn’t even pick up their signal.

My friend didn’t mean anything by his comments.  He is simply excited by his own situation.  He is excited and he wants other people to be excited.  He also knows that I am excited for them.  But, like people who have recently gotten engaged or married and try to set up all their single friends so they can be as happy as them, he is spreading his excitement around illogically and unchecked.  I am not offended by my friend, because he is my friend and I know all this about him.  (If he were a stranger it’d be a different story.)  But it would be nice to be given the benefit of the doubt and believed when I say I’m not interested in having children.  Especially when I turn around and have fun playing with a small child.

Because Other Peoples’ Children love me doesn’t mean I ought to want some of my own.  And it doesn’t mean you can make me want kids because you think I should want kids.  There are seven billion people alive on the planet today.  Human beings are putting a strain on the Earth and her resources.  Some of us not having babies won’t save the world, but it might help alleviate the stress.  Also, and More Importantly: whether or not I have children is entirely up to me.

Red Wine and A Soak

[This is what I do on Valentine’s Day: write slightly bitchy, super short stories about being single and rubbing the benefits of being so in the faces of Smug Marrieds.  Sometimes I’m an ahole.

No matter how you’re spending today: I hope it’s a good one.  Love you all, Xxx Bex.]

Ashley had spent the better part of the evening being insufferable.  The Bates were very good friends of hers, but Jenny nearly drove a butter knife into their dining room table to keep from lobbing the thing at her sister-in-law’s face.  How her brother had married the biggest bitch from their high school graduating class was completely lost on Jenny.  But Jared was his own person, just because they shared a womb didn’t make them telepathic (although, how cool would that have been?).

“Would anyone care for some coffee, or tea?” asked Wendy Bates, the perfect hostess.

Jenny often told her friend how insanely unfair it was that she should be as gracious, smart, and beautiful as she was when the rest of them were so clumsy, inarticulate, and messy.  Wendy always laughed and told Jenny to stop being silly.

Wendy and her husband, Mark, had grown up in the same neighborhood as Jenny and Jared.  The four of them hadn’t always gotten along, but, by some miracle had remained close ever since Jenny and Wendy teamed up in the third grade to push Jared and Mark into the river behind the old mechanic’s garage.  Somehow that moment was a young Wendy’s way of telling Mark she was going to spend the rest of their lives pushing him into things he’d rather not find himself immersed in.  But because it was Wendy he never minded what sort of shenanigans she got him into.

Jenny loved her friends.

They were one of the only sets of married friends she had who didn’t make her feel like some sort of third wheel.  Jared came in a close second, but Ashley made Jenny feel like she was persona non grata anytime they were together.  Including, but not limited to, Ashley and Jared’s wedding (at which Jenny was the Best Man), joint birthday parties for the brother and sister, and family holidays.  Jenny’s one vicious triumph came from the fact that Ashley and Jared’s kids were already calling Jenny their “fun auntie”.

“Oh, yes, please,” said Ashley with a slight yawn.  “I’m probably going to be the one driving home tonight, thanks to Mr-I’ll-Have-Another-Scotch over here.”  Ashley poked her bony elbow into her husband’s ribs.  “And, Sylvie will probably still be awake when we get home.  We have the neighbor girl watching them,” she said in a stage whisper to Shelley MacIntosh who happened to be sitting near her.  Shelley smiled politely and made awkward eye contact with Jenny.

“Are the neighborhood kids as reliable babysitters as they were when we were kids?” asked Ricky MacIntosh, jokingly.

“Not at all,” replied Ashley as seriously as she assumed Ricky was being.  “I don’t trust this girl as much as I do other babysitters.”

“Like Jenny,” said Jared, aware his friend had been joking, but also wanting to give his sister the praise his wife never would.  “Sylvie is always passed out when Jenny watches them.”

“What’s your secret?” asked Ricky straight up mocking now.

“Sugar crash,” replied Jenny sipping her brother’s scotch before handing it to him.

