“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” -Oscar Wilde
So I forgot to tell you about Manless January, which is a holiday I invented last year to save my own life.
This year, Manless January acted more as a preventative. And I was surprised by how strong I’d grown.
Because sometimes I don’t recognize myself.
Which is really too bad.
I don’t want to sound terribly vain, but it’s almost hopeless, because I just am.
Or maybe it’s not vanity, precisely.
It’s just that sometimes, all alone, my heart swells so big inside of my chest.
And I burst out laughing, giddy in the middle of the street, as it refuses to be contained.
Because, when I let myself be, I am really so in love.
Ridiculous, perhaps. Should I be embarrassed?
There’s just been so much lost time.
I’m not really sure how it happened, but I somehow went from being a boy-crazy young girl to a relationship-ruined adult woman, and then on to being a sexual lightweight whose love of the act became the equivalent of a meth addiction.
No, back up, that last part isn’t true.
That’s just something of which I was was accused.
Which plays into Manless January directly. Because part of Manless January is not accepting anyone’s definition of myself but my own.
It’s unfortunate, but in other months of the year, I’m susceptible to the random and perhaps innocuous suggestions of men.
I tried to whine about this with my girlfriends, but they wouldn’t have it.
“You act like you’re the only woman who gets reckless because of men.”
What? Am I not?
Either way, I’d like to be above that.
I believe in myself, and having one month of the year that belongs to just me keeps that belief strong.
And Manless January has a certain festive quality to it, anyway.
This year I launched out and purchased a Margot Tenenbaum coat, just for the occasion.
And I wrapped up all tight in it and had a great little month.
If you were to have peeked outside of my psychic window in January—and I would never have suggested that you do that. In fact, I would have tackled you down before you could have. But if somehow you had gotten past me and my fervent determination—I’ll tell you what you would have seen patrolling my yard.
First of all, there was the big bad wolf. In all honesty I was far more afraid that he was going to hurt himself than hurt me, but even so. He was there. He’d been lurking around out there for weeks because I’d stupidly let him catch a whiff of my sweet maiden scent. I have no idea why I did that. I was bored? I guess. Anyway. That was A.
B was the mad scientist with the tortured brilliance to whom I’d accidentally turned over the reins. Um, that really didn’t go well. I’ve never in my whole life been yelled at quite like that. It was jarring and fascinating and oddly stimulating, but we all know I needed a little break after that.
C was just a light-hearted man that was all wrong for me. Well, a light-hearted man, and his stupid muscles. Am I really still such a sucker for a man’s muscles? Yes, yes, I am. Sometimes all a smart woman wants are some stupid muscles wrapped sweet around her.
So there was variety. But I didn’t open the door to any of them, not really.
And now I’m all woman-strong and focused and happy again, just being me. And it’s been a whole additional month in which I’ve maintained that footing, even without being manless.
So we’ll see what happens now. I really mostly just wanted to tell you about it, so you could challenge me if and when you see it crumbling.