“Where there is power, there is resistance.” ― Michel Foucault
There are many tools for living that I’ve acquired over the years from parents, mentors, school, books, films, spiritual practices, and recovery from substances and unhealthy behaviors. I’m most grateful for the latter, which saved my life. Today, we are faced with challenges in personal, social, and political spheres. Now, more than ever, I need to pay attention to what I resist.
What I resist — often causes fear; what I fear most often — is change.
The past few years, almost 10, since I’ve lived alone, I’ve been able to create routines and rituals, ways of living that suit and nurture me. Of course, there have been changes during those years, I’ve moved three times, both a sister and mother have died, my job duties and classification have changed from a salaried manager— to an hourly employee — from full to part-time. I’ve maintained friendships, made new friends, and reinforced and made amends to significant people from my past.
One constant during those 10 years is I’ve remained single. When I look back at the intimate relationships of my life, for the most part I’ve been a serial monogamist. Sometimes there were dalliances when I was much younger, some overlap between relationships. Sometimes I left too soon, sometimes I stayed too long. Some relationships were good for me, some not so much. I’ve had infatuations, dated, participated in affairs, had short and long-term relationships. I’ve been both a wife to a man and a domestic partner (of sorts) to a woman. The duration of my longest relationship was 15 years, with two sabbaticals taken. It was with a woman and was my most recent relationship. Though it was almost 10 years ago, some days I talk about it like it was just yesterday. Oh my!
Years ago, after a breakup, when I was new to recovery (over 30 years ago), I remember commenting to a friend before I started dating again, that as long as I continued to talk about my ex, and process and grieve the ending of our relationship, in essence, though we were separated physically by miles with no contact of any sort, to some degree emotionally, I was still in the relationship. Once I had that realization it helped me to move on. One reason I held on for so long as I did was it was predictable, one-sided, manageable, and I didn’t really take any new risks. I stayed in a familiar, stuck place.
I need to pay attention to what I resist.
For this blog, in journal entries, and in conversations with friends, I’ve written and talked a lot about both being single, and how my future relationship life might look. As I’ve aged, my needs have changed. As I’ve learned to live a solitary life, I’m never really alone. I enjoy a network of intimate friendships and engage regularly with family. My datebook, and most days my heart, are full. I’m grateful.
Usually in the spring, I sometimes dip my toe back in the dating pool, as couples resurface, out and about in public. Some days (and nights), I yearn for a companion, a special someone, that person who knows me well and still sticks around, someone who I can dress up for, dress down for, and undress.
I’ve written about my crushes, Crush(ed), attended dating workshops, joined an online dating site (and quickly opted out). Once, I was fixed up on a blind date by a therapist (not mine, who knew that they doubled as matchmakers?!). I’ve even been on a couple of dates with people I liked and in a couple of cases grown to love like family, and yet I’ve defaulted to the familiar, the manageability of a single life. I’ve imagined my next girlfriend, wrote and dedicated a poem to her, Valentine to My Unknown Lover and for this blog wrote a series of imaginary conversations, Conversations w/My Next Girlfriend. I’ve written reviews, poetry, and prose about romantic comedies Rom Com Love Bomb, and my experience in the Lesbian Dating Workshops (yes, I took two, the second a refresher course, LOL), It’s Never Too Late (to Learn How to Date).
I fear change.
This brings me back to the beginning. I’m afraid of change, the unknown, the inability to control other people, or outcomes. I fear being hurt, opening my heart, allowing myself to be intimate, to risk heartbreak again. Intimacy has been described simply and eloquently as, “into-me-see.” I’m ready to face my fear, because I’ve learned that what I resist persists. In many areas of my life, the key to growth is to pay attention to what I resist and act in the face of that fear.
To quote the recent Wonder Woman film, “I’m both frightened and aroused!” I also like having an anthem in song to help describe my feelings. Here’s Marie Digby singing her title song, click here to listen: Unfold.
To read the full series of episodes, from Mixed Metaphors, Oh My! Conversations w/My Next Girlfriend: