Hypothesized that he had no soul: 20
Yup. I’m just that stubborn.
The hot pink Christmas tree outranks everything else.
Sometimes you find yourself alone and bleeding a lot, because you decided that you should hold the onion while slicing it to save the time you’d have spent getting the cutting board. Other times you have to call maintenance to change a danged light bulb because you can’t get the fixture down. Rarely, you bolt from a Starbuck’s explaining that you’re late for 5:00 Mass, ignoring the fact that it’s 4:06 and you’re a half mile from the church, because that date would’ve gone so much better had he just not spoken. Despite these cliché chick flick opening scenes, though, being single is really fucking awesome in a way that can only be understood when you’ve been really fucking miserably attached. I don’t mean in a free-to-get-VD way, as we’ve all seen from Carrie Bradshaw and company, but rather the little things no one ever mentions, such as…
1. Your money isn’t just your money, rather your everything is your everything.
If you want to blow your next paycheck on a crossbow or a Fossil purse, you can. There’s no missing $20 from your wallet or unexplained charges on your card. No one ate all of your corndogs or pawned your video camera. You’re not being recommended Star Trek XXXII on Netflix because someone’s been five-starring shit you hate. If you don’t have any clean dishes, it’s because you haven’t done them. You get to go to whomever’s house you want on Christmas Eve, because it’s your family. The bathroom is pink and brown because you fucking like it.
2. You entertain yourself however you like.
When I was 12 years old, I watched Roswell on repeat and I can do that all over again today. If I want to have a Vampire Diaries marathon, I can. I don’t even have to go to bed at a specific time or turn down the volume. If I want to listen to an audio book, I don’t need headphones because I’m the only one who likes it. I don’t have to listen to a video game when I’m trying to read. If I want complete silence while I crochet for seven hours… done.
3. Bad dates are sometimes really funny.
Dating is often the scariest part for the divorcees I’ve spoken to, particularly those who married young and never really tried it in the first place. Here in the Midwest, that’s a LOT of divorcees and I was no different. I’m not going to lie, here. Dating can be disastrous and that’s really the only assessment I have since my divorce was finalized. Frankly though, and with no exaggeration, short of date-rape (maybe even not) any bad date would be preferable to some of the harder days of my marriage. Attitude is really key here. At first, I found bad dates disheartening and called my best friend in a panic each time because “I’m going to die alone!” Now I just call giggling because the guy introduced himself as “Doc”, told me I was wrong about my job, and immediately stated his controversial political beliefs. Even the most awkward situation is a reminder that I am here, not two years ago and this is guaranteed to be a funny story later. If the bad dates are that good, the good ones are going to be even better.
4. You know it got done.
Sure, I have to have my best guy pal change my oil, but I know, without a doubt, that the oil got changed. I’m referring to the oil in the car that once had it’s engine replaced because my ex-husband insisted he’d changed it, even after the mechanic produced the original Suzuki filter that was on when the vehicle was purchased over nine months earlier. I have internetaccess to write this, because I paid my cable bill. If someone knocked on my door tomorrow morning, no part of me would fear eviction, because I paid the rent. There is a freezer full of food, because I went grocery shopping. Doing things yourself is another of the scariest parts of a divorce, especially the things you’ve never done, like filing your taxes. However, even if you do it wrong and burn the Hamburger Helper because you got yelled at whenever you cooked before, you’re taking care of yourself and your life all on your own. Never again will I feel like the only reason I’m with someone is because I’m afraid I can’t be without them. Never again will I wonder when the dog ate last, because I’ve been working two jobs all week. I will rely on me.
