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Help! I Need Somebody! (A guest post) April 11, 2014

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Your Responses Requested!.
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friends_forever_by_kr8v-d2eeyt4Copious Readers, welcome to another installment in our latest series about singles with chronic illness. Today we are pleased to introduce a guest post by our reader Bea, who ponders the meaning of “friends and family” and their role in the life of a single person with chronic illness.

 Help! I need somebody!

Ever so often I stumble over this one expression that triggers kind of an allergic reaction in me. Like a mental allergy, even though I swear I can nearly feel it physically. It makes me upset and my mind starts to go in never ending circles, consisting of negative thoughts, hopeless thoughts à la „how is this ever gonna change?“. And I stumble over this expression all the time, in conversations, magazine articles, TV shows and…in self-help books, which is the last place where I wanna be confronted with depressing thoughts, seriously.

The expression I’m talking about here is this: „getting support from your family and friends“. Which is supposed to be something good in your life, something soothing, empowering, something to rely on. Especially when you are in a crisis, like losing your job or your home or an emotional crisis or getting sick. Like so sick that it changes your life, temporarily, or in case of a chronic illness, permanently. Which in itself is an enormous challenge, because a chronic illness alters your life in so many ways. It can be compared to a grieving process, accepting changes in your body, maybe restrictions in mobility, maybe constant exhaustion, maybe chronic pain. And if this illness is something totally new in your life, there’s a lot of things that need to be said good-bye to, things that you remember you were able to do before, but now can’t anymore. The good thing is, there’s also a lot of beautiful moments during and after the grieving process and the human psyche is definitely something magical, being able to adapt, to survive and build new things.

But one thing is for sure, dealing with a chronic illness all on your own is not advisable, the one thing you absolutely need to adapt to is the fact that you need help. And not only professional help from doctors or therapists etc., but in your personal life. Which is what brings me back to this expression that I don’t like, this “family and friends” thing. What I mostly don’t like about it is the subtle distinction between the two, the meaning behind the words. Because the conventional understanding of family is a biological – or at least legally adoptive – family, meaning your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles etc. The only way to extend this kind of family – in a conventional understanding – is, if you fall in love with somebody, then marry, maybe have kids, and by this way you build a new “family branch”.

But what if you don’t have this? What if you don’t have a family, never had one or lost it or had to cut all contact out of self respect or the will to survive? And what if you don’t have a romantic relationship either, a so-called “life partner”, and your life works quite well without one? But that’s what the “friends” part in “family and friends” is for, isn’t it? Yes, that’s what I thought, too, and I’m a big advocate for families of choice, for people building close-knit ties without a romantic or biological connection behind it. The problem is I still feel quite alone with it most of the time, with this wish of changing the status quo. And I feel even more alone in moments when I am depending on somebody’s support.

Because way too often I experience that people secretly still have this hierarchy in their head, this clear distinction between family – and – friends. And yes, I do understand that people only have a certain amount of energy, that they can’t support everybody, that they have to take care of themselves, too, after all. But it bugs me that there still seems to be this huge self-evidence of who comes first and who second. It bugs me in many ways, if for example I see friends circling their life around each new “life-partner”, no matter for how little time they’ve known this person. And it bugs me, if people don’t even question the fact that they spend their vacation always with their “loved ones”. And it bugs me, of course, to then get pity from those people, because I don’t have this kind of life, not even asking if I want or need it, pressuring me into something that I actually don’t want for myself. Honestly, I love being on my own!

But what I do need is help and support, if I like it or not. And it will become more and more in the upcoming years, since my chronic illness will result in me sitting in a wheel chair at some point. And I admit that right now, I am still in the midst of my grieving process, and maybe I am too pessimistic and bitter and single-minded at this point in my life. But, of course, what’s behind this pessimism is an unfathomable amount of worries and fears. One of those fears is that my lifestyle of choice, being a single and being without my biological family, will not be compatible with this new situation. So I guess what I need the most right now is to know that there’s more people out there who have an allergic reaction to old conventions and who don’t give up working against the status quo.

–Bea

Hi, Christina here again. If you are a single person with a chronic sickness, feel free to write to us at onely@onely.org to share your story. We are also looking for good ways to say “singles with chronic illness” with fewer syllables (“sick singles” already having been nixed as a possibility). Some of us brainstormed up Single and Surviving Sickness, Single and Sick Survivors, Single and Sick but Surviving–all of which condense to the handy acronym SaSS. But acronyms aren’t everything so we still need your help to come up with some non-tongue-twisting terminology. 

Photo credit: kr8v

Guest Post: A Take on How to Be Single and Happy December 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers.
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4 comments
 Copious Readers, remember that we always like guest posts expressing different writers’ feelings on being single and happy (or not). Here is one from Veronica Hayes. We welcome comments!
–Christina and Lisa
 
How To Be Single And Happy
The title of this article is how to “be” happy, not stay happy. So what you will read is about the present – the here and now. It’s about looking around and realizing you have made a sane and conscious decision to be single at this point in your life. Today is not forever….which means you’ll be able to change your mind. People do it all the time – men and women, young and old. If there’s one constant in life, it’s change.Stay Active

Being single and happy means taking advantage of the fact that your primary responsibility is to yourself. It also means that your time is to yours to do with as you choose, so choose wisely. Sitting around the house playing video games, going online, or watching TV are all options. A great option for most people is to get up and out on a regular basis and mingle with other single people. Join a gym club, find local social events, or get involved with sports teams – professional or local. Staying active will keep you from wondering what to do with all the free time you have available to you.

Maximize Your Surroundings
Since you live alone, there is no one else to consider when choosing the type of sound system, size of the big screen TV, or how comfortable the chairs should be. There is no one else’s mess to clean up, so you take care of yourself. Take advantage of this and create the type of single person environment that makes a statement about you and being single. I once lived in an apartment that had a massive living room which I turned into an entertainment room, complete with big screen TV, surround sound stereo, and uber-comfortable furniture for lounging. I didn’t worry about someone rearranging things or telling me to turn the volume down.

Be Real! (more…)

Single and Sickness–The Personal Side November 16, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource.
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Copious Readers, please don’t forget that we always love to hear from your and encourage guest posts from all our readers (even those who disagree with some of our content). Lately we are trying to explore the issue of singles and sickness.

Today’s contributor is Yolanda, a longtime supporter of Onely and the driving force behind the active and supportive Footloose Femails email group and the new Facebook group Happily Single Women’s Group. She also happens to have many medical problems including chronic pain, chronic fatigue and chronic hunger and thirst 24/7   but she doesn’t let those physical challenges define her. In fact, sometimes she laughs in their faces:

Invisible_Man_by_NogarKhazI’ve got a new boyfriend!! I’ve known him all my life, but we’ve gotten really close since I got sick 16 years ago.

His name is Will Power.

But I heard that he’s got a lot of other women “on the side”, so I’m sure that he’s seeing a lot of YOU out there too.  I don’t know how he does it!!!

I might be unmarried but I honestly believe that Will Power will be someone I’m going to spend a lot of time with!!  He’s probably going to be almost like a husband – sticking with me through thick and thin, in good times and bad. Hopefully he’ll never desert me.

Yolanda

P.S.  After a few hours I’m actually thinking of ditching him!!

He abandoned me as soon as the going got tough. When I was feeling sick & tired he just ran away into another room. And that’s when I needed him most!! Oh well, “in good times and bad times”. Hopefully he won’t abandon me too often!!

Maybe when you’re asked, you can say you have a boyfriend called Will Power too? Saves you having to justify being single.

