Saturday, 11 August 2012

Top 10 Myths about Introverts

I just had to put this in my blog as I love it - not my original thoughts but quite fitting for me.....I got it here:
But I think it's been reblogged from who knows where....

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Monday, 2 July 2012

More on my depressing dating life

I really need to hear some good stories of people finding their soul mate or just plain old ordinary life partner later in life.....I need some belief that this can happen!  I'm starting to think it's a lost cause and I find it all so exhausting - it's too much for this slightly needy/anxiouxly attached introvert.
I'm putting my heart and soul into this - admittedly I'm not going to as many meet up groups now, so should try and get back into that.  May go to a backgammon group this Thursday - I'd love to find someone I could play backgammon/cards with - to think I once said no to a man who wanted children, played backgammon and was really into me - oh regrets I've had a few.  Honestly I tried to like him, but I found him a bit boring - but then he was reliable and had a job and all those good things - I really wish I'd given him more of a chance, I tried but not hard enough I fear.
I've been seeing a bit of a man I met at a walking meetup group - he actually paid for lunch for me last time - even though I picked the place and suggested it!  I was mighty impressed - yes it doesn't take much to impress me - also he rang to say he was going to be 20mins late as he'd been at a funeral - he's punctual, reliable and relatively generous.  So at the end of lunch he said "Should we do this again" and seemed keen, I said yes, but I'm busy most of next week, he said the following week then, I agreed and said, "call me" and we can set a time.  End of the week and I hadn't heard from him!  Annoying - so as I had an appointment near where he lives in a week I texted him this morn to see if he wanted to have lunch before my appointment.  He does and is going to find a suitable place considering my preference not to eat bread.  So again impressive - but why the hell couldn't he ring me - I've instigated our 3 'dates' he seemed keen last time to catch up again - but then nothing....I really don't get it!  What do I do with this man??  Oh there is one thing not so great about him - he's MUCH shorter than me - it doesn't really concern me that much - sure I prefer to go out with taller men but at 6" tall, I know it limits my options!
Then there's a man who lives out of town in a country town and really doesn't have his act together, but I kind of like him.  If nothing else I'd like us to be friends - but he just seems to want sex - well maybe not just but does seem to be somewhat fixated.  He has really chronic rheumatoid arthritis and doesn't seem to be able to hold down a job - I know not sounding great - but I do care about him, even though he plays games and frustrates the hell out of me with his inconsistency and push me pull me behaviour.

Friday, 8 June 2012

More on finding my purpose

In my quest of find my life's purpose I have been finding some interesting information that is starting to mesh together.  I should however say that I'm not sure that I have or even desire to have one clearly defined life purpose - but something to move towards at this stage would be nice.  I found this interesting post on the difficulties that childfree women can have in finding their life purpose in a pro-natal world.  The question - what do I want to create and bring forth in my life? reminds me of a conversation I had not that long ago.  I know I want more love in my life and some (not many - but at least a couple) of relationships with close connections.  So rather than have some kind of ideal picture of what this may look like and my GOAL being to achieve this ideal picture - following Acceptance and Commitment Therapy I can instead VALUE love and connection more. 

Values can be defined as:
A chosen direction in which an individual can always move, no matter what milestones are reached.   

So by valuing love and connection I can  notice when and where I feel love and connection in my life so that I can set myself tasks and direct my life to bring more of this into my life.  So for now valuing love and connection seems as close to a life purpose as I need - it may change - knowing me it will undoubtedly change - but that's life.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

How the hell do you hook up with a man?

A post on the bitterbabe was the impetus for this post

I have the view that you can meet men anywhere and yes facebook seems as good a possibility as anything.   I've pretty much given up on Internet dating, but have been going to meet-up groups.  One of them is a boardgamers group, which I really like and there is a man who goes who is interested in me - but it's not reciprocated.  He's about 11/12 years older - not insurmountable but after a couple of divorces doesn't have a cent to his name - earns ok money now but rents his place and seems to have no intention of saving.  He's also got a bit of a pot belly and well he's kind of annoying.  Honestly I don't think I'm that fussy these days but I do want to be with someone who brings something to my life to make it easier - i.e. cooks, shows an ability to save money, is a handyman, is loving and caring - I don't expect the full gamut - but at least one of those would be nice.

