Sunday, August 21, 2011

Six months...and six months

At the time I began Spinster Jane, I was about six months out from a relationship that ended…well there really isn’t another word, it ended badly; crash, burn, explosions, and fiery debris.  I had all of the emotions that go along with the ending of things but in amongst the feelings of anger, sadness, and the desire to smash things, there was also relief and it wasn’t in any small amount.

Relief isn’t all that uncommon of an emotion when a committed relationship ends.  Most romances don’t die overnight; they begin to whither slowly, browning at the edges in a way that we often dismiss or just don't want to see.  When it does become obvious, even when we know that the situation is miles past the saving point, we will often push to try to make it work; making whatever sacrifices and adjustments we deem necessary.  By the time it’s over we are often simply worn out, tired and in need of a break.   When the relationship ends, the struggle ends…relief.

Relief also comes with finding out a long suspected truth.  Suspicion is a horrible feeling.  When you suspect that the person you are romantically involved with is being dishonest about something (a past kept secret, a hidden addiction, a lover, a second life as a super villain…) it feels much like you’ve swallowed a rock that gets stuck halfway between your heart and your belly, preventing you from taking in nourishment.  It is ever present, coloring every interaction. When the truth finally comes out, that feeling is released; you can breathe again…relief.

I experienced both of these sorts of relief in the immediate but as time passed and I went about my daily life, I began to experience relief of a third sort.  This relief went hand in hand with the realization that my life was once again my own. 

I’ve kept a journal with some fair amount of regularity since the fourth grade.  Stashed away between the covers of these books is a record of the past 30 years of my life.  At times when I have questioned if I’m walking the right path, my journals have proven to be a valuable resource to review what brought me to the place where I currently find myself.   While it often shows me that I am indeed making the right choices for myself,  it is also a record of some of the phenomenally bad decisions I’ve made and the times I’ve managed to ignore my own voice.

After this relationship ended, I went back over my entries from those previous 18 months and right there at the beginning was an entire page devoted to my questioning if I wanted to be in a committed relationship.  All of the misgivings I had about coupling myself off with someone and how, in looking back over my life, my happiest and most productive times had been when I was committed to no one other than myself.   Did I really want to do this? Wanting to find out if this summary of my past was indeed true, I made my way to the basement, dug out my box of journals and spent most of a weekend reviewing my life.

There it was, in my own handwriting; a recurring theme going back to about the age of 16.  A consistent lack of desire to be coupled off with one person and yet, there I went time and again, thinking that there must be something to this since everyone else seemed to desire it so much.  It wasn’t that I didn’t love the people I was with (I doubt I’d have made the attempt if I didn’t) or that I didn’t put my all into the relationships when I was in them.  Yet right there next to the gushy-I’m-so-in-love-and-isn’t-life-grand stuff were the many discussions with myself about whether or not a lifelong relationship was something I really wanted.   

When I was done I was left with two feelings, annoyance with myself and my capacity for ignoring my own advice and a determination that I wouldn’t, at least in the area of romantic commitment, do it again. 

I wondered if there were others out there who felt similarly to me and began to search online for like minded people.  It was a happy discovery that there are many women out there, living busy, fulfilling, love filled lives and who are quite happily single (most of them are on my blog roll if you care to read for yourself).  A few months later I began to feel I had something to say on the subject and, being a writer, decided that I’d share my story of choosing the single life with the world.  Thus, on February 21, 2011 Spinster Jane was introduced to the world.

So happy six month anniversary Spinster Jane!  You’ve been knocking at the door for most of my life and I am happy I finally answered (and you know, really happy you weren’t some sort of creepy stalker type).

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the 6-month anniversary and on this wonderful blog! And as a fellow journal-keeper, I know the feeling of spending an evening or a weekend immersed in one's own past thoughts, and the amazing insights and new perspective you can garner. Blessings!