I have to remind myself of this tiny fact regularly. Even though I’m still considered young, at my age it feels worse. Most of my friends are shacked up, and it looks so easy for them. I know that’s BS. It’s still hard to see though.
I was brainwashed at a very young age from Disney movies, and well, every other movie, tv shows, school, and even real people around me to think in this certain way. The common thought is that we have to meet our “parrot” and live happily ever after. What they didn’t tell us throughout life is that relationships are fucking hard. They are a full time job. If you don’t connect with someone with actual parrot potential, then it’s perfectly acceptable be single.
The problem is that being single has a negative connotation. We’re considered “alone” and often times, feel alone for this very reason. We’re made to believe that being alone is bad, and then if we feel lonely something is wrong with us. Single women are often pitied, and as a woman, there are pressures put on us by family and others to meet someone and have children.
Um, it’s 2016 why am I still getting pressured to procreate by my family? Many of them are liberal progressive ex-hippies that should get that life can be colored outside of the lines. My conservative side of the family makes a bit more sense, but still, chill. When asked at family gatherings if I have a boyfriend, and I say “no”, or I haven’t found someone worthy and deserving, the family member essentially short circuits and lets out one of the many regurgitated responses they feel will be helpful in that moment like “awww, well it’s not easy”. All the while I know from their facial expression and body language that they’re starting to wonder if I will ever meet someone, and feel genuinely sorry for me that I don’t get to experience that “ultimate marriage bliss” nor “the miracle of having a baby which will change my life”. I mean that’s why I was put on this earth right? To build an army of little Sonya’s. That could have it’s benefits, but if that’s my sole purpose, than why the F was I also encouraged to go to college, work the grind, supported in starting my own business, and the like?
I could be the rebel I was born to be and flip the bird to societal pressures and family & friend pity. But the problem is that all this talk about how it’s bad to be single has really got me down. I’ve settled for the worst of them so that I have someone. I’ve made up justifications in my head and recited them aloud to convince myself that they are bettering my life in some way, albeit dysfunctional. I’ve fought for relationships to work when my gut was screaming that they were all wrong for me. When I’ve thought about breaking it off with these dudes, I felt a deep pit of sadness in my stomach.
As I preach to others, I’m supposed to face my shit, let myself feel, and understand why I feel sad. Well, why the fuck do you think? Perhaps because some of those same people — people who I deeply love and highly respect — are telling me I could do better (over and over), and yet making me feel the worst about being single. I know they’ve convinced themselves that they are doing their best to be supportive of my “challenging situation” and what “I have to deal with”. They’ve said things like, “I’m so sorry Sonya, you deserve a man to adore you, I’m sorry it’s been so hard for you to find.” These supportive words have turned into stories and I’ve found myself dragging them with me. I’m fully conscious to the fact that this is a personal choice of mine to do, but I find it’s hard to detach from their words regardless.
Instead of focusing on being happy and single — which is apparently an oxymoron — I have resorted to focusing on the fact that I’d rather be single than miserable.
The comedic part of all of this, is that I have dated many wonderful guys. I had a solid five-year relationship in college where there was mutual adoration. But said people above told me that I could do better. Well, perhaps they were right as we grew in separate directions, but sometimes I wonder if they would ever just feel content in my decisions? There will be something wrong with everyone, and that’s ok. I’m not perfect either.
My friends in these relationships magical in appearance on Facebook, have opened up to me to confess that it also isn’t easy. They had to overcome major obstacles to get to where they are now, and it’s still not easy. It takes work, commitment, and immense love and respect for the other.
I just ripped the figurative bandaid off this morning on a relationship that wasn’t serving me. Yes, it was liberating. Yes, it was jarring. Yes, I will wonder if it was right, all the while deeply knowing it was totally right. Yes, I will wonder if they are thinking the same thing or if they care or if they feel sad. Yes, I know that it doesn’t matter. Yes, I know that it’s done, and that is a really good thing.
Bottom line, if someone isn’t making you feel loved in some healthy fulfilling capacity and treating you with respect, it’s not worth your time. If you ultimately want a parrot, and are sick of dating Peter Pans, it’s ok to leave. It’s ok to be single. People are going to project their beliefs or hopes onto you, but at the end of the day, it’s not up to them.
Today I’m practicing self-love. I’m appreciating the lessons this one has provided me. I’m grateful for my gut that was clearly telling me it was wrong, following my gut finally, and the simple liberation of being single – not alone.