Saturday, 6 October 2018

Dear Single Parents

"Just Divorced", Dear Single Parents by Omar Cherif, One Lucky Soul

 Those who get married for the wrong reasons
often get
divorced for the right ones.

Dear single parents, allow me to tell you that it’s perfectly fine to love your children while at the same time not particularly enjoy the fact that you’re a single mother or father. Because some confuse between both, the children and the situation itself, leading them to spend a significant portion of their lives plagued by feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction. 

To compensate, a fake existence eventually starts to manifest. Believing they are defined by their situation, the single parent often feels a certain need to prove to the world — even to themselves — that they have never felt better, when the reality isn’t exactly so. This fake existence hence prevents them from seeking change or from doing something about it.

It is true that the quality of life of most of those who choose to go through a divorce is significantly improved compared to if they had stayed in the relationship, even if on the long run. And while divorce may not embody what anyone had initially planned, in many instances it could be the most liberating decision one could ever take. This, of course, does not include instances similar to the late Anna Nicole Smith marrying 89-year old J. Howard Marshall — despite the fact that her life was definitely significantly improved after the mans death. 

As shared before, sometimes I meet women I’ve known for a long time ago and can see something glowing about them, only to find out later that they had gone through divorce. They truly seem liberated and somewhat unleashed as I haven’t seen them in quite a while, perhaps ever. They also look happier and more at ease. And in that case, I can only think to meself: “You go, Girl. It’s obvious you really needed it.” If, then, we get a chance to talk, I usually find that on top of all these apparent changes there is some added wisdom as well — due to gained experience.

However, when children are involved in the equation divorce does not always liberate or unleash single parents. Often it is quite the opposite, actually; at least for a certain period of their lives. Perhaps for mothers in particular since it’s them who usually raise the kids. 

Besides, the visible appearances of the women in my example are what I get to see at a certain moment in time, the facade, rather than a limpid, unmuddled reflection of how they truly feel on the inside. Let alone the fact that, usually, we are not even close. Despite feeling happy for their newly acquired liberty, this glow does not imply that all or some of said women are leading problemless existences past divorce. Neither does the pimped look equate happiness or peace of mind. If one thing, it shows they have a found a certain calm amidst the storm, at least when in public.  

First thing to consider while pondering divorce is inadequacy and lack of experience. Most divorcees are not used to meeting the day-to-day parenting demands by themselves. In actuality, some don’t even know how to take care of a home without kids — so they end up going back to live with their parents after the divorce. In their minds, that certainly wasn’t the plan when they decided to tie the knot; even more so when she allowed him to pump his minuscule baby hims right into her baby-making factory.

The traditional plan, you see, was to share, to a certain degree, pretty much everything. And unlike the King Of The Jungle, raising the cubs is one of those shared responsibilities agreed upon beforehand. You hold his right hand while I hold his left one. You be the scary one who always yells ‘No’ while I’ll be the caring one they love and bond with. You know, division of labour. Whether this actually transpires in reality after marriage or after the first or second kid remains a different story.

But then divorce happens as a direct consequence of 50 percent of all marriages.
Dear Single Parents by Omar Cherif, One Lucky Soul
Now that’s what you call advertising

Following some divorces, then starts to develop a certain subconscious need to prove to the divorcee self, before the world, that the decision they had taken was the right one. When children are involved, this part is notoriously magnified, since the decision equally affects the lives of the little ones who depend on them, possibly affecting them forever. So as a defence mechanism, single parents are somewhat coerced into pretending to feel fine and dandy, all the time. They often do it without noticing. Today, social media is their go-to platform where they go to seek approval and validation. 

Where does this need to prove that you’re a perfectly happy single parent originates from, one may ask.
“Succumbing to pressure” is one answer. From society, from culture, religion, family, peers, male hormones, or a toxic combination of all. They obsess over being the perfect, functional single parent. Sometimes the pressure even makes them compete with the other parent in hope to win the heart of the young ones or the other members of the family(ies) — by giving them money or buying them stuff.

Naturally, the kind of pressure differs from one society around the world to the other and from one family to the next.

Within certain atavistic, patriarchal cultures we find that a divorced woman is still frowned upon. Not just her behaviour, looks, or the fact that she chooses to live alone, but her as a whole, as an idea. That is, if living by herself is a viable, or even legal option.