Then on the weekend I went on a walk with a group I hadn't been out with before.  Met an English guy who seemed quite interesting - we talked for quite a bit and he seemed interested in me.  Bravely as we were having a drink at the end of the day I said it would be nice to stay in contact and suggested exchanging numbers - he said he'd like to so as I didn't have my phone with me he texted me - when I got home I texted him back said something about sore legs and that I'd enjoyed meeting him - he responded with the same.  So I'm thinking - sounds good.  Then a couple of days later I texted him about the transit of venus - I knew something was happening with venus when we met and couldn't remember what - so when I found out I just texted him with the web address and that I'd found out what was happening with venus.  I got nothing back - not surprising I guess, as a male friend said I should have given him more of an opening.  But I don't know - I think if he's interested he's going to respond in some way.  Anyway this same friend thinks I should contact him on the weekend and see if he wants to catch up for a coffee - but it feels really try hardish - isn't the man supposed to chase the woman....honestly I don't know - I think I'm a lost cause when it comes to dating - it exhausts me trying to work out what one should and shouldn't do and when one should decide 'he's just not that into you'.

What do I have to be proud of?

I played tennis the other day (for the first time in years) with a guy I met through internet dating.  At the end we somehow got onto the topic of children - he has 4 from a previous relationship.  He was saying that having children is the best thing he's done in his life, or something along those lines.  I probably should have just smiled and been happy for him, but I didn't.  I said - "Don't you think that's a bit of an insensitive thing to say to a childless woman?"  Yes full on I know, why can't I just be nice like normal people.  I then went on to say that when people say that it feels like my life is meaningless or at least desperately lacking because I haven't had children.  I know that's not what he meant and it's probably all my issue, but I do feel that people should show a bit of appropriate thought in what they say.  Anyway he took it alright.  We then had a pretty full on conversation with me talking about our pronatalist society and the lack of recognition, acceptance or space for childless women in our society.  His solution was that I should have a child, because he knows a 42 year old who had a child.  He didn't understand why that made me quite angry - I said "Yes we all do, but I can assure you that for every one of those women I know at least 10 who have struggled without succes".

I also talked about how I'd heard of having a child as being likened to a 'get out of jail free' card.  He could see the analogy and didn't disagree - however he then went on to say that he should stop talking as he was feeling quite smug - because he'd gotten out of jail free - largely due to having the title 'father', even though he currently doesn't see his children.  I'm not having a go at this guy at all, I was actually quite impressed with how he handled me talking so directly and at times emotionally.  But at the end I was feeling kind of shit about my situation and he was feeling smug about his.

Anyway tonight as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep, I was doing my usual trick of replaying the conversation.  In my bed without the feeling of needing to perform I was better able to think about the reality.  Really what does he have to be proud of - he got his wife pregnant 4 times - not much to be proud of there (especially as by his own admission there wasn't much love in the relationship) and then he financially supported a family and helped raise his children - of course that is something to be proud of - if he's done a good (or even reasonable) job of it, but then it's not something most people don't do.  So then I thought well actually I can be proud of the fact that I'm living a different life from the norm and from what I desperately wanted and I'm surviving.  Of course I'd like to be doing it with more grace and poise - but to  be surviving and to be able to talk about it like I did today - what it can be like for a single childless woman in our society - that is something to be proud of.  I'm not trying to sound smug and I'm not trying to take away from what this man or any parents have done - but I am trying to acknowledge that there is something I too can feel proud of.  Obviously surviving is not the only thing in my life I want to feel proud of - but for now it's something pretty big.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

My thesis

Next year I should be doing my Psychology Honours thesis.  Yes I know - too old for all that stuff - I've already done an Honours and Masters degree, and yes here I am again - mad or what!  Partly I thought that Psychology would be a good career change for a single mother so here I am now childless and wondering if I want to continue with psychology ....anyway just pressing on for the moment. 
I've been trying to get myself organised and not leave my thesis topic to the last minute so I put quite a bit of work into trying to find an organisation who I could do something useful for.  I had some interest from a foster care organisation and as of yesterday was pretty sorted to do a qualitative study interviewing people who had undertaken foster care training and then decided not to go ahead with foster care.  The study would have looked at barriers and facilitators for people contemplating foster care.  It would have been a good study, but there are only a small number of supervisors at my Uni who do qualitative research and so far they have either said no or maybe to me - even though they think it's a great topic.  So with underwhelming enthusiasm and the knowledge that a qualitative study is going to be harder I have just decided so 'stuff it'.  I don't want to make my life harder than it already is, I don't want to be martyr to the cause - trying to do a study that will be useful while fighting an uphill battle. 
So I've just come up with an idea that would look at childless women.  I had originally planned on doing a study on childless women, but then went warm on the idea as I didn't want to have my whole life defined by being childless, I also didn't want to be telling people my thesis topic and outwardly be admitting this is a large part of my life.  So anyway I've kind of decided on a topic, back to square one with trying to find a supervisor - a job for later this week.  Alas I can't say what the topic is as I may be asking you to complete a survey and it's really ruins the study if participants know the hypothesis.  For now I'm just going to rest in my feeling of excitement which feels great after the flat feeling of 1 rejection and one non-commital today.  Also I'll only have one ethics committee to get through at the Uni if I don't work with the foster care agency.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

