A large part of my life right now is devoted to being in an in-between place — neither single nor married — something that just really hit me the other day.
For so many years my identity has been that of an independent single woman (who was also somewhat bitter about the dearth of really nice men out there). I went for a long time without dating anyone, not because I didn’t want to, but because the aforementioned men had turned me off of casual dating and, with a full-time job that took all of my emotional energy, I simply didn’t have the time or will to look for someone. During this time in my singledom I relied entirely on myself for so many things and was worried that I would not be able to let go of my need for independence and space.
Now that I’ve met someone, so many things have changed. Long gone are the days when I’d break into tears afraid that I’d live the rest of my years alone. Every weekend night I have something to do and someone to do it with and every day there is someone to support me with loving encouragement. Being in a relationship has been truly wonderful and I realized that it has taken a relationship leading to marriage to change my view of the world considerably — to know that it is okay to rely on someone else, that I can be a partner and still retain my sense of who I am in many ways.
The other day at Stitch & Bitch I realized just how much has changed in my life, down to even the most basic topic of conversation. The first thing people ask about these days is how my wedding plans are going and it seems to dominate the group conversation for a while. A large part of me, I have to say, feels uncomfortable. Not for the joy or the thrill of entering into this new stage of my life and sharing it with others, but rather because I know what some of the other single 30-something women are going through. Because even though they may ask about my plans and be genuinely happy, it doesn’t change the fact that they are alone (in the relationship-sense, that is…) which, while empowering in so many ways, is also hard and frustrating (in every sense). My fear that I would wind up being one of those women who only talks about wedding plans or kids rose like a lump into the very core of my being, causing me to reflect not only on who I will become and the roles I will wind up in but also on the parts of me that I am now leaving behind. I realized that even though I’m not yet married, I’m definitely not single either. I’m straddling the boundary between these two worlds and, for the moment, don’t really belong in either one. While I can have empathy and compassion for singledom, I have lost my place in that world, afraid that my expressions of understanding sometimes seem trite and irrelevant (perhaps only to me, but still…).
As I was leaving S & B two nights ago I felt that I am someone in transition — moving away from a total style of life, a defintion of who I have been and moving toward something different, an unknown path where my concerns and decisions now will have to involve another person. At that moment my joy was just briefly tinged with a slight feeling of grief, for my life, no matter how lonely it has been before, will most definitely change.
As much as I am walking toward a new way of being I am also walking away from an old one too.