Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finding my "dash of sass"

At the beginning of the year, I set a reading goal of 35 books.  It's appropriate that the first book ("The Single Woman's Sassy Survival Guide: Letting Go and Moving On") and the 35th book ("The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass") were by the same author -- Mandy Hale.  I needed both of them. Badly.

At the end of September, Ricci, Jenn, and I discussed "Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass" on Instagram and ended up deciding to do a link-up sharing our thoughts and impressions of the book.  Isn't blogging amazing?  Ricci ended up not having time to read it by the deadline, but I hope she will after checking out some of the blogs who link-up here.

I picked up a hard copy of the book.  I knew I would want to highlight, write, and make notes in the book, and I can't do that (easily) on my Kindle.  I also knew I might want it handy for future points in my life.  Not all the chapters applied to me in this moment, but someday, I think they will.  I'm so glad I had a hard copy. As I read, I used pink post-it strips for my "yes!" moments.  Look how many there were ...


 Um. Yeah.

The thoughts Mandy shared may not all have been earth shattering, but they were all things I needed to read/hear.  It's hard to choose my favorite passages, but I will try to share just a few and how they hit me. (The passages are in pink, and my input is in grey.)

+++++

Instead of "single and fabulous," the life of a single woman in her late twenties and beyond is all too often labeled "single and desperate." Instead of viewed as a choice, single seems to denote a lack of options. Everyone seems to want to meddle in the life of the woman who refuses to settle: setting her up on endless dates with guys she has no interest in, calling her desperate, lonely, or too picky, or asking "what's wrong with her?"

Oh man. Every time I meet someone new or run into someone from my past and they ask if I'm seeing someone, they give me a look of pity when I say I'm single.  For real.  I can almost hear the wheels turning in their head, wondering where I've gone wrong or what's wrong with me.  And, honestly, there are times I've wondered the same things, but lately I'm moving in the other direction.  I haven't done anything wrong, and there's nothing wrong with me.  Furthermore, there's nothing wrong with being single and 33.

+++++

We face the world the single way every single day, and we don't back down. We don't let the idea of going to dinner alone intimidated us. We don't let the threat of bumping into an ex stop us from going to a party with our heads held high. We walk a path that forces us to step out of our comfort zones constantly. It's a path that a majority of the women we grew up with and acted as bridesmaids for will never have to walk. The journey of a single woman is not an easy one, but we welcome the unknown. We embrace our freedom as the gift that it is. We pay our own way, we march to the beat of our own drum, and we ask permission from no one to do so.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  All of this.  I think some people think I envy those who met their match and married young. I don't.  I'm glad it worked out for them, but I don't think it would have worked for me.  Being single has allowed me to really find out who I am and how strong I am. It's definitely not always easy though.  Going places as a single where there are otherwise only couples can make me feel like a major outsider.  On the flip side, I've been able to move to a different state, change jobs (by choice or by force), and explore new interests whenever and however I wanted.  I don't have to ask anyone how they feel about decisions I make.  I just get to make them and either learn from them or enjoy them.

+++++

Being Happily Single doesn't mean you've sworn off love. ... It simply means that you're determined to have a Happy Everything. It's recognizing that you don't need or want to be rescued from your life by a handsome prince because your life is pretty awesome as it is.

This is a battle I fight regularly.  I tell people I'm fine being single and they assume I want to stay single forever.  I have to work to explain that I'm leaving myself open to the option of finding love, but I'm not putting my life on hold in the meantime.  Quite the contrary.  I'm staying busy.  I'm living my life.  And I'm loving it.  When I meet the right person, I'll have a really fun life to share with him.

+++++

If you surrender your self-worth who doesn't see your true value, what happens when someone comes along who wants to give you what you're worth instead of what you'll settle for?

and

Think about it: If you have to chase a man or convince him why he should be with you, do you really want to be with him? You are far too fabulous to beg, crawl, manipulate, or convince. ... Someone out there will be so excited, thrilled, and honored to call you his girl that he would never string you along. But you'll never meet him as long as you're clinging to Mr. Wrong?

Wow. This hit me really hard. I've wasted so much time and energy trying to get people to appreciate me instead of just moving on when they didn't. Ugh.  I wish I could go back and do some things differently.

+++++

When things end with no warning and leave you feeling as though your world has flipped upside down, something greater is at work. The exit of that person, thing, or dream was a boarding pass to somewhere new, somewhere better, somewhere you need to be that you weren't going to reach without losing some of the baggage. Realize that if a door closed, it's because what was behind it wasn't meant for you.

This passage automatically think about the job I lost a year ago.  My ego is still very bruised over that whole ordeal.  I still don't understand why I wasn't good enough.  That said, I am thrilled with my new location, and while my job is not a long-term career option, it has introduced me to some awesome people and a whole new pool of opportunities.  I need to remember that I don't have to understand the plan.  I just have to go along with it.

+++++

It's tempting when we're facing big challenges, changes, or consequences to blame someone else for our actions .. or inaction. ... At the end of the day, however, regardless of who did what to you in the past, the only person responsible for your present is you. When all is said and done, we all go through things in life that, if we allowed them to, could destroy us, make us jaded or bitter, or cause us to throw in the towel. But we can make the choice to let tough times polish us instead of demolish us, refine us and not define us.

This is another thing I struggle with.  Especially when it comes to guys and relationships.  I have suffered some poor treatment and tough rejection in the past.  I know everyone has gone through that, and I'm sure some have been through worse than I have.  But that doesn't diminish what I experienced. Nor does it take away the feelings of fear and anxiety I feel when I like someone.  Amidst my excitement about him, I also have this nagging sense that he will believe or decide I'm not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, etc., for him.

+++++

Believe me, this is just a short list of the passages that struck me and my related thoughts. I finished this book days ago, and I am still thinking about it everyday.

So what am I going to do about what I read?

Well, I'm working to find that "dash of sass" that will help me let go of past pain, embrace new adventures, and celebrate all that is great about my single life.

But first ... I want to see how this book affected others. If you read it, please share your thoughts and link-up with us anytime between now and next Wednesday.


1 comment:

  1. This sounds great! I really wish I could give this book to some of my friends, but I know that would come off badly... But it's great advice and perspective. I'm with you-- I'm glad that I was single until my late twenties. I was able to figure out who I was and move places and experience things that is impossible to do when you have another person attached to you. (And forget having little people then attached to you...)

    I had that same fear though-- that I wouldn't be pretty enough or skinny enough or whatever enough for a man to want to be with me. But that (obviously) turned out not to be the case. When it's the right guy, none of that will matter. Everything you are will be "enough."

    Glad to hear that the book spoke to you-- from what you've posted, it really sounds wonderful.

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