What is 'my thing'?

I really feel as though something is lacking in my life, I'm searching and searching for that thing that defines me.  I guess I always thought it would be, being a mother.  I know in many respects it's not a great thing to define you either - as a friend once said to me - why is something the vast majority of people do seen as being so special? (She has children).  Yet being a mother is quite socially acceptable as a thing to define you.  As I've probably said here before  - I never wanted to be a career woman, so I really don't want my work/job/career to define me.  So what else is there.....Maybe I'm not going to have one big thing in my life that says - Here I am, look what I've achieved.  I think that concerns me, I feel the need to have something I'm proud of, something I've achieved, something tangible the world can see.  I would love to hear from other childless women about what they believe defines them, their thoughts on this subject and just the important things in their life that 'replace children'.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ambivalence, lassitude & dare I say it ....loneliness

Lately these two words describe me much more than I would like to admit.  Oncoming winter is probably partly the reason, but really it's far bigger than that.  I once had a friend tell me that I was lucky to be single as I had far more options (her partner later cheated on her and she was hooked up again within 6 months!).  Really options are great, but I have said for a long time that I have too many options, in many respects I'd like to be tied to someone, and as scary as it is in some respects, having children takes care of about 20 years of having to decide what to do with your life.  Of course you still have to do and find other things in your life - but there's a great socially acceptable thing that you're already engaged in which engages you with many others in the same situation and in that situation I think the other things are easier to find.

I'm really at a stage where I have no idea what I want to do with the next few years of my life, let alone the rest of my life.  I'm lacking the passion and drive that I used to have, when I felt, not quite that the world was my oyster, but that I was going to have a great life and make a difference somehow.  I don't want to sound completely down, but currently I tend to see this long life of emptiness stretched out in front of me.

I don't seem to be able to make decisions about anything.  I have recently been doing some foster care training and watching all the couples (I was the only single person in there) who had already raised children of their own, made me question whether I have what it takes to be a foster carer and maybe more importantly whether I even want to do it.  I love the idea of doing it with a partner, where all the responsibility doesn't rest on me and I have someone to share the highs and lows with.  When I think about doing it alone, mostly I just feel like I'd rather go back to bed.  So there's one good example of my ambivalence and lassitude, but to be honest it feels like the theme of my life at the moment.  Will I ever feel passionate again?

Maybe the only thing I do feel a strong desire for is to find someone to share my life with....the answer to that from all the pop culture you read is to have a full and happy life doing the things you love and then you'll meet that partner.  So if I'm to believe pop culture, I'm pretty shot on that front.  So for now I just plod on trying to focus on small joys like walking my dog every day and completing some Uni assignments.  I'm hoping some kind of shift may just slowly creep up on me when I'm not looking.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

How do you tell if someone doesn't have children?

I made it my mission to find a suggestion for Olivia's pinterest board
In this research I was reminded that it is actually quite difficult to tell if a woman is childless - in fact it's really only by the absence of a mention of children that you guess that they don't have children.

I really want to suggest Chellis Glendinning.  She is an eco-psychologist in the US (well she lives in Bolivia now I think) and I read her book 'My Name is Chellis and I am in Recovery from Western Civilisation' over 15 years ago.  It made a lot of sense to me.  I still have this quote from the book in my book of quotes (p13,14):

Visualise a distance of one hundred feet: the length of a basketball court plus 6 feet more.  Imagine that this distance represents the last 1 million years of existence of the creatures who have become Homo sapiens.  Fasten your seatbelts: the last one fifth of an inch of this hundred feet represents the length of time that we have lived in mass technological civilisation, with the assumptions about life and reality that you and I are taught to assume as 'normal'.  Not very long and conceivably not very normal.

