Sunday, July 20, 2008

singles

I'm starting this post with a professional brag because I'm concerned that it's going to go downhill from there. I am always hesitant to blog about being single, and especially wary of posting about the pitfalls of LDS female singleness because it can so quickly sound either bitter or pathetic, neither of which are appealing to me. But I feel like there is some significance to my sister-in-law giving birth to the first grandchild in our family on the very day I had a fairly big career event so I'm going for it.

So Tuesday was the Press Opening of our store in SoHo. Our store on Spring Street in New York City right across from the Chanel store in one of the trendiest shopping neighborhoods in one of the most important cities in the world. Yep, kind of a big deal. And we had a party with all sorts of fancy people from the fashion world. I flew to the party in a private plane with my boss, the President of the North American Headquarters, and the Chief Product Officer of our parent company, all of whom raved on their way home about the store and the party and the brand in general. We took this flea market a few spots down from the store

and we did this.

It was awesome and my boss was genuinely thrilled. A month ago I was convinced that this job was way out of my league but Tuesday night I started thinking maybe I really am in the right place.

A few funny things happened that day though. My coworker and I were getting out of a cab and walking up to the party site when a woman on the street called my name. It turns out it was an old friend from back in my RYKA days. She helped us put together our sponsorship of the Avon Walks for Breast Cancer and is a total tiger. She was a sports agent for a long time and represented some major athletes, then she got into sponsorship negotiations for a big company I always thought I wanted to work for and eventually started her own consulting company which is when I met her. I was a little scared of her at first but as we got to be friends I loved picking her brain about just about everything. She is almost 10 years older then me and one day we were sitting at the Avon Walk in San Francisco, talking about her upcoming wedding. She looked at me and said, "if there is one thing I say that I want you to listen to it's this-don't get so caught up in all this career stuff that you wake up one day and realize that you forgot all about kids and a husband. I'm 37 years old and it almost happened to me." I had almost learned to tune out such talk at church because when people there say it they mean, "careers are for girls who can't get married and don't you really want to be a mom anyway?" But it sort of shook me when Katie said it. She had a really great life at the time and it was nice but also a little scary to hear someone without the same kind of religious and cultural pressure as I have sound so insistent that I not "miss out." We talked and caught up for a few minutes and she pulled her iPhone out and showed me adorable pictures of Brooke and Bass, her two kiddies who were pretty much the adorable little upper east side darlings I would expect her to have. She's still a break-neck paced New Yorker but standing there holding hands with her tall, good-looking ex-football player of a husband, she looked about as happy and balanced as I have ever seen her. I'm thrilled she found someone who could see that inside the fierceness that makes her fantastic at her job, there is a really good mommy too. Later that night came the phone call that little Morgan had at last arrived and I couldn't help thinking that the universe has an interesting way of reminding me of things I ALREADY KNOW.

So onto a comment that a dear and well-meaning but momentarily insensitive friend made the other day about why he and I could never date, "I just can't see you settling down because you are fine on your own." My eloquent answer was to burst into tears and ask him if he could possibly be serious. What exactly is the alternative? Be a sad mess until a man comes along to rescue you? Sit in your house and knit baby clothes in the hopes that one day you'll have someone to put them in? Do men want women who NEED them or women who are leading fulfilling lives alone but really WANT a man in it? It was so disappointing to me that here in 2008, a boy would really think that because I am successful and independent and financially secure, that somehow I've chosen that over getting married.

Here's what I've chosen to do with my life. To do my best at everything-school, church, job, being a friend/sister/daughter/citizen-and to use God's help and my own sense to try to make good decisions. That's it. And this place that I'm in? This single and childless career place? I firmly believe it's exactly where I am supposed to be. It's not a plan B. It's not a fall back position. That doesn't mean it's always easy or that it always makes sense to me. It doesn't mean that I wasn't a little jealous when my brother fourth in line got to have the first kid. Some days I drive myself almost insane with worry that I will be alone forever, and while I have friends who have made peace with that, right now I sort of refuse to. Being single is a bit of a tight rope. You absolutely do not want to be ungrateful for the fabulous life you have but you still have to be honest with and take care of the part of you that does hope you get to have a family someday. Standing on that curb in New York listening to my sister give me the stats on Morgan that was clearer then ever. The Tretorn store will not be spending Christmas with me in the nursing home now will it? At the same time, learning to find joy and fulfillment in your life on your own is a valuable skill as well. I have watched too many people be disappointed by marriages/kids/jobs/etc to think that you reach a point where you are totally safe from ever being lonely again.

