Memoir #2 – On Being Single
09.16.2020 – After working on my second memoir for almost two years, now being in the middle of a pandemic, I decided that I will blog about it first. No editor, publisher, or Amazon. Depending on how it goes, I will decide what’s next, if these posts will become a second book.
09.23.2020 – After talking to a writer friend, I created an alternative start for the memoir. Instead of starting with my breakup with Chris, with dating. Now, this is going to be interesting. And fun! Because I am shuffling, the post numbers are not in a sequence anymore. I can’t promise that I won’t reshuffle again!
09.30.2020 – Renumbered all the posts. 🙂
To follow the story, here are what I have written and posted so far:
Part 1. Searching
- The First Date with Adam (#1)
- Getting Online (#2) -> From Messages to First Dates (#3)
- A Seemingly Perfect Relationship (#4) -> Small hints (#5)
- Setting Up a Home (#6) -> First Place (#7)
- Watching Movie, Working and Eating Alone (#8)
- Not Ready To Meet Men (#9)
In this memoir, I hope to share a different narrative for young women. Mine is the lesser-told story of a happy woman who, at the age of 45, is not married and does not have kids. I didn’t live my younger life in a conventional way either. By now, most of my friends are following more traditional paths. I know many wonderful couples with beautiful children. They have dated, found love, and are nurturing long-term relationships daily. They give their all to raising good kids. From the outside, their lives look ideal, perfect, and meaningful, but I have learned that, during tough days, some of them envy mine. I am not suggesting my path is better than theirs, but a woman can live a fulfilling life not doing what’s assumed to be the most typical and, therefore, best.
Throughout this story and with respect for the privacy of my girlfriends, they are collectively called “Rachel,” and their husbands and my male friends are called “Michael.” Stories of men I’ve dated have been altered, combined, or condensed, and no real names have been used.
I could die tomorrow, I thought immediately.
When I was twenty-three, I was living with my boyfriend Chris in the Back Bay. One night he was in bed already. I sat at the end of our bed getting ready to go to sleep. It was very quiet and dark in the room. I was changing into my pajamas. My arms crossed in front of me as I was taking off my shirt. My left arm brushed against my left breast, and I felt something as hard as a rock. An electric current went through my body immediately and automatically. What is that? I put down both my arms. I touched the spot again and felt the rock. Do I have cancer? Am I going to die? Should I quit my job? My thoughts raced. There was nothing more effective than death to deprioritize my job. I had to wake Chris. He dialed a nurse hotline to ask what I should do. Shortly after that discovery, I did a biopsy and received an inconclusive result. The doctor recommended surgery. I was in the hospital for one day. The “rock” was surgically removed and tested. It was a benign cyst. I was fine. But since that experience, from time to time, I would tell myself, “Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. So live today as best as I can!” This thought would be the consistent thread as I went through major life changes and when my gut felt I was not living my life as best as I could.
With that thought in the back of my mind, I lived my life in reverse order from the conventional timeline. At 20, I started my young adult life in a serious relationship. My first boyfriend spoke of marriage and kids, but, at 21, I was not ready for all that. Afterward, I immediately got into a second committed relationship. Between the ages of 20 to 28, I always had a boyfriend by my side. At 28, I broke up with my second boyfriend Chris, who I’d been dating for six years. This set me on a path to being single for the next decade. Around my thirtieth birthday, being alone triggered schizophrenia, which I wrote about in my first memoir Becoming Whole. After quickly recovering from my first major schizophrenic episode, I continued to live life as a single woman. It took some time and practice to live life well this way since I was used to being in relationships, which meant having someone with me all the time for everything. In parallel, schizophrenia lingered in the background while I wasn’t yet fully aware of my brain condition. At the age of 36, I considered being a single mother by choice, which resulted in my second major schizophrenic episode. At forty, I started dating. Five years later, I asked myself, why am I dating?
I might die tomorrow!