Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Signs

Recently, I was asked to compile a list of ten signs that you are on your way to SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL status.  Ok, first let’s get a few things out of the way.  I have become rather an expert on this field, this way of the SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL, not by design or desire but through years of practice.  It isn’t something that happens overnight and there is no easy path so if you’ve been following my exploits thinking, “Wow, that is so who I want to be,” then I have to warn you, you have some work ahead and you better be ready to commit.  This is no fly-by-night program, there is no magic pill or prescription rub to being alone in a relationship, but there are some indicators to let you know that you are on the right track!  So here follows, the top ten signs that you, yes you, are a SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL. 

Just a few rules and regs before we get started.  First of all, you do not need to be married to qualify nor do you need to be a girl.  There are a lot of us out there thinking we are alone with nowhere to turn but consider me your official SMG-GPS.  So here’s a quick and easy list to see if you rank as a SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL.    

  1. When at your place of employ, do the other people in the office just shake their heads and look at you doubtfully as you confirm, “No really, he’d love to be here but he works so far away.”  Sweetie, you’ve worked there for five years, they think you are dating your hand.  
  2. Do you own more than two cats or more than two outfits for your pet (s)?
  3. Have you ever been hit on by a Carnie?  Did you kind of enjoy it?
  4. Do you ever sometimes think, “Just finish already so I can get back to Facebook?”  Are you nodding your head in understanding?
  5. Do you ever reach out for a hand that simply doesn’t reach back?
  6. Have you ever worn kitten heels with skinny jeans just to see if you still could?  Men, this applies to you too! (Bonus points if this was a funeral, wedding or class reunion.)
  7. Do you ever wish your spouse was just your room mate because you really do have fun vacations and love eating ice cream while watching old movies on the couch, and he’s such a good caregiver and really does do a lot of things like the laundry and the groceries and cleaning and he’s so good with the pets and…why do you suddenly feel like you are making excuses? 
  8. Do you ever wish maybe your parents had put their foot down a little more?
  9. Do you ever feel like you’re working just a little too hard to hide your awesome? 
  10. Do you feel that pang of recognition in the pit of your stomach when you hear the phrase, “This is just how it is.  Accept it”?  Is the voice saying it yours?
If you answered yes to any of these, congratulations, you’re human and normal and not alone.  And you just might be well on your way to being a SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL.  So what now?  What’s the next step?  Well, buy my book, naturally, but until I write it, why don’t you start like I did?  Take yourself on a date and see what happens.  Plan it, pay for it, dress up for it.  Spend an evening with yourself and rediscover the amazing person that you are.   You just might be surprised what an incredible long-lost friend you’ve forgotten about. Oh, and take yourself somewhere nice; you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's So Simple

I  don’t know about you but every so often I need a good kick in the pants.  I start to feel overwhelmed and lost, all over again, like the world is closing in and I don’t know in which direction to turn.  It is at these times that I return to my own words, not because I’m some sort of guru or something but because, well, I’ve been documenting my own journey for the past five years.  And I have to say, over this expanse I have hit on some pretty decent kernels of wisdom, and few posts that I leave for the sake of balance despite my cringing when I read them.  Ah, being human! 

It’s strange at these moments when I reread my own advice  I have this otherworldly experience, seeing myself through my readers’ eyes, reading my own words and taking my own advice in the third person.   And often, my reaction to something I read is, “That’s so simple, why didn’t I think of it?”  I mean I did but I digress.  Or I’ll think, “That’s so simple, how could I forget that?” or, “That’s so simple, why did I stop doing that?” 

Are you starting to see the through line here?  Today was just such a morning and this train of thought, this phrase, “that’s so simple” got me wondering, why is it that something so intrinsically simple is often incredibly hard to do?  It occurred to me that it is so ingrained in our culture to suffer, to feel like we have to work and slave and sacrifice, that we often dismiss something out of hand if it’s “too simple”. 

“That’s so simple, it’ll never work.”

We even sort of hold it in low regard, unworthy of our time or attention; a simple construct, a simple person, a simple lifestyle; that simplicity lacks any sort of complexity or depth. 

But here’s the mistake in that kind of thinking.  Simple isn’t the same as easy.  Marriage is simple but it isn’t easy.  Honesty.  Death… Geometry.  Often simple ideas can even sound sort of trite because we dismiss them without considering the work involved in bringing them to fruition, impossible fantasies and the stuff of children’s stories.

I don’t necessarily think we should disregard something because it’s easy either, but I will confess to often approaching it with caution because nothing is ever that easy.  But it is often that simple. 

So maybe it’s time to stop denigrating simple and embrace it a little.  Make a simple list.  Take a simple step.  Make a simple change. 

And today, why not commit a little to the real work and let yourself be happy.  It’s so simple. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Should We Say "Happy" Instead?

June 26, just a few days before I headed overseas to this beautiful country which is all too briefly acting as my home away from home, the land that I love righted a wrong of nearly two decades.  The Supreme Court of the United States, by a shockingly narrow margin of 5-4 overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, declaring it unconstitutional, a watershed moment in LGBTQ rights and a gateway to legalizing marriage equality nation-wide.

I cried.  I celebrated.  I am not gay, but I am also not unaffected.  Like so many, I immediately turned to social media to share my love and excitement and support of my friends, family and community.  And I was shot down by a friend of mine, not because he didn’t support marriage equality but because he took issue with my use of the term “Gay Weddings”.

I considered taking down my post, concerned that somehow my distinction of gay marriage or gay wedding was somehow defamatory, some sort of disguised or misguided discrimination that I wasn’t aware of.  I actually spent several days germinating on this.  And then it struck me why I was so bothered by his response and why I simply don’t agree.  “No,” he said, “Just weddings.  Let’s not call them gay or straight.”

Here’s the thing, DOMA was never about marriage or weddings or who was entitled to love whom.  It was about politics, money and dehumanization.  The abolishment of the Act doesn’t actually legalize unions of any kind; that is still controlled on the state level.  What it does do is require the federal government, law enforcement and military to recognize the rights of legally married couples regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision the Department of Defense issued a statement saying that it “intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation”.   Imagine only twenty years ago you could be court-martialed for coming out.  Now you might actually be able to get married in Uniform at the Academy, and have military housing and benefits.  Yup, all equal.  Look at that! 

So why am I making such a big deal about saying gay marriage, gay wedding, or same-sex couple?  Who cares, right?  Because the distinction is important, because for nearly two decades this country has said that gay couples were lesser citizens, that gay officers were not entitled to the same rights as straight officers, that lovers and companions and committed partners, often of decades were not recognized as even having a right to exist under the eyes of our legal system.  And because this struggle for equality stretches well back beyond DOMA and still has miles to go before we rest.

I mean, women got the vote like, a hundred years ago.  Totally equal, right?  And Civil Rights?  Hardly worth mentioning  anymore with all this equality and open-mindedness.  DOMA was like two weeks ago, so Gay Marriage is so last season.   The fact is, this event is too important, too far reaching and far too hard won to simply sweep it under the rug with a quick mainstreaming because some people are uncomfortable with the term “Gay.”  It is just a little modifier but it represents a lifetime of struggle.   Maybe someday we really will be equal and the modifier will be unnecessary.  Maybe one day, gay marriage will be legal in every state of the Union and every country of the world but until then, every Gay Wedding is a celebration of victory.  Don’t ask us to slip it by quietly.