Do any of you know who Mary Richards is? She was a character played by Mary Tyler Moore, on a show of the same name, and was the first never married, independent woman who lived the single life happily while focusing on her career first, and men second. The show ran from 1970-1977 with a brilliant cast, and I absolutely loved, and still love, watching it.
Mary’s single apartment was so funky with the shag carpet and plants all around and she reveled in making her own choices and directing her own life, without the ‘support’ or ‘addition’ of a man!
This is the first time I’ve ever truly lived alone..it’s only been a couple of months now but I’m loving it…which is a HUGE surprise to me! After I graduated from high school, I lived with mom and step-father, until my junior year of college when I moved into an apartment on campus with 3 roommates. I hated it! Two of my roommates were rude and difficult to get along with, but worse, I missed my future hubby who was still in my hometown. After junior year was completed, we got married and were together for 4 years. Then, I was single and living alone for 5 months and I absolutely despised it! I was 26 and very much wanting to start a family, and I felt a desperation in terms of finding someone to make that dream come true. I was also scared to death! Every sound was a burglar and I literally had to take my little mutt dog down the stairs with me to be brave enough to go into my basement to do laundry! It was horrible! But then hubby 2 and I started seeing each other, however, he lived in another state and the visits were only a couple of times a month. I got pregnant (my sweet son was NOT an accident, but an awesome surprise!) during our Thanksgiving visit (go figure) and married hubby 2. After we divorced 13 years later, my son and I lived together until hubby 3 and I married. Whew! I basically went from one home to another in quick succession and never really embraced the single life at all.
To be honest with you, I was really scared to try it again. Or, maybe even truly try it for the first time. I had gotten to the point where I thought I was simply too co-dependent (yes, I hate that word too) to live on my own happily. Because I always had one, I felt I wasn’t complete without a man. I was dependent on men to show me my value and worth, and by having a man around the house all of the time allowed me to NOT face some of my issues since I was too busy ‘doing for’ them. They were almost like a buffer between ‘housewifey’ me and the inner me that needed some work…badly.
The first couple of weeks after Sarge left, I cried and cried. Buckets. It got to where I wondered if I would ever stop. I know I was crying for Sarge and for the abuse I had endured with him, but I believe I was also crying because I would be alone. Completely alone (except for my fur babies and feathered friend!). Forcing myself to get out of bed everyday was a chore…and I dreaded the hours ahead of me. Besides school, I would plan on how to fill them up until I could get to bed and not have to face anything at all.
Hmmmm. Well, I have always been a voracious reader, but hadn’t had much of an opportunity to do so this past year, so I started reading again. For hours. Because there isn’t anyone I have to be accountable too. I can eat when I want and what I want. I can nap and not worry about waking up before a hubby gets home and needs dinner. I can loom and sew to my hearts content. I can go to bed anytime I want, and wake up on my schedule on the weekends. If I don’t feel like vacuuming, I don’t. There’s no hubby to keep a sparkling house for, and I’m finding that some dust and dog hair really don’t bother me much at all. I only have to do laundry when MY clothes basket is full, and if I leave things out, I know where they will be the next day.
In fact, I’m getting a little selfish with my time! Sometimes when friends or family want to come over, I’ll say ‘Not Today!’ because I’m enjoying my solitude so much. That’s HUGE for me!! To WANT to be alone!
And facing myself and my issues? I’ve been able to do that. I’ll think about things I believe or done or regret and work them out. If I want to cry or yell or blog or draw or eat candy bars as I deal with things, I do it. And I’m trying very hard to put closure on things I’ve ruminated too much over, and I’m focusing so much more of my energy on the future. I think I’m the healthiest me I’ve been in a long time.
Now…am I still healing from the narcissistic abuse? Yes. I said I was the healthiest I’ve been for a while, but no where near where I want to be. I know I still feel the effects of his words, abuse, manipulation, and most of all, his infidelity which is so difficult to get over. To him, it was just an aberration and ‘she’ started it. To me, it was a crushing blow to my heart, my ego, and my self-image. But the process has started! I’m getting ‘better’ everyday, and going home to my dogs after school and spending my afternoons and evenings alone feel really great! I’m learning things about myself I never really knew and instead of being co-dependent (dammit…there’s that word again!) on a man, I’m learning to be dependent on me! That’s a great feeling!
This is what I know…being alone is scary. Particularly when you are recovering from a toxic relationship which has you feeling as if you aren’t worthy or capable of anything. But you are. You are strong. You are competent. You are a precious, priceless, worthwhile soul and you can do anything. It just takes one step. Then another. And then another. And you know what? I’ll be here for your journey as you are for mine.