A Day of Independence

Woman wearing dory shirt by JulieAnn Corbin

My Dory shirt says “Keep Calm and Nope Lost It” 😉

As this isn’t my year to have my daughters on the 4th of July, I have a day of independence that I’m using to get work done. The girls and I already celebrated the holiday by going to my mom’s for dinner on Saturday and then standing out on my deck to watch the fireworks display from my neighbor two houses down. Nothing beats being able to stand outside in the dark in my pajamas on my own deck and see a stunning array of fireworks. I didn’t have to worry about parking or crowds and when the show was over, we could all just go to bed.

I’ve already accomplished two major tasks this morning because I wanted to beat the heat. I trimmed my front bushes (I call them my arch nemesis) without any major injury and then mowed the weeds down in my back yard. My grass hasn’t grown much due to lack of rain and that’s fine with me because I don’t like mowing, but the tall weeds were making it look a bit too much like a field. The front yard has a similar issue but not as bad, so it can wait for another day. It was already 80 degrees when I finished yard work at 11 a.m. and with very few clouds, it was getting hot fast.

wild front bushes by JulieAnn Corbin

My front bushes before trimming.

trimmed front bushes by JulieAnn Corbin

My front bushes after trimming.

lawn with weeds by JulieAnn Corbin

My not very green back yard with tall mystery “weeds”

lawn mowed by JulieAnn Corbin

My back yard mowed.

I’ve now showered to remove all of the bush trimmings and blown dirt and grass from my hair and body and I feel human again. I will be spending the rest of the day writing freelance so I have less to write when I have my daughters. It’s a challenge working from home in the summer because the girls groan when I say I have to write, but I do my best to limit the hours I work when I have them and I take breaks to spend time with them.

I hope that someday my daughters will understand that they’re the main reason I started working from home and realize that I did it to have more time with them. Stealing away a few hours every day to work in my bedroom while they play in the living room is far better than being away from them for an entire day working in an office toward someone else’s dreams. I’m doing my best to show them that it’s possible to have a job you love and not just survive as an independent woman, but also thrive and be happy.

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Walking Alone

view from top of hill

I’m good at being alone. I didn’t used to be, but I am now. Do I think that’s a bad thing? No, not really. Did I used to think it was a bad thing? Oh yes, of course. However, life has taught me how important it is to be good on my own rather than thinking I’m somehow incomplete because I’m single. I have been an independent woman for several years now and I’ve become quite good at taking care of myself and others and I’m proud of that, but I do not believe that humans are meant to be solitary creatures forever.

It’s important to understand that I’m not always alone. I have my daughters for half the week and my adoring animals at home always. Although I may be physically alone at times when I’m away from home, I am never truly alone as my ancestors and the universe are always with me, watching me, guiding me.

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time I started taking walks alone. I had been walking Jazzmin twice a day and that’s great exercise for both of us, but I really needed some “me” time. I love Jazz and she’s a great pup, but she’ll always be on the lookout for squirrels, birds, other dogs, cats, bugs, leaves and anything else that can easily distract her and because of that, I’m always on my toes when I walk her and not entirely relaxed. With the weather turning nicer and the days growing longer, I concluded that it was possible to take Jazz on a nice, long walk and then take myself on a nice, long walk alone and then we would both feel happily fulfilled.

Therefore, on the most recent warm, spring day we had a couple weeks ago, I walked Jazzmin in the late morning and that made her day. Once I finished my work that evening, I then placed Jazz in her crate with her peanut butter filled Kong and radio playing and set out on my own. I don’t listen to music when I’m walking Jazz because I have to listen for critters, but on my own I happily put in my earbuds and let the beat of the music set my pace.

There was a steady breeze that day (as there always seems to be lately) but the sun was shining and it was warm enough for me to wear shorts. As I tend to burn easily, I’d slathered on a fresh coat of SPF protection to prevent the lobster look. My hair was up in a ponytail and it bounced from side to side as I found my stride and took on the walk up the big hill.

me and my shadow

Just me and my shadow

As I walked, I breathed in the fresh, spring air and kept my gaze ever upward at the beautiful sky. Even though I had my earbuds in, I could still hear the familiar songs of birds and I watched them as they happily flew about in their spring mating rituals. While I walked the road alone, I felt my father and ancestors with me, walking with me, lifting my spirit. Shortly after summoning such thoughts to my mind, two hawks emerged from the trees ahead of me and began circling slowly in the sky, rising gracefully toward the clouds. A reminder from the universe that I’m never truly alone and that when I release my stubborn independence long enough to ask for help, I will receive it.

