Single woman sitting at a cafe table holding a mug
Aurora Starr

Table for one, the single girl strikes back!

Recently, during a not-short-enough visit with relatives back in the mid-west, I was reminded again (both subtly and palpably) that being single in your thirties is nothing short of scandalous. Yes, in 2019 an unmarried, happy, single gal in her thirties is still target practice for the misery, conjecture and theories of others. Yet, here’s the thing, I am single by choice. You know what else? I like my life.

Many complain about being single, obsessing over how much they dislike going through life alone. They grumble about how much it sucks to be by yourself and to not have a life to share. You know what really sucks? Having to hear about how much better your life would be if you just met the right person or having to listen to someone drone on about “soul mates” is sad at best and kind of creepy overall. Did I mention it’s 2019? This is still a thing?

Regarding this tired subject, I’ve been called uptight, snarky, unlovable, a bitch, and my personal favorite, a FemiNazi. Do better, people. Me? I’m doing fine. I have friends. I still date regularly – with occasional great sex. I work and belong to a local social-justice organization. My happiness tank is filled, and I’m surely not worried about <Gasp!> spinsterhood and neither should you.

If you are single, stop worrying about why you’re single. Sit back and enjoy the ride on your terms. You’re going to be just fine.  Here are some reasons (not in any particular order) why I remain sans partner, some satirical but all based on personal choice.

  1. I can’t even commit to the question, “What’s for lunch?”

I don’t know if the salad bar or a Flintstones-sized slab of ribs is in my immediate future. How am I supposed to commit to a living, breathing person? How, I ask, how?

  1. I would rather stay home than go out.

Hang out at the bar or be tucked warmly in my bed? Hmm…Currently, my nights are well spent with Sabrina, Moira Rose and Jon Snow. I gather with them at the Church of Netflix. ‘Nuff said.

  1. Speaking of my bed, I value having it all to myself rather than sharing.

Sharing is caring? Not with my sheets and pillows. Why should I choose a side of the bed when I can have a free range mattress? Sex with the occasional “sleep over” is fine, but I’d rather use the extra space for books, laundry and unopened mail.

  1. Relationships require a whole lotta work.

I already have a job. Besides, I reviewed the application and I’m just not all that interested. I have no time for games, politics, patience, or getting to like you.

  1. I love my best friends, isn’t that enough?

I’ve already built a level of trust and security with a few good eggs. Why would I mess that up by introducing someone into my circle who will likely not match the needs filled by my girlfriends? Yes, there’s sex, but we’ve already covered that one.

  1. Spending the evening holding…

 …a non-judgmental jug of wine or a quart of Moose Tracks? That sounds like an outstanding level of both commitment and intimacy – delicious, unconditional and definitely no lulls in the conversation. Problem solved.

  1. I don’t want to meet your family or friends.

If I wanted a room full of people to judge and criticize me I’d go back home to visit my relatives (see the first paragraph of this post).

  1. And finally, I absolutely, positively do not want you to meet my family.

This is a rinse and repeat of my previous reason. The only thing more frightening to me than meeting your family is you meeting mine.

If you are in a committed, loving relationship, good for you and go for it. Beat the odds and remain together for 50 plus years. I really am a sentimentalist at heart, but that’s not for me. I’m good in my current space and time. Should you decide to remain single, stand by your decision, be ready for push back, and enjoy the extra room in your closet and bed.

Shine brightly,
Aurora


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of eTalkTherapy. Aurora Starr is a freelance writer, NOT a therapist, and her views, thoughts and opinions are her own. Aurora’s blog may not be suitable for all audiences.


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Aurora StarrAbout the author: Aurora Starr is a freelance writer and connoisseur of all things dipped in love and deep fried in soul. She lives in Northern California, but hails from the heartland of Ohio. Aurora writes on topics ranging from love to pop culture to psychology and sex, with the occasional soapbox diatribe.

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Aurora Starr

Was It Something I Said?

By Aurora Starr

I rarely apologize anymore. Why? Because saying you’re sorry is the new black. “Sorry” means nothing if it is overused, disingenuous or a faux plea of ignorance. Today so many feel compelled to apologize ad nauseum. “I’m sorry for eating the last slice.” No, you’re not. “I’m sorry, BUT…” Wow, that’s heartfelt. “I’m sorry for hitting on your best friend.” No, you’re sorry you got caught.

So, when a person commented in typical social media fashion (one or two brief sentences with no backup or backbone) on one of my recent posts, I was not surprised. I was called: “Petty, immature and unoriginal.