“What!?” cried Ashley, ready to believe it so she’d have an excuse to stop having Jenny over to watch the kids.

“She’s joking, sweetheart,” Jared assured his wife.  “Knowing Jenny she plays really loud music and makes the kids dance until they’re too tired to move.”

“And what makes you so sure?” asked Mark.

“Because that’s how she always tricked our little cousins into going to bed whenever they insisted they weren’t tired.”

“And Jared, more than a few times,” added his sister, with a wicked grin.

“Is this true, Jared?” asked Ricky.  “Did you have epic DPs with your sister?”

“How do you think I stayed in shape for football over the summers?”

“Certainly wasn’t from working out,” interjected Wendy returning with cups of coffee.

“Thanks, Wen,” said Jared with a grin.

“You danced your cute butt off with us every weekend.  Don’t act like you didn’t enjoy it.”  This time Wendy had the grin.

Ashley was also smiling; Jenny could almost smell the smoke emanating from her ears.  Jenny turned to Shelley.

“How’s your sister doing with the wedding planning?”

“Melanie’s driving me insane,” said Shelley sweetly.  Jenny smiled.  Shelley was her sister’s maid of honor, and helping her plan the wedding.  “Even Mom is getting annoyed.  Every time I’m over there to work on the arrangements Mom has an entire pitcher of vodka martinis waiting and ready.”

“Why?” asked Wendy.  “What is she doing?”

“Remember that Oxygen movie with Laura Prepon and Princess Leia and Not Hot Hispanic guy?”

“The one where the Bridezilla wakes up married to some Mexican kid after catching her husband in bed with the wedding planner and drinking too much tequila?” asked Jenny.

“Yeah, that one,” confirmed Ricky.  Jenny smiled at him, amused.

“She’s actually worse than that girl,” whispered Shelley.  “I almost wish she would catch Tony in bed with the wedding planner so we could end this nightmare.”

Ashley’s eyebrows practically flew off her face, she raised them so quickly.  Jenny wondered if those muscles could get whiplash.

“Aren’t you the wedding planner?” asked Mark saucily.

“Oh!  No!” cried Shelley, realizing the implication.  “I didn’t mean me!”

“We know what you meant, sweets,” said Jenny playfully pulling her friend’s hair.  She hoped the light teasing would stop the ideas she could see turning around in Ashley’s brain.  Obviously Shelley didn’t want to sleep with her little sister’s fiance.  First of all,  Shelley, who liked everyone, enjoyed her future brother-in-law less than she enjoyed planning his wedding with her uptight, type A little sister.  Secondly, Shelley was way too nice to screw over someone she liked less than her little sister, whom, incidentally, she loved fiercely.

“What about you, Jenny?” asked Ashley who could no longer sit around not speaking.  “Are you seeing any one?  It’s almost Valentine’s Day, you know.”

“Do those go together?” asked Mark.

The women ignored him.

“No, I’m not seeing anyone currently.  I’m sure you would have heard, if I were.  You know my mother, can’t keep the murderer on last night’s Law & Order secret.”

“Who taught her how to text?” interrupted Jared.  “I tell her I’m recording it and yet she’s always texting asking if I can believe the killer was so-and-so!”

“I blame Dad,” answered Jenny.

Ashley had a well constructed expression of confusion on her face.

“You’re not seeing anyone?” she asked again.

“No, Ash, I’m not dating anyone.”

“I could have sworn Tammy said she saw you at The Wildwood with a young man.”

“Probably not,” said Jenny, a hard edge to her voice.

“Jenny hates The Wildwood,” added Jared.

“Maybe it wasn’t The Wildwood.  But I’m sure, Tammy said she saw you last weekend at dinner somewhere with a young man.  Chez Antoine’s?  No, that wasn’t it.”

Tammy often mistakes me for that Laurie girl from the Leicester debate team who married then divorced April Bishop last year.  It may have been her she saw,” said Jenny breezily.  She turned back to Wendy and asked about a new piece of art in the hall.