This is turning out to be less of a post and more of a self-directed pep talk but I think I'll post it anyway. I don't have solutions or answers, I'm not sure anyone does. The single game is a funny one though isn't it?

45 comments:

Jamie said...

Congratulations on become an Auntie and a fantastic store opening.

And a huge thanks for so elegantly explaining the way I feel about life as a single. It's not what I chose, but I'll be d***ed if I going to sit around and wait for "rescue."

Zimm said...

This is an awesome post. That's all I have to say.

chloe elizabeth said...

Linda and I were just having this conversation the other day while driving to a singles shindig (we were making an effort :-).

Great post!

And congratulations! I'm awaiting the birth of my family's 8th little one mext Friday (yes, it's scheduled) and I get to be around to help my sister with her 13-month-old. There are benefits to being unattached (and unemployed)...so I'm enjoying it for all it's worth.

P.S. You know I pretty much want to be you, right? Not in a creepy stalker way, though.

Darren and Nikki said...

:) Congrats Katie - on being an aunt and on the store.

And I love your self-directed pep talk - you are a girl I have never worried about. You are amazing and wonderful and will always use every opportunity put in front of you.
Love you!
Nikki

Senja said...

katie, congrats to you also for becoming an aunt! i just became one myself a couple of weeks ago and it is such an amazing feeling!

i can absolutely relate to what you are feeling. the - younger sibling getting a baby first (not that you were ranting about that), and being a successfull single. i met mikael when i was 31 and until then i had been a work-aholic, because i wanted to. because i didn't want to sit around and wait. i wanted to use what i felt the Lord had given me, had blessed me with. i wanted to progress as much as i could and live life to the fullest. i think you are doing wonderfully and that attitude will bring you very far. and that boy - seriously, i get mad.

and now being married i notice how much of the things i dealt with in my job-life are helping me out right now. i needed those experiences and everything.

i adore you.

Mona said...

Amen.

V. said...

I know we don't know each other that well, but I'm really proud of you.

P.S. your opening looked liked so much fun!

Kelly said...

Your store opening looks so great and fun. I'm so proud of and excited for you!

I just read your friend's quote to Jason. He said, "She's hanging out with the wrong guys."

I'm just going to say that there are really and truly men who see a woman who is "fine on her own" and think "Awesome! I got to get me some of that!"

You're an amazing woman.

Katie said...

Oh, I so wish we could go to lunch and talk about this NEEDing a man vs WANTing a man. I'm afraid a 10 second comment just can't get across how I feel about that one.


Your party looks bomber. Don't share those photos at church or you'll be on Activities commitee for LIFE

Nat Attack said...

i want to be you too.

xoxo. here's to many more dinners and discussion!

jess said...

well said. I admire your life attitude so much.

f*bomb. said...

You're so fierce, K8.
I'm just glad to see your fruits for Treton ustilizing your talents and forwarding your career and not wasting your talents on some self-serving mid-singles conference.

Linda said...

You make so much sense and you articulate it so well. I found myself nodding, smiling, and wanting to read it to my co-workers because it's so spot-on!!

I adore you!

lilcis said...

Senja is a wise, wise woman. And I totally understand the stress of trying to balance your desire for marriage and kids and your desire to be happy and fulfilled in your life whether or not you ever find that perfect guy to share it with you. You are such an amazing woman and I am so impressed by everything you've accomplished in your life. You really are my hero.

Aubs said...

so two things:
1) that had to be best thought out commentary on women like you and me I have ever read
2) I am sad I couldn't make it to Boston because I've always known we were soul sisters.. we need to seal this deal have a few heart to hearts

Matt said...

F-bomb, WTF? midsingles conferences are self-serving?

It's comments like that, that no wonder men stay clear...

k8 said...

uh no, none of those kind of comments here please. 100% unproductive and plain mean.

JerzyGrl said...

I loved this post! I heard that kind of comment from guys too many times to count ("I just can't see you settling down because you are fine on your own."). When I was at BYU getting my masters degree I was even afraid to tell boys and risk them getting scared off by my self-reliant attitude. It is disappointing some guys feel that way. Whoever you end up marrying will love and respect you for all that you are doing now to make your life fabulous. My new husband always reminds me that my life before him (where I was successful in a career and balanced church/family/friends/social life) was what drew him to me. Don't ever give up hope of getting married, but enjoy your amazing life in the meantime.