Well, my first reaction was to reply to her comment with an old and timeless classic of my own: “F**k you.” Perhaps my manners won out, or maybe the Vodka hadn’t kicked in yet, but my sober mind prevailed and I refrained from joining her in verbal fisticuffs. Then came the second and final sentence of her insightful manifesto, “I can’t believe this person is a therapist.” First of all, I never claimed I was. Had she bothered to read the entire blog or any number of my other posts, she would have figured that one out all on her own. However, her uninformed remark did force the editors of this blog to post a disclaimer about my non-therapist credentials. I don’t blame them. It seems people are overly sensitive these days. Or are they?

I WILL STATE THE FOLLOWING IN BIG LETTERS SO THE TROLLS WILL UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST.  DO NOT WASTE MY TIME OR THE EDITORS’ TIME BY TRYING TO MAKE IT ONE. I’m not treading on your First Amendment Rights, either. You have an opinion? Wonderful and good for you! Now go share it with the people who already think like you. There, I’m done. Happy places, everyone. Happy places, I say!

Maybe it isn’t that people are more sensitive these days. Maybe it’s that people have bigger and multiple platforms with which to tell you the effects of your actions and words or at least their opinions about them. People haven’t suddenly become more sensitive, they have suddenly become able to let you know how they feel or what they think in real time. Opinions are not inherently bad, but they aren’t facts either. This isn’t new and it isn’t groundbreaking. What is interesting is that opinions are like apologies, they mean nothing if they are not thought out, contain less than three actual sentences or consist exclusively of preconceived talking points.

The world hasn’t changed, but the amount of meaningless fodder you have about it has. Regardless of what your opinion is on whether or not people are overly sensitive isn’t much more different now than it was before. It’s just that now Bob in Kansas (#Sorry Bob and Kansas…) can co-opt someone else’s platform to spout off whatever he likes or dislikes, and it may not be something we agree with or, in fact, may be misinformed, racist, sexist or just plain stupid. Thanks, Bob.

If the current trends in our culture have taught me anything it is this, we have ignored each other for far too long. I want a fair exchange of ideas, not talking points. Discourse and civilization thrive when we engage in respectful dialogue, and not through impulsive reactions to a blog post written from personal lived experiences. In short, you don’t get to throw shit on my “wall” and then walk away. Can we instead talk and learn from each other? If your answer is yes, then I am in. And for this I will never say “Sorry.”

Shine brightly,
Aurora

Please note: The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of eTalkTherapy. Aurora Starr is a freelance writer, not a therapist, and her views, thoughts and opinions are her own. However, if you are easily offended then Aurora’s blog may not be for you. 

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Aurora Starr

Middle of the Road, What Crisis?

By Aurora Starr

Common mythos dictates that when a bell rings an angel gets his wings, and correspondingly when a woman turns 40 a cougar is born. It’s unclear to me how men were given a pass on not having their midlife years branded with some analogous wild-critter reference.

Men get new sport cars or over-sized urban assault vehicles, or new “hair,” and the inevitable young blonde from the marketing department with the lively boobage. Oh, and that office relationship started off as the bullshit of all pop-psychology terms “an emotional affair.” Midlife women often get unfairly tagged as older horn dogs or bitches who pursue younger men in search of wanton sex to fill their empty and sad lives. That’s not to say some of these women don’t exist. Who doesn’t know some surgically altered, Forever 21 shopping, “milf” or milf wannabe? Let’s be real. Yet, isn’t it sad that we need such labels to begin with, especially for females?

I am still a few miles away from the signpost that is 40, but I am close enough that I still get some peculiar and often rude questions that are the curse of being a single gal in her waning 30s.

Did you know some women are having their first baby in their forties these days?” They are! That’s awesome! They must be so hashtag Blessed! Since I won’t be there for a few years, can I sign-up now for my little bundle of pre-menopausal joy?

Still haven’t found Mr. Right?” Excuse me, but maybe my love meter doesn’t necessarily light up just for men. It does, but let me parry this assumption for a moment. If Mister or Miss Right does exist (and he/she doesn’t), I was clearly having too much fun at Madam Spinster’s School of Old-Maidery to give a shit.

I’ve been thinking about getting my first tattoo…does that count? I traveled to some exotic places a few years ago…does that count? I take care of my cats… I rarely bounce checks… I am very much aware that my 30s are nearing their sad, sad, sad demise. What have I achieved? I’ve been adulting for almost twenty years. Shouldn’t I be more secure in what and who I am? Isn’t that the way it is? For who? For me? Well, I feel just fine.

