With the New Year, like many people, I often take time to take account of what happened the previous year, consider what I hope will happen the next year and just take a moment to breathe the present. The last couple of years, I’ve also embarked on creating a vision board using Powerpoint. I use pictures, words, clip art, etc to create a vision for what I want to happen in my life for the next year. I print it out and post it somewhere in the house so I see it every day. I’m not necessarily into the whole “Secret” thing, but I do believe in making sure I stay focused on moving things around in my life to make that vision a reality.
So, in 2013 my vision board tackled this adoption journey, a bathroom and bedroom renovation, some vacation time, health improvement, faith building, advancement towards graduation, seeing a group of girlfriends that I adore and finding love.
Well, you know how the adoption thing is going. The dissertation is underway (Woot, starting chapter 5 this weekend!!). I did some bathroom updates myself on the cheap, enough to get me by for now. Hope’s bedroom is shaping up fabulously. I saw my girlfriends when one got married. Vacations got subbed with trips to see Hope. I grew in my faith and in my church. I began 2014 weighing the same thing I weighed a year ago (eh, could be worse, shrug). And then there was love; love was nowhere to be found in 2013.
Sigh. For some reason in the last 24 hours, the lack of romantic love bothered me the most. Never mind that my life is about to be turned upside down with the adoption; nope, last night I found myself crying out to God, “Hey, what about the brown chocolate dude I put on that vision board last year? Huh? What about him? Where is he? I even put a pair of wedding rings on my vision board. Come on man!! Holy Dude, what is up with that??? Well I’m putting it on the board again! ” Then I cried. Oh, good grief, these emotional landmines are ridiculous…Jeesch!
I haven’t cried about being single in a long time; honestly I can’t remember the last time I got emotional about being single. Sure, there’ve been lonely moments, but I’ve dated a lot over the years, had good relationships, not so good ones, ones that I thought would lead to marriage and others where I just knew it was never going to work, but boy were they fun <smirk>.
All this emotion came out of nowhere, and it annoys me. I haven’t really had time to think about dating in months. I saw someone off and on for a few months, a lingering relationship that was kind of comfortable, but we both knew it wasn’t going anywhere. The upside is that it wasn’t a relationship that was threatening to my goals since I knew it wasn’t going to lead to anything permanent, and require me to navigate figuring out this parenting thing, this dissertation thing and then the whole real relationship thing. We remain friends, but we’ve moved on.
I know that I’m not in a space to handle a serious relationship at the moment, but I suppose I didn’t realize that underneath it all there’s a loneliness I simply wasn’t cognizant of until I took a moment to take stock of life. I don’t mind being alone, but I just didn’t know I was kind of lonely until I was putting another faceless Tyson Beckford-esque looking dude on my 2014 vision board. I do wonder whether the loneliness is somewhat exacerbated by some of the isolation I feel on this adoption journey. I don’t really know.
I also wonder whether it has to do with the identity shift that’s so imminent. The day that Hope arrives I’ll officially be a Single Black Mom (SBM) in addition to ABM. I’ll be a SABM. Ugh, acronyms.
And since I don’t plan to go around announcing that Hope is adopted, the absence of a partner potentially puts me into an identity category rife with stereotypes and unpleasant narratives. It also creates a narrative for the imaginary man that folks will assume passed through my life about 13 years ago, whether he was a husband or just a ‘baby daddy.’ Hear me clear, I have nothing against SBMs, but like most, I didn’t expect to be one. I’m so excited about this chapter, but something about the looming new identity and the absence of even the imaginary dude has me mourning what I thought my life would be like at this point.
I’ve been thinking about that life a lot lately. I didn’t think I was still mourning it, but the parallels and bittersweet episodes that put me on the path to adoption occasionally lead me to think about what might’ve been. I’m a doer, so I resigned to change my life when things didn’t turn out the way I expected, but I guess I still think about that life.
I do wish I had a partner on this journey. I wonder when I’ll have another date. I wonder if I’ll end up as one of those moms on an afternoon talk show, desperately needing a makeover because I started wearing “mom jeans” and just stopped grooming because I accepted never going on another date because I was so devoted to my kid, and I just let myself go. Yikes. So dramatic.
I don’t want to be that person either, even though I intend to be devoted to Hope. I still hope, in time, to go out with the hot single dad that I met when I forced her to play one season of county soccer, during which time she sulkily rode the bench, while looking forward to the after-game pizza party. I want to be that SABM. I want to still have a separate identity as a fun, sexy, desirable woman. I’m a little afraid that the Single Black Female (SBF) that I’ve known all these years will just cease to exist for a while. That makes me sad…and a bit lonely. Sigh.
This life changing stuff is a messy, messy business….a business that, apparently, will keep my therapist in nice shoes for many years to come.