Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man

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The Familar Stranger 

I met him in a beach town during a beach winter.

This was never our love story. It was MY love story. I lived it alone. Both the love and the pain.

I loved him unconditionally. I loved him desperately. I loved him purely.

But I was no angel.

My hands are dirty with all the mistakes I have made and all the unnecessary distress I have caused.

My shoulders are heavy with the weight of the guilt and the lessons I have painfully learned.

I was a wounded and damaged 23 year old child who know nothing about the real world. He already knew who he was and he had the experiences and the world in his hands.

I wanted grand gestures and proof of an unconditional love I wasn’t willing to give myself. I wanted passionate and dramatic fights. I wanted an adrenaline life fueled by chaos, which I thought was an antidote to tedious routines and dull relationships.

I was broken and didn’t even know.

He just wanted to come home to a calm house and to feel at peace in my arms. He wanted to focus on his job and not worry that I would ruin it all.

I loved him way more than he was ever capable of loving me. And that love, uncontrollable at its core, destroyed everything I was always terrified of losing.

I loved him and I bled knowing he didn’t love me back.

I loved the way I used to look up to him.

I loved the way I would ask him questions expecting the most intelligent answer.

I loved the deep conversations about politics and life and how it used to feel whenever he taught me something new.

I loved his roughness. His beard. His gray hair. His wrinkles. They were like scars, reminding the world of the battles he had fought and all the pain he had endured.

I loved his masculinity. But I would  disappointedly hurt every time it wasn’t enough to stop him from running away from his responsibilities.

I loved his bright mind as well as his darkness. Although I knew one day both would destroy me.

I loved his simplicity and the softness of his shaved head.

I loved his basic white shirts and how he cuffed his jeans; Just as much as I loved him in a suit and how classy and sophisticated he would look.

I loved the dive bars and the way he used to get dirty working on this bike.

I loved his smile but hated the immature faces he would make for pictures.

Maybe he thought it was cool. He was already so cool in my eyes.

I loved that he hated pretentiousness. Pretentious is now his middle name.

I loved how he hated serving people and wanted nothing but to stop.

I loved his strength but hated that it wasn’t enough to control me. I needed to be saved from myself, so I loudly and desperately screamed for his help.  But in the perpetual state of fear I put him in, all he heard was craziness.

I now wonder if his inability to handle me was his ultimate gift; it forced me to learn to handle myself.

I loved our bike rides to the beach and the endless summer we lived in. I loved his toned body and his dark tan. This tan is long gone now. A reminder of his new colder Northern life.

I loved the dreams but hated that somehow I could never make them reality.

I loved the tiny dimples under his eyes whenever happiness would take over the seriousness of his face.

I loved our chemistry, the sex, and how we just couldn’t get enough of each other. Ever. but I hated the fights, although I was mostly responsible for them.

But most importantly, I loved who he once was and I miss how perfectly I used to see him.

I now spend my days reliving the past through the eyes of my future.

The tiny big hands.

The exact dimples.

Every gesture.

Every look.

It all brings me back to that time and that person.

It’s the part of him that will always be mine. Just like the permanent wound that doesn’t show on my body but its deeper and more painful than anything that bleeds.

What happened to him? Where did he go?

I do know who he was is no longer here.

I hurt for the tiny part of him who never got the chance to meet his past and who will only hear the stories I will always fondly tell….

Of a man who once existed but is now long gone.

A body so familiar but whose new soul I haven’t met before.

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Top 10 Books by Women that Every Woman Should Read

It is quite an ordeal to pick few outstanding books from a pool of, well, amazingly outstanding books.
But once the task of compiling the list of some must-read books is accomplished, we can be rest assured that we have a treasure. These are the books that we can reach out to in times when nothing seems attainable.These books are our mentor that lend a guiding light when we can’t see much beyond the obvious.

And what could be better and more inspiring than having a collection of masterpieces written by some of the literary powerhouses themselves?
Below is a list of must read books for women that have been written by women.

Note: The list is based on my personal preference of books that have touched me in more ways than one. I hope the list resonates with you too.

1. The Bluest Eye and Beloved by Toni Morrison

“Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.” ~ The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison is a writer who weaves poetry in prose. Read The Bluest Eye and one does not realize how the narration swiftly shifts from one character to another. Read Beloved and one would quietly move from being sad to inspired, all in a matter of few hours as one reads through the pages.

When to read: I read it during the times when I need intensity and gravity in life for these two books are immensely intense.

2. I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing

Who would call this a debut novel? Maya has written the book with such finesse that it seems like a novel from a pro who has published at least 40 books before writing this one.

Deserted by her parents at a young age to live with her momma, Maya deals with abandon-ment, racism and sexual violence. Powerful as she is, she soon finds her way in the world through a journey of few ups and several downs. Maya finally finds her true love: William Shakespeare and writing.
When to read: In those times when we are looking for love. Anything to love. I fall in love each time I read I Know Why Caged Birds Sing. If not with anything else, I fall in love with Maya writings.

3. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ~ A Room of One’s Own

One time reading is not sufficient to grasp the thoughts that went into the writing of this strong, feminist book. This is probably the best work one could get to read on women and fiction. She notes that had the women had financial independence and the fullest of the worldly experiences, we would have had more women novelists.

When to read: Writing a book or penning an article for a feminist magazine? Read the book and notice the change in your writing. This is my “writing-inspiration” source.

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” ~ Jane Eyre

This quote explains how inspiring and strong willed the protagonist of this book, Jane Eyre would be. It is about a woman who refuses to be hopeless despite all the odds that surround her. One of the most inspiring books ever written.

It’s difficult to pick one book among the many written by the Bronte sisters because all of the books are epic in their own ways. But Jane Eyre is remarkably prominent among all the works of those times. It is not just an autobiography which makes the book more real, it is about feminism, a woman’s strong sense of conviction and her courage that keeps her hopeful through her longing for true love.
When to read: The book is meant for those break-days when we need some push in our life. Read on before starting up a new venture or when embarking on something new.

5. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~ Diary of a Young Girl

A 13-year-old goes into hiding during the Nazi occupation of her country. She lives in hiding for about two years and makes a best friend—her diary whom she fondly calls Kitty.
Second world war as seen by a 13-year-old, who later dies at the age of 15 in a concentration camp, is narrated extremely poignantly in this tiny book. A captivating book not because of the horror that her family goes through but for the tremendous hope this young girl harbors despite being in a state where she has to fight for survival every single day.
When to read: I can’t suggest a good time for this book to be read. No matter when or where I read it, it always leaves me in tears.

6. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Their Eyes Were Watching God
A novel published in 1937 but if I read it today in 2015, it still seems so relevant.

Janie Crawford is a woman every free-spirited woman would love to be. I would love to be like Janie Crawford—strong, in love with herself and in love with life.

Who Will You Marry? You Won’t Believe The Accuracy!

When to read: Best time to read? On a wintery night so that next morning we wake up drenched in feelings of love, not just for our loved ones but ourselves too!

7. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” ~ Eat, Pray, Love

When I was reading Eat, Pray, Love, I was so besotted by the book that I didn’t want it to end. I stopped reading it for few days only because I didn’t want it to be over. This is the magic of good writing.
Eat, Pray, Love is like a song. It makes me smile. It shows me dreams and it lets me know that “a broken heart means I have tried for something.”
When to read: Best for days when I feel nothing in my life is going right and I need to find mates who are sailing in the same boat. I find that mate in Eat, Pray, Love.

8. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” ~ Lean In

That is the powerful question Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, asks in her book. She lets women explore their capacities and encourages them to fight for their place in their career, which she calls a jungle gym.

Lean In is a must read book for every woman who feels she can do more but is frightened to try.
When to read: Read the book to emerge at your courageous best.

9. Bossypants by Tina Fey

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” ~ Bossypants

If most of the books on this list left me in tears, this one surely cracked me up. Tina Fey has her own style of subtle humor that motivated me to love myself the way I am while it took me through Tina’s journey of life.

When to read: It is a book perfect for a long flight just to be assured that I won’t land sloppy.

10. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture…Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.” ~ Fear of Flying

In 1973 when the book was first published, it immediately became a national sensation. And it well deserved the honor. Erica coined the term Zipless F*ck in the book that almost all the women can relate to.
A married woman trapped in a sexless marriage gets into a steamy affair with another man. It is in this affair that she explores her fantasies which she couldn’t experiment in her legal marriage. A feminist book, Fear of Flying, talked about those things five decades ago that are still not openly and comfortably discussed.

When to read: A perfect book for a weekend read. Anytime, anywhere.
These are my top ten.

I know and totally understand that if I were to list down all the great books by women authors, I would have to start a new blog to write about them as no list could ever do justice to the vastness of the splendid literary genius achieved by women.

This surely leaves me profoundly proud that if Virginia Wolf were alive, she would have written a new cult book noticing women author soaring high into the sky of world of words.

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A Quick Note On Homophones

“Hi their!”

That’s the text I got this morning from a guy I WAS interested in. I say was because the moment I saw his text, those butterfly feelings died. I don’t know what it is about bad spelling that just gives me the hebegebees, but if there is one thing that I can not get over, is a man who can’t handle his English. The potential mate can be charming, rich, and everything I ever dreamed of. If he can’t spell, I will dry up quicker than quick dry paint on a hot day.

So men, PLEASE know the difference between:

Your and You’re

To, two and too

Their and there

Then and than

Affect and effect

Lose and loose

Principal and principle

Decent, descent and dissent

Accept and Except

Afflict and inflict

Allude and elude

Appraise and apprise

Dual and duel

Eminent and Imminent

Formerly and formally

Discreet and discrete

Especially and specially

Extant and extent

Complement and compliment

Farther and further

Confident and confidant

Respectfully and respectively

Precede and proceed

Precedent and president

Persecute and prosecute

Who’s and whose

Veracious and voracious

Predominate and predominant

These are just some examples of mistakes that drive me up the wall. If you don’t know some of them I urge you to go home today and study your homophones. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more disappointing than a man who doesn’t know his grammar and spelling.

You’re welcome.