Relationships

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In defence of choosing to be single

Published July 25, 2016 by insufficient mums

When I talk about choosing to be single (from age 47, no less) folk get real angry and defensive with me. They start to tell me how successful their own relationship has been. They tell me why I shouldn’t give up.amy-poehler-no
A lot of folk tell me that when they gave up looking for a partner was when they
met the right one. As if they haven’t read a word I’ve written. As if I’m talking about them.
And I’m left wondering why choosing to be single makes folk so defensive.

I was recently challenged by a friend, why is this (choosing to be single) so hard? Just do it.
There was some unspoken thing, that I shouldn’t speak about my decision to be single. Society and media and entertainment spend billions of dollars and zillions of hours telling us all we should be in a relationship and that is where true happiness lies. But if I write a sentence or two on choosing to be single, I should shut up. I’m obviously a challenge to something important here.

There is something thoroughly dismissive about the way people respond to me about my choice. And worse, a pressure not to talk about it at all.

I am writing as a woman who has (eventually) chosen to be single, because that is not the dominant narrative in society. I don’t believe I’m the only woman to make this choice, the only woman who writes about it, or the only woman who has experienc
ed what relationships have to offer and decided she wants none of it. Other women are out there, tolerating a relationship that doesn’t serve them, considering a commitment to being single, but without a roadmap. Without a guide. I am writing to tell those sisters why I chose this, why I choose this, and that it is a hard choice.

It is a hard choice. Women turn to other women for support in their relationships all the time. But if you turn to other women for support in how hard it is to be single, they will shut you down. They will knock you down. They will get dismissive – you just haven’t found ‘the one’ yet. Or, once I wasn’t looking for anyone, the right one came along.

All variations of the fairy stories we’ve been taught since birth.

Your soul mate is out there.

You’re too selective. You’re not giving anyone a chance.

You will attract what you deserve.

It will all be okay when you’re not sending out desperate vibes.

I am none of these things. I am a woman who has tasted the fruit, and found it disagrees with her.

I am not secretly attracted to other fruit.

I am not shopping for semi-adequate or bearable fruit.

I am a busy woman, with a busy life, and I will not compromise on fruit. I like it, but it upsets my life.

I get through life so much better without fruit.

I have to wonder whether the weird and strongly reactive responses I get to my life choice are because I am a woman.

I know heaps of men who have made the choice to be single. I don’t know how often they are challenged on this decision. I know I have single male friends who get set up on dates quite frequently. But I don’t think that anyone gets mad at them.

I think that, as a woman, when I decide to be single, I am shaking s
omething within my sisters. I am rattling a tree that was meant to be kept silenced.

I am saying, this world is not set up for single people, certainly not for single mothers. I have considered the dominant narrative, and met with some of it’s offerings. I have tasted some of its fruit, and found that it left me hungry. Or worse – poisoned.

And it would appear that many of my sisters do not like me saying this.

Maybe it would be okay if I were a gay woman – but I’m not.

Maybe it would be okay if I were an unattractive woman – but I’m not.

Maybe it would be okay if I were a financially secure woman – but I’m not.
But even given all the things that I’m not, I will still live the life that I choose.

My friend said sublimely empowering things the other day. She may be 10 years older than me – maybe less. But she offered me an acknowledgement of my reality. And that meant more to me than she could ever know. She said:

I am Never sharing my bed again, sharing the tv remote, sharing the couch to lie on, the computer, my own music to listen to in other word I love my own company, never get bored or lonely. I have never been as contented as the last 10 yrs when I stopped pretending I liked to live with someone. But I could use a cook occassionally”

And I adore her for sharing this.

Because society offers me a partner as a pacifier.
If I want love, I should partner up.
If I want sex, I should partner up.

If I want to share the financial burden, I should partner up.

If I want someone to take care of things around the house (because I am a small woman) I should partner up.

And yet, I’ve had some partners. I’ve had some husbands. And they never offered remedies for these ailments. Or if they did offer, they didn’t for long.

I am busy. I have three kids with unique challenges. I need t
o earn income, and run my house.

My experience of taking a partner into this mix is that I have one more person to look after, with their emotional, and sexual, and financial fragility.

This doesn’t even encompass the times I’ve given my all to support a partner, who unbeknownst to me actually meant me harm. Physically, or sexually, or financially.

Even if I discard the abusers from the conversation, I am still left with someone who eventually wont give a flying fuck for the wellbeing of me or my children, and will still expect me to wash their fucking socks.

Now here’s the thing. Here’s the real jab. I have been indoctrinated.

