Friday, January 7, 2011

What’s going to become of me?

When I grow up…

I wanted to be an actress. I spent over 10 years in NYC pursuing that dream. It was a magical time in my life. Everything was fresh and new. And dreams…dreams were alive, breathing and attainable.

After many years of pounding the pavement I decided to release that dream and create a new one for my life and although it was sad I could envision a new life. I could move on…

Throughout my time of running down this dream, I always pictured myself meeting the one, getting married and having babies. I can clearly remember the visions I would have of me at different points in my life (late 20’s, early 30’s, mid 30’s) pregnant. And until this day, even though it now seems impossible, I still picture myself with a toddler and an infant on my hip. These visions are almost a given. Not really a dream but path in my life I knew I was going to take. It is a part of who I am.

But now I often wonder what is going to become of me if I never fall in love again. I often wonder what is going to become of me if I don’t succeed in my quest to become a mother. Can you move on with a missing part?

At the bar I work in there used to be this woman who would come in and hit on all the young guys. She would walk around the bar pressing herself up against any guy that would let her. And believe me they would let her. Her name was Judy and Judy clearly had some figure enhancing surgery of the extra large variety done and Judy was definitely older. But she wore tiny little clothes to show off her extra large enhancements. She would rub her extra large enhancements up against the young guys, flip her hair and make the “duck face” by pursing her lips together. All of this in an effort to get some guy to go home with her (or at least to buy her a drink). I used to watch Judy and think she was sad. She had no one. Here was a woman (to my best guess) when she was younger probably had men falling all over her and now, now that she was older, she was desperate for the attention. Watching Judy always made me sad. What was Judy’s story? Did she have love and lose it? Did men just always use her and she never found love and if I remain single and never find the one could a life without love lead me to be Judy?

I wonder if I am ever going to fall in love again. And without it…Without love...Without that hand that touches mine to say “You’re safe!” Without that smile I catch as I look up that says “I’m yours!” and without the whispers of “I love you!” in my ear will I ever be truly happy? Without love will I turn into Judy, desperately seeking affection? Will you find me in some bar throwing myself at any guy who will let me in some hopeless bid to not be alone?

There’s another woman who comes into the bar; Coffee Lady. She’s the complete opposite of Judy. She comes in with a cup of “to go” coffee (she got somewhere else) and sits quietly at one of the tables. She’s unkempt. She’s unsocial. If you didn’t know any better you would think she’s homeless. She harmless but in some ways she makes me uncomfortable. I am not sure of her story. Someone at one time or another told me she was that way from doing drugs and that she’s been this way for a long time and lives with her mother. She is isolated. Lost. I walked up to her one time to offer her some coffee and she turned to me a smiled. And when she did, her smile was eerie, almost scary and her eyes were sad and lonely.

Is this what happens when you don’t have a family of your own? Is this what happens when you have no purpose but to wander into different stores all day long in hopes of getting a cup of coffee? And if I never have a family of my own will I find myself isolated and lost? Wandering around in a world of emptiness?

We all know the jokes about the “Crazy Cat Lady”; the woman that has 10, 15, 20 cats. I have 2. I have 2 cats. I am 42 and single and I have 2 cats. I can usually deal out the jokes with the best of them. You know that an older woman with cats must either be gay or the “Crazy Cat Lady”. And I joke around saying that it’s only a matter of time before I have a house overrun by cats. And when I see stray kittens around my condo complex, I want to take them in. I make a conscious effort not to look directly at them because I am sure if their little, sad, lost, cold and lonely eyes catch mine I will have no choice but to take them home.

Is this what happens when your desire to be a mom is so strong but never gets fulfilled? Do you go around taking in stray after stray after stray to try to fill your maternal instincts? And if I never become a mom will you find me obsessively hording pets?

My Grandma H passed away on April 8th 2008. She was 95 years old. The last 10 years of her life (let’s face it, it was probably more like 15) she spent debilitated with Alzheimer’s. My Grandpa passed away in 1972. 36 years before Grandma H. She never remarried. My grandmother had suitors (that’s what she called them “suitors”) but she would always say “I had my husband”. She could have had another 30 year marriage. Not lived alone. I often wonder if the being alone and wishing for days gone by attributed to her Alzheimer’s. I wonder if living in the past became a better alternative than trying to live in such a cold, lonely present and even lonelier future.

Having a family is not a dream that has to be released. This is a piece of me. Can I live without this piece? But more importantly will I want to?

If I don’t find love, if I never become a mother will I completely lose hope in the future so that all I can do is live in the past?

And as the days approach to finding out whether or not my last IVF cycle is going to work I find myself wondering “What’s going to become of me?”



  1. There are people I've encountered, especially when I was younger, that I had the same thought.... they were lonely, looking for attention in various ways.... don't let me become someone like that. You did a great job describing my fears!

  2. I regularly look at my mom and hope I do not end up like her. I also look at some teacher friends who are single or divorced without kids and worry. Where will we all end up? Who will care or some visit us if we wind up in nursing homes? The fear is very real and you described it so well.

  3. I share so many of your thoughts and fears. Only with me it's dogs. I made a conscious decision to limit myself to 2 dogs or else I know I'd take in every cute puppy I came across. I am so afraid that I will end up alone. Right after I made the decision to pursue Single Parenthood I had with this horrible thought that I was admitting defeat and resigning myself to being single for the rest of my life. I'm still hoping that I meet someone, but also hoping that I'll be okay if I don't.

  4. These are my exact fears. I just want to be "normal" and not have to be the girl who got desperate or settled. Or worse yet, I don't want to be bitter and angry everytime I see a cute family. I have 3 cats and one Dog, so the crazy cat lady thoughts are there in the back of my head. Beautifully written!

  5. I'm saying this to myself as much as you: There are other meaningful choices! Your life can have meaning without a husband and motherhood, can have love and affection and joy and belonging. It's harder in our super "independent" western culture I think, but we can live with others if we choose, build a strong network of community, do things that make us feel alive and passionate, share our gifts with others. AND I believe that, though we can't control the husband part, we absolutely can become a mother one way or the other if we know that this is our destiny. I am just starting to consider adoption as a path for me, though haven't given up on biological yet. I'm 42. You're post touches me, and I want to give you the hope that I carry myself and that another recently encouraged in me.

  6. Your words are so real, girl. I have the same fears and questions. I don’t want to be a crazy cat lady either!

  7. What an amazingly wonderful and honest post this is. I've felt those same fears before, too. I think the difference in you (and the rest of us!) compared to the women that you mention is that you have the courage to go out there try for what you really want. They didn't.

  8. I cannot imagine for one second that you won't ever fall in love again friend. I believe it is out there for you... hopefully for me too. Because I have the same exact fears, and while it is so easy to see the possibility for someone else; sometimes it is so hard to see it for yourself!

  9. Look at Mother Teresa, and many singles all over the world who have found great purpose-I know many personally. You may not be a mother to one, but you can bring peace and love to many children who don't know it. You don't have to me a nun- there are many volunteers. Try shaking something up, you may find a great love and calling somewhere or meet someone. All who are lonely, read up on vocations! :D



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