Solo

Petulant early sunset of winter. Pandora: Sinatra. Celery and peanut butter. The last loads of laundry are in. Eight texts = one dinner plan. Steam on my windows from the pot going for moisture in the air.

It’s been an achievement day. The bed-clothes are clean and back on the bed. The body clothes are washing. The chicken got cooked, bones roasted for broth; a significant dent made in the leftovers. A walk. A run. The library. Browsing for the gala dress, and ideas for more mundane wear. Some thoughts became a little clearer.

Benedict Cumberbatch spoke to me all morning. And then the women at the library, and the coffee shop. Maybe 100 words to go around between the three of us. And in between: thoughts, ideas; the sounds of the street, and my apartment building; delightful, elaborate day dreams.

What did your day sound like? Who was in it?

Recently, a friend asked me what this blog was about. I gave a flaccid, inept answer that failed as both summary and truth, but it made me wonder and then think about that very question.

A couple of weeks too late, I have an answer. This blog contains musings: a riotous, biodiverse, wildflower meadow of the topics I like to think about. This blog also has a simple ‘candle in the darkness’ purpose: to be one voice of a group I hardly ever hear from -adult, single, child-free women, who are (almost) comfortable in their own skin.

I check a number of demographic boxes, most of which are the butt of some -ism or other. Living my whole life in the isolation of those differences, I mostly find I lack the time or energy to grow nonplussed at the persistent, tedious ignorance of some.

But this identity of being solo is relatively new to me, the isolation a little tender still.  So the absolutely Alice-In-Wonderland reality of another human thinking it’s okay to treat me as the sum of their assumptions rather than the sum of my parts, is less easy to ignore, and a little grating.

I have no desire to lionize, mourn, or ‘how to’ being ‘alone’ on this blog. But I did want to take time to point out that I am of the set {solitary} so that a reader might begin to understand how that identity colors my experiences and perspectives -my cooking techniques/recipes are designed around recipe reductions and single or double servings so I don’t have to eat the same thing for a week. I can go out three nights in a row and flirt with bartenders because I don’t have to pay for babysitters, or ask anyone else if they would like to come along. I have such a treasure chest of friends, I rarely actually feel alone, so why would I whinge about it?

I also wanted to tickle your consciousness with another way to view those in your life who are un-partnered and un-childed. Maybe they are not waiting, or desperate, or too picky, or overcompensating, or closeted gays, or damaged goods. Maybe they are soloists.

In the arts, a solo is an earned opportunity. It is a showcase of one’s skill and artistry. It is an honor. In mountaineering a soloist is someone with the skill, patience, and self-awareness to climb alone. It is an emblem of courage. Soloists are often seen as trailblazers. In both arenas these solitary performances are celebrated, and the hours of dedication and (frequently solitary) training to create them are respected.

Imagine if someone told you that the way you live your life is important to the world. And they invited you to take all the time you need to practice that life and develop it into the most honest, thorough, beautiful expression of living that only you can give to the world. How would you live your solo?

I fully believe that some people live their most, honest, thorough, beautiful life in partnership or family. I reflect often on the choices I have made, and the preferences I have, that have put me on a different path. I find it hard to live my most honest, thorough, beautiful life when there are the needs and wants of others to respond to. So I solo, everyday. With pleasure and gratitude. I know I have peers. I hope the duos and ensembles start to see us as just one more variation on the theme.

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