But I really don't know if she is childfree.  There is no mention in anything I've read about her of a husband or children, but while absence is conspicuous it doesn't prove anything, she may just like to keep her private life private.  If she is childfree I want her included as she is a bit of a role model for me I guess - but how do I find out??

Friday, 27 April 2012

My snake dream

I feel the need to preface this post by saying that I'm not really one to interpret dreams - maybe I should be, I don't know.  All I know is last night I had a pretty horrific vivid dream that I feel the need to write about I guess as a form of purging.

I was bushwalking with other people along a wooded path - everyone else was up in front and I saw them walking past a huge python, having handled pythons before I wasn't too concerned I figured as long as I didn't bother him he wouldn't bother me.  As I went to walk past he raised himself up and brought his head right up to my face - I had to put my arm up to protect myself and it took all my strength to prevent him coming closer to my head.  This was one huge python and somehow I think it was talking to me and making a deal with me, I have no idea what the deal was.  It's a bit foggy but I think I agreed to the deal and then having no thoughts of following through on the deal I started to run to get away.  Everyone up in front had stopped and was looking at me - most significantly there was a person I grew up with there - she is one of those people who pushes all my buttons (I ran into her walking the other day), she has a husband, 2 children and lovely suburban lifestyle and she bugs me big time.  Not so much because of that - but I just find her incredibly insensitive and annoying and condescending.  She is not the type of person I would ever be friends with now but we grew up together and it's one of those family friends things.  Every Christmas my family (parents and sister's family) gets together with her family and one other family - everyone but me and one other of my generation now has kids.  I just don't go anymore - it's really not a fun place for me to hang out.

Anyway my most vivid recollection from this dream was of her standing safely with her family (along with others) watching me as I ran for my life to get away from this snake, that I could now see was chasing me and gaining on me.  I knew it was going to catch me, but there was nothing I could do and everyone else was too safe and secure with their families to even consider helping me.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

'Non-Mothers Day' movement

While walking my dog today I came up with the idea of a 'Non-Mothers Day'.  A 'Non-Fathers Day is equally valid, but as a woman I'll go for the Non-Mothers Day first.  When I got home I googled this and what I came up with is numerous ways that non-mothers have spent Mothers Day.  This is not what I'm suggesting.  My idea of a Non-mothers Day or 'Nomos' Day (a phrase coined by Jody Day from Gateway women) is that it would be on a separate date to Mothers Day - date selection is something to consider - what would be an appropriate date for Nomos Day??  The day would celebrate the good that Nomos have done for society, such as not adding to the exponential population growth, I say with my environmental hat on.  It would also celebrate the challenges that Nomos face in our society where procreation is highly valued and rewarded and Nomos often have to search for many years to find their place in society.
I have some friends with a daughter who have never celebrated mothers day or fathers day, the reason is that it was their decision to have their daughter and thus why should their child thank them for this?  I love this idea.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Over before it began

There once was a man in Canberra who was interested in me, as much as I was interested in him - or so it seemed.  After meeting through friends and getting on well we had started communicating over the phone/email/text.  It was nice - but me being me I wanted things to proceed and he was keen to come and visit me.  But then he saw the price of flights from Melbourne to Canberra and was a bit put off - not enough to cancel, just to save up a bit.  So we kept talking and finally I told him that I'm looking for a serious relationship and while it's nice to talk and email I really think we need to spend some time together in order to really get to know each other better.  Considering I'd seen him twice in Canberra, it only seemed fair that he travel to Melbourne.  I've put myself out time and time again for men who aren't prepared to do the same for me and this time I was determined not to do that.  I also said that if things did proceed that while I'd be happy to move to Canberra and stay with him for a year or so, I wasn't happy with the idea of living in Canberra forever.  It's far too cold for me and even one year would be tough.
So this was the bit he couldn't handle.  It seems he is finally settled somewhere and has a well paid job.  Having put down roots he doesn't want to move again.  He's also built some friendships there and feels there are people in the community who depend on him too much.
For a very fledgling relationship I'm feeling quite devastated about this.  He is such a lovely, caring, intelligent man who I feel a great connection with.  I know he was keen on me as well - but as I said to him - obviously not keen enough to compromise.  I held such high hopes for a future with this man - now I feel as though it's loneliness forever.  At one stage when we were talking I said 'so I guess it's goodbye then', he said, 'well not necessarily..'  I stopped him as I've been in too many long painful drawn out relationships going nowhere - maybe I shouldn't have, I don't know - but I find ambiguity very difficult and I don't move on unless ties are cut.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The glorification of motherhood

 As someone who desperately wanted to have my own child(ren), I have nevertheless always felt it is a selfish path.  I'm not saying it's not extremely hard work, emotionally and physically exhausting and that it would no doubt change you forever.  But it is a choice that is made for your own reasons, as an environmentalist I feel very strongly that the world does not need more children.  I often say that the government should be paying us not to breed!

I have real concerns about the divide in society between mothers and women who are not mothers; when ideally we women should be banding together.  On another forum there was a post recently with a writing piece about motherhood, this piece to me increased that divide rather than trying to span the divide.  Here are some extracts:

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years - not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a caesarian scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future. 

To me it says that only mothers try to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.  In actual fact many mothers I see become extremely inward focused and have very little energy to do anything other than look after their nuclear family.  I fully understand how this can happen and I'm not saying it wouldn't have happened to me, nevertheless it makes me sad.  Not only does the strong focus on nuclear families weaken our community in my opinion but it can make for a society that really isolates childless and single women.  I know I'm not the only one who had negative reactions to this post, but interestingly the divide of those who liked and disliked the words was fairly clearly along the divide between childless women and mothers.  I was somewhat dismayed that not many of the mothers could see why childless women would be left feeling cold by this piece.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Wired for Love

I'm reading a great book at the moment - Wired for Love, by Stan Tatkin.  Stan is a psychologist and the focus is on neuropsychology and attachment styles.  It is written for couples, rather than singles looking for love, but I think it is still applicable for those looking for love such as myself.  He seperates people into anchors (securely attached), islands (avoidant) and waves (anxious, ambivalent).  I would classify myself as partially a wave and thus I can jeopardise relationships by my fears of being abandoned.  He outlines 10 key principles that can help you get you and your partners brain working for love rather than war.  A few of my favourtite principles are:
  • Creating a 'couple bubble' allows partners to keep each other safe and secure
  • Partners should serve as the primary go to people for one another
  • Partners should prevent each other from being a third wheel when relating to others
  • Partners who want to stay together should learn to fight well
The type of relationship he describes sounds pretty wonderful - also pretty aspirational as well, but I guess one has to have aspirations.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Bucket List

Since it seems I won't become a mother now, I have decided to do a bucket list of other things I'd like to do in my life....this list is valid for today only, for tomorrow it may change....
  • Travel to Burma (hopefully at the end of this year)
  • Have a partner who I love and who loves me (lots of other ones related to this)
  • Get paid to write something
  • Go on an overseas holiday with my partner, would be so nice to not travel alone for once
  • Work overseas with my partner (having done a fair bit of this I'd love to share it with someone)
  • Go on a road trip through southern USA
  • Live in an environmentally friendly house in the tropics
  • Do some more work in the Pacific (especially PNG - love that country) - perhaps teaching psychology (when and if I become qualified and experienced enough to teach)
  • Work part time either for myself or in a business with said partner
  • Renovate another home - this time with that partner (yep he's going to be busy)
  • Travel in southern India
  • Have some wonderful sensual regular sex, ideally with that elusive partner
How about you, what's in your childfree bucket lists?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

My meditation group

Today I bravely went along to a new meditation group held at someone's house.  There were only 3 of us there, but it was good, not excellent or life changing but good.  The lady taking the session was lovely, at one stage she was talking about her 18 year old son and how he didn't want to do anything around the house.  I said "sounds like an 18 year old to me", she smiled and said "do you have kids?".  I felt the normal tightness in my chest start, but then I smiled and actually feeling okay, I said "No".  She looked a bit awkward but I was smiling and she was okay and amazingly so was I.  I actually said to myself  "and you know what I'm glad I'm not dealing with your 18 year old son, I have enough in life to deal with as it is".  I'm not saying this is a total change in my attitude but it was good to get through that moment and feel that it was okay, who knows what the next moment will be like....

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Gratitude post

I'm feeling particularly down today, so rather than wallow in it I've done my best to try and find some things to be grateful for....

