Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Being Single

I am going to write about something quite personal. Not that anyone reads this, but I hope it encourages maybe at least one person. I have recently decided to stop dating. At least at this time in my life. So here it is: I am single, and increasingly, I am proud of it.

This is how I ended my personal journal/prayer today: "I never dreamed I'd be here. Sitting alone on my bed age 25 1/2, no husband or kids, no full time job, college loans not paid off, living in a dark, warm, rattly basement room with two single 30-something women. And I'd never dreamed that I'd be, what was that, content?"

That is, almost content.

I am so sick of mommy blogs. Okay, so when I find myself not working like today (again), I read blogs, a lot of them written by married women with young children. I have some favorites that you can find on my blog roll. I like them because they are entertaining, yes, the kids are adorable, and I like getting ideas for cooking, crafts, etc. Some I read so often, I feel like I almost know the people. But when I look at these blogs, bad thoughts play in my head at times. Bad thoughts I have come to find quite common.

That is me, that is supposed to be me.

Who ever said I was supposed to be them anyway? Well, this is a very touchy subject. But the pain, thanks be to God, has ever decreased over time and I can talk about it now.

It goes back to what a lot of you women remember growing up. Well, for as long as I can remember, I wanted to have babies. I've come to realize it's because my mom was the oldest of five kids, my dad in the middle of four, and so there were always women having babies in our family. I just loved them. I remember for a long time, there was a new baby every year in our family (on either or both sides). I was a typical little girl, with lots of dolls. As I grew up it turned into, my goal in life was not only to have babies, but to find that "perfect someone" to have babies with. Okay, so it wasn't my number one goal, but it was ALWAYS in the back of my mind in my early teens, then into high school and college. Especially as I came to realize when many of the women (grandma, mom, aunts) met and married their spouses. Quite young. Met in their teens and married by age 20 or 21.

As a child, I idealized women and, regrettably, I still do. (That's why this blogging business can be dangerous.) My mom, aunts, cousins, grandma, teachers, babysitters, and all the women in my favorite movies and shows, especially Dr. Quinn, Laura Ingalls, and Anne of Green Gables.

With all these women, there was usually one similarity. They had a man. And if they didn't (by a certain age), something was wrong with them. You see, one of my biggest fears is that people might see me the way I saw single, unmarried women. AS a child, I remember feeling pleasure that a teacher was "Mrs." but if she was "Miss" or "Ms." something must be wrong. If the teacher was "Ms." that meant she was divorced and if she was "Miss" and not reasonably young I would think, "Why is she not married? Is she not pretty enough?" blah blah blah.

Somehow in my thoughts and observations as a young girl, I came to believe this is what it means to be beautiful and worthy: to have a wonderful man at your side and to have his babies. While I still struggle now to dismiss this as a lie, I am so proud of how far I have come!

I still wonder when I see beautiful women how or why they are single. But then I am reminded, Oh yeah. I'm a beautiful woman and single. (In fact, I've been asked this so many times in my life.) So in a way, it's kind of nice to have support and be supported by people like me.

That brings me to a point of frustration: I wish there were more blogs out there that are written by people like me: mid 20s, single, and not that content about it! It seems almost every blog is young, married and trying to get pregnant; young, married with kids; or older 30s, married with kids. There are a few that are young and newly engaged or married, and even fewer that are college age. Even less I have found are older than 40. Okay there are a few that are single and 20s, but they seem more the partyer hard core type, not the traditional-at-heart like I am. While I enjoy reading all different types of blogs, it would be nice to find a few like mine! (But at least I have my friend Becca's blog. She and I are kind of in the same boat, I think!)

Thanks for listening to my scoop on singlehood. If you're there, hang on, I understand!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random Post

I have been sick for over a week now. So today I decided to take another day off work. (Was in bed all day yesterday.) I didn't have the energy to try and sub today. I worked last weekend, a long day on Monday, and will be working this weekend too. So I am sitting here trying not to feel guilty for trying to heal myself. I have a bad virus, but a weird one. I remember going to work last year when I felt a TON worse than this. That's why the guilt is eating away at me. I keep telling myself, now is different. I had two really hard years of teaching, so I try to see my life as a gift right now. Since I have the chance as a sub to simply not answer the phone, which might actually help me in the long run, why not?

