Life's debacles are all fun and games until it's you that's the latest topic of your local Shaderoom. Most things in life hit different when it hits home. As I recap my dating history, I've dated a single dad, a single man with no children, a man five years my junior, and this one time; I almost had an entanglement with a married man. But in my defence, he kinda left out that pertinent information during early greetings and salutations.
Before you think I've been around the world and still can't find my baby (if you miss that, you too young), know that some of these attributes belong to the same person. On the flip side of that, I have single gal-pals, single mom friends, divorced friends, single never been married friends, and then, there is my seasoned and married crew. Meanwhile, I'm here being at peace and seeing the good in what I deem my devastating bad breaks. Still, I can't help but mull over things some folks don't like acknowledging, much less talking about. I seriously want an unfiltered answer from someone real, "Is marriage honest to goodness beautiful, or does it quickly evolve into nothing more than an old ball and chain?"
As with most things, singlehood, to me, offers a perfect catch 22. It's an A1-blend of not having to answer to or consult anyone versus no one on speed dial to tell what just happened to you and rolling over to the cold spot. Honestly, I wanna tell all the people trying to get out, please stick and stay because there's nothing out in these streets. And one day, it smacked me upside the head, I'm out here, and I don't know bout the rest of you'll single chicks, but I'm a big deal.
These are My Confessions
Like many singles, I, too, was briefly obsessed with the idea of marriage. Although this desire was rooted in selfish reasons, the truth is I don't know that many couples fixated on their marriage. Of course, this opinion is based on minimal insight. Still, I was always a bit suspect when these same folks' cautionary warnings come with an "OMG; I made the worst mistake of my life!" bitter undertone. As I observe in silence, I see some dying marriages holding on by a thread for reasons like the kids or commingled assets. It's as if these folks don't be joking when they say, "It's cheaper to keep you." Again, this is all circumstantial from a limited view. Even so, it just makes me question, 'Are there people who are actually together because they want to be?' Whew, chall, let me sip this oolong tea cause that ain't really my business.
I suppose being single may be a reward more than this curse society has made us believe it is. Certainly, if we have to say, "Normalize getting married after 40," it obviously ain't considered acceptable. Listen when I tell you that church pressure to get married is tall! It's like you don't even have time to lick your wounds good; someone is already in your face as if your womb is in danger of going up for display in the Egyptian Museum of historical artifacts. Singlehood should be embraced and enjoyed, but no, it's steady carrying a tinge of negative connotations, especially for women. PSA: Let us live, man! PLEASE!
Don't lie, sometimes getting in another relationship right away isn't just about proving the doubters wrong. It is often about showing your ex that you've moved on and found someone better, right? Truth is unless it was some dire situation (and sometimes even then), you crave what was because it's familiar. I mean, as the old saying goes, 'Old broom, know where to sweep!' Nevermind, there are a whole bunch of people out there who don't know how to be alone. Can I tell you, though, that if you dig real deep in the seat of those unsettled emotions, it's more about you, wanting them to want you than you genuinely wanting them because you do? Okay, Read that last line again. If you're rational, you know it made more sense to walk away than it did to stay. But for some reason or the other, between your emotions and these married but anti-marriage enthusiasts, it keeps us looking back like we are dying to turn to a pillar of salt. Even if you are one of those people who have mastered being unbothered, joy and pain live on long after we've experienced them. It's why we hold on to those happy thoughts and want to revel in those moments as long as we could!
A saying goes, "Just because you hear hooves, don't assume zebras." Well, no, Sherlock, it may be worst; it could be rhinos. Still, we'd hear all that ruckus and blatantly ignore the warning signs. Luckily, sometimes the sound of the impending stampede could be you doing the running! Congratulations, you got out before it was too late. Don't mind all these folks asking, "So when you getting married?" they be the very ones in the background organizing an escape plan of their own. I've learned like this whole Covid fiasco has taught us, wash your hands often. I mean, you had better pull a Pilot and turn your back on things you don't want to tie yourself to. Cause while the grass may be greener (and by grass, I mean the social media posts) on the other side, you don't know how much manure it takes to keep it green!
Want vs. Need
I suppose my most despised concern of being single is the feeling of not being enough. All my 90's kids know, we sat in awe when we first saw that throne spinning and a young man about to tell us all how he became a prince. Though, for the most part, it was for pure entertainment, my most memorable episode to date was entitled 'Papa gat a brand new excuse.' It was the one where Will executed one of his most tear-jerking performances. His dad had come back into his life, and just as quickly as he came, it was as soon as he left. That sounds like plenty of our love lives to me, but that's not the point. Imagine a charismatic, find the humour in everything fella breaking all the way down as he asks his uncle, "Man, how come he don't want me?" Boy, that scene hit a nerve even if you'd never felt rejection. Although Will was referring to his father's abandonment of him, many people watching that scene felt that 'he' was symbolic of people other than a father figure. I happened to see a highlight of that episode lately and let me say I can still empathize now as I did then.
Of course, we don't all fight the same battles, but our individual experiences can be relatable. If you've ever been cheated on, we women (some not all) tend to look inward before blaming outward. We can often be heard asking, "What didn't I do? Or what did I do wrong?" Sad to say, it's just how some of us are wired. Sure, you eventually get to the name-calling hissy fit. Still, even if you never verbalized it, you want to ask dude, almost like Will, 'Man, why wasn't I enough for you?' Sadly, no matter how he tries to justify his actions, it never eases those bruised emotions.
The Elephant in the Room
So, let's discuss the hard truth. For many single fabulous ladies, do we really want it for what it is, or could it be that it must be nice just having a body to fill the space? Is your worth hinged on appearing worthy because someone (inserts air quotes) picks you? Love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31) was always one of those scriptures that threw me for a loop. With all this importance given to loving oneself and normalizing the notion of being kind to yourself, we can only conclude what should be an innate reaction is at an all-time low. So how am I suppose to be that to another human? Honestly, when I compared my past actions toward my supposed great loves to the infamous wedding scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, I was like, whoa, maybe I need to marinate in this single stew a little longer.
Love is patient - Meaning it's longsuffering but not that toxic mess we promote, like suffering, is the prerequisite for marriage.No, not that. Did I endure hard times, or at the first whiff of trouble, did I take pleasure in calling it quits?
Love is kind - Did my words speak life to my mate even when I was upset at them? Was I kind even if the situation allowed for me to be angry?
It does not envy - Was I willing to support my mates progress and success without feeling slighted or that it should be me and not them? If needed, could I have put what I wanted on the back burner to ensure they won first?
It does not boast - Were there times I was so self-involved that I thought myself and my needs more important than the other person's?
It is not proud - Was I willing to ask for help or, heaven forbid, did I admit it when I was wrong and sincerely apologized?
It's not rude - When I knew homeslice was being intentionally crass or, better, yet wasn't aware of wronging me, how did I respond? In-kind or was my answer soft so I could turn away wrath?
It is not self-seeking - Did I lord the rule of compromise over the other person? Meaning, did I say I would concede this time, only to use it as a weapon to have my way on a later date?
It is not easily angered - Should I have complained as much about the way he chews or that the shoes weren't put in their proper place, using it as an excuse to be passive-aggressive?
It keeps no record of wrongs - Was I a constant reminder of his one indiscretion even though I said I've forgiven him?
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth - No matter how we parted ways, did I mean it when I said, 'I love you,' or am I now repeatedly bashing and highlighting their faults to anyone who will listen?
All I know is when I put these questions under the "I am ready for love" microscope, I was weighed in the balance and found wanting. But hey, that's me and not you. I'm only suggesting you think about it.
It is said, 'Love and Marriage go together like a horse and carriage.' Then I reckon single and content should be as rain is to water. I honestly understand the notion that "loose goats don't know how tied goats feel," but it doesn't stop us lose goats from wanting to be tied. It's sometimes daunting to see everyone booed up, but honey, ain't no sense in going into an exam, and you played hooky the entire semester. Yes, single can be lonely, but it doesn't have to be unproductive—it all depends on where you place the focus.
Trust me, men ain't going out of season no time soon. And great women ain't in short supply. There are 250 humans born every minute. Focus, the baby not for you but maybe one of their parents are. So if you're here in 2021 ticking spinster on application forms, know that you are like a little black dress, timeless and necessary. Being married doesn't define you, and being single doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. All of our roles on the stage of life cannot be the same, nor can they coincide. Remember, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV) So if you're unmarried, know there is perhaps even a purpose in that.