Is 40 such a big deal? Is it the new 30? How much more time do I have left? If I’ve got 30 or 40 years with luck, will I be healthy for most of them and be able to do the things I want to do? What do I want to accomplish? Well, the short answer is I want to give, learn, explore and be helpful in the second and final chapter of my life. There is no master plan, but I think trying to be a civil, honest and giving person may just have its own rewards. But hey, who knows, maybe I’ll adjust my love meter and hit up that young blonde from marketing.

Shine brightly,
Aurora

Please note: The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of eTalkTherapy. Aurora Starr is a freelance writer, not a therapist, and her views, thoughts and opinions are her own. However, if you are easily offended then Aurora’s blog may not be for you. 

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Aurora Starr

Gaslighting and the Single Girl

by Aurora Starr

I spend way too much time observing others. It’s both a curse and a gift. I’m certain this activity could be pathologized in some way, given the right psychiatrist on the wrong day. “A maladaptive attempt to give her boredom an outlet…Does not play well with others or reality.” Not that I could actually do anything productive with my annotations other than voice them on occasion with the readers of this blog. However, I do think there is value in being able to read others well, even for the sake of feeding my maladaptive daydreaming disorder (I’m not certain that’s even a thing, but I’m sure it will be).

Gaslighting 101

So color me mystified that in spite of my best observations and guardedness a full-time gaslighter recently managed to seep into my personal life. I’m certain you know at least one of these toxic jackasses, who is probably within throwing distance now as you read this (not that I’m advocating violence), but just in case here are a few general things to be aware of when dealing with someone who gaslights for a living:

  • The only time they are not lying is when their mouths are shut or they are not typing a text.
  • They lie to others on your behalf. Then they make you think that the lie originated with you.
  • Their mistakes, poor choices or problems are now yours.
  • They manipulate your feelings and thoughts.
  • They shut you out, cast doubt on you, and minimize your feelings when they are approached.
  • Their recall of events is dramatically different than yours and your recall is then questioned.
  • You grow increasingly anxious and depressed when thinking about this person.
  • They will not own any of these traits, characteristics or behaviors. It’s someone else’s fault.

To anyone who has experienced this type of person or persons, I’m sorry.

You deserve better. If you have someone in your life who gaslights, lose this person as quickly as possible before you lose yourself. Now let’s talk about the term itself. I’m not a mental health professional because, well, I’m not. It’s not my calling. However, when you think about it, someone who “gaslights” would have been called a manipulative, lying asshole some years ago before everything needed a diagnostic code or reframed in a way that was appealing and lucrative to a mass of pharmaceutical companies and researchers. My point is this, gaslighting or any of the so-called Personality Disorders are pure hokum and just shitty science. I’ m not going to substantiate that claim here. I don’t have to. Go research it yourself.

Hold your letters and pitchforks, please.

I’m not suggesting that all mental health issues are hogwash, but I know enough to tell you that the American Psychiatric Association has created a self-perpetuating, self-serving category of “disorders” for personality types. A few of these include Nacassitic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Obsessive Personality Disorder. It would seem that these traits and characteristics are rolled together in a gray area where psychiatry and psychology lose all their credibility. Medications and most behavior modification for a personality disorder are useless and again continue the belief that everything must be explained away by science, even being a manipulative jerk. There are people out there hurting. They have real problems. Focusing on personality disorders or researching “gaslighters” takes time and funding away from the work that needs to be done in the areas of depression, schizophrenia, trauma and anxiety, just to name a few. You know, real stuff? Not a disorder to allow a selfish (insert your own colorful metaphor here) off the hook. Can we please all agree that not every person needs to be defined by some sort of pathology?

Regarding my recent encounter with someone who gaslights? She knows who she is, and I hope that someday she will want to change. I doubt it though. I cut her from my life completely. Insight comes through self-exploration and an ability to take responsibility for my actions. Awareness doesn’t grow on trees or come in pill form, but it does help if my life has meaning beyond hurting others as way to validate my existence. If my being is dependent on how well I spin my narrative then it’s time to rethink who I am.

Shine bright,
Aurora

Please note: The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of eTalkTherapy. Aurora Starr is a freelance writer, not a therapist, and her views, thoughts and opinions are her own. However, if you are easily offended then Aurora’s blog may not be for you.