Many of my posts have been in direct response to questions that have been posed to me. I’m sure you have picked up on that; I have terribly intelligent followers. What you don’t know is that all of the questions thus far have been posed by the same person: Mr. Smartypants Insightfulness. It’s a term of great affection and endearment, I promise. This friend of mine has an innate ability to cut through bullshit better than I can, and hit me with questions that require immediate self-reflection. It’s pretty cool and really annoying. Again, I say that with great affection.
He and I attended a wedding this past weekend. Great party, fun crowd, amazing band, he looked fantastic, I looked pretty darn great, and it was nearly 50 degrees in the Loop at the end of December, which is unheard of for Chicago. Glorious day all around.
Around midnight/1am, we were relaxing in the hotel room, having the usual great conversations. I was brushing the Corona and lime taste from my teeth and had placed a tiny pile of my pjs and make-up wipes on the counter in the bathroom. After the teeth brushing, Mr. SI walked into the bathroom to rinse out a glass, saw my little pile of ready-for-bed-gear, walked back out and asked a laser-edged question:
Do you think you could ever live with someone again?
You have your pjs just so on the vanity, everything is ready to go… do you think you could do it, share your space…?
One of my most dreaded of questions and he had to ask it 3 minutes before he left. Good grief. I took a deep breath and came up with a somewhat convoluted answer…
Yes, if it’s the right person it wouldn’t be an issue, don’t you think?
**blank stare from Mr SI**
I went on to say that I don’t mind living alone––having done it for almost seven years now––and that I’ve been single for nearly two, which prompted the obligatory interruption of Mr SI’s favorite grinning question: And who was the last person you dated?
Do I even need to type the answer for you? I didn’t think so.
As I was saying… I’ve been single for nearly two years and have certainly developed my own way of doing things over the past seven. At that point, I did take down a few more bricks from my outer fortress and said that I don’t want to end up like my Grandmother who married three times and has been alone now for nearly 50 years. I didn’t want to end up like my aunt, either, who has been mostly single for more than half her life.
What I failed to do was qualify why I felt that way. Admittedly, it was late, I was exhausted, and he had his coat on already, so having this in-depth conversation was going to be silly. Those were the fluff reasons. The bigger reason was that I needed time to think about why I felt that way.
Why do I want to live with someone again? Is it merely out of fear of following in the footsteps of my female elders, or do I truly want to share my life?
It is definitely the latter.
My greatest fear when I left my husband and dared to start my own life was not ever wanting to share it with anyone else again. Or being afraid to do so. I’m unlike many women I know in that part of my way of showing affection in a relationship is cooking for him and keeping a really nice home for us to share. These are not merely chores that need to be done; it’s a responsibility that I was raised to take on. I love that about my heritage. Many women will disagree with that statement, many will call me anti-feminist, and that’s fine. We’ll hit those topics another time. I like my life right now, but I don’t love it because I’m neither sharing it with another person nor am I sharing in someone else’s.
We get set in our ways, don’t we? Especially after the trauma of divorce or the break-up of a long-term relationship. I like my toothbrush to lean to the right in the jar. The remote control goes on the right side of the coffee table, the chocolates on the left. I use the same teacup for days on end, rinsing it out after each cup, and back to the same spot on the counter. These are my proclivities, and they very well may drive someone else to the brink of insanity. George Carlin had a bit about having a place for your stuff; give it a gander as it’s amazingly applicable to what we’re talking about here. No really, click on George right now. DO IT.
Does this mean I’m not going to budge on where the remote goes? Will it cause a scene from War of the Roses if my toothbrush is pushed to the left of the holder? Of course not. All that would mean is I have allowed room in my home, my heart, and my life for the way someone else has been accustomed to doing things, for someone else’s “stuff”.
So, the answer is yes, I would live with someone again. I would make room, reorder my time, and make a life inclusive of another. Living in fear of a committed relationship is not living, and it’s certainly not allowing for love. I am terrified of screwing it up again, but I’ve learned from the mistakes I made and have grown to accept myself and others for who they are. Am I going to adore everything my future significant other is going to do? ARE YOU KIDDING?! NO! And I am certain to drive him insane with my ridiculous shit. We’re only human, and far from perfect.
It’s exciting to think about what my life would be like with someone here everyday; the ups, the downs, the rearranging of furniture to accommodate a pool table or hideous arm chair, the goodbyes to unnecessary shoes to make room in the closet. Or perhaps giving up my little condo to move into someone else’s space, and having him make the same accommodations… for my shoes, the piano… the cats.
Just let me have my teacup thing, please. It’s all I ask.