The Art of Being Alone: The Tao of the Perpetual "Single Card"

Posted by Gordita In The City Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1 comments

According to Astrology, I am an overbearing, needy, manipulative, over-emotional, security blanket-needing wet rag who is exhibits co-dependent behaviors with bad relationships, has a mommy complex, while preferring to be home nine times out of ten.  What's my sign?

Yep you guessed it, I'm a Cancerian. A special-breed of summer born side-shuffling crab who acts tough on the outside but is really all mushy and sappy on the inside. As a woman, I'm stereo-typically supposed to buy into this spiel, planning and plotting my life by arbitrary star placements because that is easier than admitting that I have choices. What I find amazing, is that people find my ability to go out in the world alone astonishing. It's almost like I discovered some kind of super-mutant power in my ability to go to concerts, bars, parties, Valentine's Day events, and every other kind of social event on my own. The first question that I almost ALWAYS get asked by people when they meet me at an event is, "Who did you come with?" After, I inform them that I came alone, I often get stares of pity or looks of absolute wonder. After the initial shock, I have to endure the usual line of questioning that curious people have followed by their own admissions of, " I could never do that, you are so brave".

Listen, I am not brave, magical, or relatively even enlightened - I simply do what I must. Like everyone else, I didn't start out this confident in my abilities. When I got dumped by my ex years ago, I was a typical insecure twenty year-old "hot-mess".  I hated my body, I hated who I was, I found myself repulsive, and had absolutely no confidence in my social abilities. As far as I was concerned, I was an outcast social retard that had a problem with excess of EVERYTHING: talking, imagination, insecurity, etc, etc, etc.   My story is not some magical Ugly-Duckling transformation where I showed my ex and people that hated on me  what they were missing out on and discovered how fabulous I really was. 

A couple of weeks, turned into a couple of months where I was absolutely petrified of doing ANYTHING by myself. Every time there was a party, I'd try and drag any friend available - only to cling to them and my fear of rejection. I would get depressed when people weren't around to hold my hand.  After awhile, I decided that I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and bored of waiting for other people to save me from my own self-hatred and feelings of inadequacy. My natural gregariousness came back and I started to feel bold. My first official Single-Girl-by-myself event was the Mooneye's Car Show post-party at Vertigo's in Downtown LA.  I'll save you the whole story.  I went and FORCED myself to talk to strangers. At subsequent events - I started getting bolder and actually began to allow myself to have the fun. Hands down, 2006-2007 were the most socially awkward years of my single social existence.

 The point of this anecdote is that it begins with a choice.  You are going to stumble, fall, and make a complete jack-ass of yourself: the secret is to realize that you aren't that important.  Yep, I said it. You aren't that important. You literally have to not care.  I'm not saying that you should neglect things that matter like grooming and manners - but the moment you abandon the whole idea that the whole world is judging you - the easier it gets. Wait... I lied. Yes, EVERYBODY is judging you - the freedom comes from the realization that you don't really matter enough to be lingered on for more than a few minutes. As a singleton - I am a maverick. I have the unique ability to go where I please and when I choose - the only limit is really myself. 

The question is are you going to live by your label?  Being single is one aspect of my life, a large chunk, but still a part of a really complex whole. The reality is that single people make the world uncomfortable. I can deduce this from the weird reactions I get from people when I tell them I have been single for as long as I have.  You know, it's not like I plotted and planned for this to happen. Sure, my choices have definitely influenced the situation - but ultimately - the card was dealt to me and I have to deal with it. From a bio-evolutionary standpoint, you could say that it is an unnatural condition. Thus, the millions of American singles out there and I are living in genetic allegorical sin. 

Look, the key to being a successful perpetual single is to say: F-It.  That's it. The Tao of the perpetual single is the ability to tell the "establishment" F-it through your actions. You become magical that way. People are naturally attracted to rarity and the honest ability to say "screw it, I choose life" is very rare. Not every person is equipped to survive as a perennial single; more-often, people fail at this office miserably.  I assure you that those people fail due to learned helplessness, not lack of ability.  I call this an art because ANYBODY can learn it with the right push and motivation.

Put it this way,  you aren't going to find love sitting on your couch or clinging to the same coupled friends every Friday night.

One day I'll right Part two to this with actual usable advice and tips that have helped me ... but today isn't it.