Thanks, Yolanda, for sharing your thoughts from your unique perspective. I hope one day Will Power will cheat on you with me. (No offense.)  –Christina

Photo credit: NogarKhaz

Operation Singles Saturation: Blogfest2 Celebrates In(ter)dependence July 3, 2013

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Guest Bloggers, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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5172185224_d6e0aae10a_oThis July 4th, as the U.S. celebrates its Independence Day, Onely is joining other pro-singles’ bloggers in a Media Saturation Event to celebrate the independence – and interdependence – of the single life (you might remember our participation in this blogfest about the cost of single life, back in April).

This time, we’re asking you to write, vent, question, and tweet just what In(ter)dependence means to you.

And by “you”, we mean LOTS of you. We at C.L.U.E. (Communications League for Unmarried Equality, consisting of Onely; Bella dePaulo, PhD; Spinsterlicious; and Cindy Butler of the group Unmarried Equality) have worked hard to assemble the BEST and the BRIGHTEST and LOUDEST voices in the progressive singles’ community. So if we haven’t just found you, then join us! If you don’t have the time to compose reams of masterful text about what In(ter)dependence means to you, then get on the Tweet train with these tags:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination. Sprinkle them like fairy dust into your tweets about singleness and in(ter)dependence. (Extra credit if you can combine your hashtags with Haikus!) And if you *do* write a post, make sure to send the link to contact.clue@gmail.com so that we can give you credit.

And now, here are Onely’s deep thoughts about In(ter)dependence:

There are plenty of stereotypes about what it means to be single, and one of the most common is that we “have it easy” because we aren’t responsible for, or to, anyone else. If only! You might even say that the category “single” is an oxymoron – for it’s impossible (or at least unpleasant) to live in this world without relationships of some kinds.

This interdependence, we believe, is something to be celebrated. But when we’re single, we are often (sometimes. . . occasionally. . .) expected to celebrate our independence. Songs have been written about this phenomenon (think Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson). Never mind that this independence is, more often than not, portrayed as a response to previous romantic relationships! Indeed, here at Onely, we’ve made it a point to emphasize – and celebrate – the strength and resilience required of single people in the face of heteronormativity, amatonormativity, and matrimania.

The truth is, though, no matter how strong a single person is – no matter how truly independent any one of us might be – we are supported and strengthened by our relationships with others. Life would be pretty lonely without these relationships. But there’s little space in our culture to celebrate relationships that aren’t SEEPie (Sex and Everything Else Person) relationships, and so it’s easy to lose sight of the many “other” significant relationships that help us feel human.

This blind celebration of independence – oftentimes at the expense of recognizing the value of interdependence – trickles down to our identities as single people. If we have anything to be proud of, Western culture suggests, it should be our so-called “freedom,” our “lack of responsibility” to others, and our apparent “mobility.” We should be. . . Movie Cowboys!

But this attitude devalues the many kinds of relationships that nourish us, and it ignores the reality of our daily lives (income issues, sick family members, roof rot, and, perhaps most challenging, raising a child as a single parent). When we lose sight of the significance of the many different kinds of relationships we enjoy (financial advisor, aunt who cares for her sick niece, the kind coworker who also does insulation and tile work, the neighbor who loves to babysit) it becomes easy to define ourselves, as single people, as somehow weak or lonely.

And that’s a shame. Because there’s something special about being single – and we like to call it Being Onely.

Copious Readers

How does in(ter)dependence

Influence your life?

Remember:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination.

– Lisa and Christina

Photo credit: Listen Missy!

Single? Blogfest Explains How to Get Screwed 1,000 Times! April 15, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Marital Status Discrimination, Singled Out, Singles Resource, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 11.43.08 PMMarital Status Discrimination: Today, Onely joins forces with dozens of other bloggers to highlight the problem of Marital Status Discrimination. Why? Because on Tax Day, Uncle Sam picks the pockets of singles at the same time he’s rewarding couples for getting married.

So what? So this: The U.S. government–a democratic government, a government “By the People and For the People” and all that–discriminates against fifty percent of its population: unmarried people. Our federal code alone contains over 1,000 laws where marital status is a factor, and in most cases single people lose out.

Because this phenomenon was a problem with no name, we at Onely christened it “institutionalized” Marital Status Discrimination. In January we made a big slam-dunk stink about it in The Atlantic.

