Saturday, March 30, 2013

A little help from my friends and readers...

I have written on many occasions that I have made a return to school to finish my degree (and often complained about the accompanying workload).  I am currently taking a sociology class, which I am very much enjoying.  The class includes a final paper and presentation on a topic of our choice.  It may come as no surprise that I have chosen singlism as my topic. 

Singlism is a term coined by Bella DePaulo and can be summed up as "the stigmatizing of adults who are single."  For a more indepth discussion of the word please read her post on the Psychology Today website:  Singlism: What It Is and Is Not and Why It Should Be in the Dictionary

As part of my project for the class I am conducting a short survey on people's experience with singlism, if any.   I am hoping that those of my readers who are currently single can help me out by participating in the survey.  It is only a few questions and is anonymous.  

I will be sharing the results here on the blog as well as presenting them in class.  

Take the singlism survey!!

Thank you so much for helping out!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Blog to Come

It has been  two years since I began Spinster Jane.  In the beginning the blog was made up of very personal essay type posts dealing with my day to day thoughts on life.  As time passed the subject matter became more focused and it became a blog primarily about living single and solitary in a world devoted to being coupled off.  Over the past year it has taken a very personal turn again and the subject matter has expanded to include my thoughts on creativity, single living, and finding a way to achieve a balance between work, art and school.

I have made a choice to remain unmarried and though I date, even sometimes exclusively, I also choose not to live with any person I'm romantically involved with so my status as an unmarried woman impacts many aspects of my life.  I don't have the income of another person to fall back on should I find myself in tight financial circumstances.  I currently have my health insurance through my school but when I finish in a year I don't have the employer subsidized health insurance of a partner to sign up on (well assuming that if I were with someone they would have a full time job with insurance...).  I can't take a period of time off work to focus exclusively on school or pursuing art while a partner supports me and  my dreams.

Now this isn't a post about whether or not any of the above is right or wrong, it's just to illustrate that it seems that no matter what I do in life my relationship status has some impact upon it.  I'm sure the door swings the other way too, like having to always take another person into account when making big life changing decisions.

Anyway, the point of all this verbal meandering it that for the past several weeks I've dealing with the worry that maybe this blog has lost its original focus and maybe I should instead be writing a blog about creativity...

...but after much contemplation I realize I don't have to do that because, well read above.

Thanks to everyone for continuing to stop by and read what I write.  Many folks comment on the Facebook page which is appreciated, but it would be awesome if you commented here too.

Much love.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's 1:16 AM and...

...I wish I was tired enough to sleep.

...I wish that I had more time to dance.

...I wish that little elves would visit while I'm sleeping and finish all of my craft projects.

...I wish that I was vacationing in a yurt with a wood stove and really good coffee.

...I wish I was on vacation anywhere...vacation, with no plans.

...I wish that everyone I love could know just how much I do love them.

...I wish that my computer was not so old and slow.

...I wish that tomorrow I could have a chili dog for lunch.

...I wish that bacon was free and delivered.

...I wish the bunion on my left foot didn't ache all the time.

...I wish that people minded their own business.

...I wish for cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese.  A whole basket of cheese.

...I wish that someone, somewhere is having a really happy dream.

...I wish that when they wake up they will be smiling because their waking life is even better.

...I wish for a van for my performance troupe to travel in.

...I wish that the person I'm thinking of hugging right now will somehow know a thought hug is being sent their way.

...I wish........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The calendar tells me it is Spring but as I write this I am looking out my window at about six or more inches (I've not measured) of snow that fell on the streets of my city last night.  I slept beneath piles of blankets with my cats snuggled close. On the surface it appears as though Spring is an event that will arrive only in some distant and imagined future.  

At first glance I see only snow and ice, but I also see a sky that has been growing steadily brighter since the Winter Solstice in December.  For the past couple of weeks I've been hearing an increase in the variety and volume of the morning bird songs in the tree outside my window.   I'm sure that somewhere in the soil there are seeds that are starting to quiver, trees are preparing to fatten their buds and creatures great and small are stirring.  Inside myself I am feeling antsy; I don't want to sit still.  I am waking up from Winter's slumber and I am so ready to come out of hibernation.  Even though the air is not yet warm, and there is snow on the ground Spring is happening.