Mike said...

Congrats on "Aunt-hood" and the grand store opening....Go Tretorn !

Betsy said...

you = greatest

Whits said...

I was going to comment last night when I read your post. I love that it ballooned from 2 comments to 20 in a matter of hours. :) I totally agree with everything you have said. I even read parts of it to Mike. And I have to agree with Jrzygirl, the right guy will love that you rock at your job and are successful. Law school was never plan B for me, even though at times I was wondering what I was doing there (I still think...what am I doing being a lawyer...but thats a whole other issue haha). And I know how you have felt wondering if your career will be the end all be all. But I know that hope is an awesome thing that is also hard to hang out to sometimes.

And being an aunt is the most awesome thing ever!

Cooper Squared said...

Katie I loved this. I was a very lonely single person. I remember my best friend telling me that there are times even in the most perfect marriage (and I am pretty sure she has it) that are lonely. I think it is part of being strangers in a strange land and a reminder of our ultimate dependence on God.
I admire you all the time for having the guts to do something I never did.
I wasted so many good years.

Steve said...

Well Done!
That looks freaking amazing.

Jane said...

Don't sit around and knit. ;)

When my children are "mis-treating" Momma, I threaten them that I will go to work. Every scene of life has it's challenges.... I, personally, daydream about being in the fashion industry!

Rhymenocerous said...

The entire gist of this entry aside: You got to fly on a private jet? Sweet fancy Moses! You are now officially my coolest friend. Keep on kicking arse. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and get off this silly Olympic train, and it sounds like you got stuff figured out.

(And in all fairness, even though I enjoy them like a root canal, f*bomb's attack on MSC's was entirely out of left field. Then again, young MC should know just to shake her off by now.)

Jen said...

Life is good and you are doing great! Congrats on ALL your successes!

Traci said...

I happen to be in NY @ at that Tretorn party and few things I might mention:

1. I dont like blogs and I never read them, but I was told by a friend to check this out

2. YOU Looked amazing that night

3. I watched you maneuvering around that party and I honestly thought what an amazing person you are. It was awesome to see the way that you interacted with everyone and how when I brought up to anyone why I was there, they all said the same thing....Katie is amazing.

So...if you need a break from the LDS single thing, come to NY and we will get shitfaced and go to a strip club. That was a joke for all of you freking out online!

Racie said...

Katie,

You are where you're supposed to be. As long as you are doing what you believe is right and as long as you are still putting yourself out there and trying to make an effort towards dating, then THAT is all that matters. The rest will figure itself out, somehow.

miss ya! :)

Traci said...

I happen to be in NY @ at that Tretorn party and few things I might mention:

1. I dont like blogs and I never read them, but I was told by a friend to check this out

2. YOU Looked amazing that night

3. I watched you maneuvering around that party and I honestly thought what an amazing person you are. It was awesome to see the way that you interacted with everyone and how when I brought up to anyone why I was there, they all said the same thing....Katie is amazing.

So...if you need a break from the LDS single thing, come to NY and we will get shitfaced and go to a strip club. That was a joke for all of you freking out online!

f*bomb. said...

I heart Traci.
And she is so totally right about you, K8.

Linda said...

I think that guy should read your post. People say too many stupid things and it's time to educate them!

I told my mom the other day that being a 30-something, single woman in the mormon church was a traumatic experience. I'm sticking to that statement.

love ya.

Jayne said...

Once again, as you have done countless times in your life, you make me sos so happy that you are the child I had first. It made the idea of a gang of Cliffords just so appealing. I'd like the name of that boy you were speaking to, so I can call his mother...

Mateo said...

K8, you kick some serious a#$.

teabelly said...

so awesome! and i am pretty sure i spotted you in one of the photos on that other blog...

Matt said...

K8, I congrats on the your success. I think most guys in the church appreciate women who are doers, successful in the workplace, and make something of themselves.

I think in general where your guy friend has concern and other guys in the church is that it seems some women can be perceived to be emotionally unavailable (and therefore not in the dating pool)if single women solely focus their time, energy, and efforts on their career.

