My journey through the Singleton Inquisition. Was there something wrong with me, going solo for so many years?

The Singleton Inquisition first came for me while I was shopping for skis at a Seattle sporting goods store. I was 29, and just out of a seven-year relationship, a breakup that precipitated a move from New York City back to my hometown.

A handsome outdoorsman with a full head of wavy hair greeted me between a rack of parkas, his arms extended. I recognized him as an old high school pal I hadn’t seen in ten years.

The Outdoorsman filled me in on his recent second wedding, looking me over from head to toe. …


I mocked late-marriers for taking their husbands' name — then I went and did it.

When my husband proposed to me, I was 49 and never married. He was 57 and a widower. While the content of our lives would fuse, mingle and blend, one thing would remain the same: my name.

I always thought there was something a bit mutton-dressed-up-as-lamb about a middle-aged woman who takes her husband’s name — like wearing a mini-skirt and pigtails at 50.

On more occasions than I care to admit, I was the wedding guest who rolled her eyes when the 40-year-old bride was presented with her husband’s last name. …


I want life to remain pretty much the same

Today I’m fully vaccinated. Watch out world, here I come!….

(I wish you could hear how loudly my husband is laughing at this.)

As it turns out, I’m putting my toe very tentatively, slowly, warily back into . . . what exactly? — normal life? No. Gathering with people indoors? Not ready! Going out to eat? I’m good. So WHAT exactly?

For starters, it’s been nice to share a few hugs with friends. My mom is visiting next week, so that will be our merge back into indoor meals that include more than two people — my husband and me.


What if children are the sages we try to return to as adults?

When I was about five, I’d sit in front of a mirror and stare at myself. Stare and stare and stare at a small brunette body sitting on the floor in front of a full-length mirror that ran the length of a bedroom door. I focused on myself unblinkingly, until I hit a daze-y, hazy state, and felt a lift-off, a separation that took me from inhabiting my body to being on the outside and observing.

My bedroom carpet was shag, in a two-tone pink: magenta and rose. There was a cherry tree outside the window. The closet occupied one…


A poem

We’re all the same person, walking and wandering home —

look, the eaves how they slope into the cracked streets of

our neighborhoods. Cars drive over them — honk honk

to hospitals and offices, to restaurants and airports.

Small bodies slip into the world; more bodies roar out

while we sit on the corner of our beds removing

one sock at a time, wondering What’s for dinner

wondering when we can put our sad bodies down at night.

Our hearts sing a bruised song, yet they’re made for breaking:

Crack, snap, ping, pong — hear that, how we…


The Brits have streamlined the awkwardness of invitations with one word, and I want in

Consider, for a moment, these ordinary British phrases:

“Fancy a coffee?”

“Fancy dinner this weekend?”

“Fancy a run?”

Here in America, where I live, these questions would be posed differently. Watch the leads:

“Would you like to get coffee this week?”

or

“Are you free to have dinner on Thursday?”

or

“Interested in going for a run?”

What you might not be able to discern from each invitation is how much I think through the lead of these sentence s— especially when texting or emailing. I consider, for example:

Should I write “Would you like to ….”, …


To a life worth living, thank you beautiful world

The second time I lived in New York City was short. Seven months compared to the previous seven years. I left for good in 1996. Between those two residencies, I spent three years living in Seattle, with all those trees, lakes, mountains, and accessible recreation. Being back in the urban jungle of Manhattan was, well, difficult.

On the subway ride home from work during that seven-month stint, I remember this: being crunched in among bodies, holding on to a chrome handrail and hearing this repeating chant in my head: “Civil people shouldn’t live like this. …


A few questions to crack the hard nut of “acceptance”

If I could just accept myself for who I am. If I could just accept him/her/they for who they are.

Oh, the longing to be someone better — but consider:

What do we really want from a state of acceptance?

What does not accepting give us that is so hard to let go of?

What does “acceptance” mean to you, beyond its dictionary definition; beyond what you have come to think of as “acceptance?”

We’re told that accepting others starts with self-acceptance. Before I can accept you for who and what and where you are, I have to begin here…


There is no reason so let’s stop looking for one

In my mid-40s, when I was still single after many years of being single; when I continued to hold a Never Married status in a society where people pair up and marry, I often turned to the big scratchy question of Why?

Why was I single? Was I not circulating enough? Was it something I did or didn’t do? Something in my psychology? My choices? Was it carelessness, like the person who didn’t hear the music stop during a game of musical chairs, and found herself the last person standing — no chair?

Finally, after turning over endless rocks, talking…


Pick something, anything, and stop chasing your tail — right now

It starts like this: a sunny Monday morning, the birds chirping, the air crisp, a fun weekend over my shoulder, a day filled with promise.

Then I go and ruin it.

Why? Because I spend too many hours wondering:

What to do? What should I do right now? Next? Writing an essay or submitting one? Returning emails or watching a training video? Swim or run? This or that?

I am a system in motion, rife with indecision, running into each corner of the room every five minutes to see if there’s something there. I’m filled with an idea of “getting…

Tatyana Sussex

Writer, coach, swimmer, late-marrier. Guide, companion, and explorer at the trailhead of Everyday Creative Coaching: www.everydaycreative.net

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