I often find parallels between the cycles and events of the natural world and my own rhythms (we are after all animals).  When there has been great change within myself, it rarely happens all at once.  It, .like Spring, is often subtle; taking it's time in germinating deep within myself, working its way through my subconscious before finally breaking through to the surface.  

There will be a day soon when we look out the window and it will seem like the world has greened overnight.  The breeze will be warm and carry the scent of lilacs and broken soil.  It will seem as though it happened in an instant, yet the process that brings us that day will have been moving along slowly, incrementally for months. 

Spring reminds me to be patient and that like a snowstorm the day before the first day of Spring, there will be unexpected hurdles to overcome, but Spring will eventually arrive and all our planted seeds, the literal and figurative, will push their greening leaves through the soil. 

Happy first day of Spring!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Keeping the Towel

Blog prompt courtesy of "The Creativity Portal"

"There was a time when you almost threw in the towel. Write about that experience."

I question nearly everything I do with a fair amount of regularity.  Is it worth the time?  It is worth the work and effort?  What am I getting out of this?  What am I giving to the world?  How can I continue to inspire and motivate myself and others?  And I've come close to giving up a lot of things school, writing, various jobs (okay, some of those didn't make it) but the closest I have ever come to truly "throwing in the towel" is when I very nearly quit dancing.

I've written about it here before how for about a year I felt very disconnected from any source of inspiration when it came to dance.  When I took to the stage I felt like a puppet mimicking my own movements.  To this day I can't pinpoint what the cause was.  It didn't occur in an instant but was more of a slow seeping that managed to take me by surprise when it finally made itself obvious.  Every time I set foot on the stage I kept hoping I'd find that connection again and each time I walked away feeling like I'd failed.

I kept on dancing though, which is why I think I managed to make it through.  In fact I think I worked harder during that period than I ever had before.  I practiced as much as I could and I pushed my creative boundaries.  I didn't stop working or creating until finally, one day I found myself stepping before an audience and that light, that spark...the fire that I always felt filled me when I danced was back.  I felt once again connected to my inspiration and my movements.

The experience for me stressed the great importance of practice and today I find that I will make the time to do the work even when I may not feel like it  becauseI feel a little tired or I'm in the midst of emotional turmoil or it's been a tough day.   I may not know why inspiration left me, but I firmly believe that it was practice that kept the door open for it's return.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It was a messy night...

"I like the snot to run a little, the tears to accumulate a bit before reaching for the handkerchief. Then I know I'm really crying. Crying just isn't crying unless it's messy." ~Terri Guillemets

Tonight I cried, a lot. And yes, it was messy.

I cried because a friend let me down.
I cried because of grief that I've nowhere to put.
I cried because another friend who truly wanted to help me couldn't.
I cried because I found myself questioning the purpose of my dreams.
I cried tears of sadness, grief and frustration.

Frustration. Frustration. Frustration.

I cried until snot ran out my nose and my contacts were swimming.

And then, after half a pint of peanut butter ice cream and a glass of wine I cried some more.

Now I'm in bed with wet cheeks hoping that when, three and a half hours from now, the dawn arrives and my alarm sounds all will be right again with the world.

I can hope...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mental Block

How many of my blog posts begin with I've really been struggling with what to write about these past few days?  Many...

Recently thought I've found that when I go through a period of not blogging it isn't that I don't have something to write about.  With the rapid decline and death of my grandmother, creative opportunities that have arisen, my catching a horrid cold, a walk along the edge of a stormy ocean, and three days of eating beans, this past week alone has provided ample material for writing.  And it isn't a time factor either because as December's month of blogging proved when I really want to write something I always manage to find the time to do so.

No.  It isn't that I don't know what to write about, it's that sometimes I don't know how.  Often it's because the subject is something really personal and I've not yet processed it enough to be able to put it into words and share it publicly.  When this happens the subject I want to write about becomes almost like a stopper, blocking up everything else while it sits there in my brain being emotionally digested.  So while I might have great recipes, funny stories or an upcoming opportunity to share I don't end up writing about them because they are sitting there in the pipeline, behind whatever personal topic is plugging up the works.

Of course as often happens once I've identified a problem I may be able to circumvent it. While I can't flush the block out of the way, personal experience tells me it is going to sit there fermenting until it's ready to move, maybe I can find a way to put in a mental side pipe around the block and write about something else.