Reconciling with "The Fishbowl" at a Quarter Century

Posted by Gordita In The City Monday, March 12, 2012 0 comments

This summer of 2010 marks my quarter-century on this good planet earth. Given that I am physically healthy and have most things in life to recommend me - I can proudly say... not a bad job Mo.  I think there was once a time when people thought I would probably be on my second kid, have an acquired drug habit, and no direction at twenty-five years old given some of the things I've experienced over the years. So the question becomes, what progress have I made? What have I learned?  Am I more adult now than I used to be? 

Lets rewind to Five Years ago:

July 6th, 2005 - Location: East Los Angeles College, Little Theater

I was taking part in ELAC Theater's Summer Shakespeare workshop.  In my opinion, I was having the most adventurous fun of my young adult life - I was staying up all hours of the night because I could, I was doing theater, I had a new boyfriend to be stupid in like/love with, School was working out, my mom was back home ... but under all that I was terrified. I was convinced that fun couldn't last that long.  I was waiting for some other shoe to drop and for the happiness to extinguish. That night in the theater workshop - we were rehearsing for our showcase. For the first time in my life, I got cast as a "Juliet"  and I was loving it.  I was 19 years old and it was the day before my 20th birthday.

I spent the whole day thinking of all the selfish/kiddish things that I could do on my last night as a technical "teenager."  In my mind, I was thinking that those hours before I would turn twenty would end a chapter of my life.  As far as I was concerned, the idea of becoming twenty meant that I was making my official exit from the Neverland of adolescence to the world of adult seriousness (the strange deadlines I set for myself). I don't remember if I ever accomplished achieved the level of teenage mischief I desired that night - but I do remember spending the time after rehearsal scared. As my worldview was growing to include freedom, I felt adulthood closing in on me like a garrote.

Back to the present, it has been 5 years since then and I am so different.  At 20, I was planning on attending Cal State Long Beach for English and then transferring to  Law school in order to be an attorney by 26/27.  Now, I find myself in Boston working my way towards graduating in the same degree at a small East Coast liberal-arts college full of hipsters. I'm surrounded by thousands of differing carbon-copies of my confused 19/20 year old self.  I admit at times, I move amongst them with a bit of a lofty air of "been there, done that" because I'm older and by lot in life...less sheltered than many of them. At times, I'm appalled at my arrogance.  Putting on airs as if I have lived a thousand years.  I suppose I do it because I need to.  I feel so different and isolated at that school, that differentiating myself through my life experience (since I never took pride at my academic achievement) seems to be the only way that I can find a modicum of security.  At the end of the day, the fishbowl that we are groomed in High School and college to outgrow is still a fishbowl. 

As a fish that has flopped between different schools, coasts, family dynamics, I am learning that the reality is that we are all floaters. This is not even a new or innovative thought, as much as I would like to believe it is. Yes, the proverbial ocean of a larger world does exist.  It is a large and cavernous blue void that cares nothing for our small individual existence. To survive we flock together to create "schools,"  pie slices of categorization and culture to  make ourselves feel better.  I might be the unique flashy fish in my particular fish bowl - but there are a potential million other flashy fish just like me that exist in other fish bowls. That is a hard pill to swallow in a culture that prides itself on individualism and innovation.  It's a depressing enough thought for most adults that they would probably rather chew a cyanide pill before admitting that they are a speck in the big scope of humanity.

I think this is what holy men and religious scholars talk about when it comes to true enlightenment or communion with "god".  Maybe it really is about arriving to the point where you accept that attachment to the created and material world of the million human fishbowls is a complete myth. Being aware of that big blue ocean and humbling yourself is maybe the first step. There is a wonderful book that was given to me by my grandmother called "Hope For the Flowers".   You could argue that very few people actually "grow-up" - that thought has all sort's of implications that I'd rather tackle on a different post.

So the point? Well, I keep hitting the glass of the fishbowl, stretching to jump out of my "school"  - Maybe I need to start looking through the glass towards the ocean and learn to make waves to guide me out.

Bienvenidos! Hola! Orale! Welcome

Welcome to the rantings and ravings of a twenty-something Latina who just happens to have ADHD , enjoys the luxuries of working class life in urbania, and believes strongly that women (and men) need to stop using body size as an excuse not to live their for being a minority.... well I like it spicy and mixed.

At this blog, I rep the West Coast ::insert gang sign here:: while moonlighting as an East Coaster.
As you stumble around you will find a pretty wide variety of things: advice, anecdotes, recipes, and pretty much whatever spews forth from my multi-faceted life.
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