Nobody dates or kisses anymore. Conversation is now being used as a means to remove clothes and let down guards. Its all ‘wham-bam’ and ‘thank you mam’. Love has digressed from a casual encounter to the club to online dating to casual sex. It appears there is no romance left. In our world, human connection is disconnected. Fear lies more in the possibility of broken hearts and honesty than in the contraction of an STD. Personally, I’ve been out of the dating scene for twelve years now and jumped back into the water from outside the fish bowl. As a married and single woman, I have observed and encountered that people rarely date or seek to truly know each other. There is no real intimacy; just the hook up. Eye to eye and skin to skin. Renting a movie from Redbox is what the loners do. Others in the dating swamp/pool do whomever looks appealing or whatever feels good in the moment. I have often felt like a gold fish in a tank of sharks. What do I do? Twelve years ago, I met my soon to be spouse. We collided like two cars crashing into each other. I never knew what hit me until I woke from the coma of ill-gotten love. In the beginning we talked for hours on end and dated several times a week, from karaoke, jazz bands, dancing, eating out, frequenting movies and traveling. Until the moment I said I do and came along my second son, he still went on dates, just not with me. Fast forward 13 years and as I type this, I long to be liked enough to carry on a conversation and have a real date night, dinner, flowers and the soft single kiss goodnight at the door. The reality is I date me. It may sound sad, but for the most part, I show myself a good time; just enjoying the moment of being out and not isolated. Embracing the single life, I want to be loved genuinely, completely and have a mate for life. At the age of 23, I dated, partied and made many mistakes along the way. First one of many, I was dating someone just as damaged as me. Two shattered people cannot become repaired together. I hurt my feet stepping on that glass. I lost my heart stepping into that ring. I was unmatched. There are sociopathic wolves dressed like Little Red Riding Hood, look for the red flags or be emotionally eaten alive. Secondly, the younger ones, beware they only want to inconsistently play with you like a new car or new toy. These have been the horrors of my short and disappointing dating journey. I am by far no angel or perfect in any way. Perhaps had I loved myself first, genuinely and deeply, I would be happily married or dating my perfectly, imperfect mate instead of stumbling upon the wrong ones. My ‘aha moment’ is to wait on the right one while loving and preparing my heart to be in sync when he finally comes along. My status is single, hopeful and free on the verge of great success. During my single again story, the happy ending is be content with or without and forgiving my faults and his failures. Being single in mid-life feels like a crisis; it’s a critical moment to slow down and make wiser choices. I am now living and not just being. I’m going to embrace this second chance to get it right. I’ve taken so many wrong turns that led to dark paths and dead ends. My mind, soul and heart are in regeneration and in a healing stage that is extraordinary compared to the big heap of my problems I carry. There’s freedom in being independent, at the end of the day. If any disappointment has occurred, it’s normally only in myself and not in the face of someone I love but can no longer please. While casually dating, people can easily or regrettably walk away but you cannot leave yourself, unless you choose to lose your mind. The freedom in my singleness is that sanity is regained. No one can play the same tricks of manipulation against my mind and in genuinely occupy the spaces of my heart. When we know who we are, what we want and will not settle for the right one will stop and take notice instead of walking on by. Single again at 41 is interesting, I have the hormones of a teenager that I’m learning to manage on my own by focusing on things that will better, encourage and motivate me to live life beyond a lustful and lonely heart. This time around I’m self-aware and better prepared for a brighter future instead of giving up moments of my life away to one person that has no odds of being a permanent position guy. Dating makes perfect practice you might say? Practice without genuine intent does not make one perfect now a days. It makes for vivid flashbacks of regret and what ifs moments that have gone by. Surprisingly, lady wisdom has arrived, giving the guidance I need. I’ve been living my life half-heartedly, wondering what was wrong with me. Feeling only pain, emotionless and barely alive needing the unholy matrimony to be cut in half. I call that divorce. It can lead to a new-found peace, freedom of speech and the right to wear tight clothes again, or the flip side, those feelings of anger, rage, regret and pure annoyance that bursts and overflow. I’m living life single with Dx. bipolar. I believe the name fits the symptoms. Many years have passed, and my brain waves are as divided as my heart, fourth in thought, not necessarily at the bottom of the list but as a consistent, new healthier routine, such as exercising and absorbing in sunlight to exhilarate the body and mind. How do you successfully navigate through divorce, you may ask? Might I add, how do you successfully navigate divorcing a narcissist and abuser? After finally awakening from a lucid dream, I looked past what I perceived as happy times to see the casualties and destruction left behind. My invisible scars and those smiles and empty promises at the alter cost me what little I had left to give. So, I’m starting over with nothing but bags of clothes, hurt feelings and photo frames. I lost most of what I had getting away. Today, I’m facing forward towards a future filled with all the good I believe God has waiting for me. Instead of trusting in a man, I jumped off the bridal cake and took a leap of faith. I was given the gift of foresight to brace myself for the blow coming, like a kick in the gut. Did you know some people amicably agree to divorce and end as friends or at the least good parents? Then there are those of us who have the unfortunate encounter of marrying a narcissist, an abuser, a sociopath or a combination of all three. In this type of unholy matrimony, the goal is to run first, like Forest Gump, as far and as fast as you can. Once I felt safe, it was easier to focus on my mental health and proceed with filing for divorce. In the middle of grieving the death of my marriage, I am learning to live life again on my terms and by God’s grace and learning that the term single is not defined as sad, it means solo. I needed this time and freedom to reflect, heal and renew my mind. I am safe in solidarity and living, surviving and learning to embrace the joy that can be found in being single again. Christy Angelette Christy Angelette is part of the Generation X generation. She is a mother of three amazing sons and is a southern Queen born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Currently she is living and healing in the same place. She has had a love for reading since the age of six. As a teen, she began writing poems as an expression of feelings that followed abuse, depression and love. She is living with a diagnosis of bipolar and PTSD and is a survivor of childhood abuse, trauma and spousal abuse. She has worked as a LPN nurse for 12 years. She is also a lover of Christ and believes that “unbalanced” is the First of a trilogy. She is working on a novel that will highlight mental illness and abuse in multiple forms, as well as civil rights being broken on a mental health level. She is living proof that you can overcome and live a mentally “BALANCED” life. She triumphs through her Faith and her fight for life.