“No, I know,” said Ashley before Wendy could answer.  “It was last Thursday at that new Creole place in Bolton: Limyè.”

“Oh, that?”

“So it was a date?” asked Ashley innocently.

“No.  It wasn’t.”

“Oh.”

“Why would you think it was a date?”

“Something Tammy said,” said Ashley evasively.  And then Jenny remembered what Tammy, Ashley, and her dinner companion all had in common.

“She told you who I was there with, didn’t she?”

“I don’t remember…”

“Yes, you do.”

If Ashley had, like she’d always wanted, the ability to shoot death rays from her eyes, Jenny would have been incinerated on the spot.

“Who were you at dinner with?” Jared asked his sister.

Feeling like a colossal jerk, Jenny smiled kindly at her brother.

“That’s my business, brother dear.”  She turned back to Wendy, determined to salvage the pleasant evening.  “You got that painting at the auction last month?”

The following hour and a quarter went smoothly.  The friends engaged in happy conversation about current events, politics, and the Olympics.  Jenny and the men swirled their scotch and waters and discussed hockey while the women discussed the handsome ski jumper from that snowy country they couldn’t remember the name of and the ice dancers costumes from the night before.  Finally it was time for everyone to go.

“Time to get back to the children, hubby,” crooned Ashley when Jenny appeared with her coat and purse.  “So stressful, isn’t it, parenthood?” said Ashley to Shelley whose perfect two year old had probably been sound asleep for the sitter for at least two hours.

“Not really,” said Shelley, sweetly.

“Wait till they get older.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with Tyler.  He has so much energy.”

“He’s a big fan of P!nk,” pipped up Jenny.  “Boy could dance to her all night long.”

Ashley smiled like she was holding in a fart.  Ashley had aired loud opinions Senior year when Jenny, Wendy, Mark, Ricky, and Jason Marquez went to a P!nk concert instead of attending the Senior Reception.  It didn’t help that Ashley, who never didn’t have a date to any event, had the biggest schoolgirl crush on Jason Marquez.  Her sense of self-entitlement and superiority to the loud-mouthed, tomboy Jenny Davis made it impossible for her to understand how Jason Marquez could possible prefer Jenny’s company to hers.  He was far too handsome and destined for success later in life to waste his time with the geeky, crass, unwashed, ready to skip very important events Jenny Davis.  He ought to, she was sure, be spending time with a like-minded, ambitious, regularly showered girl like herself who saw the value of traditions like the Senior Reception.

But everything worked out in the end.  Jared Davis proved to be as successful as everyone thought Jason Marquez was going to be; plus, he went to school on a football scholarship and very successfully obtained his MBA.  But Jenny was still a force to be reckoned with.

“Jenny, I don’t really think P!nk is appropriate for young children.”

“Come on, Ash,” said her husband.  “You play the clean versions, right?”

“Of course!  You can look over the playlist anytime you want Ashley.  I promise there’s nothing inappropriate for Tyler and Sylvie on there.”

“Oh, I trust you, Jenny,” condescension dripped from each of Ashley’s words.  “Jared, we really must be going.  Home.  To our house.  And our children.”

“Thanks for a lovely evening,” said Jenny to Wendy and Mark.  “I really must be off as well.  I’ve allotted at least an hour before bed for drinking red wine and soaking, uninterrupted, in the tub.  Talk to you soon, bro,” she added to Jared, and sailed out the door.

Link

“The Pregnancy-Industrial Complex” by Laura Tropp

Currently, since I am poor, homeless, and unemployed, my only viable living options are with people-with-kids; mostly baby to toddler aged kids (unless I move to Arizona, then it’s a ten year old).  The best option for me is with a couple with a two year old and a newborn (not even two weeks).  They live in an area that embraces Public Transportation and has the most job options for someone like me.

Some things I have learned: Kids are tough.