The Million-Dollar Difference: According to our very conservative and basic calculations, a single person earning $80,000/year could easily pay at least a million dollars more over her lifetime than her married counterpart, based on only a few of the most discriminatory laws (such as Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security).

What’s more, our hypothetical scenarios did not consider state laws, nor the many ways Marital Status Discrimination shows up in corporate policies–such as when singles pay more for all sorts of insurance. These factors could easily push the million-dollar figure higher. Much higher.

But money isn’t everything:  That’s why our government has thoughtfully provided other laws that don’t impact single people’s pocketbooks. These laws instead impact single people’s peace of mind. For example, as we described in 2010 on Psychology Today, an anti-stalking law promises protection to the victim’s spouse. Phew! But a single person being stalked is offered no such additional protection for a loved ones.

Any stalker who does his research (and we imagine this is all of them) would know exactly whom his stalkee loves most. R.I.P. Grandma; if only you had married your grandson maybe there would have been cops by your door when his stalker came calling. . .

The U.S. Government thinks being unmarried means: a life free of connections and cares, and full of discretionary spending. Unfortunately, even if this were true (and we at Onely fervently wish it were), no society is at its best when half its members are treated differently from the other half.

So let’s get started obliterating Marital Status Discrimination! Our first step is to. . uh. . . We will start by. . . ahem. . . Our next move should be. . . um. . .  Well, as you can see, while we at Onely are skilled at pointing out these problems, we aren’t so sure what we should do next.

So, Copious Readers, here’s where we need your help: Now that we’ve gotten the dialog started, what do you think our “next steps” should be? How do you think we should take action (and by “we,” we mean the collective blogosphere standing up for single people everywhere)? What subject matter experts are best positioned to spread the word or propose legislative change? Do you know tax professionals or legislators friendly to our cause? (Or can you convince them to embrace our cause?)

Please share your insights and spread the word: Comment below. Or tweet #UnmarriedEquality and #SinglesBlogfest. Or share this article on Facebook!

If you have more questions about Singles Blogfest, please write to Onely@onely.org or to contact.clue@gmail.com. Huh? Clue? Yes:

The Communication League for Unmarried Equality (CLUE):

We at Onely were not the only ones who instigated this effort. We were honored to have had lots of help from three of the most active voices in the progressive singles’ movement, who jumped on board the Singles Blogfest project with unparalleled enthusiasm and expertise:

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard), author of Singled Out and the “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today (belladepaulo@gmail.com)

Eleanore Wells, blogger and author of The Spinsterlicious Life (Eleanore@TheSpinsterliciousLife.com)

Cindy Butler, of Unmarried Equality  (cbutler@unmarried.org)

Thanks Copious Readers, We Love You!

–Christina Campbell and Lisa A. of Onely.org, (pronounced wun-lee), a blog that challenges stereotypes about singles (Onely@onely.org)

Photo Credit: The Atlantic.com

How Singles Lost WWII (Guest Post by Scott) October 28, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Singled Out.
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4 comments

Onely likes to post guest pieces by other writers who think about singles’ issues. The views expressed in our guest posts may or may not reflect Onely’s views, but we are always interested to hear from other singles advocates.

Our Copious Reader Scott wrote the following after estimating correctly, in response to this post, that singles spend more than $1 million more than their married counterparts over the course of their lifetimes, thanks to U.S. government policies that privilege people who are married.

How Singles Lost WWII

It’s 1942. The boys are off killing Nazis, and the U.S. industrial war machine is revving up. The resulting labor shortage pushes up wages, making it expensive for the government to procure war materials. Inflation soars over 10%. In response, Congress passes and President Roosevelt signs the Stabilization Act of 1942, implementing price controls to limit wartime wage increases and curtail the inflation. With one swift stoke of the pen, a new era in Marital Privilege is born.

Wait…what? I thought we were fighting Nazis, not singles.

