A few people have asked me why I chose ‘the single swan’ for the name of my blog. A few people have also asked me whether I am really called Pen.
Swans apparently are one of the few creatures, others being termites, beavers and pigeons who mate for life. Mating for life was my aspiration. Although I left my ex, single motherhood was never my aim, never my ambition. Having said that, I am okay with it. In fact, when I think of the alternative, marrying my ex and struggling through the rest of my life slowly being extinguished, I am more than okay with my single mother status, I am actually pretty happy with it. I am free again to chose my destiny. I am rekindling that fire in my belly.
Swans always appear to be elegant, graceful, serene and defiant. I have to admit that life feels anything but serene at the moment. I feel as though I chug week to week waiting to settle, waiting for a sense of routine to land, but as yet it hasn’t. I don’t know when that will happen. I am beginning to wonder if it will happen. I would like to be that elegant, graceful, serene and defiant swan.
This is why I am the single swan rather than the single termite!
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans…
Extract from The Wild Swans At Coole, William Butler Yeats
The poem The Wild Swans At Coole by William Butler Yeats evoked this sense of serenity, elegance, grace and defiance for me. The odd number of swans (59) must mean that one of them is not coupled. To me, Yeats was saying that not all swans can mate for life. In the poem you don’t know what that swan is feeling: is it alone in the crowd or is it part of it? I guess we’ll not know. Sometimes I feel alone in the crowd. Sometimes I feel part of it. Sometimes I want to be alone in the crowd. Sometimes I want to be part of it. Now that I am single I can chose. I can create the destiny I want now. The single swan can be who it wants to be.
A single swan is called a pen, a male swan is called a cob, a baby swan is called a cygnet.
We are Pen and Cygnet.
Separating from the father of my child was obviously a big decision. I was desperate to find people who were going through, or who had recently gone through, what I was going through. I found some fantastically funny, some very sad, some very moving and some very optimistic blogs about single motherhood and what the future could be like. I struggled to find anyone going through what I am going through right now.
I am writing anonymously so that I can be as honest as possible whilst protecting the identity of myself, my son, my ex partner and my family, not so that I can be enigmatic and aloof. I hope that you will respect that.
So, here goes! I am a newly single mother. I am in my mid thirties and my son was under six months old when my ex and I separated.
This is my journey. This is the journey of Pen and Cygnet.
I was recently interviewed by Debbie over at My Random Musings. You can read my interview here.