I have been taught by my life, and by fairytales, and media, and by womenfolk everywhere who need to believe the myths, that some day my prince will come. Someday someone is going to love you the way you always needed to be loved. If you’re slim enough. If you get your vibration correct. If you let go the baggage of your past. If you forgive those that have hurt you.

And it’s just not true!

I have sisters who have met their partner. They have met a man who means well, and isn’t too chicken to commit to seeing each other through life.

But my girls, that is a rare beast.

Because their narratives don’t support that behaviour.

I am fekn busy. I do not have time or inclination or patience to go looking for some rare beast.

But that myth is powerful. When I’m down, when I’m low, when I need to feel sexy, when I need to feel love – the myth is there as my God and my guide, telling me my life experience and the wisdom I’ve gained is worth nothing.

And when I turn to my sisters for support in my chosen path, responders tell me I’m closed, or bitter.

Sweet hopeful things, I’ve tasted the fruit, with open mind. I’ve even sought out different tastes from those I am used to. They disagree with me, my path, and my parenting.

I wish you all well in your own paths, but my encouragement for you to support me in mine is still there.

 

Louder Than Words (a love poem)

Published September 13, 2015 by insufficient mums

StupidHe said

I can’t stay over at your place anymore
Animals, allergies

~ But I like being with you

*

He said

We won’t being going out like we used to
I’ve made other financial choices

~ But I like being with you

*

He said

You sure do think about sex a lot
So the sexy texts stopped

If I sent one, it was ignored

~ But I like being with you

*

He said

Every other woman I’ve every met or known is the same or better

You are easily replaceable
Actually, you could be any one of them

~ But I like being with you

*

He said

I’m not visiting your house any more
No transport
And I’m not good around children and animals

~ But I like being with you

*

He said

I need to stop renting movies when you stay over at mine
It’s a financial thing
We’ll just watch what’s here

~ But I like being with you

*

He said
You sure do think about sex a lot

Sex is off the list now
I have other priorities
~ But I like being with you

*

He said
I never wanted you to get hurt
He said that a lot

But it would have been easier if he’d said

I don’t like being with you

Scrot Mother

Published November 10, 2014 by insufficient mums

I am a Scrot Mother. It has taken me half a lifetime to work this out. This does not mean that my son is a scrot – nor will I let him be. What it does mean is that there are sockets in me that a scrot can plug directly in to, and the fit is so perfect that a scrot can attach himself to me and it feels like home.

losermagnetSo. What exactly is a scrot? Many many of the men in our population are scrots. Not all. I have not met them all. I don’t know about the worldwide population. My experience is limited. But the concentration in the men I have met, or those who have partnered with the women I know, is strong. These are men who ‘try’ to be men. They often present as staunch, or strong, or angry. They may talk up fighting with other men, and either show up for it, or cower from it. Their testosterone is on show because either they don’t feel manly, or have a need to ‘show’ that they are. All the time. At any rate, it feels like fear.

How do you identify one? This is where the haters gonna hate. Scrots wear a uniform. In New Zealand it is frequently some form of black jeans and black jersey. Often there are tattoos. Everything is masculine. And their friends all dress the same. Yes, there are other types of scrots – many disguised as ordinary men. I am sure there are also females who fit this criteria, but never having dated any I couldn’t comment.
My friend and dharma sister told me about scrots. Not too long ago. I wish I had known 20 or more years prior. I was always attracted to the ‘hard’ men. Angry men. What I saw as strong men. A counsellor once told me if the perfect man fell from heaven and hit me on the head I wouldn’t even see him, because I only had eyes for one type.

And that type have a uniform. They dress ‘street’. They dress for credibility. They are frequently criminal class. In my own culture they often own dogs, big cars, or motorcycles. They advertise on the outside of their bodies that they will not treat you well, and still, all I saw was ‘my tribe’.

“Scrot”, my friend said to me. Her father, who had been a policeman, had pointed one out as they drove down the road. She had been young and she’d heard his warning. “He’s wearing the uniform” her father had said. “When they dress like that they have no good to offer”. Or words to that effect.

As she told me this a light went on for me. And it was very recent. And I am 45.

All I had ever seen in that uniform was someone who had come from the same places as I had. Lived the same life. Someone who would ‘get’ why I am how I am. And if one of them came into my life showing signs of potential, showing signs of a brain, I would invest my life. I commit firmly, in the face of opposition. I don’t cheat. I don’t leave. It’s part of who I am. And it’s not helpful.

Here’s what I get from this. I get a man who won’t judge me for where I come from. There was a time in my life where I got to be Queen of a whole community of scrots. Queen of the losers. But still a Queen at least. This is wholly unrewarding, but when you feel you have nothing to offer the world it’s nice to be Queen of something.