5. Compromise isn’t a thing.
I understand that even a healthy relationship may one day involve me sitting through a baseball game without complaint, though this is preferable only to counting sand. My point, though, is that being single rocks. If I want to watch Santa Clause Conquers the Martians, The Worst Witch, and Logan’s Run, while eating Tootie Frooties and sweet potato fries for dinner, no one gets veto rights. The movie on the big screen sucks and your significant other is sitting beside you. You’re not sure if he’s enjoying it or not, but you don’t complain just in case. You either a) finish the movie and find he loved it and now you have to listen to the recap or b) he hated it too and neither of you will ever get those two hours back. The movie sucks and your purse is the only thing sitting beside you? You leave, grab dinner and a drink on the way home, and then later do your nails in your underwear. If you hate comic book movies, you never watch them. If you want to stay out all night, you do. There’s no checking in or making two trips when getting take-out because he hates sushi. You take the job despite the distance, have your friends over at 2:00 a.m., and you paint the kitchen table red because you fucking feel like it. No one gets any say.
6. You don’t have to defend anyone.
Anyone who’s ever been in a dark relationship knows what it feels like to assure family that he’s really trying to get a job, he’ll pay them back soon, or he didn’t start that fire. Eventually the reassurances turn to lies and half-truths and then to avoidance altogether. You don’t want to share the truth, because then they’ll hate your partner, when there are still hopes of fixing the festering wound that is your relationship or you wouldn’t be there. But now that awkward one-on-one with the judge is over and you neverhave to speak another kind word toward the bastard again. You can refuse to discuss him or you can share all the details. Hell, you can exaggerate if you want. Who cares? They’re your family and have (hopefully) been on your side the whole time. There are no more excuses to be made. You can finally be completely honest with the people you love and no longer feel like you have to hide from them. If you’re in the city and realize you’re driving past Aunt Kay’s house, you can stop by without cringing at the dreaded job question, because you only have to answer for you.
Not once have I ever rolled over before finishing because I “have a headache” and gone to sleep. I’ve never turned myself down despite the fact that it’s my birthday. It’s not offensive that I’m the only one who ever does any of the work. Enough said.
8. You’re not faking it.
This isn’t a sex comment, but a life generalization. From the smile on my face at Wal-Mart, to my Facebook statuses, to Christmas dinner, I don’t have to pretend I’m happy. I don’t have to force myself to spend time with someone I hate, because doing otherwise would be admitting that it’s long over. I don’t have to lie to myself and say it’ll get better when I haven’t been able to picture that future in years. I don’t have to reassure myself that he’ll get a job and I must’ve just lost my grandma’s bracelet. I am exactlyas ecstatic about life as I appear in social media and I don’t have to pretend otherwise to anyone ever.
9. You learn what you like to do.
Now that you’re on your own and you’ve rid yourself of that pesky compromise crap, you get to spend your time trying new things. You may like them and you may hate them, but you get to do whateveryou want. Nothing rids a girl of that victim feeling quite like shooting a gun. It truly is the closest you will ever come to having a penis without surgery. Now there’s no one to say you can’t learn. If you want to see a show, they will sell you a single ticket. Not one person will look your way and think “Why is she alone?” They’re just as self-absorbed as all humans and when they do notice, they do not care. So now’s the time to take that free fencing lesson, try out for community theater, or sign up for a pottery class. There’s no one to disapprove or complain about the expense of time or money and you’re not busy sitting through a movie the person next to you may or may not also hate.
10. There’s a future… and it doesn’t suck.
There was a time in my life where I would turn to my best friend and defend my marriage with “You get different things from different people. I trust and love you and my grandma. I just need him to work.” That was the bright version of my future. He would work and keep the job and I wouldn’t trust, love, or rely on him ever. I would stay, because I made a commitment, but that was it. Now I see a blur of accomplishment, trust, love, and fun. I see a family if I’m not too broken to give it another try. I actually have hope for the future. More importantly, though, I know that if this is it, if this is the most happiness I’ll ever find, it is infinitely more spectacular than anything I ever felt in my four years of marriage, so I’m okay with that.
As I’ve said, these things seem negligible to anyone who hasn’t had them taken away. The joy of getting them back and the gratitude you have when you wake up and know you can take care of yourself, though… it almost makes all the pain and suffering worth it. Almost.