What kind of person are you? Do you have a high need to be with other people all the time, with noise, conversation and sound bouncing off walls and filling your home? Or are you the kind of person who can turn it all off and exist happily with no other person around and absolutely no noise other than the sounds of the silence enveloping your abode? I love crowds, the hustle and bustle of the city, the cozy cramped feeling of a trendy little joint packed with bodies listening to the cool reggae tunes of a live band passing through the area. I am at home in a crowded realm. I am also just as content to be solitary and silent. I can move through both worlds with ease, but I have to admit, I like my solitude.
Solitude or Isolation?
I don’t mind my own company and there are times when because I’ve just done so much wish granting for other people that when the weekend rolls around I don’t mind being alone and simply being. I do have the tendency, at times, to retreat from the world in an escapist fashion. I can tend to isolate myself if I’m not careful.
I was planning on that last night. It was going to be a quiet evening of introspective contemplation as I worked out and reassessed my focus and direction in life. You guessed it, I didn’t have a date.
At the last minute, as these things tend to happen, a good friend of mind came into my office at the end of the day and asked if I was going to go to the get together after work.
I sighed. Memories of the last time I got together with my party friends swam before my eyes. There was a vision of something vaguely reminiscent of broken drinking glasses and a missed chair or was it the floor ended up being where the chair should have been? I couldn’t remember. Well, I could, but I didn’t want to.
“You know I think I’m probably just going to go home.” Another memory like the ones I already couldn’t remember, memories of crazy, pain laced celebrations in the days and months following my divorce’s finality was not something I wanted to add to my thought processes.
My friend, sensing I wasn’t exactly on my game somewhere, came in sat down on a nearby stool and we chatted for a few. We shared. We caught up. It’s been months since we got together and pondered the deep questions of life and single parenting and dating. In fact, the last time we did that, I distinctly remember dropping my cell phone in the hot tub. Yet another interesting memory and one we laugh about now.
A Single Mom’s Loneliness
She’s feeling much of what I’m feeling these days it turns out. Her single mommy life is taxing her in many of the same ways mine is. We both love our freedom and our independence and all the many conveniences that come with being in the driver’s seat of our lives. Yet we both are missing the connection that comes when you have another very special person in your life to plan with, to dream with, to consult with, to disagree with, to make up with, to make out with, and to wake up to in the morning.
While I am often alone, I am not usually lonely, but I was in one of those very rare places where I was actually feeling alone and lonely. My friend sensed this and as she tends to do, she was right there for me. We ended up deciding to hang out together last night. It was a decision I’m glad we made.
I think it is easy for women to become disconnected sometimes, especially if we are single moms. We spend so much of our time making sure that the needs of those we love and who depend upon us are met that we forget about our own needs. Maybe it isn’t so much that we forget, as it is that, by the time we get around to being able to think about ourselves, we are simply exhausted and ready to collapse. We end up putting ourselves on the bottom of the priority pile. We end up too exhausted to want to make the effort to connect with the other women in our lives. For me, that includes the other single moms I know in my face-to-face world who have walked with me down the single parent road these last few years.
There is also something about being with another woman instead of a man on occasion. Now, don’t hear me say that I prefer this over company with men all the time. Both types of company are valuable, but they sometimes meet very different needs. At times, the company of a good same sex friend (because I’m sure men feel this way too on some levels) just can’t be beat. I don’t have to do the work of getting to know someone, because all that history and relationship has already been established. It’s comfortable. We know and accept each other. It is enough just to be together. It is also very nice sometimes to have another female perspective confirming for me in so many ways, that I’m not crazy, that I am just a busy single mom and that we are all feeling this way, which is most of the time stressed or tired. Especially of laundry.
It doesn’t happen often that we can all get babysitters or be child-free on the same evening and also have money to pay for our cover charges and drinks but last night the stars aligned and we were able to make it happen. It started out with just my friend and I, and we added one of our new colleagues to the mix. The laughter, the conversations, the self-revelations and the discussions that ran from the serious and intellectual (okay, sort of serious and intellectual) to quite tawdry, decisions to have Sex on the Beach but no Slow Comfortable Screw, while wondering who in the bar was there with who else, these things made up our night like a montage in a movie. From the comments about the cute guy in the hat dancing by himself in the middle of the crowded dance floor, to whether the guy in the suit was single or not, to refusing to pick up two guys who tried to convince us to let them in the car with us, to the older retired teacher guy who regaled me with stories while I waited for the others to complete their powder room break, it was simply something we all, for our own reasons, needed to do. We just needed to put our concerns and stress away for a few hours, to forget we were single moms, to forget that we cared about that. We needed a Ladies Night Out. We needed to just have fun.
We most certainly did that!
Not a glass was broken.
Not a chair was missed.
Not a cell phone fell into anything liquid.
And not one of us thought once about the laundry.
…but I am wondering where I left my shirt.