Here’s what they want. They come into my life seeing a strong woman who lives with determination. They want this. But they want more. What they do not want is to be a partner. Not at all. They want a mother. Someone who will cook for them, clean for them, and wash their socks. Someone who will make a phone call for them when they can’t get in to work. Someone who will pay their bills when they lose their job. Someone who will accept them unconditionally.

They want this for a while.

Then like all teenagers, they begin the process of individuation. They begin to rebel against their mothers. They want to live as single men. They don’t want to fuck you, cos who wants to fuck their mother?? They will find other women for that. As their mother, you are still expected to pay their bills and remain ferociously loyal. But they do not want you as a partner. That is not your role. They will cheat. They will steal your stuff. They will break your stuff. And they will hit you.

But they will not leave. You are their mother. And they love their mother.

Let me tell you right now, those of you with your tribal blinkers welded to your heads – your bad boy does not have a heart of gold. He is simply a three-year-old throwing tantrums. He has never grown into manhood, and he is afraid that if anyone sees him without his uniform they will recognise that he is a frightened little boy. That is why the armour is so obvious. It is not that the bad boy uniform is an act. It is the heart of gold that is an act. A pretence. And it will fall away with ease given time. And he will blame you.

You cannot train a scrot to manhood. No-one can but him. And he doesn’t want to. He is an empty scrot – no balls. You cannot wait for the ‘potential’ you saw in him. It is hollow. It is pretence. He will use you for comfort. For stability. And then rebel against you. If he eventually has to leave – if you do get that Protection Order – this is the point where you earn the label “crazy ex”.

In conclusion – do not doubt what I now share with you. Scrots exist. They are recognisable as they feel exposed without their tribal regalia. Do not engage with them. They will charm the pants off you till they feel you’re in the right place to tidy up after their disasters. It will NEVER be your turn to fall. They will NEVER catch you or let you rest. It will always be your fault for being too fat too lazy too stuck up losing interest in sex whatever your low self-esteem comes from they will take it and use it.

Scrots cannot be managed. Only avoided or discarded. Using whatever means necessary.

Do NOT breed with these people.

You have been warned.

Smoke, Mirrors, & Bullshit

Published May 3, 2013 by insufficient mums

ImageListen to me, Girl. And listen good.
The only thing you got in this world is you and your kids. That’s it. Everything else is temporary, transient, already gone.
Unless you really wanna spend a lot of time hanging out with some dickhead, wishing that he were really some other type of dickhead…
That’s it. That’s all you got. The rest is all just smoke, mirrors, and bullshit.
You create your own happy – cos no-one else will. ❤ SK

Dear Fuckknuckle

Published March 13, 2013 by insufficient mums

deadbeat dadI am gobsmacked by your self-centredness and ignorance, and gutted that I chose you to breed with.

I knew when you started texting this morning, suggesting that you no longer take a child for an hour on Wednesday afternoons (because “Winter is coming”), that you were about to behave like a fuckwit again.

I believe your 6 year-old-son plays futsal every week because he knows his Daddy loves ball sports. I knew that mentioning that I couldn’t afford to put him into the local soccer team, or boots, would fall on deaf ears. But I would have thought that, seeing you were picking our middle child up for an hour from the sportsfield during the game, that you could have turned your head to look at him. Or even watched the last 3 minutes of his game?!? Three fekkin minutes!?! And to say you’d have to take it off his time next week? Or off middle daughter’s time this week??? Because you have things to do??? Because its “grocery day”?!?

Of course, you missed the tween’s birthday because you managed to afford a trip to Australia. No worries. You sent her a text mid-afternoon. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? But to see her suck it up that you didn’t even say hello today? She hasn’t seen you for a month! Her birthday month.

You managed to rip my babies’ hearts out in a one minute timeframe. I hope you don’t spend middle daughters’ hour-a-month taking her to get groceries…

I will not let you hurt me though. I will explain to my children that it is you who are deficient, not them. And that, if I’d chosen a better dad, they would be loved. There is nothing wrong with them.

You, on the other hand, are a total wanker.

It’s Not Working

Published January 23, 2013 by insufficient mums

2012 XmasI think I’m not going to take the job.

Well…, not yet.

I’ve been considering it strongly. Since it was offered. Since I’ve met with the Manager, and discussed options.

In the midst of the long summer holiday, my first priority had become escaping my home environment. I have a tweenager with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, a compulsive art and craft habit, and burgeoning attitude.

I have a little boy, 5 going on 6, exceptionally bright, energetic, and exhausting.