Alas Onelers, it is true. The discrimination against singles begat 70 years ago in this legislation has already cost me something like $100,000 by age 33.

You see, this legislation included a pernicious exception to the limits on increasing employee compensation. It explicitly allowed employers to offer health care packages to employees and their immediate families in lieu of wage increases. As the only practical means left of attracting workers, these plans quickly caught on.

In 1954, the IRS further ensconced this practice by deciding that employer (and only employer) contributions to health insurance purchases are not taxable income. Employers also do not have to shell out payroll taxes on it. All told, they can offer these benefits for about half what they would otherwise cost workers—an enormous incentive to sponsor health benefit plans for employees, their spouses, and their children.

So, here I sit. (more…)

Day Seven (Finale!): National Unmarried and Single Americans Week September 25, 2010

Posted by Onely in Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource, Your Responses Requested!.
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1 comment so far

So what did you do today to celebrate National Unmarried and Single Americans Week? Lisa and Christina both spent some time reframing personal goals so we don’t get overwhelmed or needlessly critical of ourselves. We’re sure you’re up to similar good things and we want to hear about it — so please let us know in the comments below!

We hope you’ll visit the seventh and FINAL stop on the second annual Blog Crawl for NUSA Week: Dr. Bella DePaulo of Living Single on Psychology Today posts on the Alternatives to Marriage Project!

Thanks to Single Women Rule for organizing the crawl, and to sponsors Cheek’d and Luscious Lifestyle for supporting it!

– Lisa and Christina

Day Six: National Unmarried and Single Americans Week September 24, 2010

Posted by Onely in Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource, Your Responses Requested!.
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So what did you do today to celebrate National Unmarried and Single Americans Week? Christina nominated a narrative post about single living for Creative Nonfiction’s blog post contest; you can nominate your favorite posts too (check out our blog roll for lots of great narrative posts by singles’ advocates–deadline is September 27th). And Lisa shared her delicious spicy coconut corn chowder – which she normally eats all by herself – with a friend.

We’re sure you’re up to similar good things and we want to hear about it — so please let us know in the comments below!

We hope you’ll visit the sixth stop on the second annual Blog Crawl for NUSA Week: Melissa Malamut, author, She’s Got Game, The Woman’s Guide to Loving Sports (Or Just How To Fake It) posts on Dating Diva Daily!

We’ll be linking to our fellow singles-savvy bloggers throughout the week. Check back here for the latest links.

– Lisa and Christina

Day Five: National Unmarried and Single Americans Week September 23, 2010

Posted by Onely in Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource.
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4 comments

So what did you do today to celebrate National Unmarried and Single Americans Week? Lisa pursued her dreams of academia by researching solutions to a major theoretical conundrum. Christina honored her body by lunching on tofu and colllard greens (and dining on popcorn). We’re sure you’re up to similar good things and we want to hear about it — so please let us know in the comments below!

We hope you’ll visit the fifth stop on the second annual Blog Crawl for NUSA Week: Michelle Cove, author of Seeking Happily Ever After, Navigating the Ups and Downs of Being Single Without Losing Your Mind (and Finding Lasting Love Along the Way) posts on The Single Filez!

We’ll be linking to our fellow singles-savvy bloggers throughout the week. Check back here for the latest links.

– Lisa and Christina

Day Four: National Unmarried and Single Americans Week September 22, 2010

Posted by Onely in Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource, Your Responses Requested!.
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2 comments

So what did you do today to celebrate National Unmarried and Single Americans Week? We discovered some new pro-singles blogs that we’ll be bringing to your attention over the next couple of weeks. We’re sure you’re up to similar good things and we want to hear about it — so please let us know in the comments below!

We hope you’ll visit the fourth stop on the second annual Blog Crawl for NUSA Week: Christina and Lisa of Onely (hey, that’s us!) post on Bella DePaulo’s Living Single series on Psychology Today!

We’ll be linking to our fellow singles-savvy bloggers throughout the week. Check back here for the latest links.

– Lisa and Christina

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