What society is telling us?
First off let me start by saying I am young. Taking baby steps into this world they call adulthood day by day, and finding new pieces of myself as I go.
Nonetheless when I turned the ripe young age of 21 and found myself joining the elite band of recently single twenty somethings, my life took a serious turn.
Up until then I had been a naïve kid, drowning in my own relationship and foolishly calling it love. I was selfish and independent, fiercely confident in myself and my abilities to satisfy my man without any effort or commitment. I was one of those people that believed in date nights and public hand holding as a means to showing affection. I believed that a relationship didn’t define me and that being single would basically cease to change my existence in anyway.
However when my 3 year relationship ended just shy of my big 2-1 I found myself to be a completely different person, not so much in myself but in both the eyes of my peers and within society itself.
While I was busy reveling in my newfound freedom, I found the people surrounding me were not quite sharing my outlook on my new status in life.
Invites to social gatherings, parties and trips would constantly flow my way, always with the extended offer of a plus one, but when I divulged that I was in fact single and would be attending alone I would continue to receive the staple sad eyes and head shake, accompanied by the always wonderful “oh you’re single, well don’t worry you still have time to find someone” and “I have a friend I could set you up with” or my personal favourite “wait you’re still single, you should probably join tinder or something.”
Even my family members badgered me with subtle questions, asking me if I hadn’t got a new boyfriend yet or that they thought I would back in the dating game by now. It was almost as if being single was unheard of in this day and age and that by choosing to remain in this state of solitude I was committing some form of a sin.
After several months of these continued actions it finally occurred to me that in the eyes of many your status of being a ‘me’ or a ‘we’ really did define you.
Oddly enough after taking down my relationship rank and officially declaring myself as single on my social media profile my news feed became flooded with suggested articles of ‘why it’s good to be single in your 20’s’ and ‘the positives of not being loved’ like even the internet was judging me for my lifestyle. Like re-assurance must be offered because clearly being alone was not a choice that people consciously make but rather a sad fate that they are forced into.
I was deemed a party girl by many of my coupled up friends because I went out more, my social circle grew and I found myself enjoying more activities such as drinking and flirting simply because I could. People acted like my behaviour was all just an extension from my breakup and that I couldn’t conceivably be going out more and dancing the night away simply because I found it fun.
While I thought being alone was a great time to grow into myself, to figure out what I really wanted out of life and have fun while I’m young enough to do so; society was not so subtly telling me that I’m ‘wild’ or a ‘slut’ down right ‘lonely’ and ‘in need of a new mate while I’m still young enough to find one.’
Throughout the continued month I began to question myself, wondering if what everyone was telling me was in fact the truth. That maybe I should be spending more of my efforts in looking for a new partner instead of enjoying my freedom.
I started to wonder if my friends were right and that maybe I was acting out because I was sad and unfamiliar with the art of having no one to hold me at night.
Whilst all my single guy friends were living up the ‘bachelor’ lifestyle without even the slightest hint that they might be unhappy or lonely in their solo stature. I continued to receive the pep talks, suggested reads on love, and advice on how to find and keep a new man.
Fast forward 9 months and I remain single, free of doubt and oddly empowered.
Although I do believe in the magnificence of finding a person in which you want to share your soul with, I also believe in the beauty of exploring your own soul without boundaries or reliance on another being.
I have found resilience within myself to the harsh realities this society offers to women flying solo.
Through all the questioning and the doubts I have built a solid foundation for my own life without the help of another, I have done more, lived more and had more fun in my months of being single than I did within my years of being someone else’s girlfriend.
And while I believe in the magic of love and the comfort a relationship has to offer, I have found an even firmer belief in becoming your own person. Especially before you go ahead and fall into the trap of becoming a ‘we’ and adhering to the unstable balance society persists to tell us that we need in the world.