Monday, June 29, 2015

Single and Ashamed...

It's a wedding of one of your best friends from high school, and it's basically a big reunion when you arrive at the reception.  Nothing much has changed except for now you're all nursing mixed drinks and beers instead of Coca-Cola's and Fanta.  Oh, and the population of the group has doubled since everyone has brought their boyfriend or girlfriend.  As the introductions go around, you hold up your phone to show everyone your guinea pig and point out your mom sitting a few chairs away who was kind enough to be your DD date.

You're sitting at home, enjoying your Netflix and wine night, when you get a text reading, "Hey, wanna hang out?"  Normally you'd be all for a little bit of a social life, except this significant person took you on a few dates, continuously talked to you for nearly a month straight, and then dropped you like a hot pan with no clues or explanations.  You're not insanely heartbroken from this occurrence (sadly it's happened before), but it was still a form of rejection in your book.  The unwanted question pops into your mind though, "It's not like I can be too picky since I don't have crowds of people trying to spend time with me.  Maybe I should just forget it and text back."

"You're expecting too much"

"How do you know what you want if you aren't playing the field?"

"A good career will only get you so far"

"Will you really feel accomplished without a family?"

It doesn't matter how confident you are in yourself, these kinds of scenarios can easily bring in those self-conscious thoughts about being single.  I can genuinely say that I enjoy my life.  I can't say that my happiness stems from my single status, but I know that I don't need a significant other to feel loved and accomplished.

When I was at the wedding reception, I ignored the obvious elephant in the room (my singleness) and made some chuckle-worthy joke about the love I have for my guinea pig.  When I ignored that 11 o'clock text message reading "Hey, wanna hang out?", I pumped my fist in the air for feminists everywhere.  At the time of all of these scenarios I was proud of my confidence.

Why, then, do I still have moments where I feel extremely ashamed of being single?

I’m sure you’ve felt it before: like a virus that seeps through your thoughts and taints them with loneliness.  The feeling usually hits after watching a sappy romance or after any of the above scenarios.  It may last for an hour, a few days, or even a month. Instead of trusting that everything will work out, you ask “What’s wrong with me?” and “Are my standards too high?”

I’m not going to sit here and act as if I have everything figured out, or like I don’t struggle with these same weakening feelings.  I’ve come to find though, in my oh-so-wise-twenty-one-year life, that there are two BIG things that you should never be ashamed of:

#1: Your Looks
Just an FYI: you’re freaking beautiful.  Yea, I’m talking to you in your sweatpants, old middle school t-shirt, and mismatched socks.

#2: Your Lifestyle Choices
I take pride in making the right decisions for myself, and I have a belief that everyone else around me also has the ability to make choices for themselves.  Sure, we all make mistakes, but those circumstances are chances for us to learn.

If you want to wear dresses every single day… Do it.
If you want to read and write all day instead of socialize with other humans… Do it.
If you want to enjoy your time as a young adult and get married when you’re 20… Do it.
If you want to enjoy your time as a young adult and never get married… Do it.

It’s time that we stop letting people say their way is the only right way and that everyone else is doing it wrong.  You make your choices and let everyone else worry about their own choices. 

So you don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or any form of a significant other... neither do I.  It’s time we quit thinking its a shame-worthy occurrence and stop letting people around us take away from our happiness.  You're allowed to stay single for as long as you want.  You're allowed to be picky of who you date even when you have no other offers.  You're allowed to be single and happy about it.  You're allowed to be single and sad about it. You shouldn't be single and ashamed about it, though.

Like a lot of things, this is easier said than done.

We’ll do it together, though.  When we’re labeled as ‘prude’ and ‘picky’, we’ll come in and help each other see the real picture; that we don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy and feel loved.  The same goes for people who feel judged for marrying early.  You’re not ‘settling’ or ‘ruining your life’: you’re just being you.

It’s time we take the shame out of our choices and be proud of who we are.

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