By: LIZ LUNDI
In the car on my way home, as I drive, I think about the growing tension between me and Mariam. Ever since I revealed the information her boyfriend’s ex-wife gave me, she has been hostile and distant towards me – which I understand.
But I feel like the rest of the girls are subconsciously taking sides with her and cutting me out.
Or perhaps it is just that they all have families and children, while I seem to be the last spinster standing? Maybe this is the source of my distress? But what can I do to change that? ‘It’s not like I haven’t been trying,’ I mutter to myself.
“Maybe you’ve been trying too hard,” a voice in my head says. My eyes widen as that revelation pops up. Yes, maybe I have been trying too hard to get settled, find a man, have babies the whole shebang. Maybe it’s time to stop. Smell the coffee.
‘But how do I do that?’ I ask myself out loud. And then it strikes me that I am turning out to be one of those lonely, old spinsters who talks to herself, too. The thought makes me smile.
The question still remains: How do I stop myself from compulsively walking into these ‘situations’ with all the men I have dated? What is it that I need to do to change this? Why do I even feel like there must be a man in my life for it to be complete?
‘Yes, why?’ I ask out loud, choosing that last question to sink my teeth into. Is it because all my friends have them, even if the men they have are flawed creatures who seem to cause them as much pain as they give them happiness? Is that the life I want – stumbling from one marital crisis to another, like Fatma and even Mariam who, even if she isn’t married to Philip, is heading there?
Maybe my problem is that I am perfectionist; I want the flawless man who always knows what to say and do. I want him house-broken and potty-trained, and capable of reading my mind and being soft and romantic yet strong and masculine. Does that man even exist? And if I seek the perfect man, does it not behoove me to be perfect as well? How is the ‘perfect’ man ever going to understand my flaws?
‘Well, maybe then I just need to find a flawed man,’ I mumble again. But argh! I have dated enough of those. Or maybe, like I thought a few minutes ago, I should just stop dating for a minute.
“And do what with my time?” I ask myself as I pull into my parking lot and park the car. I have gotten used to the whirl of going on dates and being around other people and quite frankly, I am terrified of spending time with myself.
“Aha! That’s the problem!” I exclaim. I am terrified of being alone. As I explore that question deeper, it strikes me that being alone, for me, equals being bored – or possibly being considered boring – which, to be honest, is a perception and not the absolute truth.
LEARNT TO BE MYSELF
If I just learnt how to be by myself without feeling like I was missing out on parties and trips and exciting people, then I wouldn’t feel so needy for other people – my friends included – and then I would be somewhat impermeable to the ones who do not wish me well.
If I learnt how to take myself on dates – and enjoy them – without feeling like it was a show of loneliness, then I would be able to back out of plans that didn’t suit me just because I didn’t want to spend another evening alone in my house.
I would be able to find myself alternative entertainment without having to depend on company to rescue me from my sad, lonely, life.
“Yes, the key to finding the right man is to learn to enjoy your own company,” I say to myself as I unlock my front door and head in.
I pop open a bottle of red wine and pour myself a glass as I contemplate what I will do with myself for the rest of the evening. I’m thinking that a DVD movie would be nice, and I can also take the opportunity to do my nails.
As I load up my player with a movie, in the living room, my cell phone vibrates. I reach for it absently and swipe the screen. It’s a text message from Harry.:‘Where are you? Want to hang out this evening?’ The Universe has decided to test my resolve tonight.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION