I am recently out of a long-term relationship and I’ve had a hard time re-learning how to be alone. You get so used to being with someone that when you lose them, you feel like you’ve lost an appendage, part of who you were. You go from being an “us” and a “we” to an “I” and it can be extremely disorienting. For the first few days after we broke up, I would pick up my phone to type a text out to him before I was able to stop myself. I’d see something on tv, in the store, and think “he’d love that.” Something would happen, be it good or bad, and I’d think, “I can’t wait to tell him”.
But it gets easier and the wound starts to heal, to come together at the seams. Everyday that passes is another day further away from the hurt. I found with each passing day that I woke up and didn’t automatically think of him, that I felt stronger and it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it had just the day before. A few weeks after, I actually felt like I could scroll through my pictures without catching my breath at the ones of us. A few more weeks, I could finally delete them. And then one day, as I was walking my dog on a particularly sunny afternoon, I felt this sense of happiness come over me. It was like God was putting His arm around my shoulder and saying, “you’re going to be okay.” I was grateful for the opportunity to be single again, to focus on me and what I want. To walk my dog when I wanted, eat when I wanted, watch what I wanted. To get to know and love myself better so that way, when I do find the right person, I can love them better as well. Life is funny that way. Sometimes we gain through loss. Sometimes we find ourselves by losing others.
I am 28. Two years from thirty, twelve years from forty. Thirteen years from a mental breakdown. No, jk jk. I swear to you I was just 16, backing my car out of the driveway on my very own for the first time. Seventeen, a high school senior with a boys hand snaking up my shirt in my parents dark basement. Eighteen, waving goodbye to my parents as they dropped me off at my freshman dorm and drove away. Where did it go? I feel like this must be similar to what parents say, watching their child high step onto the school bus for the first time. Watching them fade from the rearview mirror as they leave them at their first adult apartment. Where did the time go, they must think. But, I am only 28. Before I know it, will I be sitting here in my late 50’s wondering the same damn thing?
I think our society sets high expectations for women these days. They expects us to get good educations, find good jobs. Meet good men and then marry them so we can make beautiful babies. And if we don’t do these things by a certain age limit, we’ve become somewhat flawed. Instead of people being excited for our potential, for our future, they tend to cock their head to the side and say, “oh, no husband huh?” when I tell them I am, in fact, single. When did it become okay for people to interject their feelings about where I should be in my life? When did we start taking this? I am twenty eight. Yes, my best friends are getting married and starting families. And do I want that someday, hell yeah. But I want it to be to the right person, at the right time, in the right place. Forgive me that I have not met the right one yet. Since when did that become a smudge on my worth? I’d rather do it the right way then at what someone else believes is the right time. I’m just sick of it. My ovaries are not going to shrivel up and flurry out like sidewalk chalk when I roll out of bed tomorrow. Did y’all know that?
I have a house, a dog, a car. I can’t cook, can’t do math, can’t be patient. I can mow my lawn, balance a check book, hold down a full-time job. I love my family, believe in God, have great friends and can fix nearly anything thanks to my dad. Since when did the fact that I also happen to be single overshadow all of these other things about me? Since when did society decide that the relationship status we check on I-9 forms and Facebook statuses should allow people to rate themselves higher than another? I can fucking guar-an-tee you I am happier on my own than a whole lot of people are right now who are in relationships. It’s just bullshit. It took me a while to get over this and I am FINALLY okay with who I am. Where I am. What I am. Why do I have to convince others to be okay with that, too?
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