It's not the success itself that makes guys leery, it's what it represents. Successful single LDS women through their attitide, thoughts, and actions need to reinsure the guys that they are in fact open to dating and marriage.

It's not to say you (or others) have to change your career or lifestyle to get the guy, waiting around to be "rescued", it's just guys want to know if women have the capacity to love and appreciate them before they move forward in dating and marriage.

k8 said...

with all due respect matt, i don't think you even read my post. The whole point was to say that successful single women are indeed happy and fulfilled. and for the most part still want to be mommies someday. I feel like I can say with confidence that if the girls you are dating are still showing up at church then yes, they are interested in getting married at some point.


i really feel like "emotionally unavailable" belongs with "has committment issues" on the list of "dating terms that have more to do with someone being uninterested you then a real problem."

jaredean said...

I loved this post...I am a firm believer that you will find your soul mate during the course of your life when you are doing exactly what you want to do and on the path you choose...

For example, let's say you hate clubbing - but know there are singles at clubs so you go to meet someone. Well, that someone you meet will most likely have nothing in comon with you, it is quite possible they love clubbing and wonder why you don't since that is where they met you in the first place...

But, if you love to travel, for example (hmmm...wonder why i chose that example :) and you go out and do what you love and meet someone else traveling you will most likely have many things in comon with them...it doesn't always work that way - but, the odds are better for sure...

So, you living your life the to the fullest and doing what you love will put you in situations where you meet others doing what you love and you've already got a common bond...

And, I don't for one second believe girls shouldn't work...Lissette worked for the first 6 years of our marriage and she will work after the kids are all in school at the same time...she LOVES to work and i LOVE her when she is happy so why wouldn't i want her to work? In fact, i was blessed enough to stay at home with Paris at night while Lissette worked and it was the best year ever because i got to bond with my daughter it ways i haven't bonded with the other two - i wouldn't have traded that experience for anything in the world!!!

My motto has always been, "If i'm happy and I know my Father in Heaven is happy with me, everyone else can go to hell" :-) This was back when I was single, so i gotta amend it to include my Love of course...

rock on girl!

Matt said...

K8, I think you have totally misunderstood my point. I totally agree with you. If 30-something single women feel content, fulfilled, and happy in their careers, good for them!

But I would also add our friend who said, "I just can't see you settling down because you are fine on your own" is a common preception in the church. Most guys will ask themselves "where do I fit in?" or "Will she have time for me?"

All I'm saying is that women need to reinsure in their attitude and actions to the guys in church that they are in fact available and want to be married and start a family. Women just sitting in the pews at church is not enough to get that message across to the men.

jaredean said...

That's cause men are dumb...

sincerely,
a man

Christopher said...

matt, we are just going to have to respectfully retire to our own corners here. what i am trying to tell you, and what i guess i thought this post and the many, many responses from thoughtful women said was that women-no matter how happy they are in their lives and work-are hoping for families. I don't know how many times I can say that. You and I have a fair amount of common friends and I know the vast majority of those girls to be cute, friendly, open women who definitely seem like they want to get married. In fact, I dare you to go a whole evening out there without the topic of dating and relationships coming up.
This might sound really mean, but if a girl is giving off signals that she isn't interested in a family, it's probably that she isn't interested in having one with that particular guy, not that she doesn't want one at all. I'm sure there are some exceptions but you and I both know that people aren't going to singles conferences to do career networking.

And lastly, I've tried really hard in my conversations and in my actions and in my blog to not make those general sweeping "what the boys should do" kinds of statements. I don't think it's helpful for any of us to say what the other gender needs to do to make our dating life better. All we can do is try to be our best selves and follow God's plan for us.

And that's kind of all the discussion I want to have about this. this was kind of a personal post about me sorting out my feelings and making peace about where i am in my life-i'm not really up for a debate on "dating strategies of the LDS singles" if that's ok with you. I could probably go the rest of my life without having to talk about it again and be just fine.

Christopher said...

shoot! that was katie but i'm on my friend's computer. anyway.

k8 said...

p.s. jared, it's so good to have you around again. great comment.

Matt said...

No worries, K8. I'm not trying to debate. I guess I get a little jaded hearing all the male bashing on LDS single blogs (not yours necessarily), and was trying to provide a little insight why your guy friend said what he did.

k8 said...

understood. this isn't one of those blogs and i'm not one of those girls.

tasha said...

Marvelous post Katie. Sure love you.