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Single, Sick, and Shy About Asking For Help? Do a Worksheet. May 19, 2014

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Just Saying., Reviews, Single with chronic illness.
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Copious Readers, as you can see from recent posts, Onely’s new Thing is writing about singles with chronic illness. Our goal is to encourage a wider dialog on this topic. This is especially important in light of the fact that unmarried people are already legally discriminated against in many ways. And then a chronic illness necessitates dealing with additional heartless bureaucracy, especially the parts that already favor married people–most notably health and disability insurance and Social Security. Single and sick: potentially a double downer, at least as far as life logistics go. (Although sometimes it’s easier to be single and sick, or at least to live alone and be sick–we will write about this in a later post).

helpOnely has been in touch with a number of bloggers and writers who are also interested in what happens to unmarried sufferers of chronic illness (and we hope that more interested parties will contact us, please!). Today, though, I wanted to flag one particular interesting resource for any socially or legally single folks out there who are constantly sick.

It’s sometimes hard to ask for help from people who are not in your immediate/nuclear family, because our society tends to teach that it’s ok to ask parents, children, or a spouse--especially a spouse–for all sorts of care and assistance–even the ongoing care and assistance often required by a chronic illness.  So single people without that specific support system may feel odd or uneasy about asking their own, unique support systems and loved ones for help, even though those people would probably be happy to assist.

Beth O’Donnell at Single and the Sweet Side of 40 has created some workbook charts, called HELP THEM TO HELP YOU, that assist you with wrapping your mind around certain important issues and decisions in your life. The Chronic Illness workbook is not out yet (we’ll let you know as soon as it is!), but two of the other workbooks actually provide guidance and insight that could very relevant to a single person dealing with an unrelentingly irritable body.
In order to get the workbooks, visit SSS40’s support page and opt in to the email list, or contact O’Donnell via her site. The two Help Them Help You guides most relevant to chronic illness are: The Broken Heart Edition and The Heavy Lifting Edition.

First, The Broken Heart Edition: The phrase “broken heart” usually appears in the context of a separation from or loss of a loved one. But the loss of your body as you once knew it can also break your heart. You might need as much moral support as if you had gone through a terrible breakup. And as helpful as hugs and phone calls are, O’Donnell points out that “Moral support is great, but if you really want to help, clean my house.” (Or, in my case, “If you really want to help, go to my office and. . . well, do my work.”)
Don’t worry about sounding demanding–remember, people want to help, and the housecleaning and other suggestions are couched in the form of a whimsical “TLC for Me” letter. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, but effective, guide for writing a letter about how someone could care for you. Sort of the way you’d leave a note for your petsitter. Except funnier.

As a cat owner, my personal favorite is:

The vacuum is _____________________on the___________________floor.

As someone whose body seems to hate her, my personal favorites are:

The odor in the house is most likely:
a) dead food
b) dead mouse
c) me
d) ___________

I’ll take a shower when:
a) water doesn’t hurt
b) my hair is so dirty it can be sculpted
c) I get out of bed
d) ___________

I’ll get out of bed:
a) when I wake up
b) for five minutes, to walk the dog
c) tomorrow
d) __________


Second, The Heavy Lifting Edition:

Frustratingly, if you have a chronic illness, common household chores like changing a high lightbulb or hanging a mirror or patching the hole you’ve kicked in the drywall may seem as elaborate and energetic as setting up base camp. O’Donnell describes “any seemingly simple household task requiring another set of hands, legs, or eyes” as “heavy lifting”.  She points out that if you need help, all you have to do is Ask–but sometimes, Asking isn’t simple. We can be shy about asking for help. We might exhaust (pun accidental) all other options, and sometimes drop the mirror on our head, before asking for help.
How to feel better about requesting assistance with some task that you can’t accomplish on your own? Remember that people *do* like to help. Most notable for those of us who hesitate to ask for help, the worksheet contains a list of suggestions for “Helping the Impromptu Helper” which might help you feel less uneasy about “imposing” on him or her. For example: If the helper seems to want to leave, make sure they leave, even if the job isn’t finished; provide assistance within reason; offer drinks and snacks; etc.
There are also guidelines/options to make an “Enlisted Helper” more comfortable and, by extension, make you more comfortable. For example: work within their schedule; defer to their expertise (except in matters of taste); pay them with money or wine or food or a review on Yelp or whatever; provide supplies and have the work area prepared as possible; etc.
Much of this is self-evident, but it helps to have everything written down in worksheets, especially if your mind is muddled from pain or exhaustion or too many mochas.

Photo credit: saiyanzrepublik

Sillybacy: The Funnier Side of The No-Sex Oath January 10, 2014

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, We like. . ..
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4754863837_97f5417ffe_oAs our Copious Readers at Onely know, some single people have lots of sex, some have (ahem) rather middling amounts, and some have no sex at all. What? None?

For unmarried or uncoupled people who want sex but aren’t having any, this seems like quite the problem. But many people actually choose or swear to be celibate–maybe for a pre-determined period, maybe permanently, or maybe for an indeterminate amount of time after (ahem) a particularly bad first date, involving an argument about ice cream in a public parking lot and also (don’t ask) beansprouts.

But despite all these different kinds of celibacy, when most people hear “celibacy”, our knee-jerk reaction is,

Difficult. Extreme. Embarrassing to discuss, especially with the perpetrator.

So I am pleased to flag for you this tongue-in-cheek list on the blog of a Catholic priest friend of mine, which explains why being celibate isn’t so celibad* after all. (more…)

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 With Attitude: A Compendium of Singles’ Blogs January 2, 2012

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Great Onely Activities.

Do you like Onely’s perspectives on single life but think we don’t post often enough? Do you find yourself desperately needing your progressive-singlehood fix, but none of the super-singles blogs you regularly read have anything new up, because their authors are too busy watching five straight hours of Breaking Bad on Netflix (an example just off the top of my head and not based in any way on any actual blog authors living or dead)?

Never fear! Just go to the new compendium of enlightened singles’ blogs at Single with Attitude, a site set up by singles scholar Bella DePaulo. Fresh posts from the different blogs feed to the top of the page–posts from Onely and other sites you may know from our blog roll, and posts from new voices you may discover you like.

Check it out.


Alternet Explains Why Marriage Doesn’t Matter April 18, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, blog reviews, Reviews.
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I heart this hilarious and insightful Alternet article about Why Marriage Doesn’t Matter. It points out that:

Women are carpet-bombed with the idea that marriage is their happy ending from their first viewing of Cinderella to the last potboiler Rom Com they saw starring Sarah Jessica Jennifer Kate Meg Julia Whatsherhair.

True and straightforward, right? But I’m astounded at how many Alternet readers–normally a pretty progressive bunch, doncha think?–went all right-wing-family-values on author Liz Langley. Several long-married people shrieked that she’d offended them by disparaging their life choice–a life choice that endowed them with special wisdom and compassion for others that the author supposedly doesn’t share, as well as legal privileges that the author would be wise to avail herself of. For example:

. . . I am newly married. I was engaged for love. I married quickly because I needed health insurance. I think that if people choose not to get married, or don’t find that love that’s fine. I understand that Alternet is not often here to play nice to both sides, and usually I appreciate that. I do, however, feel offended by this article. There are a lot of benefits to marriage both emotional and practical. All I read here is “Oh, you got married? hag.”

If this were the Daily Mail or some other trash news outlet, I wouldn’t be surprised at the caliber of commenters. But it’s Alternet! Hence my manic quest to comment on the other commenter’s comments.  (Which you can see if you go to the article.)

The discussion is yet another example of how marriage is so disproportionately revered.  Even an intelligent, open-minded readership such as Alternet’s freaks out when someone challenges the Marriage Myth, the way people freak out when they see someone kick a puppy.


photo credit: Toomas & Marit Hinnosaar

Onely on Change.org: Single? Rent a Date! February 26, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, Reviews, We like. . ..
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This is a lazy woman’s post! Here is a link to my Change.org post about Chinese singles paying people to pose as their significant others. At first glance, it’s a bad idea. It concedes and caters to the maladjusted majority opinion that people need to pair up. (Apparently I have alliteration disease tonight.)  At second glance—haven’t you ever wanted to have a boyfriend or girlfriend for one particular event, like that time you were going to the Oscars and didn’t feel like walking down the red carpet alone under the scrutiny of all those pairing-obsessed paparazzi?

Or if date-renting singles aren’t your bag, you can go to the Take Action page on Change.org and find all sorts of petitions and letters you can add your name to. If anyone has an idea for a singles’-rights-themed petition, please let me know. Or go and create your own!

