The other day in a Zoom dance class, the song Everybody’s got their something by Nikka Costa came on, and it felt as though the universe had sat on my lap to force me to pay attention. You see, it was the soundtrack song that I attached to my very first dating app (Tinder!) profile created back in November 2019.
The funky twang immediately brought me back to a simpler time, when I didn’t know what I wanted, except that maybe, possibly, perhaps I could be interested eventually one day in touching a tongue and a penis other than that of the father of my children’s.
It was a Tuesday night, way past my bedtime as the last few nights had been filled with the endless anguished back and forth so familiar to anybody who is considering significant growth without feeling (even slightly) brave. I knew I absolutely had to move on, if for no better reason that HE HAD ALREADY, and that I’d be fucked if he was going to replace me just like that after almost 30 years of what I thought had been a happy marriage.
But, but. Tinder? Tinder was for little ones, with beautiful smooth cheeks puckered to perfection, and the not-so-innocent promise of "just looking to have fun". I wanted fun, too, although intuitively I suspected that my idea of dating fun circa 1989 (the last time I had been single) was vastly different from what Steeve with two "e", 33, was offering. I believed I was ok with that, bless my sweet tender heart. I really did.
The last year since the split had been devoted to a number of mundane and/or monumentally arduous tasks such as:
1- Not lose my Marketing director job even though everybody involved knew that I was in no condition to interact professionally with, let alone "direct", anyone;
2- Refrain from melting down coming across autoplay lawnmower ads on Youtube (we had a lawnmower! It was blue! Cue in weeping.) and other unfortunate random stimuli;
3- Remember my own awesomeness, beauty and smarts now that I was no longer part of a socially acceptable structure with a country house and power couple friendships.
It had been a rough year, yet I saw signs that the grief was slowly subsiding. The defiant smirk selfies were becoming few and far between, I had (almost) stopped muttering "asshole" under my breath whenever he replied to my passive-aggressive texts, and I had erased all traces of our marriage and friendship with his new lady love from my social media, as well as blocked them both for good measure. I was F-I-N-E. K?
Of course, I didn’t know then that the hardest part was coming up. Once the hurricane ravages the land, you clean up. Rebuild. Actively choose instead of put up and make do. It turns out I had no idea how to pilot a life.
Marianne Williamson says that “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." My light had scared the bejeezus out of me for most of my adult life. It was ok, I was so busy with little and big boys, jobs, houses and potlucks, there was no time to dig deeper. F-I-N-E I tell you.
But now, I was living alone in a 600 sq feet brand new condo, half-heartedly hosting "girls night" with my married friends drinking Prosecco out of 99 cent Ikea flutes, and desperately trying to avoid answering the question "What now?"
Ha. I just realized that while this post was supposed to be a funny and gritty account of the complications of entering the dating world at 49, the story made a detour. It makes complete sense, as this journey, this shadow work, is decidedly not linear. It deserves at few more posts, at least. Stay tuned, my loves.