My friend Lady Yeshe asked me last week whether I had someone by my side. In fact, people ask me this question almost every day of my life. Indeed I do. He’s fantastic and I adore him. He is totally unlike any man I’ve ever been with.
My current companion doesn’t drone on about football or how great he is. He loves to cuddle and doesn’t snore. He’s not a stoner or a raging alcoholic. He doesn’t lie to me to get me in bed or cheat on me once he has, or bad-mouth me behind my back. He doesn’t stand me up at the last minute or forget to call for months at a time. I don’t get angry phone calls in the middle of the night from his wife, after he tells me he is divorced. He doesn’t humiliate me with his bizarre sexual requests and then ditch me for another woman. He doesn’t invite me to come stay with him and then tell me, “sorry there is someone else” when I arrive. He doesn’t throw all my earthly possessions out on the curb in the rain or give my skis to his new girlfriend after he kicks me out. He doesn’t hit me or hurt me and the cruelest criticism to come out of his mouth is “miao.”
My companion these days is a gentle geriatric rent-a-cat (I’m cat-sitting). My heart has been broken enough times in these past 12 years to last me for 20 lifetimes…and I say, ça suffit, BASTA! A girl can only take so much heartache, and I have reached my limit. My heart will not survive another pass through the meat grinder right now. And I will not tolerate another ounce of disrespect or abuse. Boomer and his insistent pleas for dinner are about all I can handle at the moment. And for all the love and respect he shows me, I am happy to provide it.
For years I lived in the cycle of hope and fear, wishing for my single days to end. But each venture into relationship ends disastrously, tossing me around like a toy boat on a stormy sea, leaving me gasping for breath and grasping for ground, retching. For whatever reason, a long-term relationship has not been in the cards for me, and I don’t know why. But what is the use of constantly wishing things to be different?
This year I ended my allegiance to that way of living. I stopped waiting for someone to build a home with me, and I bought my own. I am content as a cat watching the snow fall on my own. I feel calm and happy and safe, I’m healthy and strong, and my creativity is thriving as I develop my long overdue vocation as a writer. I’m not putting up with any more shit. And It’s about time I spoke up.
Why is it so hard for everyone (all of us) to believe that a woman can be happy on her own? Why, after all the noise to give women rights and equality, is it still assumed that the goal of a woman’s life is to trap a man?
It’s not that I don’t still struggle. I do. But I’ve decided to take a break from this particular issue for a while and appreciate the gifts in my life. And while I truly appreciate my dear friends and their wish for me to be happy with a partner, I feel a subtle pressure with each inquiry for my situation to be different than it is. I have (finally) realized that my happiness is not contingent upon one particular relationship. If a warm-hearted, respectful and decent man ever does manifest in my life to stick around, I will let you know. I would welcome that.
But until then, I am enjoying the freedom and independence that all those women marching in the 60s won for me. I’ve created a successful career out of my passion to travel and teach. I am nobody’s slave. I am free! How many people can say that? In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my life.