I am recently single again, after nearly two years, and I haven’t quite caught my breath yet. Ironically on the night before we broke up, we were watching awkward first dates in the city, and I thought to myself “Thank God I don’t have to endure that again”. There’s a story that can be told later, but for now we’ll just leave it at cultural differences.
There’s really no words I have to say, that can truly fit my irritation at this point.
At nearly 30, and single, I’ve heard a lot of bullshit throughout the years.
I’m told to “date myself”. To “find myself”, and “love myself”. I spent an entire decade doing exactly that. I moved abroad, I moved to NYC, I have struggled and striven. I am very at ease with myself and who I am, what I want, and what I need. I have been dating myself since I could drive. I have no problems going to the latest restaurant, or theatre show, or movie, or hiking alone, or spending beach days alone, or volunteering alone, or going to dinner parties alone, or going to giant parties without a Plus One, or flying along, or taking a bus alone, or going to church alone. I have no problems with alone. I am an independent woman.
However, I am human. In the church, I am told to “wait with Jesus”, and “pray for patience”. In the secular side of things , I’m told that if I can’t date myself, then I need to just live the casual sex life with no strings attached to the detriment of society and personal happiness. It is becoming wholly uncool and uncouth to want a husband and babies of my own.
I am told by married women in the church that “2 years wasn’t that long, you should get over it, and trust me marriage is awful. You’re young, enjoy your life.” Christians live on this bullshit of “God will bring you the right One. Be patient and don’t seek a husband because that is an idol.
While the realities of being single and 30 are:
I wake up crying in the mornings because all I want is morning sex, and a good cuddle, and pancakes. When I tell married people about the regular, monogamous sex-less-ness of it, they roll their eyes. “It’s not that great.” Ah, spoken like one who has gotten their fill. I then also want to hear the chaos of children fighting over cereal, and who gets to use the mirror to brush their teeth. To this I get: “You don’t know the work of parenting.” (Oh, I guess my 10 years raising other people’s children has really taught me nothing. You’re right, oh Wise Ones). I cried at church last Sunday because someone brought in a new baby, and I spent the next half an hour vividly imagining holding one of my own. Having the new baby with it’s new sounds snuggling into my neck, the sleepless feedings, the milk breath. I had thought mine would have lovely brown skin and brown, almond eyes. I let myself see it for a minute, before locking it away.
How long before I can make a family of my own? I can’t let myself think about time for too long, because I feel my body imploding.
Yes, there are things to do outside of marriage. Sure, I’m building a social life and a life again. But what happens when all you ever wanted was a family?
How old is too old before showing up single at an acquaintance’s Friendsgiving party is a little creepy? How many more Christmases will be spent at my parents while my nieces and nephews grow up without cousins?
No one EVER talks about the fact that it’s harder and harder to live on a single income. That cooking and shopping for one is depressing. That no matter how many things I can do alone, it’s always made sweeter and richer with a companion. No one in the Christian church ever talks about how necessary sex is for happiness, and yet we’re expected to shrivel away in our singleness without complaint?
No one talks about how men in the church as just as commitment phobic as the ones outside. No one talks about the lack of responsibility, or lack of respect in the dating world.
No one lets me grieve the loss of an entire future, because I’m either supposed to “Get over it” as an “Independent Woman”, or “Give it to Jesus” as a “pure and virginal, sexless, desireless Woman of God”.
I am grateful to have been pulled out of something that may not have been the best: I’m grateful that I do have Jesus. I am mourning, and rightly processing this single life again.
I am single, I am an independent woman, I love myself, I love Jesus, I want to be married, I do not care about being a career mogul, I do not need to find myself, I need sex, and I do not accept your terrible, unsympathetic viewpoint of single life.
It’s a miserable situation, no matter what married people tell you, and I wish there was more honesty shaping our conversation of single life. You’re allowed to hate it.