I have been working really hard to take care of myself. Got some nice organic herbal tea, been drinking lots of water, and Emergen-C, and trying to rest. But I still hear myself worrying. About money mostly. What's the point of worrying about money when I don't even know why I am trying to make money? I don't want to simply live my life to pay off my loans. That's what I feel like my point of life is sometimes, though. Since I have no desire to teach (right now) nor anything else.

My passion for a career has suddenly died, but somehow my depression has lessened if that makes any sense. Well, thinking about not knowing what my future holds makes me freak out a bit. Overwhelmed is a good word to describe it. But not totally down to the point of incapacity like I was a little over a month ago (I only shared this with a few close people in my life...maybe hinted a little bit one here).

And another weird thing, my depression usually gets really severe when I am physically ill, like now. But I have stayed overall pretty positive. I think it has to do with the sun being out, longer days, and taking care of myself by eating well and exercising.

Life has been kind of blah, though. Every so often I get excited. Usually it's when I am at the store and buying all kinds of yummy, healthy things, and then at home when I put together a creative colorful meal, that I know will help me feel better. But that's about it.

So I am not really up, not really down. I am okay with that for now. What can I say? I am going to try to embrace who I am right now; not try to force anything. Certainly, feeling guilty is not going to help. So plans for today are drink a lot, eat well, and rest much. Maybe do some mindfulness activities through journaling. Just being is enough for today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What if I am Never Healed?




I recently finished this book. There are some profound things in here. I have always admired Lincoln because I believe we are very similar. He also has given me hope. If I, someone with depression, could achieve something an iota of what he achieved while suffering, I would consider my life great. Probably the most profound thing was found on page 156. The author, Joshua Wolf Shenk, states, (bolded, mine):

Many popular philosophies propose that suffering can be beaten simply, quickly, and clearly. Popular biography often expresses the same view. Many writers, faced with unhappiness of a heroic figure, make sure to find some crucible in which that bad feeling melted into something new. Lincoln's melancholy doesn't lend itself to such a narrative. No point exists after which the melancholy dissolved...Whatever greatness Lincoln achieved cannot be explained as a triumph over personal suffering. Rather it must be accounted for as an outgrowth of the same system that produced that suffering. This is not a story of transformation but one of integration. Lincoln didn't do great work because he solved the problem of his melancholy. The problems of his melancholy was all the more fuel for the fire of his great work.

This was not something I heard for the first time, but an idea that has been rolling over into my head these past few months (and maybe even years): Can I live a successful life with depression? Or do I continually feel I need to eradicate depression from my life before I can live?

Well the truth is that I already am. That is, I already am living with depression. I have no choice at this point. This was made even more real to me after listening to Greg Boyd's sermon (I listened to the pod cast since I missed the service.) It was entitled "Communion in the Wilderness." Based on Luke 22:7-20, the Communion Supper, Boyd talked about the space in between when we take communion and when we finally arrive in heaven. He called it the Wilderness, like the Israelites experienced before they arrived in the Promised Land. He had a member of the church, Scott, come up and talk about his experience with MD (muscular dystrophy). Scott talked about how his whole life people would "pray over him" for healing, but he was never healed. In fact, his MD just worsened. Now Scott has come to the point where he has accepted his MD and when people ask if they can pray for him, he kindly says, "Thanks, but I don't believe that is what God has for me at this point."

Wow! Like Scott, I have been told in so many words that my life would be so much more amazing if I was healed, in my case, from depression. NO kidding??!!!?? I have always struggled thinking I have lack of faith because I continue to suffer. Like Scott, I often felt people were saying it was MY fault that I wasn't healed.

On the other hand, am I just giving in to this depression because I am too weak to fight it?

Because of what GOd has been saying to me personally and through this book, this sermon and through the words of many people who, like me, haven't found supernatural healing, I have come to believe this: It is okay that I suffer from depression; and that I may have to take meds my whole life. Each time my depression gets better , I often think, this will be the last time. But now I am starting to think, each time I go through another depression, I will come out a stronger person. And without my depression, I wouldn't be the sensitive, bright, caring person that I am.

Not saying, I wouldn't take away my suffering or that of others' in a heartbeat. But what choice have I right now, except to live in and through what has been given to me? And who knows, maybe like Lincoln, I will accomplish something great, and my depression will be a part of that.

Valentines!