Loneliness, take 2

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar took an uncertain evening and made it magical with this wisdom post:

If you think nobody loves you, know for sure that you are loved. The earth loves you; that’s why it is holding you upright. The love of the earth is its gravitational force. The air loves you; that’s why it moves through your lungs even when you are sleeping. The Divine loves you very dearly, deeply. Once you realize this, you will never feel lonely.

Someone’s company cannot fill your loneliness. Even if it does, it is very short-lived. You can still feel lonely in spite of being in company. In a real sense, loneliness can only be filled by being alone. If you could be comfortable being alone for some time, then you will not feel lonely. When you don’t feel lonely, you can spread joy to people around you.

An old Nepaali friend contacted me tonight – we hadn’t spoken in years.  And he said, “I do not know about other friends but you were real learner of life”.  That is the impression I made, all those years ago.  He is married – a love-marriage – but very unhappy. Lonely, he says.  Someday oneday I will write his portrait.

The image I have of people in general is marbles – you can crash into one another, but very rarely can you merge or break the outer shell.  Perhaps for a few minutes of spark, but this journey seems to be one that you have to go alone.

Side Note:  You can visit Loneliness Part I here: http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/06/24/only-the-lonely/  But it really is much more lonely.

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On traveling alone

Well, I decided to go ahead with it!  Me. In Colombia from July 31 to August 9.  I’ve never been to South America before.

I was invited to a conference in Cali, Colombia, but I had to buy the airfare myself.  I went back and forth on this decision for a long time.  I’ve traveled alone, but since I moved to Hawaii, I’ve kind of said that I’m going to hold out for this prince charming who wants to see the world with me and protect me from potential rapists and kidnappers.   After a couple of shady encounters riding trains around India, I’ve been a little gunshy about going on my own.  And in my sadness over being single, I haven’t thought I could stand to be asked if I’m married by the more family-oriented third world, where I am most certainly already a spinster.

But you see – I had nearly 100,000 miles left from the great long distance heartbreaker that was Mr. Faraway.  I just need to spend them.  Other girls might buy shoes, but I buy plane tickets.  I cannot believe I’m doing it!  (I’m totally terrified).

Does anyone know a good website that might connect single travelers?

Captain R wanted to backpack to Japan with me when he met me, but now that he’s gotten to know me, he’s retracted his offer, claiming financial difficulty.  It’s becoming more clear that although I like him a lot, he really isn’t ready for anything, and I have to respect that.

Rant of the day:  Feminism did what it was supposed to – liberate women.  But it also seems to have set women up for a life with a lot of loneliness. Men just have no social pressure to commit to a girl anymore.  So thanks, ladies of the fifties and sixties, for letting me do my PhD and travel to Colombia, but no thanks on not thinking out how to make sure men are still in our lives.

Posted in Feminism, Long distance | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Love is me

Ok, universe – I give up.  Everything I try and love decides it does not want to be loved.  This leaves me, someone who wants to give away love, in a bit of a quandary.

So here is the approach we are going to try for a little bit:

Take all that desire to love and work on just loving me.

I know – even as I type this it seems a little selfish.  Wouldn’t I rather love a puppy? or baby? or man? or friend? or anything but me?  Well, yes – but herein lies the problem. If I can’t really love myself – including all the good and bad and ugly – how can I really shine that love back out to the world?

The frizzy hair that sticks up and the few extra pounds and the temper when waiting on line sometimes and the not-so-good employee and the girl who doesn’t like to be in social situations for extended periods of time and the “not such a good team player” and the one who can’t sing at all and the one who sometimes drives faster when she sees someone in the crosswalk (not all the time, just sometimes).  And more, the one who when she’s in a relationship can get a little needy in no time at all.

If  I really accept the idea of dvaita or dualism, that I am god and I am also nothing, then wouldn’t it serve everyone best if I can love and accept the god that is me first?  And what does it matter if I get rejected over and over and over and over again, if I have a path for that love.

