I’m posting Natalie Karneef’s interview of me. She reached out probably two years ago, made the interview about six months later and finally produced this episode, Rebuild, a year and a half later. Because she created and hosts A Single Thing, Podcast for One, she reached out to me about my own personal struggles with being single. She was voraciously reading The Break Up Journal at the time, and thought I might have an interesting story to tell. I said sure. But the way the episode is produced, it seems to apply more to hitting rock bottom and throwing myself into isolation, which, of course, coincides serendipitously with what many people in isolation might be feeling right now.
Anyway, it’s a 28-minute podcast, which takes the listener through my journey of unhealthy love to healthy love, all the while finding an amazing, sacred, wonderful single life in between. Overall Natalie did a great job with the interview. There’s only one bit at the end that probably needs a bit of clarification. The way it’s cut, it sounds like, after 10 years with my husband, I missed being single. Period. Which may lead some to believe I may have divorced and went back to being single. Or that I was unhappy in my marriage. That’s not what happened.
After 10 years of a wonderful marriage (and counting), I did come to a point where I missed my single life. Not the flirting and dating part of my single life (no thanks!), rather the soul-searching and time alone parts of my single life. I love my husband but I also think that after 10 years of marriage, individuals can morph into one another. They can lose themselves in the partnership, even in healthy ways. And, I think that, while that can be part of the process of feeling connected, it can also be a loss of the individual self. Luckily, I had reached a point in my connection with my spouse where I felt comfortable and safe enough to reassert my belief that my hard-earned individuality and personal strength needed to be revisited again. I’m not sure my husband gave this as much thought as I did. I think he always considered me to be a strong, independent woman who always remained true to herself. But that wasn’t always the case. There were times–not many, but enough to bother me– that I erased myself. That I tried too hard to meet his needs while ignoring my own. That I became situationally co-dependent or that I became too focused on him meeting my needs as opposed to me meeting my needs. And he is not the only culprit I pinned this on. I blamed my kids too. The sacrifices made for our children can be soul crushing.
But, I had no one to blame but myself. And I think therein lies the problem. In the interview, it’s simply a bad word choice to say “I missed my single life,” when what I really mean to say is that at some points along those years of marriage and raising kids I forgot about me. I forgot about tending to me. And, I wasn’t always true to myself. Ouch. That hurts. But, I am not one to let things fester. I address them. And so, for the past two years, since I made that interview, I have gotten back to soul searching and have rediscovered myself. And, I have learned that the two worlds can co-exist. You can be an individual and be in a committed relationship. You can be true to yourself and be true to your partnership. It may be as simple as taking time by yourself on a weekend, reconnecting with old friends or going on a solo-journey half way around the world. Whatever you need to be the best you, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, then you must find that thing and do it or be it. Only when you’re fed can you can feed others.