By the end of my four-mile walk, I was both tired and exhilarated as I wore a huge smile and felt as if my entire body was glowing. I’d used those four miles alone to sort through all kinds of thoughts and feelings and re-familiarize myself with how amazing I am, how amazing we all are. I’m not afraid to walk alone and I never will be, but I imagine eventually I’ll want company of the male persuasion that can keep up with all aspects of me and not just the walking pace I set. The thing about that to remember though is that although someone else may walk with you on your path, the journey is yours alone to take.

…Hear Me Roar

zebra print top

My father always used to love to sing the words “I am woman, hear me roar!” somewhat off-key and in a joking way when my mother or I would do something particularly fierce. He did it in an amused and amusing way but I know he was impressed by the power of us Corbin women. You don’t mess with a Corbin woman, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

My force of reckoning was tested this evening as I battled issues with my shower yet again. The pressure to the shower head suddenly reduced to a trickle last night. While many people pay ridiculous amounts of money for waterfall or gentle rain showers, having to wash in what equated to a light sprinkle was time-consuming and frustrating. I was too tired to fight with it last night though so I saved it for this evening after my workout.

The mount for the old shower head had been stuck on the pipe since I moved into the house. I managed to swap out all but that one part with a new shower head. I’d tried wrenches, pleading, grumbling and pouting but that darn thing wouldn’t come off. Well tonight I’d had enough. I could tell the reduced water pressure was being caused by that one part and I was determined to get it off. When I’m determined to do something, best step aside.

With some ingenuity involving tweezers that now bend the wrong direction, I was able to FINALLY loosen that mount enough to remove it! I was so ecstatic, I gave out a triumphant whoop and almost did an end zone dance in my bathroom! I was able to reassemble everything with my newer shower head and ta-da! The water pressure issue was resolved and I had a lovely, full strength shower that washed away my workout “glistening.”

It’s incredibly empowering for me when I accomplish tasks that some more “delicate” women think they need a man for or hire a plumber to deal with. I’ve learned over the years that if you want something done right, you do it yourself!

I’m a unique creature and have barely touched upon the strength I possess. There’s only one me but I wish more women were like me. Willing to embrace their own power, their own abilities, not forever looking for a man to “rescue” them and do all the “hard” work. By always relying on someone else to be their strength, they never realize their own potential, they never see the greatness within themselves. They never give themselves a chance to truly share that greatness with someone else while still being a whole and complete person.

The road I’ve chosen to walk as a single woman, single mother isn’t for everyone. It takes a mixture of faith, luck, stubbornness, tenacity, determination and rebellion. It’s a bold and often misunderstood move to stand up and say that no, I’m not just giving myself over to someone. I deserve someone who will fight for me, all of me, not just the parts they like. Someone who understands that standing on equal footing is the only way to move forward together…well, if he can keep up with me that is…

Redefining the Single Woman

As someone familiar with online dating sites, I’ve gotten the impression that there are certain assumptions about single women, especially those on online dating sites. There seems to be the assumption that they must be desperate, picky, looking for sex, only attractive in still photos…or all of the above.

I have been rather surprised to discover that single men my age want a woman my age (though usually younger) who doesn’t have kids. I don’t really know how many women my age don’t have children. I only know my circumstances. I get that a lot of men aren’t into the idea of “the whole package” that already includes kids. Their profile says they “want kids someday” but apparently, those kids have to be genetically there’s in order to fit the bill. They’re entitled to their preferences just as I’m entitled to mine.

I do wonder though, does anyone really understand how many dimensions there are to today’s “single woman”? There are so many reasons why a woman is still single and I assure you, there’s nothing wrong or broken about being a single woman. A woman might be single because:

She’s so busy with her career she knows it would be unfair to attempt any sort of romantic relationship.

She suffers from unrequited love and chooses being alone over trying to find someone else she knows she’ll never love.

She endured an unhappy marriage and has no desire to venture down that road again.

She prefers the company of her pets because they don’t mind that she hangs out in yoga pants even when not doing yoga.

She loves the feel of having a bed all to herself.

She doesn’t want to have to answer to anyone else for why she does what she does.

The idea of being ignored on “game day” really doesn’t appeal.

She has children and she doesn’t want to introduce them to men who won’t stick around.

She’s never actually tried “the bar scene” and has absolutely no desire to.

She’s waiting for the tragic…er romantic comedy that is her life to have its happy ending.

She figures if playing “hard to get” is the way to win a guy then playing “impossible to get” should lure the entire male population.

She likes never worrying that she’ll fall into the toilet in the middle of the night because the seat is up.

Men are too blind to see what an amazing creature she is and how deserving she is of love.

There was no real rhyme or reason to any of that. Just the musings of a single woman with a talent for observing the world around her. Agree or disagree, call the reasons bitter, cliché, stereotypical or outright ridiculous but I bet they ring true for some other single gals out there. I will tell you this though; today’s single chick is one tough cookie that comes from her own unique and beautiful recipe.