Since I was present for the birth (in the next room listening to everything going on and praying my older nephew didn’t wake up — yeah, home birth) I have had a number of people ask me the following two questions: 1) What was it like/Was is scary? and 2) Does this experience make you want to have kids of your own?

1. No.  It wasn’t scary.  I knew what was going on.  I knew my sister was in labor and I’ve seen enough television and listened to enough women yap about their birthing experiences to know that it sucks and it’s uncomfortable and sometimes all you can do is scream.  The midwives and my bro-in-law didn’t seem worried so I didn’t worry (and I am a huge empathetic worrier when it comes to my siblings).  Personally, I was more concerned we weren’t going to need the tub and no one was going to tell me and I was going to keep filling it and then we wouldn’t need it.  Thankfully they told me before the water was a foot deep and there was less to pump out than there otherwise would have been.

Home birth is one of those things that is heavily portrayed as a hippie-crunchy totally completely out there sort of thing that only nudist, fake Buddhist, pot smoking, pseudo-environmentalists do with only their yoga instructor/tattoo artist/doula to preside (except for, of course, that episode of Judging Amy).  But it turns out my sister isn’t totally insane and there are a lot of benefits to home birth. A) you don’t have to worry about taking the kid home.  B) No doctors or cold medical staff, pushy nurses, people who view childbirth as business as usual.  The midwives might do this for a living, but these women seemed to see each client, each baby, as individual cases that require specialized care and attention.  I would want these women to take care of me in any situation, they were so kind and caring and funny.  C) While they were down to earth and friendly, they were also extremely professional and clearly knew what they were doing and talking about.  If anything had gone wrong I am confident they would have been able to handle it – even if that meant rushing my sister or nephew to the hospital.

2. No.  Oh god, no.  Someone else having a baby or getting married or going to grad school does not make another person want to do these things too.  I can be happy for someone else having a baby, but that by no means makes me want to have one.  This experience, being present, listening to my sister give birth, being with the family while they get used to having a newborn, watching my older nephew try to cope with the fact that he’s not the center of attention anymore, has done one thing for me on the children front: reconfirmed that I am not ready.

When my mother was my age she either had three kids or had three kids and was pregnant with her fourth, I’m not sure.  That idea blows my mind.  I cannot imagine currently being married, let alone having a bunch of kids to care for.  I have barely lived a normal “adult” life, the idea of changing that for a kid is unfathomable.  I don’t feel badly about this: not everyone is meant to be a parent.  And, if they are, they aren’t necessarily meant to be a parent at the same age as another.  My sister told me she started really wanting a baby when she was my age now.  It took a few years, but she got one — and now she has two!  But I am in no rush.  I might never have kids!  And, right now, I am ok with that.

The linked article above also makes me not want to have children.  The obsession with celebrity pregnancies and the pressure to look as good as Katie Holmes or Kym Cardashien or Kate Middleton when they were pregnant is ridiculous.  People praise Katie Holmes for being so cute and dressing Suri like an American Girl Doll and turn around and knock Jennifer Garner for having normal looking kids and neither are really important.  I see moms stressing over wanting their kid to be the cutest and it’s exhausting.  I don’t want to be one of those women.  Or, if that is my fate, I don’t want to be one of those women yet.

I am relatively young and have always sort of been a little bit of a late bloomer, comparatively.  All my friends had boyfriends in the sixth grade and I turned down my first offer in the seventh grade because I knew I wasn’t ready.  I didn’t start thinking about what I want to do with my life until I was in college; most people I knew had their lives planned at fifteen.  I live an unstable lifestyle because I get bored and I like to move on.  I have never been a career-minded person, therefore I am seeking something, anything, that isn’t my old job simply because I’m ready for a change.  I am absolutely still in some sort of exploratory phase of life and have many things I’d like to accomplish before Children are any sort of a reality.

Being present for a birth doesn’t automatically turn on that biological clock metaphor thing.

