Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Let Freedom Ring

Another summer is officially under our flip flops. Our snow shovels are tucked safely into the far corner of the garage, and the coolers and chaises have been brought out. Coronas for all my friends! Time to start planning the 4th of July extravaganzas and making those vacation plans if you haven’t already. School is out – let freedom ring! Funny to see the words ‘freedom’ and ‘ring’ in the same sentence.  I know a lot of people who think that once the ring goes on, the freedom goes off.

Speaking of rings, the BIG DAY is quickly approaching. On September 13, I will relinquish my ‘Ms’ status and become a ‘Mrs’ for the first time ever. Single space no more! I’ve gotta admit; it is a wee bit nerve racking. I have been reigning monarch, Queen Independent, for many, many years.  Don’t get me wrong, XXL totally appreciates Queen Independent Lori, but sometimes my independence freaks him out a little. Honestly, it freaks me out sometimes also. Prior to shacking up with XXL, I had grown accustomed to taking care of myself – I don’t just mean getting my lip waxed and my nails done. I mean taking care of EVERYTHING to include carrying groceries in, assembling Ikea furniture, fixing minor plumbing issues, taking out the garbage, etc. I did whatever I had to do. I didn’t always like it, but I thought it was part and parcel of being single. Taking care of everything myself became second nature. It’s like muscle memory – it’s a reflex action. There are occasions when my muscle memory gets me in trouble with XXL.  For example, I recently pulled into the driveway with my Element loaded down with boxes from Costco. Before XXL was out the door to help, I had everything unloaded. “You don’t even need a man, do you?” Hmmm. Of course, I don’t NEED a man, but it is really nice to know that I’ve got one who wants to take care of me. I forget sometimes. Even worse – I forget XXL needs to do these things for me. It’s part of his DNA. It really does go back to the caveman days of hunters and gatherers.

Single ladies, as much as you relish your independence, it’s also good to ease up on the gas a little. Take a deep breath and a step back and realize that you don’t have to do E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G for yourself all the time. Let someone step in every once in a while and help you. Even if you’re not in a relationship, practice allowing others into your space to lend a hand. All that’s required of you is a simple “thank you.” We all know you CAN do it ALL, but sometimes it’s nice to show others that you know and understand that they can do it too. Brace yourself – they might not do it exactly how you would have done it, but that’s OK too. Please let that be okay. You can remake the bed after they leave and/or dust it again if you have to later. Note: Freeing yourself from perfection is a whole column in itself. Allowing people to do things for you is an act of trust. It’s a little scary sometimes, but it’s also very freeing. Trust me. I know. I never thought I had trust and/or commitment issues until I plunged into my relationship with XXL. Truth be told, I often find myself positioning guards at the moat in an effort to safeguard Queen Independent, but then I realized that being in the castle all alone really isn’t that much fun.

I have single friends who know this already so my words are pointless. They are the Queens of Ladydom. They are the handkerchief droppers. They create occasions for men to take care of them. In other words, they encourage men to be men.  That automatically makes them Grand Duchesses of Sexy Flirtation. Somehow that gene was missing from my DNA. It may be because I grew up with an army of men. (Something else to blame my parents). I think I’m pretty feminine in a lot of areas (see lip waxing above), but my lessons in Ladydom stopped at applying lipstick apparently. My version of flirting was witty, sarcastic banter after I changed my own tires or trying to be a guy’s drinking buddy in the hopes he would drink enough to notice my perfectly applied lipstick. Neither of which garnered me much long-term success. I was always great at looking feminine and flirty, but the game was lost as soon as I opened my mouth. On any given weekend, I would spend hours shopping for the perfect outfit, shaving my legs, doing my hair, putting on my make up, etc. I was great at being a girly girl from that perspective. I’d head out to the bars with my girlfriends, and from the moment we walked through the doors, you would think they had NY strips tied around their necks with signs that said ‘free beer’ attached to their blouses. While I stood at the bar making small talk with the geriatric contingent, they would be encircled by the Matthew McConaughey’s of Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Pub. They would be tossing their hair back, laughing at bad jokes, sipping the fruits of their flirting labor while I was scratching my head second guessing my choice of shoes. It was maddening. I couldn’t control it, and I couldn’t figure it out.  We were all pretty and smart – no one prettier or smarter than the other. Feeling defeated, I’d go home and paint my living room or fix the running toilet in the guest bathroom.

Things changed for me when I met XXL because I immediately felt safe and trusting with him. As our dates progressed, I let him really see me. The moment I fell in love was when we were driving somewhere in his Tahoe and he looked over at me and said, “Lori – I get it. I see what makes you special. I’m not sure how those other guys missed it.” He smiled his goofy grin and said, “I guess that just makes me smarter than all of them.” Eighteen months later, he put a ring on it and freed me from my castle.

Written by: Lori Welch

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