Book Review: Solemate - Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life

I think that I might be the most lonely I have ever been right now. Mostly everyone I know is married (some with children). People who are married (or with children) rarely ask single people to hang out or go for dinner. I have in the past been quite a social director, planning this and that to get myself and others out of the house to do fun things. But it occurred to me recently that no one else does this - no one else goes out of their way to invite me out to do fun things. Is it because we're old and all anyone ever does is sit on their couch and watch Netflix? Or is it because everyone has someone and thus has no need to invite out the third wheel. Whatever the reason is, I'm extremely cranky about the whole situation right now.

I don't remember what it's like to be in love. I mean, I remember a few of the good parts, but not really the feeling parts. I want someone to sit on the couch and watch Netflix with too.

But it's not going to happen. I am no Sally Sunshine Supermodel. I don't normally meet men in real life and online dating sucks out my soul and destroys my confidence. Besides, everyone in my age bracket is already married. Or a sad hermit king. (And for the record, I like sad hermit kings. I'm drawn to them and they're drawn to me, like magnets. But they don't make for assertive boyfriends. Or any boyfriend at all. I think sad hermit kings only know how to friendzone. *sigh* .)

So if I really am going to be the sad hermit queen cranky spinster cat lady, it's time I got used to the idea, mourned the loss of any man touching me ever again, and got on to being content with my own company.

Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life
By Lauren Mackler
367 pages

I don't read self help books. Like, this is probably the third one I've ever read. They always sound preachy and condescending and fuzzy wuzzy. And this book was no different. Except she talked a lot about her life. Do all self help authors do that? I don't really care, just tell me how to not be broken.

There was a lot of those quizzes, or "write the answer down in a journal" or tracking feelings or whatever. Yeah I'm not doing that either. Just tell me how to not be broken.

So I skimmed the book. I did not learn 367 pages worth of stuff. But I did learn (not learn, have reconfirmed for me in a mostly non condescending tone) a few things, and a few things annoyed me to bits:
  • "The emotionally needy people in relationships - the 'Pursuers' - are continually fighting for closeness...The partners of these emotionally needy people  - 'Distancers' - are always fighting for their space...Such relationships turn into battlefields, breeding jealousy, insecurity, resentment and contempt." (p.30). Whoa. Yeah. I'm a Pursuer. 
  • "Lost Child - This is the child who tends to be insecure and/or self-doubting. Lost Children look to others to provide self-validation and esteem." (p. 62). Whoa. Yeah. That's me. Her other categories are Hero, Mascot and Rebel. She spends a lot of time blaming a person's current state of wellbeing on their family upbringing. Not totally untrue.
  • The chapter on fear did not to dispel my fear of dying alone. Fail. (ch. 4) (And no don't tell me church will solve that fear.)
  • Apparently being alone is a choice. I could choose to be in a relationship but I'm subconsciously choosing to be alone. So it's my fault. Really? Come on. Of course I could be in a horrible unfulfilling relationship in order to not be alone (see: settling). Stupid condescending crap. Not helpful. Don't make me feel guilty for not being on Plenty of Fish, make me feel better about choosing not too be on there. Stupid author. (p. 109).
  • Be discerning in your friendships (p. 163). Actually, I'm really trying to only spend time with people who don't make me feel like crap. So mostly I spend time alone because all the people I know lead busy lives with many other people in them and don't have time to care about me. But I'm trying.
  • "I'd like it if you'd be more sensitive to the fact that I'm single [not going to have a baby]; I'm alone [not a mother] by choice. I'd really like you to be supportive of my choice and my lifestyle. If you feel critical, I'd prefer that you not share those opinions when we're together." (p. 180). Oh I'm going to memorize that and bring it out next extended family Christmas dinner!
  • Actually ch. 7 on Becoming the Partner You Seek was not completely irrelevant. The Ideal Partner Gap exercise wasn't completely stupid (p. 218). If I want a partner, just so I can have someone to stand up for me, then maybe I should just stand up for myself. Too bad no one takes me seriously because I'm so damn cranky.
  • Ch. 9 is about building an inner and outer support system. I'm trying to do that, be less busy, relax more, be selfish and do stuff for me, exercise, eat better etc. I definitely need to find more supportive people to add to my life though. People who won't leave me for a wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/baby/child. Oh wait, this is full circle right where I started. (I should mention I do have a few really supportive people in my life, but inconveniently for me, they all seem to being going through major life crap right now and don't really have time to listen to me whine about being alone, which is an inconsequential problem compared to what they're going through. Selfish guilt. *sigh*.)
  • Eureka moment! Mostly what I want right now is someone to talk to - like actually talk, not the small talk stuff that happens with acquaintances or the superficial stuff that happens with colleagues - actual deep and meaningful conversations about life! Gah! If only! The solutions to this are to find a best friend. This is difficult. I get so close, and then that person leaves me for a significant other. Dammit! So then maybe I should find a significant other, but this involves online dating and that's soul destroying so I'm not doing. At the moment. I could go see a therapist. And actually, that's not a horrible idea - it would be someone to talk to anyway. But right now I'm not yet over the stigma of what that means for the state of my life.
Yeah, ok, so I learned a few things, but I am no less lonely. Not a complete waste of time, but also not necessarily worthy of a recommendation. As usual with self help books (and my entire Bachelor of Education degree), I learned what to do, but not how to do it. So I'll just keep on keeping on.

Maybe I'm just too jaded and cynical. And cranky.

Maybe I should just get another cat?

(Oh and thanks for reading the lonely rantings of a spinster cat lady. Don't judge.)