Since it’s the month when we celebrate Love, I want to keep rolling with the theme, and share one of my favorite love stories. Mine.
Sometimes people ask when and how I met my SweetHeart, and I love telling them it was at a Homeschool Conference. It’s absurd, hilarious and ridiculously dorky and mostly, it’s just not where singles would ever go to meet.
But we met, probably because neither of us was looking for it. We were just trying to take our kids someplace positive that would make them happy, but we ended up with a great relationship, and a good story out of the deal as well.
But just as important as how we met and the story of Us is the story of what happened before~
the story of being alone.
For reference, my SweetHeart and I had both been married young, and for most of our adult lives, and we had both had our lives change drastically when our marriages ended. The only story that is mine to tell is my own, so that’s what I’m sharing here.
My ex husband had been gone for nearly a year and a half when a friend casually asked me if I was thinking about meeting someone new.
My reaction was something along the lines of screaming “AAAAAACCCKKKKK! Good God, NOOOOOOOOOOO!” and accompanied by wide eyed panic, full body recoils, hair pulling and gnashing of teeth.
Frankly, the idea of dating after my divorce was one of the most unpleasant and terrifying ideas ever to be proposed to me.
Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but I had gotten married at 21, and hadn’t “dated” since I was 19 years old.
Ninefriggenteen~ the peak of youngness.
In a word, dating sounded awful.
Dating would involve trying to dress up and look nice and acting as though I was charming.
It would mean being on my best behavior and not spilling food on my shirt and making sure there were no beans in my teeth and…. basically a whole lotta work in an effort to impress people.
By this point I was beyond 40. That’s a lotta years where time, childbirth and gravity had done their thing~ not to mention the way life itself squelches youthful optimism and naivete.
It’s not that I was particularly unhappy with my aging self or my life~ but I was (and still am) a bit "Quirky" and can be rough around the edges. I guess I'm an acquired taste, and I really had no interest in being judged or trying to woo anyone into liking me.
I have zero poker face, and I was quite sure that even if I did go on a date, there was no way I could manage a neutral expression, let alone a pleasant one, for the entire time. The freaking out fest in my mind would surely be showing with bug eyes and flared nostrils, which would most likely frighten anyone who wasn’t a complete weirdo.
And then I’d be stuck on a date with a weirdo~ and not even the good kind.
No. Just no. The whole thing made me want to vomit.
I brushed away my friend’s ridiculous idea and went on with my day.
But later, after my initial nausea and flailing wore off, I had some time to ponder the idea. I realized that while it was true that I did not feel in the least bit ready to date then because I was quite happily figuring out life on my own, I also knew that I probably didn’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.
I had my awesome offspring, but they are kids after all. They are meant to grow and live their own lives.
I had some great friends and a wonderful community, but at some point, additional companionship might be nice.
Here’s where I realized what I think was one of the most important concepts of my life~
The timeframe I was in at that moment did not equate the rest of my life.
It was a season of being alone, not a lifetime commitment.
I actually wanted and needed to go through that process Alone and figure out MySelf before I got tangled up in anything or anyone else.
For me, the alone season was both important and awesome.
Life as a single mom was not always easy. Actually, it could be really hard, but I was learning a lot, and I was really happier than I had been in a long, looooooooong time.
I really didn’t feel lacking or like anything was missing. I liked taking care of my own things the way I wanted and being the head of household. I liked getting to know myself better.
I felt stronger and more competent than ever.
Without consciously realizing it, I was learning that I was whole.
All by MySelf.
I think people get afraid of being alone, but it can be a very good place. It certainly was for me at that time.
I can’t emphasize enough how happy I am that I had that time Solo.
Wrangling my own big life changes on was a huge undertaking, but it was also majorly empowering for me and my kids.
I came out of it knowing that all by my Big Girl Self, I could not only be OK, but I could kick arse.
Fast forward to a month or two later, when the same friend asked me again about my thoughts on dating. My initial thought was “Uggghhh….not this again…”
While I still wasn’t ready, I also wasn’t as violently opposed as I had been a couple of months earlier. My body didn’t start heaving violently and I didn’t go into panic mode like I had before.
Being the type who tends to overanalyze and overthink things, I began to ponder about what it really was that I wanted out of life~ as in the big scheme of things.
In the wonderful way that the universe works, right about that time, an email from Jodi Chapman popped into my inbox about a course that she and her partner Dan Teck had created on soulful love.
Now, truth be told, I come from a long line of skeptics and have rolled my eyeballs at romantic stories for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child, I could never stand the dumb girl who needs someone to save the day.
As an adult, I just feel sad for the lonely hearts and empty lives just waiting to be completed by some outside source because they aren’t OK with themselves.
I didn’t believe in or want any of that pathetic Disney nonsense.
So, even though my initial reaction was “Oh Blehhhhck,” the words “Soulful Love” did sound different~ like a spiritual connection that began within.
I knew that if and when I ever got involved again, that was what it should feel like. A connection of Souls.
This led me to all sorts of pondering as to what I thought a good relationship looked like, analyzing the good and bad about my deceased marriage, including my own role in it.
That was actually really helpful to look at my Own Self, not in a bashing way, but just to figure out what might work better and how I could be the kind of partner I wanted to be.
That was new right there~ the concept of being actual partners.
Maybe because I was older and wiser than I used to be, I could analyze all this and not feel bad about it because it wasn’t like I wanted to go back.
I was happier than I had been in a long time, and I knew there was no point in blaming anyone because we were all doing the best we could, and in the end, we were just pointing in very different directions.
I think after a divorce, there’s an easy tendency to just point out all the sucky things your ex did, which might or might not be valid, but it isn’t helpful in creating a better and different future for yourself.
If you’re done with them, let that shizzle go.
Besides, chances are, most of us have our own share of “stuff” and you could make more of an impact by looking inward than pointing a finger outward.
I could see that I didn’t want to recreate that scene again, and that the only person I could do anything about was myself.
So, I thought about the kind of person I wanted to be, and while I may not exactly have mastered it, (ok, not even close) at least I became aware. And I started to try.
Somewhere along the timeline of being alone, I started to appreciate myself, my efforts and my abilities.
I began to have compassion for myself and others (generally young children and animals got all my “niceness” and as far as I was concerned, adults could just suck it up and shut up about it.)
I started to let go of a lot of blame and shame and began to open my heart to the concept of Love.
Still not Disney love~ prince charming can go rescue his own sorry self.
But Real Love. Like Velveteen Rabbit kind.
And not just for someone else, like from me to my kids.
But for me.
And not just from someone else either. But to myself, from myself.
And I think that’s when I was ready.
It must be, because that's when I found what I didn't know I had been looking for.
This has been long enough for now, so if you’re still reading Thank You!
Next time, I’ll continue with the story of How I Met My SweetHeart.
If you liked, this, please, please, please go “Like” it on Facebook and share it with a friend.
Until next time, I hope there is all kinds of Love in your life now, starting with You!
Writer, Artist, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, FunSchooling Facilitator / Former Goat-Herding HeadMistress for our Mostly Happy Homeschool, Semi-Crazy Chicken Lady and Mamacita Extraordinaire to a couple of Cage Free Kids.