This is my 100th post on this blog, and I feel like I can trust you all with something very personal.
The reason I came up with to go to Sydney was to see an author called Cheryl Strayed speak at the Sydney Writer’s Festival. She had made her name recently in 2 very different ways. She had been writing an advice column anonymously for a couple of years. Her pen name was Dear Sugar. She wrote amazingly touching responses to people with all sorts of (real or imagined) problems. She was strong and tough at times but also heart-wrenchingly honest and warm when it was needed most. Everyone wanted to know who “Sugar” was and she finally came out last year. At the same time Oprah chose the first book in her rebooted book club. This was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I loved it because it was about a woman “finding herself” which of course resonated with me as I was about to leave Sydney and move here to Albany. Once I found out she was coming to Sydney I knew I had the excuse I needed to go back there and see everyone I have missed so much.
I’m so glad I saw Cheryl. Her themes as Sugar really strike a chord with me because she talked a lot about being brave, never regretting trying, accepting that a perfect life is not possible and that discomfort is ok. All of these things have been experienced by me over the past 8 months and have completely transformed my life – in every way but one…
One of the recurring questions in Sydney was “how’s your love life?” And I answered in my normal breezy way – “oh, nothing to report there.” But I will be honest now and report that this answer is as boring and disappointing to me as it probably was to the people who asked. And it’s made me ask myself why I have been single so long. And the short answer is “fear.” I will let a Dear Sugar writer speak for me:
“I give to lots of people, but I have emotional needs too. I want sex, affection, and emotional closeness. I want someone to care about me. I know people do care about me already, but I want someone special. I want to be loved and to receive love; to have someone there for me. My hunger for this is so great that I fear it’s too much to ask anyone for.” And here is part of Sugar’s response, “It’s hard to answer those letters because I’m an advice columnist, not a fortune teller. I have words instead of a crystal ball. I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.”
So from now on I am going to be brave. I’m telling all of you that I want love in my life. I think it’s important to “say it out loud.” If you see me or speak to me, maybe even ask me about it. If you know someone I might like, let me know! If you have any advice for me, give it to me, I’ll take it on board. But mostly I just wanted to be honest, put it out there and be brave.