  • I have a good car that is nice to drive and am about to embark on a drive from Canberra to Melbourne.
  • I have friends who arranged a date for me with one of their friends – looks like it won’t go anywhere, but at least they made the effort.
  • I have a beautiful dog that I love with all my heart.
  • I have a friend I could ring at 11pm last night – crying because I don’t think this potential relationship is going anywhere and I still allow myself to get too invested in these things.  He listened and didn't make me feel like an idiot.
  • I have nice hair with a good haircut - yep got it done for my great date!
  • I had a man who was interested enough in me to readjust his schedule in order to see me twice over the weekend.
  • I have discovered melatonin to help me sleep when I’m feeling down and too upset to sleep.
  • I feel I sometimes have the ability to see into another person’s heart and thus I have the potential for a very loving and close relationship.
  • Although it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, I must have resilience as I have just put myself out there once again – despite the constant pain.
  • I still have a tiny weeny bit of hope that one day I’ll develop a loving relationship with a partner, who loves and accepts me foibles and all.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A history of clinging

I confess I have a history of clinging - this includes both pulling pleasant things towards me and pushing unpleasant things away.  Rick Hanson talks about clinging in a psychological sense having a feeling of tension and obsession.  I have a date coming up with someone who I'm attracted to, I hear he is also interested in me - but we have only met briefly.  I've really gone out on a limb here as he lives interstate so I'm travelling to stay with the friends who introduced us. 
As my date draws closer I find myself being obsessed that this has to work out or I'll be devastated, this creates huge tension inside me, both fear and hope.  So as my date approaches I'm trying to be aware of those feelings, not beat myself up for feeling them, but to be aware.  Then to slowly try and release my attachment to the outcome.  One way I can do this is to try and live in the moment try to notice the here and now rather than obsess about the future or if it doesn't work out to be devastated by the past.  In the moments when I can focus my attention on the present it works reasonably well for me - but they are just moments.  The idea of not being attached to the outcome I find more difficult.   According to Rick I can be fiercely and energetically committed to something without being attached to the result.  So yes I do want a loving and intimate relationship in my life and I am working to achieve that goal, but if this isn't it then I guess there are other things in my life.  Right now I am safe sitting in bed, typing with my dog sleeping next to me, I don't need to be anxious.  Life is okay.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

I'm in love with Stephen Fry

I know that by his own confession he is 90% gay and there is a far greater than 90% chance that I'll never meet him.  However I do, surprisingly, have something in common with Caroline Oulton, one of the two women he has been attracted to - we have both conceived via a sperm donor - alas she succeeded in producing a baby and I haven't (well not as yet anyway).  In reality I'm probably happier loving Stephen Fry from afar anyway.  So sending you my love and admiration Stephen, from a perhaps somewhat brash Australian xx
P.S. I'm well aware that I'm in a non-elite group of 4 million plus, but just putting it out there...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Identifying my STRENGTHS

I have been reading a lot lately about how to find love.  A number of articles have suggested that when you are in periods where you feel lonely and are yearning for love and more friendship it's a good time to work on yourself.  So I am engaging with that advice.  I am completing my studies - whether I want to work in this area I don't know - but now is not the time for big decisions.  My body is depleted, exhausted and I need to nurture myself.  Apart from my formal studies my personal studies have included identifying my strengths - positive psychology tells us that it's a far easier path to happiness to know and build on your strengths rather than try to change your weaknesses.  In fact I have been told that life is too short to become strong in your weaknesses - I'm not sure that I agree 100% with that, but I do see the good in building on strengths.  So using this exercise I have identified that my strengths are:

Analytical - I am a problem solver and I challenge people (at times incessantly), no doubt this can be annoying, but apparently it's also a strength!
Learner - I am a researcher (resource investigator), I'm like a ferret with it and often the outcome of the learning is less significant than the getting there.
Relater - This is a key aspect of my personality - I require intimate, deep and genuine friendships - at the extreme end of this 'strength', I find it hard to meet new friends and survive the getting to know you stage, in order to build the depth that I yearn for.  I am truly happy with a few close friends and partner - alas I don't have enough of any of these at the moment.
Empathy/Insightful - I don't know that I do this with everyone, probably more with the underdogs in our society.  I do volunteer work with men in a forensic mental health hospital and I feel such empathy for some of the men there I want to hug them.
Responsibility - I am dependable and feel emotionally bound to do what I say I'll do, I can become very disappointed and upset when others don't show me the same courtesy - but this is about STRENGTHS. 
Competition - this is the one that put me over the limit of five and I was going to leave it out - I see my competitiveness as the root cause of so much of my jealousy, envy, bitterness and unhappiness (I am fixated with others performance - they're success at having a family when I have failed etc etc.) - but I can also see that it is in some respects what gives me hope and keeps me going.  Somehow I'll do better than them in some other way.....I can hardly write that without cringing - it seems so wrong, but it's on the list as a strength.
Living simply and keeping things simple - this wasn't on the list but it's a core belief of mine and I had to include it.  No matter how much I earn I always maintain my simple lifestyle. Yes, I know, I'm now up to seven.

