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  • Writer's pictureKristin Kowalski Ferragut

My Year Single

You know that moment in a relationship when you thank God and your lucky stars for every one of your experiences and every prior moment that brought you there to that feeling of love and connection? I startled myself in the best way a few weeks ago to realize that that’s exactly how I feel about my now, single.

This season has been eclipsed for me by a big work task, so I’ve spent little time with creative projects — writing poetry, playing music, going out, and I missed writing last month’s blogpost. (I’ll make this one a quickie.) In February, I thought to write a post, “My Year Single,” but I wasn’t ready. The number of entanglements, in mind, in heart, in community, from the past and from expectations of the future, to puzzle through when facing oneself by oneself after weaving shared narratives is daunting. I had glimmers of hope that I’d figured out navigating visions of my present and future alone, but they sometimes turned out to be fleeting bursts of euphoria based in self-righteousness or romantic notions of freedom. I kept at it — treated myself with compassion and grace; bumped up practices of meditation, prayer, and journaling, reviewed relevant past injuries, barriers to love and loving, and acts of self-sabotage. I approached all of this gently, with sites set primarily on endurance. I gained more — delight in a sense of home right within myself and extending out to those and that which I love.

I’ve always been self-reflective and don’t chalk much up to “just the way I am.” I strive to live honestly and expansively. I admit when I’m wrong and work to adjust. With all of that said, I can be a might bit clever at times, thinking around things, rather than hitting the focus. In the past few months, I accepted not just the complex and abstract, but the simple, glaring problems that I had yet to confront, both in my past and in my outlook. I share a little about this journey. 

Turns out it is true that I am not my thoughts. Part of my missing this obvious statement may have been my upbringing, and also that I resist most trends in popular psychology. But allowing myself to believe anything that came to mind, even if inspired by skewed judgments of others, served me poorly for years. Being compassionate to myself is as easy as changing my thoughts. Granted, that’s not necessarily easy and has taken months. But now I practice the wonderful habit of choosing what I believe of my thoughts, and have shaped them to be kinder, making my mind a welcoming place to be. 

When I think of notions of home, I think of love and acceptance. I looked primarily outside myself to family and friends for that. It seems simple to point out that I contain all of that individually — heart and root in which to rest and from which to explore, return, stay. Simple, but a challenge to embrace when requiring a change in fundamental orientation. As much as I used to cling to the status quo, even if not so good, I now invest curiosity and fascination in the process of change and am grateful for the ways I have changed.

I believe I’ll love again. As a dear poet friend says, “It’s inevitable. You’re a lover.” But with my new insight, it’ll be a wholly different experience than I’ve had before. And, until then, I’m good. Good thing because I genuinely hate dating and have quit attempting any acrobatics in changing my mindset to make me like it.

The past fifteen months have served me well, although, for several months, it was hard to imagine that this would be the case. I spent some time on dating apps, thinking that having a romantic relationship would be the solution to feelings of displacement and loss. I’ll save those stories of humor and horror, although some nice, to fictionalize another time. The reality is that I have always loved how I spend my time and, now that I’ve grown to be more centered, settled and at home in myself, even the time between my creative projects is soft and usually gratifying. 

Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial ... Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good. -Buddha

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