My middle daughter is bright, pretty and creative, and has an ASD diagnosis. Every day is challenging, sun up through sundown. This particular week she had broken the large lounge window, and run out in front of traffic. Twice.

I miss the strokes of working. I was good at it. Sell ice to Eskimos. I could stand up within my work environment and get the best possible result for my client regardless of structure and hierarchy. Nine out of ten clients told me I was awesome (the other one out of ten hated me with a passion). But I loved being good at my job, being told so, being valued. I loved suiting up with a full make-up, stepping out the door and looking like a viable human being, and if anyone interrupted that process, at least they weren’t covered in peanut butter.

The money aspect would be more problematic. While the pay in this role is reasonable for a woman in Dunedin, its not a huge amount for a family of four to live on. My income adjusted rent would rise substantially. I’d have to pay for after school care and holiday care for three children. Petrol costs, parking costs, even the cost of maintaining my hairstyle in a corporate manner would hugely effect my budget. Worst case scenario, I would work 40 hours a week and break even.

Family life would be stifled. We wouldn’t have time for messing about. It would be routine and go go go. But I would have eight hours a day where I felt more in control of that routine. Where no-one was pouring crap all over my house too quickly for me to keep up. We’d still have weekends. Maybe. I could use those for cleaning.

Stress levels would increase. For my kids also. They would like us to have a couple extra dollars in the family pocket, and the holiday programmes do sound varied and wonderful. But I gotta wonder where downtime is. When do my kids get to get bored. To become self-sufficient in creating their own interests, making their days full, creating lives they enjoy? Also, my middle child is likely to get expelled from school holiday programmes. I do not want her in the local special needs day programmes, for a variety of reasons. I also don’t want to spend school holidays feeling guilty for being late to work driving kids all over town because they are in separate programmes. Too stressful.

2012 Xmas 047I would be offering my employer a good, productive employee, for sure. But what about the weeks when my middle child freaks out. And I can’t get out the door to work. Or the school phones me to bring her home?

Then there’s beneficiary guilt. When my marriage ended I continued to try to keep working. My employers wanted me, but all the above factors kicked in making me feel perpetually stressed and guilty. Welfare supported me to come home and parent. Child health services for my daughter have encouraged me to stay there. But now I’m here, the other arm of welfare manages my case. They see that my youngest child is six now. All are in school all day. What can I possibly be doing with my time? Apparently I need to be out working. They’ll pay someone to look after my daughter. Just not me.

And we have a Paula Bennett lead welfare system…

Complicating this, I have just got to the stage in my life where I am beginning to write again. Successfully. I am also beginning to draw again. Successfully. I also work with divination – tarot, runes, palmistry, and am regaining competence in these areas. All of which could come together to provide income for what may never be a stable home environment. If I do go back to work, I may never have the opportunity to do these things.

I am two papers away from completing my university degree. If I return to the workforce, I will never have the opportunity to study again. Because I’m 44. Not 33, or 22. This is it. I’m the adult.

I want to go back to work more than I want to stay at home.

But I think the timing is wrong.

I believe that when the sun rises tomorrow I will phone that Manager, and thank him for the opportunity. And graciously decline.

Dear Asshat

Published August 4, 2012 by insufficient mums

Dear Asshat

No.

No. I will not lie down. I will not passively let your behaviour toward our children turn into neglect and emotional abuse.

No. I will not go quietly. If I want to vomit my thoughts onto Facebook, I will. They’re better off there than in my head. And if one day this is used as evidence in your imaginary court case, at least I will have told the truth. I will not shut up because of fear of your Facebook spies…?!?

No. I will not submit. I will not let you do what you want with the 3 small beings whose care and wellbeing I am responsible for. Your attitude and self-centredness are hurting them. I will not let you do it.

No. I will not roll over. I refuse to be defeated by this behaviour. There is no surrender here. The risks are too great.

No. I will not comply. I have the example of your first two wives who behaved well. Did the right thing. Said the right thing. The mother of your eldest children never stood in your way. I’m sure she wanted to. I’m sure it gutted her watching her babies be slowly abandoned by their father. But we are told by the experts to support this relationship for our children’s sakes. Let me tell you right now, you no longer have my support, unless that is what my children want.

No. I will not sit down. I am unaffected by your self-interest. I am unconcerned about my own. I will not be politically correct. I will not be polite, well-mannered, or ‘feminine’. Fuck you. And if the system ends up supporting you, fuck the system.

No. I will not shut up. Silence is the enemy. I will not shut up just to make myself look good. Let the world see how I look warts and all. Let them see you also. Lets be judged on that.

With the respect you deserve,

Bite me