In her article, Tropp comments that pregnancy used to be a “period of waiting” but medical advances, celebrity and media culture have all contributed to make pregnancy into “another over-hyped, over-romanticized, over-marketed product”.  Everyone wants to see pictures of “the bump”, they want to know about your morning sickness, they want to know what color you are going to paint the inside of the baby’s closet; women make molds of their pregnant bodies, they paint their swollen bellies, they have nude photoshoots so they can remember the experience forever (is it really that forgettable?).  There are a plethora of (un)necessary products for pregnancy that our grandmothers’ would laugh at, and events during pregnancy that don’t seem all that exciting.  Baby showers are one of the worst experiences I’ve ever gone through (followed closely by Bridal showers), I can’t imagine what a “gender reveal party” could possibly entail, but I never want to find out.

(She also makes an interesting comment about how in America we provide all sorts of support and events and attention to a woman while she is pregnant then pretty much leave her alone once the baby is born; other countries, however, she says, focus a bit more on giving the woman support after the baby is born – you know, when she really needs it.  As Garfunkel and Oates say “Pregnant women are smug” they don’t need quite as much support as the woman does once she has the crying, pooping, suckling bundle of joy.  New moms are a mess; Juno’s stepmom says it very eloquently: “[You look] like a new mom: scared shitless”.)

As a selectively private person, I say this now, I think my pregnancy is one thing I would want to keep to myself.  It feels like one of those things that doesn’t really have anything to do with other people.  If you’re not the mother or the father, or the grandparents, I suppose, then it’s really none of your business.  Then again, as a human being I understand the value of a baby to the community.  Babies are, to anyone not the family, symbols of Life and Hope and Goodness; and all communities need to be reminded of that time and again.

For me, children are only on my radar because I am living with people-with-kids.  If I were surrounded by people more in my stage of life, they wouldn’t be on my radar at all.  I am always loads more comfortable when I am with my childless friends – or, rather, friends who do not constantly talk about their kids.  I am not married and I do not have children and neither are likely to happen any time soon.  It is important, I think, not to blow off your married friends or your parent friends, but it’s just as important as an unmarried and childless person to seek out the company of others like you.  It’s important to have friends in the same phase of life as you.  Otherwise things just start looking sad and you get bored and start feeling like you’re never going to get anywhere — at least I tend to.

One of my Stupidest Thoughts:

Sometimes I feel like I have an obligation to my single friends to remain single, so when they feel badly about being single they can think, “Well, Bex is single too,” and they can feel better about being single.

This thought didn’t occur because I think I’m awesome and some man ought to have snapped me up by now, but more because I’m ok with being single and I want my single friends who might not be ok with being single to feel better about being single by seeing someone who is ok with being single (I hate this sentence).

It’s The Holidays; that daunting time when between Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Christmas extended families gather together and plenty of people begin to feel the pressure.  There is pressure to get everyone an appropriate gift; there is the pressure to look a certain way; there’s the pressure to be jolly and happy all the time; there’s the pressure to cook the right thing or bake the right dessert; there’s the pressure of guilt of not being able to be with one part of your family; there’s the pressure from family members (‘Why haven’t you gotten your Ph.D. yet?’  ‘Why aren’t you married?’).  The Holidays put a lot of stress on people.

For many people with real, grown-up jobs, there’s work pressure as well.  In the rush to get everything done before the holiday vacation things can slip through the cracks, people can put extra stress on themselves to make sure that doesn’t happen and end up over-checking everything and having regular panic attacks.

Then there’s present shopping.  I hate malls as it is, but malls between Thanksgiving and New Years makes me crazy.  I have zero desire to go anywhere near a shopping center at this time of year.  There’s never anything worth getting and there certainly isn’t anything worth getting plowed down by an industrial baby stroller for or trampled for when the doors open at midnight.

There’s a lot of stress surrounding the month of December (especially this December what with the world ending this week and all).  Not being in a relationship really shouldn’t be one of those factors.

I mean, the majority of us, as the sitcoms teach us, have an abundance of love in our lives in the form of friends and family.  And even if we are not physically near those people around the holidays (I, for example, am upwards of thousands of miles from some of my most beloved “family”) we can still spread joy and love; we can let each other know that we are thinking of our loved ones and that we appreciate them through cards and presents, the Internets and the Postal Service.  (Sidenote: don’t neglect your mail carrier around the holidays; they appreciate gifts.)  There is plenty to be thankful for and plenty to appreciate around this time of year even without a man or a woman by your side.

And, I think we all know this.  Single, committed, heartbroken, I think, like knowing cigarettes are bad for you, I think we all know that it’s ok to be single.  Which is Reason #1 why the above statement is stupid.  I am not the World’s Greatest Single Person, by any means.  I am no real role model.  I don’t want my friends looking up to me and using me as their “Main Excuse Person“, nor would I expect them to; I have much more faith in my friends’ security and sanity than that.

Reason #2 is a little more personal: it comes down the fact that I don’t necessarily want to be single.  I’m still alright with it, but I also think it would be a fun experiment to actually date someone in a traditional sense.  My entire adult life as of now has been so qualified and disjointed, constantly moving, constantly recreating my social circle, constantly having hyper-intense relationships that are “safe” because they are destined to end along with the season.  The seasonal life encourages short-lived, not-serious relationships, embraces them, you could say.  It fosters superficial attachments, dresses them as real ones, ones that hurt just as badly as real ones when they fall apart.  I think it would be fun to finally find some sort of Grown-Up Job and live in one place for a minimum of six months and maybe date like an adult and not like an overgrown teenager.

Oddly enough, it is the Holiday Season that is making this Life Plan more and more attractive.  I have spent the last two months at either my parents’ house, my brother’s house or my sister’s house.  And as much as I love spending time with these people (and I love the lack of monetary rent that I pay in each location) I would really like a place of my own.  A place where I can spend my own time and not have to worry about making up for my freeloading in other ways.  Also, having a steady Grown-Up Job would mean a steady income with which I would be able to pay my student loans and phone bill with better regularity and buy Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews.  I could, also, if I weren’t a seasonal gypsy, potentially, feel better about starting a Real Relationship with the man I’d like to start a Real Relationship with (Reason #3 why the above statement is stupid).

I suppose the main thing to keep in mind is what Colin says in An Abundance of Katherines:

The future is unpredictable.

And that is also ok.  As long as you know what makes you happy and you actively seek out those things, then the rest doesn’t matter.  The rest will take care of itself.  I enjoy baking, reading, crossword puzzles, walks, spider crabs, narwhals, Pilates, dancing, coffee, science fiction, travelling, writing, martinis, talking with friends, talking with my sister about religion, cats, cartoons, chocolate, painting, baseball, art, the ocean, boats, planes, trains, Jorges Luis Borges, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris, crime shows, high heels, getting my ears pierced, owls, talking to kids, sleeping, eating, breathing, smiling, laughing, and not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring.  These things make me happy more than they cause me panic.  I’m going to stick with them.

Happy Holidays.

Single and Scared

When I was still dating the TMM I was pretty damn ok with the idea of finding a crappy job and shitty housing out in Western Mass where I assumed he would be spending his winter in order to keep going with this music thing he’s started.  But now that I’m single and I can go anywhere I want I am terrified to pursue anything.  I want to go far and wide, I want to take the fucking plunge and leave north eastern United States and go somewhere else, but I’m too chicken shit to do it.  When I had something to ground me, like a man, I was ok with the idea of going somewhere faraway and doing something so entirely outside my comfort zone, but now that I would have nothing to add some normalcy to the equation I’m petrified.

How do you do it, people who have?  How have you found yourselves on the other side of the country or the world?  What did you do?  How did you hack it?  I want to get out of here, I’d love to go to Australia or New Zealand or Japan or Korea or Spain or even back to England.  What did you do?  What do I need to do?