One Day Less: Spinsterella

Death and taxes are a fact of life. Unfortunately, more than 70,000 young women and men in the U.S. between the ages of 20-39 will add cancer to that list too. Breast cancer specifically is a growing epidemic striking more women per year and at younger ages than ever before. In fact, every day, three women under the age of 40 die from this disease. After the age of 35, breast cancer becomes one of most common ways a woman will die. Under this shit-pile of facts is one woman’s story, presented here in the series One Day Less.

Once upon a time, there was a spirited girl who dreamed of glamour, adventure and inspiration. Purpose and passion were her guides and vast amounts of creativity were always in tow. She wanted to feel deeply and be free to do as she pleased. She turned it out; then she died. Skinny. The End.

It’s not the traditional fairytale, but I was never a conventional girl. Never could I have made it as a Disney princess — which is fine, because I never understood those cartoon bitches anyway. Why did they always choose security over independence? Snow White was my favorite of them all (we both have dark hair), but she still made no sense to me. She was living the dream: happy and safe, with seven dwarf BFFs to love and care for her, giving her a sense of family and the freedom to play the field. Then, the Prince, a total stranger, stumbles upon her sleeping in a glass coffin and insists on bringing her home, wanting to stare at her for all of eternity in his faraway castle.

One Day Less: Life With Terminal Cancer
Death and taxes are a fact of life.

A creepy demand, yet her dwarf BFFs sold her anyhow. Then, when Snow White awoke, she just went along with the plan and took no part in the decision of her own fate! Although I was to assume that only good things would follow, I wasn’t buying it. Unless Snow White was getting the castle in her name, she would be at his mercy. ‘Ever after’ is longer than it sounds and giving yourself over to a stranger with a nice suit and a few coins sounded anxiety-inducing.

Call it stubbornness, vision or a defense mechanism, but independence was the hero I wanted to save me. Even in my longest-term relationships, my autonomy was always a must. Plus, ambition overrode my biology. While I am a glutton for comfort, I tried to avoid letting that make my crucial life decisions. Not that I had all the answers, but I did what felt right to me moment-by-moment. However, after a decade-plus of several serious relationships practically back-to-back, I needed to derail my soap opera life and get real with me.
Going solo, I’d had no excuse to stop me from doing me, as there would be no one to fall back on, scapegoat, cry to or ask to do it for me. Also, having given much of my energy to others, I wanted to put all that energy back into me — which, surprise, surprise, gave me my best results. I guess I needed to go to that do-or-die place to ensure I knew how to survive, not serve. I’ve grown up seeing brilliant women giving away their potential — which if they didn’t, could of resulted in amazing opportunities. The top prize to me was always freedom; because only with it could I make the best decisions for me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in love or felt like I couldn’t hack commitment, but as a functional dreamer I was over having my style cramped by anyone trying to change me, bring me down or use me up. I never wanted to get married or have kids, so I never felt like I was racing against a clock. Ultimately, what was most important was being who I knew I wanted to be and taking all the credit for getting there myself. Never would money, status or others’ expectations offer answers to the riddles for my heart. Plus, as the saying goes, “You’ve got to love yourself before you can love anyone else,” and that was what I was into doing — making myself more loveable to me.

Then came cancer.

Despite how film and literature romanticizes the swan song of the dying damsel and her power to make a man go wild with devotion and grief, the truth is, it makes one more of a weirdo magnet than ever. After all, what kind of masochist hurls himself into an emotional black hole? Nursemaids, Munchausen boyfriends and other liabilities — no thank you. Plus, with time being sparse, forget contorting my psyche into compromising positions, no matter how high it can get me. Not to discredit my fabulosity, but my mortality is a tricky bitch. While I’m an ideal date for a commitment-phobe, I’m a lemon to anyone else. From the outside, I may appear to be a sweet deal, but one look under the hood and it’s clear that something is off. Like a puppy from a puppy mill, falling in love instantly is possible, but once you get me home, I can very well drop dead on you.

Also, having watched a lot of PBS, it’s apparent in the hetero world that there are many subliminal physiological urges, like healthy reproduction, that lures one to their prospective mates. So, applying this National Geographic-like logic, a man who is drawn to me is likely defective in some way too, like he’s running backwards in a race for survival of the fittest.

While I get that I can chew gum and walk, I don’t feel bad, failed or ugly because I don’t. I make decisions based on my peace of mind and as it goes, it’s not an easy slot to fill. Besides, wrong relationships are the loneliest places and it’s not like being single negates having a life. It just means different adventures. No rules. It’s an abundance of choices, rather than an infinite void. All full, not empty. Most people give it a bad rap, out of fear, stigma or dogma — but as technology is evolving and personalization is a growing option, our ideas of intimacy and commitment are changing. With so much control and access over what we want, how we want it and connecting to the options, living hedonistically is where it’s at and where it’s going.

Yes, I am the future.

Of course, these statements might also point to the fact that I’m damaged goods upon damaged goods, and if that’s true, at least there is a foreseeable end to this delusion. No matter, I hardly feel like a freak for my unapologetic singularity, as I bet I’ve had more beautiful and loving experiences than anyone judging me would know what to do with. Not everyone has the same priorities and for some, being a party of one is the best company you can keep.

The fact is I’ve been crazy in love, had others madly in love with me and although I acknowledge how incredible it is when it’s right, it just so happens my show-pony prance is heading for the glue factory as a headlining act and although it’d be great to have a harlequin romance ending to twirl me out, I won’t suffer for a lack of it. I defined my life and earned living out the way I wanted. No regrets. Of course, the only regret that would have scarred me would have been denying the dreams I had for myself. Call me kookoo, but what’s wrong with a love story about one person with multi-dimensions who falls in in love with herself? If done right, it’s two halves of a whole lot of interesting.