I don’t know how we got to the point in our society that we believe the ultimate (and only) life goal is getting married and having kids and anything else is subpar. How did we get to a place that pitying our single friends is de rigeur and totally acceptable? How do we find it at all acceptable to tell strangers you are so sorry they’re single?
I was chatting with some random gent today in the checkout line at the grocery store and I don’t know how we got on the subject, but he asked me what my husband did. When I told him I was single, the look on his face was what I would expected had I stripped naked in the middle of the grocery store and started singing show tunes. He looked shocked and then tried to smile, and then said “I’m so sorry.”
Let me tell you: I’m not sorry I’m single. At all.
I wake up in the morning with a smile, spread all the way across my mattress without someone stealing the covers or kicking me or sweating on me in their sleep. I make coffee I don’t have to share. I can eat breakfast food for every meal and nobody gives me grief.
I make decisions without having to justify them to anyone. I get to be wholly me without having to sacrifice pieces of myself to make someone else comfortable. I don’t have to dumb myself down so my imaginary husband doesn’t feel threatened by me. I don’t have to schedule my life around someone else’s calendar.
I get to be me.
When I went through a breakup last summer, I got a lot of pity, and I get it. I was devastated and my friends wanted to support me. When something ends, it’s always sad even if it’s for the best like this was.
But so many people said “you’ll find someone else.” That one invasive thought added an extra layer of anxiety for me because what if I don’t? What if I spend the whole rest of my life single? What if I go to sleep alone every night from now until the end?
I cried myself to sleep for months with the “I’ll be alone forever” soundtrack playing nonstop in my head. I sobbed into all the extra pillows I put on my bed in case I ever had another man want to share it with me. I lived my life in a constant state of desperation that I would never find anyone to love me the way I thought I needed.
Until one day, I needed a nap like an overtired toddler so I made all those pillows into a nest and curled up in it. I’d always saved pillows for someone else and why? Why would I own things I don’t get to use? Why would I deprive myself of the comfort of my own pillows for the chance that maybe possibly someone else may eventually use them?
It’s the same logic as using your fancy china for every day use. Stop saving things for “someday” because you deserve to drink your daily coffee from a fancy tea cup if you want. You deserve to wear that fake fur coat because it’s Tuesday and you want a pick me up. Wear those fake lashes to the grocery store and your sequins to go out for ice cream. Do the things you want to do when you can because special occasions are great, but so are random days.
I realized that I desperately needed to say “yes” to myself more, and stop waiting for someone else to “complete me”. (Related: eff you, Jerry Maguire.)
So I started loving myself. I cried at my best friend Sabrina a lot during this time, trying to love myself after a lifetime of trying to be something for someone else. I had lived my whole entire life until recently trying to anticipate the need and desires of others, trying to fit into a mold I thought others wanted me in. I tried to be the person that I thought would attract others, instead of recognizing that each of us being ourselves is what the world wants to see.
It’s what the world desperately wants. Each of us as whole people, showing up every day as our full authentic selves.
Occasionally I slip back and think I’m so lonely and cry to Sabrina. (God bless her, she and my therapist really have been my rock for the past few years as I flailed around and tried to fight my own self.)
I wish I could say “and then I remember I’m a badass and straighten my crown and walk away like a boss” but it’s mostly “and then I stop talking to anyone for hours (and maybe days) because I’m having another emotional crisis and need to work through it to remember who the f^*k I am”.
I forget that am awesome. When I think about it, I would totally want to be friends with the real authentic me. I love animals and will pet every dog I come in contact with. I will make friends with anyone, from checkers at the grocery store to taxi drivers to the grumpy guy who delivers our mail.
I talk to my plants and to my friends’ sheep like they’re going to talk back. I would be the happiest human in the world to spend an entire day at Pike Place Market. I have so many hobbies that I’m not sure I can list them all, and love to use those hobby superpowers to make things for my friends. I like to play video games only with other people, but I’m horrible and I’m the character jumping in the corner and shooting the ground.
I talk too much sometimes and laugh so loud at stupid things like this meme.
I am a weirdo and I fully embrace that. I drive slightly too fast with the windows down through the county near my house while singing too loud to the radio, and tell Mount Baker she’s beautiful every day. I grow plants like all my fingers are green, and bake like the elves in that tree. I dance like nobody is watching, even when people are totally watching.
I’m a hell of a catch, even if nobody’s caught me yet.
The fact I’m happy being single doesn’t mean that I won’t change my relationship status for the person who ticks all my boxes. If some dude comes along, driving a truck with a dog in the back, music turned up and singing along to the radio, who will laugh at my terrible jokes and think I hung the moon (among many other things), then I’ll reconsider.
I’ll know when the right one shows up because I’ll be willing to share my coffee and let him hog the covers while I snuggle up to him for warmth in my sleep. I’ll be okay with getting a bigger mattress to share with him and our dog(s). I’ll be ready to learn about his hobbies and let him read my books before anybody else. I’ll make room for him in my life because I choose to do so, not just so I have a boyfriend.
Quality counts. We need to start emphasizing the RIGHT relationship rather than any old dude to attach ourselves to.
So please, kindly shut your face about people’s marital status. It’s unseemly.
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