carry on

I have an active profile on a dating site.

That statement makes me feel like I will receive penance, or that a crowd will gather and hiss and boo at the hypocritical widow.  The nice thing about carrying your dead husband on your shoulder is that he still has an opinion, and souls have a wisdom that we do not.

The disclaimer that comes with online dating is that we live in a busy world. “At my age,” how will I know if someone is open to relationship? How did I know when I was younger? Before the internet?  Like most systems, I get lost in the analysis . . . Look at all of the trauma . . . So many people in transition . . .

I have set aside the idea of a sociology dissertation because I am quite sure there are several that have been written by now, and I really must seek them out to see if I am on the mark.  I have also set aside my little black dress. You know, the one that I can wear as well as a pair of jeans? Or perhaps you don’t. If you have not made the foray into this world you wouldn’t know that us women folk should keep this clothing dichotomy high on our list.  Take note, my friends, as well as of my sarcasm.

But there is one thing I will not set aside, actually three things.  Politics. Drama. Baggage.  It would seem that to feel safe in putting oneself “out there,” one must first check their engagement with the world, with their circle, and with themselves.  Countless profiles ask that baggage be tightly locked up and put away.  That they are not interested in any drama.  That they don’t “do” politics.

I think dating sites are one of the most fascinating litmus tests. Mirrors.  What about myself, do I want to project? What is projected, that engages me?  And how does this differ from my social media presence?  Can I use hashtags? Actually, I believe that is the first thing Beardo said to me when we started to chat online: “Did you just hashtag me?”  #ItsABeautifulThing

Dating sites look different after you have led your lover from this world. And when it comes to baggage, they open a unique door.  Relationship status? Widow.  Feels rather similar to the first time I filled out a profile and considered claiming to be a brunette.  Deep breath. Here we go. Bald.

I think I will look for a dating app that is based primarily on baggage. In fact, that would be a great opening category.  The app I am currently using calls it my story, but come on.  My baggage is my story. My story is my baggage.  You don’t want me to lock that up tight. You want to watch me unpack. That’s a whole thesis, right there.

Maybe having my baggage checked isn’t about putting it away, but rather opening it up to take a look-see at who it is that I am sharing . . . It holds everyone who has ever hurt me, and anyone I have ever loved. I have rolled the bits of our shared stories so they are easily retrieved. Family, friends, lovers, colleagues. And I packed purposefully for this trip, because the difference between what I need and what I want has become so much more clear.

It’s got those all direction wheels and a hard shell case.  It’s lime green, because I will find it.  And soon I will turn fifty so I’m gonna dance with it before check in and after the carousel.

Behold, my baggage.

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