What are your strengths??  I'd love to know.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Thoughts of foster care - grieving my 'perfect child'

Today I was listening to the radio on the way home from my first ever laser hair removal treatment (yep it's time to get out there and try new things).  There was a segment on parenting children with disabilities.  A woman rang up to recount her story of how she was going to give her daughter born with Downs Syndrome up for adoption as she didn't think she could cope. Her daughter was in hospital, as she didn't want to take her home and get attached when she didn't want to keep her.  The first week in hospital she had problems with her heart and had to stay there for 5 weeks, then she went to foster care.  The mother and her husband signed the adoption papers then had 28 days to change their mind, after 24 hours she'd changed her mind and decided it was her daughter and she wanted to raise her.  She says she never really looked back after that.  She felt she'd made the decision about adoption as she was grieving the loss of the perfect child she'd dreamed of having.  Grieving this perfect child is something that really resonates with me- at this age I feel it's all so hard to keep trying to get pregnant and there is a higher risk of having a child with Downs Syndrome.  Then there's the possibility of foster care and parenting a child with lots of problems.  I think partly my concerns about foster care are tied up with grieving the dream of parenting the child I'd dreamed of.  Plus the logistics of parenting a child that will always have to have constant contact with birth parents which means never moving out of the state basically - that is a HUGE hurdle to get around!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Single and childless (not in Seattle)

I was at a residential school this week – furthering my seemingly neverending studies.  On arrival I checked into my dorm room and felt like the female equivalent of Peter Pan – the girl who never grew up.  Staying in a dorm room at university as I rapidly approach the not so tender age of 40. 

However this feeling changed somewhat when I met a bunch of fellow students at dinner – they were all basically in my age bracket or perhaps a bit older, then I started to feel like a middle aged woman and thought – really I’m not ready to be a middle aged woman, really I’m not! 

One of the women was talking to another about how there appeared to be a real lack of men in this course, which was not a good thing for us single women.  So I even started to feel less alone in my single childless existence until she mentioned her now almost grown up children.  Of course I don’t begrudge her this; I’m glad she has that, but it does make me rightly or wrongly feel somewhat more isolated.  But on the whole it was a good dinner with interesting conversation.  Then one of the women had to rush off to read a bedtime story to her son via skype.  Oh how I would have loved to be the one rushing off to skype my husband and son to see how their day had gone.  She was one of these people who you could just tell had a really great family life, a close relationship with her husband and obviously adored her young son.  This instigated the departure of most other people as they drifted back to their rooms to call their families or significant others.  I also went back to my room, made a quick phone call to a friend and proceeded to feel lonely. 

Over the week as I’ve started to get to know people they invariably start to talk to varying degrees about wives, husbands, partners and children.  I’m happy to listen (well depending on how much they go on, but that’s the same with any topic), but where does it leave me in the conversation.  Not having a child in my life is something I’m still freshly grieving after my recent miscarriage and decision to stop trying to become a single mum, it’s raw and painful and I feel it will always be a sad issue for me.  I gather (hope) the pain will lessen, but I don’t think it will ever truly disappear.  How do I connect with people when I don’t have tales of family life to share – either good or bad.  People don’t want to hear about my deep and unmet desire to have a child and partner and I don’t want to further isolate myself by sharing this with virtual strangers.  At one stage I found myself talking about my dog – talking animatedly about my dog and then I reflected on this almost instantly afterwards about how I was now ‘the lonely dog lady’.  Oh well I love my dog and am not ashamed of that.  I didn’t tell these people that I don’t have children or a partner and they didn’t ask (somewhat perceptively and politely on their behalf I feel) – but it is quite obvious I believe.  Especially when one of them asked who was looking after my dog while I was away and I answered ‘my parents’ – as if that isn’t a dead give away. 

So anyway I continue with my struggle to make connections with people in this family centric world we appear to live in, when I have created no family of my own, despite my strong desire to do so.  Also I continue with my quest to believe in my self worth despite not having the obligatory partner and/or child.