Which is of course pretty much what just happened with this blog post.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Yesterday at 5:00 AM

Yesterday at 5:00 AM my grandmother died.  Today I scooped the litter box. 

The world didn't stop when my heart was broken.  It didn't stop the first time I lost a job.  It kept on turning when I found myself broke and homeless.  And the world didn't stop when I got the call at 7:30 yesterday morning telling me that my last living grandparent had died two and a half hours earlier.

But it felt like it should have.
If the world is going to stop for anything it should stop for death.
A small pause for the life that has ceased,
One second for all the moments from first to last breath.
Long enough for me to exhale, drop my bag and sit down.

Yesterday at 5:00 AM my grandmother died.  Today I went to the grocery store

The day before I'd spent the afternoon at her side.  She unconscious and me chattering, talking, singing...silent.
Her face was bruised from a fall, each breath a labor.
She was not well.

"Come around.  She's awake, she knows you're here."
The nurse called me the other side of the bed.  One blue eye was open, zeroed in on my face.
"Trudy?  It's me.  I'm here.  I love you...we all love you. I'll be here as long as you need me."
A moan.  A cough.
What do you say to the dying?

The eye closed, slowly, like a child fighting sleep. I asked myself after what did I see there?
Fear?  Confusion? Surprise?  Bewilderment?
It didn't seem like the calm acceptance of one who has made peace with God or life.
But, then we tell ourselves stories about death because we can't know the thoughts of the dying and what might rise up in their morphine dreams.

Yesterday at 5:00 AM my grandmother died.  Today I washed the dishes. 

I held her hand.  I restarted the music CD. I sang along with Patsy Cline.
I held her hand.
I told her I'd be back in the morning.  I kissed her cheek.
I said, "I love you."

I went home.  I parked the car.  I ate dinner.
I answered the phone.
I went to bed.

I woke up in a world that no longer had her in it but it would be two hours before I knew.
Two hours before the phone rang.
Two hours while I sipped coffee, ate left over beans for breakfast and took a shower.

Yesterday at 5:00 AM my grandmother died.  Today I went to work. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March To Do List

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs." - Henry Ford

After struggling with it for many, many months and feeling consistantly burned out I made the decision to dedicate the last few months of 2012 to finding some way to bring balance to my chaotic school, dance, art, work and people filled life.  It was in December that I finally began to feel that I was beginning to achieve that goal and I stepped into 2013 with a greater sense of peace in my life.

There were of course some obvious things I needed to start doing like learning to say "No" to things; making sure I ate well, got plenty of rest, etc.; asking for assistance and learning to delegate; and more clearly defining my goals but there was also a great need for me to just start keeping track of what I had going on.   So it has become my habit during the first few days of the month to take time to sit down and review my calendar.

Today is that day.  I've a cup of tea, my breakfast, my iPhone, my pocket calendar and my wall calender.  Syncing them up is a manual process but a needed one for me.  The wall calendar gives me a high level view of what is ahead in the next few weeks. my pocket calendar allows me to make notes and list the steps that need to be taken to achieve a larger goal (I'm also very tactile and writing something down fixes it in my brain) and my iPhone, my Digital Della Street, will do the job of beeping, buzzing and reminding me of when deadlines are approaching.

I've come to actually enjoy these days when I sit and plan because I have found, like the quote says above, that large projects that can seem at first to be totally overwhelming become far less scary when broken down into their smaller parts.  As I make my notes, pencil in deadlines and create to do lists,  I no longer find myself in a place where I am dreading the coming weeks; instead I become excited about approaching events and ideas begin to bubble up in my head.  I can also look back over the previous month as a record of the goals I've achieved and go forward knowing that most of the time I am quite capable of achieving what I set out to do.

It is a good feeling.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Going Out

Tonight I'm going out.  I'm going to do my hair, put on some make up, a nice dress and head out on the town.  It will be the first time in a few months that I've been out for the sole purpose of having a good time.  I won't be out unwinding after a show, or attending some networking event, or grabbing a quick bite while rushing from a class to a meeting or a meeting to a rehearsal or a rehearsal to another meeting.

Tonight is just about having fun, relaxing and enjoying myself.   So into the shower with me!  Time to make with the pretty!