Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry # 19

I’ve been thinking a lot about dating lately. I have a strong desire to be in a relationship and truth be told,

19. I want someone to fall madly in love with ME.

I mean the REAL me and all of me.

The me whose garage is totally messy cause sometimes to clean out my messy car, the stuff gets piled on the table in there.

The me who has a semi crazy life cause I have 2 daughters who I love but also drive me crazy and I birthed them so they’ll drive someone  else completely insane some days.

The me that’s bossy cause I’ve always been the boss and in the end I really want what’s best not just what I want and sometimes I can’t see that the two aren’t the same.

The me that has an awesome, big job I love, but secretly wants to be a stay at home mom.

The me that leaves dishes in the sink cause I hate doing the dishes.

The me that hasn’t fully unpacked from the last trip but will before the next.

The me that wants to spend every holiday and vacation with MY family.

The me that wishes I could still eat McDonald’s.

The me that has a dent in her car but doesn’t want to fix it yet cause really…who cares.

The me who has clothes size 4-14 and everything in between.

The me whose kitchen has more than one ‘junk drawer’.

I guess I’ve FINALLY accepted that I’m never going to be perfect. And as much as I knew that, a part of me believed that THAT’S what people fell in love with – people they thought were perfect. And maybe, deep down, I believed it WASN’T happening for me BECAUSE all of these imperfect things and many more.

On top of it all, cancer has created many NEW, physical imperfections. My man made, cancer free boobs will never be perfect. My body will always have surgery scars and port scars and drain scars. Thank God for clothes and the dark 😉

But this isn’t a pity party, like why not me. It’s me finally letting go of the me I imagined was lovable and accepting the me I KNOW is lovable.

It’s me no longer fantasizing about married people and how perfect they seem together.

It’s me focusing more on what I have to offer versus what I’m lacking.

It’s me accepting that two people come together and actually make each other better.

It’s me recognizing that truly being myself is the only way I’ll have a lifetime, loving relationship.

It’s me understanding that the man I fall in love with won’t be perfect either, but hopefully perfect for me.

It’s me taking this new found openness and vulnerability and, although terrified, letting it infiltrate my love life too.

I never realized I was creating this barrier. I believed I thought I was ready and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t dating. But my expectations, not of the guy, but of myself were not realistic.

And maybe the cancer idea of ‘damaged goods’ actually makes it easier for me to accept ALL of my imperfections. It all adds character, right? It also makes for some really great stories, that make for PERFECT date night conversation 😉

 

Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry #13

I have been single for what feels like a very long time. I’m actually really good at being single. I have a full life with work and wonderful friends. I don’t feel lonely because my oldest daughter is always with me. But I have to admit,

13. Having cancer single sucks.

Before the cancer, I have to admit I was really quite settled with being single. I don’t date much and I’ve stopped trying to figure out why. I’m comfortable with my life and honestly dating really wasn’t much fun. Dating takes me away from my kids and friends who I already know I enjoy spending my time with.

What I realized during this cancer deal, is that it’s really more about having someone who is there for you without you even having to ask or make arrangements for them to be. That someone who has to drop everything for you and is there to share all of the ups and downs of this experience. I read stories of women whose husbands went to every appointment with them. That’s when I get envious. I remember one time when I had asked a friend to drive me to an appointment because I’d be under light anesthesia and wasn’t supposed to drive home. Everything was set but then an emergency came up at work and my friend couldn’t get away. Did he feel terrible? Yes. Was I able to find another ride? Yes. But that’s when it really hit me. With your husband, the only emergency that matters when you have cancer is YOU having cancer!

I know for some people, even though they are married, their spouse didn’t drop everything for them. I believe that would probably suck more than doing it single. But I’ve been married and divorced. When I say I’d rather not have had to face this single, I’m not implying that I want just any random man by my side. I have made jokes that if you get diagnosed with cancer and you are SINGLE with no sisters, get on Match.com immediately, find someone and get married, but I’m kidding. I do realize it needs to be the right someone.

But that’s just it. Finding the right someone may take a little work. As comfortable as I am being single, I don’t put any energy into NOT being single. I purposely don’t make eye contact sometimes with men in public settings. I don’t seek single girlfriends who may want to go out to places where there might actually be single men. I don’t remind people who say they actually have someone they want to introduce me to to DO IT. I was almost glad I had a full year pass during cancer to not have to try to get a date or do anything to change my single status because I haven’t had much success.

I know now, that I actually want to try, need to try. I want to go out on some dates and I’m willing to accept the fact that many of them will go no where. But it’s time for me to realize that it’s just a part of the process. Is it harder at 42 than 22? Yes. But I should consider it an opportunity. An opportunity to find my someone who has to drop everything.

When I was younger, dating had a different purpose. I was looking for – a good husband, good dad, someone to grow with. I still am looking for those things in a person. But now, I want a best friend – someone who can make me laugh, be there when I cry, talk with me for hours or sit in comfortable silence. He will never replace my girlfriends or my sisters and sometimes I’ll still prefer them in certain situations over him. But he will be there, whether I called him, asked him to or not. That’s what I needed. That’s what I want.

I don’t believe in the Disney fairy tale. I don’t think any of us really do, but a girl can dream, right. I do believe that I have a part in this and that it’s time to do my part. So I’m going to try harder not to be single. I’m going to start making eye contact. Asking friends to set me up. Flirt a little. It definitely can’t hurt. It almost sounds like fun. Almost.

Constructive criticism can be fun!

So, I know most of us hate to be criticized and just adding the word constructive in front of it doesn’t make it much better. But if it truly is meant to be constructive, the idea is that it comes from a place of love and from someone who really does want what’s best for you.

I’ve also found that it is actually fun when you get it from a friend or colleague who you tend to laugh with a lot. I have a friend and colleague who basically told me that I ‘look’ taken. Now what does this mean? I believe in some ways this is actually a compliment(Or that’s how I decided to take it). I seem confident and content. Not desperate. I seem comfortable in my own skin. But the truth is, I’m single and I’d like to date and maybe even get married again. So what she was really saying was I don’t look like I’m available and that’s a problem.

What’s made this criticism priceless is that because our first conversation about it was so funny, I actually like talking about it. I’ve asked other people if they agree with the critique and I’ve actually made some adjustments.

Now every time I see her I wait to see if she notices I’m showing a little leg or have a shirt cut a little lower than my norm. If she doesn’t I definitely point it out and we start laughing all over again. Sometimes, its even around other people which allows me another opportunity to remind people: Yes! I’m single and looking 🙂

I believe this approach can work in the workplace too. We’re usually so serious about giving feedback and it’s usually done in a very formal way. But some little things that may just be idiosyncrasies or habits that people have formed over the years may best be addressed in a more casual, humorous way. When you can both sort of laugh about it, it makes it more of a team effort to fix it. Plus, with some light heartedness around it, the one who is criticized will feel more comfortable checking to see if they’re improving or making the necessary changes.

We respond to overall experiences. It’s not necessarily a specific ride at Disney our kids remember, but the overall mood and moments rolled together that make the memory. I believe you can change the experience of receiving feedback for an overall more positive result. So seriously, make a little fun out of your next constructive critique! I think the results will surprise you.

That’s how single mom’s lean in!