My love for me will shine from the na’au.

A new prayer for meditation:

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

Posted in Identity | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happiness as your identity

Like many women, I like to talk my problems out.  I don’t think it solves anything, but it usually makes me feel better.  Recently, though, I have been trying a new strategy.  When I feel totally wretched about my life (like today), I would like to retreat a little and still figure out how to maintain a happy outlook when I am around people.  A mask if you will.

I talk a lot about having a purpose in life, but I think there is only one true purpose (which I’m not very good at):  Strive to be a positive influence to those around you; don’t make others miserable.  If you can’t do this, then go for a walk in the woods or talk to god or maybe write on your blog. 🙂

I think, though, that happiness is not so much a state of mind like we are taught, but instead wrapped up in your identity. I always think of myself as a “not-very-happy” person.  It is who I am.  Can we change this over time?  When I think of my failed relationship with Mr. Faraway over the last two years, it is hard to remember when in that I was happy.  I was always tormented.  I do not want this to be a permanent state, although I think for me it has always been like that.IMAG0064

The dating update:  Mr. Romeo and I have connected.  On the simplest level, I just want to be someone’s girl, and I would be very content to be his.  He, however, is not ready for a relationship after his divorce, and so there are all sorts of rules about how much time we spend together, how physical we are, how I am introduced to his son – and more distressing and shameful for me, how he wants to play the field a little to explore after his 7 year marriage.  Much of the time I am okay with this, because he is wonderful and sweet and I can see us together in the future.  I did go out with another gentleman for dinner this week, and it just felt all wrong.  Captain R (as my best friend calls him) feels right.

Yet, some days, like today, when I just want to watch a movie on a Friday with someone I like, I want to crawl up in a ball and not let anyone see how upset I am.  I think I’ll be watching that movie by myself tonight.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mums the word

I love to tell a good story.  I sometimes feel like my life is just a collection of stories.  I attract eccentric people, and I love hearing people’s life path.  Hence, the attempt at the Portraits here on this blog.

But, when you are entering in to a relationship with someone new, it’s not entirely obvious for me (someone with subpar social skills) to know where to stop.  Romeo and I have had sort of a whirlwind couple of weeks.  We are still in that in between for new friends where you have so much to say, so much past to learn.  Because of my decade of singleness (approximately) and traveling, I have lots and lots of little mementos that come up randomly.  Romeo, having been married for 8 of those last 10 years, has fewer stories – or at least fewer characters to his story.

The wise move here is to just scour my background, clean it up and make it like a blank white slate.  I am not playing this wisely.  In thinking about it with friends, I realized that I must have 100 first dates who represent sort of a game of “around the world”.  There’s the Dominican, the Indian, the Gambian, the Uruguayan, the Panamanian, the German, the French (blech), the Jamaican, the Greek, the New Zealander, the Brit, the Mexican(s), the Hawaiian.  Poor East Asia suffers from a lack of representation, as does the Arab world.  The Americans have their own ticks that aren’t so connected to where they are from, although the Georgia boy is still on my mind sometimes.  I actually know quite a bit of geography from this game.

More than that, I know a lot of random things about random professions because I’ve “interviewed” (or been on dates with) them.  The librarian, the accountant, the real estate agent, the botanist, the software engineer, the construction project manager, the soccer coach, the actor, the farmer.

I am *really* getting to know Romeo, not sort of.  These are the kind of talks that last for hours on the beach after a glass of wine.  And I keep getting stuck on the “And then I was here with …” or “I can distinguish between these bird calls because…” or “… Honestly, listening to my own story, the word “floozy” comes to mind – but I’ve just met so many damn people.  I try to meet people and hear stories, and now I don’t know how to explain that very well.

After every date with Romeo, I feel young again.  I laugh to myself all day long and remember my courage (or naivete?) at traveling the world.  I remember the times from not all that long ago where marriage and babies were absolutely not a concern, but living a big and beautiful and colorful life were the most important thing.  I remember how I love to meet strangers and hear stories.  This is amazing.

 

Posted in Dating, Life path | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Parenting solo in the news

http://www.newsmax.com/newswidget/Poll-Changing-Families/2013/05/30/id/507223

An Associated Press-WE tv poll of people under 50 found that more than 2 in 5 unmarried women without children — or 42 percent — would consider having a child on their own without a partner, including more than a third, or 37 percent, who would consider adopting solo.

And here I thought I was the one of the few wrestling this complicated issue, not one of the 40%.  I don’t know a single woman in my real life who has done this.

But apparently… the effects on career are not a figment of my imagination:

And this was true especially among mothers who waited until age 30 or older to have children. Fully 47 percent of those mothers said having a child had a negative impact on their careers. Of women overall, 32 percent of mothers reported a negative effect, compared with 10 percent of men.

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Time passes.. things stay status quo

I thought to give up blogging, but I miss it!  The basic update:  I am very single, with all manner of men hovering like mosquitoes or hummingbirds, depending on the moment.  No sex, though – unless you count some pretty amazing phone calls.

A couple of great quotes from the last weeks:

  • Will you have my baby? We can start now.  Saturday, at 2pm – from the hopeful African.
  • Will you quit your PhD and move to Florida?  Tuesday, 2pm – from Mr. Faraway.
  • I want to give us a chance.  I want to give my niece someone to play with.  It’s torture for us to be apart.  Tuesday, 6pm – Mr. Faraway
  • Me: Can I come in late July?  Mr. Faraway: No, I’m not sure where I’ll be living.  And I’ll be working.  Wed, 2pm
  • “There will obviously be no sexual relationship.” – Romeo, about 2 weeks ago.
  • “I hate to say goodnight.  Maybe this weekend we won’t need to (ie, stay over).” – Romeo, two days ago.

At least the African is direct and honest.  The other two are like whirlwinds that are entirely unpredictable.  At the end, I just feel confused and lost and hopeless.  Hopeless. Sometimes, I want to define this long-distance relationship with Mr. Faraway, make it real, really commit to it – but he is all talk.

My work is my anchor – and I wish that weren’t true.  Rather, I am passionate about my work, but I want – yes, I want love, too.

In other news, I start Saturday morning volunteering at a foster home in Waianae.  Baby steps.  I haven’t changed my Plan B idea, but I have been thinking more about just doing it.  I am horribly passionate about having a child on my own, and equally passionate about not having a child on my own.   To say that there isn’t doubt is a lie.  My career choice has the real potential to help others – can I do that with a child as well?

There is only one thing I can count on – my own character and integrity.  I am determined to remain loyal and open-hearted, no matter what the situation.  I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes I question my belief in the divine – it is entirely unclear why I should have to wait so long.

Unorganized thoughts, here.

Posted in Career, Childless or childfree, Dating | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

things you shouldn’t say

“Why don’t you just do it on your own? Men are pretty useless.”  – My well meaning sister

Combines well with this article:  Thanks, bitterbabe.

The simple fact – not that it is anyone’s damn business in the first place – is that most childless women today feel the decision was taken out of their hands through lack of financial and emotional security. According to a study in Australia’s Journal of Population Health, many childless women in their 30s want to have children, but can’t due to reasons ”beyond their control” such as not having a partner, stable relationship, or partner that wants children.

Read more:

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/a-few-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-a-childless-woman-20130503-2iyj5.html#ixzz2SXLjajAc

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

One to many

Visiting family is usually trying for me.  But this trip I’m on is only about hanging out with the nephews for a bit. It is a trip where the only goal is to be an auntie.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel – this is my first time playing auntie since I decided to move on and stop trying so so hard to force having a kid of my own as soon as possible.  And, after a hard final exam, here I am with my 4mo old, 2.5 year old and 4.5 year old nephews.  I can hold baby all day long if I like.  I’ve gone from a single life to being the add on to a 5-person family (plus 2 cats and a nanny) in a heartbeat.  The are dishwashers and full stoves and laundry machines and multiple cars and meals made for big families – all things that I don’t have in my little studio.

First impressions?  Gratitude that I get to have this time right now.  I am also surprised that I am kind of missing my fast-paced job.  The contrast between what happens at night in my sister’s life and my own are kind of crazy – I usually settle into writing some paper or this blog after dinner combined with a glass of wine or some exercise, and she has the whole dinner, bathtime, TV thing happening.  I’ve really come a long way since I last was here.

Did I mention that East Coast spring is beautiful?!!!

The reservoir

Let’s see how this goes.

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Numbers

Sex.

I don’t think the feminist movement that brought our society to this place really gave sex much thought at all.  It was “do it if you feel like it” – which completely fails to address the emotional side of sex, and ignores the fact that you generally need two to play the game.  “Do” is sort of what we’re told by the feminists, as long as it is within your control.

My spiritual practice offers almost no guidance on the idea of sex, it is a topic that remains in the dark.  Abstinence is supposed to be the only way, and sex is a dirty thing to be meditated away.  I go to both Catholic mass and meditation sessions, and each is equally bad at addressing the need.  “Don’t” is the name of the game.

Today, it is more and more common for people to be single in their 30s.  Just because we’re single doesn’t mean we’ve lost our entire sex drive.  Relationships often don’t last longer than a year or two – so if you are serial dater between 20 and 40 you’ll have a minimum of 10 partners (assuming no “rebound” guys, shorter flings, etc.) , which is about the US average for women, depending on the study.

For the four men I’ve had real relationships with, each I met in some sort of social setting.  The thing that drove the relationship, especially in the beginning, was mutual attraction helped along by a little alcohol.  Over course there were other things in common – but unless you have an arranged marriage, it takes a very long time no matter how you meet to figure out if you share a similar vision for life.  Attraction is a big part to any relationship.

With internet dating, you are meeting someone from scratch, with no background and no mutual friends (usually – on an island like this I get paired with people I know relatively often).    To take away some of this awkwardness you spend a lot of time in the beginning talking about the equivalent of your favorite color.  What do you like to eat?  When do you go to sleep? What books have your read recently?  Where have you traveled?  etc etc etc.  I can be a damn good flirt with strangers, but on dates like these I fall flat.

I don’t know when is it “respectable” to actual cross over to the physical.

There are no official dating rules today.  There is no consensus on the number of partners that is considered “acceptable”, or how many dates before sex is okay (just check out the crazy wide spread of comments at the bottom – a combination of guys saying 200 is okay, and guys saying more than 5 is too much).  There is very little ritual left to the date.  I can totally understand why a guy would be shy about not knowing how to make things go.

Good examples of 1) and 2)

The men in my life fall into two categories:

  1. Want to sleep with me, but are pretty clear that no strings will be attached. *See below*
  2. Seem interested in me, but can’t seem to make a move that crosses into the physical.

I haven’t had sex with anyone except my long distance Mr. Faraway in two years.  I want to “start my clock” again in a real relationship.  But, man, I really, really fail to get nice boys to want to take me to bed.  I am polite, but really? do I need to drag them to bed?  why is this so hard?  I’m ready to be flirty and strong and independent, and yet truly prefer a more subordinate role in sexual relationship.    So can someone please tell Romeo to kiss me?

The saying that comes to mind is definitely “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

*The newest member of this category is one of the background pirates on Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and 5.  I’m not entirely starstruck, but having a notch for one of the Pirates seems like a good story for the memoirs someday.  The insiders’ gossip is that Pirates might be coming back to Hawaii to film number 5 soon.*

Posted in Dating, Feminism | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments