Being single sometimes feels like a malfunction others are constantly trying to fix with a relationship.
The idea that I might just be okay, even happy, being alone seems to be unsatisfactory to others. It is always just assumed that because I am single, I am on the prowl and ready to jump in to a relationship, any relationship to save me from loneliness.
I was at a birthday party recently surrounded by friends I had not seen in a while. When they asked me how I was doing I spoke about being in a sort of Zen place in my life, “I’ve just been happy!” I said.
One of my friends then asked, “Oh, have you started seeing someone?”
No, no I had not. I had not been on a single date in months. There was no love interest. I was just loving life. I was happy going to my outdoor yoga classes, breathing in the ocean air as I sent my leg up high to the sky from down dog position. I was happy strutting around a studio and striking a pose for a photographer. I was happy reading by the cliffs and watching the sun go down over the soothing ocean waves after a long day of work. I was happy being alone.
However, people always seemed to believe the source of my happiness came from meeting someone or that I was lying about being happy.
Upon learning I was single, people would instantly begin strapping on their bows and arrows trying to match me up or hook me up with some guy they knew. The whole thing started to feel a lot more like I was being pimped-out rather than being shot by Cupid. I was hardly ever asked what I wanted or if I was looking for a relationship.
I sometimes felt I was only invited out if there was a prospect my friends wished for me to meet. Then throughout the night I would get harassed with questions about whether I liked him or if I was willing to at least hook up with him, because, “he was down.” What am I everyone’s entertainment?
When I wasn’t being pimped-out, I was being sought-out. Whenever I hit a dance floor, it seemed dancing by myself was some sort of invitation for guys to come up behind me and dry hump me. As though I was just up for grabs.
If I happened to go on a date and decided I was not interested, people reacted as though I was missing the last ship off Single Island. I was told to not be too picky, apparently wanting butterflies was asking too much. Maybe I was enjoying my time on the Island, sipping on cocktails.
I wanted to scream, “I’m single, not desperate!”
Even my landlord upon handing me the keys to my new studio apartment asked if he should make me a spare for my boyfriend. When I said I had no boyfriend, he responded, “Why no boyfriend, you’re so pretty?”
Maybe I am just crazy then! I sarcastically thought. Apparently, moving in by myself was only a few cats short of sealing my fate to be the “lonely cat lady.”
Like everything else, being single has its rough spots. There was a time in my life when I had bought in to this idea, the idea that I was missing something if I was not in a relationship. The idea that I was only worthy of love if someone validated it. The thought that I might never find somebody still creeps up on me and admittedly, scares me. However, despite the self-defeating thoughts I still know I want a magnificent kind of love and I am too stubborn to settle for just anyone, regardless of the social pressure.
When I moved in by myself, I made a conscious choice to embrace being alone and to face this fear. I quickly realized things were going to be just fine.
Maybe I am crazy, but at 26 years old, I am more comfortable and in love with myself than I have ever been. I don’t need a relationship to be happy. I am already in the best relationship I can be in, with myself. I make myself breakfast in bed and go on trips alone, I know how to sweep myself off own my feet (it’s a tricky balancing act, but it can be done)! I have the best time just embracing the life I am fortunate enough to live and with social media I don’t need a boyfriend, I can share my life with the world. Meeting someone would be nice, but I just don’t need it to happen every time I step out my door or go out to a bar.
I am single, not broken. I don’t need fixing by means of a relationship.
Despite the disbelief, I am happy and alone.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Kathryn Muyskens/Editor: Catherine Monkman