Thursday, November 02, 2006

Good Read

I really love reading Salon's advice column, Since You Asked. Cary Tennis is a gifted writer who has a way of reading through the words to the emotions underneath and addressing those emotions in a sensitive, thoroughly unique manner. He empathizes as much as gives advice....which is probably what people need more than advice anyway. The letters written by Salon readers in response are generally just as interesting as the articles. Yesterday's letter from a single mother, in particular, caught my eye. This responding letter...god, I could have written it myself:
I think the Letter Writer's experience is common. I won't say universal, but it certainly resonates with me. When I'm single I feel strong, together, and confident, even though I may sometimes feel lonely and miss intimate companionship. I enjoy time to think and freedom to follow my own whims. Usually this is when others start taking notice - most people find confidence attractive.

But getting into a relationship involves becoming vulnerable. Suddenly I realize I'm not as enlightened and perfect as I thought. My hidden fears and flaws become all too obvious. Maybe I really am jealous, possessive, controlling, weak, suspicious, or needy. Maybe I really am scarred from my childhood and earlier failed relationships. Oh, god, how embarrassing! That's why they say relationships force you to grow. Growth is of course also possible on one's own. Both paths are valuable. Maybe it's easier to be invulnerable when single, and if you find someone worthy, who loves you despite those flaws and weaknesses, maybe that's worth giving up a little autonomy.

I've spent the majority of my adult life single. It's as much a part of my identity as being a mother, or a southerner, or a feminist. I marvel at people who hop from one relationship to another or (even more awe-inspiring) stay in the same one for years and years. How do they do it? And....why would they want to?

4 comments:

carolyn says said...

it's all about laziness

dating is hard work, i'm not willing to deal with that business again. plus i don't want to lose my visa

Alannah said...

I'm definitely too lazy to date.

carolyn says said...

also one of the crowning moments of my life was wehn i got a red star next to a letter i posted in the broadsheet section of salon. i still get tingles thinking about it.

Alannah said...

Wow. I'm jealous! If I don't have time I just read only the red-starred letters.