Why do I SAY I’m still single?
A pithy, “Because I’m too fabulous to settle.”
A polite, “Because I’m waiting for God to bring me the right man.”
A peppy, “Because there are still things I’m meant to accomplish as a single woman!”
But the truth is…sometimes I think the reason I’m still single is because I’m inherently flawed. Bad. Ugly. Undeserving. Screwed up. Unlovable.
THIS is the underbelly of singleness. The dark side. Where the rubber meets the road. Where the truth comes out and it’s not the slightest bit pretty, or inspirational, or even positive.
It is, in fact, very ugly.
It’s also a truth I have kept to myself because of its ugliness. I’ve dressed it up in pretty pink girl power with a silver lining instead of gotten really, really REAL with you and with myself about my fears about being single and 36. And in doing that, my friends, I feel I have done you a disservice. I have done myself a disservice. It’s recently been called to my attention that I use positivity as a defense mechanism. Oh, I was angry when I heard that. Fearful. Indignant. Convinced the person telling me that HAD to be mistaken. I’m just a positive person! I argued. If I don’t look for the silver lining…what is the purpose to the bad things that happen?! If I choose to let in the darkness and the sadness and the REALNESS…won’t I sink in it? Won’t it drown me? Won’t it make me a…SHUDDER…negative person?!??!
The truth is…I don’t know exactly why I’m still single. I think I’m starting to come to a better understanding of why…but for the moment, it’s still just shadowed and blurry truth that I’m struggling to make sense of. But the reasons I often convince myself that I’m still single aren’t pretty.
I never meet guys. Like…literally NEVER. A few years ago I felt like I could simply walk into a room and command the attention of the men in the room. I had no trouble meeting men. I got hit on regularly. But something changed along the way and that’s not my experience anymore. I suspect it was more an internal change than an external one, as I honestly think I physically look better now than I did ten years ago. A toxic relationship in my late 20’s that left me questioning everything about myself took its toll. Life happened. Another man I loved for eight long years sat in my apartment not quite a year ago and looked me in the eyes and basically told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t lovable to him. That I was flawed. That he had abruptly stopped being attracted to me, after almost a decade of intense, undeniable chemistry. That my humanity and my imperfections were a turnoff to him.
That simply being ME…wasn’t enough.
I can’t blame all of my self doubts on men, though. That’s too easy. That’s a refusal to take responsibility for my own life and choices and attitudes and self image, and I won’t do that. I will hand them their share of the blame, but I’ll take my share, too. The negative self talk? Yep, I’m a pro.
“You’re too ugly.”
“You’re too fat.”
“You have a gap in your teeth.”
“You look old.”
“You’ve done too many bad things in your life and you don’t deserve to ever find love.”
“God has forgotten you.”
“It’s so easy for everyone else and so difficult for you.”
“You’re meant to wander the earth alone forever.”
“You will always be on the outside, looking in.”
And on and on and on, like a broken record.
“You just need more makeup, a thigh gap, more self love!” the secular world says superficially.
“You just need more faith,” the Christian world says judgmentally.
I have faith. Lots of faith. I love Jesus with my whole heart.
I also have makeup, lots of makeup, and I’m working on the self-love stuff every day. (But I don’t and doubt I will ever have a thigh gap. Just not in the cards for me.)
I want with every single fiber of my being to be one of those self-assured, confident, bold women of God who knows exactly who she is in Christ and walks in the freedom of knowing how loved she is, how precious she is, how validated she is.
I want to be that woman, but I’m not that woman yet. I’m on a journey to become her. And that journey starts with this blog…with this moment of honesty that will hopefully be followed by lots more moments of honesty as I stop frantically searching for the silver lining of every situation and instead just learn to embrace the ugliness, the doubt, the uncertainty, the fear…as all a part of the journey. This is it, ladies. This is the trenches of single life. And that’s not to say we should walk around like Eeyore all the time, feeling sorry for ourselves and playing the victim of our lives. Not at all.
But neither should we walk around like Tigger all the time…springing when we feel like sighing. Laughing when we feel like crying. And running from our truth by lying. Part of being the heroine of your own life is accepting the bad with the good. Not dodging it or covering it up or glossing over it to make it look prettier and more pleasing so you can prop it up in the corner and not have to deal with it. I personally think it’s a lot braver to talk about our doubts and fears instead of acting like everything’s perfect. And life without both joy AND sadness is a life without balance.
The truth is…single life is hard. It’s HARD. It lends itself to loneliness and self doubt and fear. And I think it’s high time to march all of that loneliness and self doubt and fear into the light and stop hiding it away and acting like it doesn’t exist because to admit that it DOES exist is to admit vulnerability. And to give everything a more positive sheen in order to make ourselves feel better for the moment actually only harms us more in the long run.
So there it is. All of my great big ugly fears about being single. And to go a step further…all of my great big ugly fears about what being single at age 36 says about me. I’m not going to end this blog with some cheesy quote or self-help speech…and I’m not going to apologize for anything I’ve written here, either. I’m simply going to tell you that whatever your fears are about being single, you’re not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We’re in this together.
Feel free to use the comments below to voice your own fears, share your story, agree, disagree, scream, yell, cry…whatever you need to do.