My change in status, from married woman hoping to have children to single, (almost) divorced childless woman has sparked a whole host of growing pains and discomforts for me. I now find myself in a completely different category, and at times I think that others aren’t quite sure what to do with me, what to talk about with me (no husband, no kids, hey, let’s talk about my dog!!!!) and I’m sure it’s not unrelated that many times I’m unsure about what to do with myself.
This is not as true with people I know well, but comes up with a vengeance with new introductions.
As a married woman, people knew how I “fit.” As a single woman well out of her carefree twenties, well, it seems I don’t quite fit into society’s roles and rules. And the fact that I am not alone in my position, the fact that there are countless other women in my shoes, so to speak, does not really change the fact that there is a bit of awkwardness in the small-talk circle. You have a husband and/or kids: they know what to do with you. You don’t: um, so how’s your job?
And I am coming face to face with the fact that I myself used to see (still see?) single and/or divorced women my age as somewhat pathetic. Now I have crossed over to this category, and my own belief system has become exposed. As Hirshmann and Munter say, “The world that exists outside of us exists within us as well.” The prejudices of the world have been stamped in my brain and have become my own. Unlearning them will be a big part of becoming comfortable in this new space called my life.