When we consider the fact that women in Saudi Arabia, for instance, are still being allowed to drive this year in 2018, we realise how different things remain in some places. They also cannot travel without the consent of a guardian. As if they are not human; as if they are owned like slaves or like a mere car or piece of furniture. Well in fact, they are considered somewhat of a property when you come to think about it. One of the things that are blatantly wrong with the world nowadays. Perhaps due to the Petrodollar and the Powers That Be who are dominating our world people have gradually become conditioned to turn blind eyes to such unfair and inhumane treatment.

Not too long ago in the Western World, women did not have the right to vote in elections. It took the suffragettes decades of protesting and fighting to reach that day. Before that, America was plagued by slavery. So as we can deduct, this level of exhausted ideologies takes generations to change.

Similar pressure exerted by these various entities compels some single mothers to disregard their own femininity — sensuality, sexuality, looks — past the divorce. They embody the Soccer Mama Hen role so well, they end up forgetting they are capable of performing other roles simultaneously, like that of a woman who fancies and misses the natural partnership with men... or women. In other words, they seem to forget they still got game.   

Nevertheless, whether in the East or the West, it seems that almost everyone is interested in how single parents should lead their lives, raise their kids, and find that allusive perfect balance — mental, emotional, economical. Not just that, but a portion of those “almost everyone” reserve the right to judge the parents. Again, it is safe to say that mothers are much more under the microscope since they are more likely to be the ones raising the children.

Now if you are a single parent, know that you, as much as everyone else, need to have ups and downs in your life. This is how you achieve your balance; between being a mother or father from one side and being a human with hopes and dreams and fantasies and orgasms from the other. You don’t owe your society or family or religion any explanation to show that the divorce was the right decision. Even if it wasn’t, it is your responsibility — and choice — to bear the consequences of your actions without preoccupying yourself with what others think. Equally without identifying with whatever happened. Do not be afraid to turn the page; there is a whole book ahead.

This is how our freedom is earned. How we are truly liberated from the centuries-old norms and the shackles of exhausted customs, traditions, and superstitions they embody. This is what the ‘Free’ in “Free Will” means: To create one’s own reality while keeping the following understanding in mind:

• Each of us dwells in their unique reality tunnel. 

 • We do not have to fight or shatter the paradigms, as their ways of thinking and being, of others to create our own. But rather, we create a novel one which will make the old one obsolete. A new way that perhaps only us could see. 

• We do not even have to confront or convince anyone with anything; neither should we attempt to change their minds.

This is the simple secret to self-transformation. Not just following divorce, but when dealing with any change for that matter. The key to Peace of Mind. 

You see, every scar, every wound, every heartbreak, every experience tells a story. The point is not to be defined by that story. Again, there is an entire book ahead: More chapters, more sub-chapters, more pages. A divorce is no different. When you’re the director of your own movie and the warrior of your own saga you learn how to let go and coddiwomple from one lesson to the other. For if we don’t define ourselves we’ll be defined according to others. 

As such, a true warrior is he or she who deals with the battles their journey throws at them by diving into them head first. Once they overcome the battles, they use them as stepping stones needed to metamorphose and to Become. They also do not hesitate to lend a helping hand to others who are still on their way on their own journey. For the strongest souls are those who help others through their storms while they themselves are going through their own.

On a parallel note, these earlier pieces on One Lucky Soul are about relationships, marriage/divorce, and parenting, which you may also enjoy checking out: The most recent Do Parents Know Best When it Comes to Our Life Choices?, then The Parents Dilemma, and What Nomad Lions Can Teach Us About Growing Through Life.

There is also the more dense and thorough Why I Choose to Remain a Non-Dad for Now — Reflections on Being Childless. I know, yes, quite a bit for someone who never got married and is not a parent. Mayhap that’s precisely why. I do, however, know a significant number of people who did get a divorce at some point in their life. And since learning through observation is one of the best teachers, I learned a whole lot just by observing and pinpointing all the existing and emerging patterns. That is of course in addition to all those who share their secrets with me.

In the end, Dear Single Parents: Realise this is YOUR life. This is YOUR journey. Own it and don’t let others tell you how to be — including myself. Never allow society, culture, religion, peers or family pressure you to make you feel guilty for wanting to enjoy this glorious life and what it has to offer. Love your children and be as truthful as you can with them. Yet also know that on the individual level, much more lies ahead regarding your own personal journey we tend to call life. The choice is yours.

And for everyone, whether you have kids or don’t, married, divorced, widowed, single, a purple unicorn, another thing to always remember are Lao Tzu’s truthful words: “New Beginnings are often disguised as painful endings”. To new beginnings, new chapters, new life. To Health and Happiness.



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