Lisa and I are sort of bumming because we’ve put a couple interesting links up on our Facebook pages, including the NYT article about how there are fewer men available to college women and a Change.org petition against American Apparel’s “best bottoms” contest, and no one really comments on them (except for my friend Nicole, yay Nicole!).  But if someone changes their “status” to “in a relationship” then OMG EVERYONE COMMENTS RIGHT AWAY HOW EXCITING CONGRATULATIONS!


Photo: AMagill

Blog Review: Kris Kringle for Singles December 27, 2009

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Reviews.
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While working on Matt’s excellent comment (31 Jan edit: It was wagdog’s comment, not Matt’s! sorry!) “Are there any Christmas movies that aren’t singlist?” I stumbled upon an interesting site that has nothing to do with movies, but a lot to do with being single during the (specifically) Christmas season. Kris Kringle for Singles starts off by saying, “It sucks being single during the holidays,” which of course is only true for some singles. The site acknowledges this:

I know some single people are content and don’t much care about being single during one of the most family-oriented and couple-oriented holidays of all. . . There are singles that just got out of a relationship and are feeling a sense of relief. There are new divorcees that are looking forward to a new chapter in their lives. You get the point. This blog will be a well-rounded blog. It’s for singles that love Christmas but feel the pressure of being single in society, especially during the holidays.

It’s after midnight and I haven’t had a change to explore this site in depth, but our Onely readers might want to check it out in time for Jesus’ birthday next year. (Our Russian Orthodox readers are in luck–you still have a week before Christmas to use this site!)


Seeking Sexy, Celibate Seniors November 12, 2009

Posted by Onely in blog reviews.
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One of Onely’s favorite blogs, Better Than I Ever Expected, is looking for unpartnered seniors who want to talk about their experiences with sensuality and sexuality. I hope that some of our Copious Readers–both male and female–fit this demographic and will contact blogger Joan Price as described below. In my opinion,  her blog about senior sexuality is very very very important from a feminist perspective. The beauty, news, and entertainment industries do their best to tie female sexuality to female youthfulness, a link which we need to uncouple (heh). As women have gained more power in the workforce and a greater ability to support themselves, they’ve also gained more sexual freedom. Any attempt to limit women’s sexual freedom is an attempt also to restrict the women’s equality movement. Which is why  historically patriarchal establishments such as the mass media attempt to limit women’s sexual expression by tying sexuality tightly to youth and implying that to have a full, satisfying sex life, you must be or look young (read: naive, less powerful).  Here’s what Joan says about her latest project that deconstructs the stereotypes of senior sex, and here’s your chance for your (senior) voice to be heard:

Seeking Sexy, Celibate Seniors

Are you 50 – 80+, feeling sexy and enjoying your sensuality, yet celibate and unpartnered by choice? I’d like to interview you  by email for my new book, Naked at Our Age. (more…)

TAKE ACTION: Speak Up For Health Care Reform August 8, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, Singles Resource, Take action.
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1 comment so far

Check out yet another thorough and engaging post from Clever Elsie at Singletude, this time about the upcoming vote on HR 676, a bill supporting a single payer health care system, where we are all covered by ONE taxpayer-funded public source. (Ooh, how very Scandinavian!) As always, Singletude has done her research and explains why she is a fan of this bill. I am a fan of single-payer too, but my reasoning is based more on my gut than my head, so I encourage our Copious Readers to go to Singletude for more details.  (more…)

Dr. Lillis Makes Onely Cry! Tell Him to Apologize! July 19, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, blog reviews, Heteronormativity.
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If any of our Copious Readers have friends who buy into the (flawed) “marriage-makes-healthy” studies, send them to Singletude‘s 15 July post. Singletude professionally and eruditely tears into Dr. Christopher Lillis, an internist with Chancellor Internal Medicine in Fredricksburg, Virginia.  High on his recent nuptials, Dr. Lillis basically says that:

1) Everyone needs to get married so that their spouse will remind them to take care of their health! Singles wither away because they don’t remember go to the doctor! 

2) People who remain single are likely to be genetically inferior to marrieds! (This isn’t at *all* like eugenics, is it? Lisa says, “What, is he going to measure the size of our heads?”)

3) Scientists who discount the “marriage-makes-healthy” studies are bitter because they never have time to get out of the lab to find true love!  (Here he admits to hyperbole, but claims he’s allowed to say such things, because it’s his essay and he “just got hitched”. Careful of that bit and bridle, Doc. I can see it’s already squeezing on your brain.)

4) “Getting married reduces depressive symptoms, and getting divorced increases them.”


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