As the end of the year quickly approaches, I once again find myself in reflection. In a very honest manner, I have assessed my losses, gains, and remains. I’ve also reviewed what I have invested my energy into and what seeds I have sown with my words. After a bit of reflection, I am faced with my truth and THE truth. (Sometimes they aren’t the same.)
Here goes…Please be gentle with my heart.
I am single. I’ve spent most of this year obsessing over this fact. No husband, no fiancé, no boyfriend, no boo jank, no situationship…Single. And tis the season for the Facebook posts revealing secret relationships that have been developing in the darkroom of life and love, happy couples cuddled up by the fireplace and kissing under the mistletoe, and my favorite: all of the posts declaring “I said, ‘Yes!'” Usually in this time I find myself severely conflicted… I am overwhelmingly happy for others and simultaneously disappointed in the status and seeming trajectory of my life. Single. No husband, no fiancé, no boyfriend, no boo jank, no situationship…Single. How is it that the most hopeless of romantics ends up alone?
Here’s what you must know… Long before I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living (which I’m sometimes still figuring out), I knew that I wanted to be a wife and a mother. Before you contort your face in a fashion that questions that, consider that one of the first gifts a little girl receives is a doll baby. We are taught from a very young age that we are nurturers. We name our baby dolls (all of mine were named after me), we give them bottles, we change their little clothes, and we LOVE them. As we continue to grow, we discover that boys aren’t yucky, and it’s okay to like them…one day we will love them. And then comes the lesson that one day we will marry one of those formerly yucky boys and live happily ever after. From then on, the focus shifts to preparation mode. For me, my mother began showing me how to “keep house.” You know…doing laundry, thoroughly cleaning, cooking a meal that didn’t involve peanut butter and jelly, making (buying) groceries, and even knowing a thing or two about budgeting. As a teenager, I really began zeroing in on just how much I was fed the idealism that one of the greatest things I could ever be was a wife. I dare say that even in the church, my foundation, much emphasis was placed on being a respectable, prepared lady so that I could be “found.”
Fast forward the clock over a decade. After being married and widowed, being in a long-term relationship, giving my love to a few who couldn’t or wouldn’t cherish it, and giving my time to some who weren’t ever interested in my love, I am single. My truth…I feel like such a disappointment. All of that preparation to be a “good thing,” and I am still alone. Something must be wrong with me — of that I am convinced. I am just 7 months shy of 30, and I sometimes feel that I am no closer to being a wife than I was with the last break-up. I find myself too often discounting the accomplishments of my life because none compare to what was magnified to be the ultimate goal: marriage. My jokes are now laced with a crack on how I’m sitting at a table for one. My plans are based on the fact that more likely than not, I won’t need a plus one. I have consumed my everyday prayers, confessions, cries, and conversations with my singleness and desire to no longer be this way…as if singleness is an illness. Then the other day, while going through my routine of either being jealous of someone who will be cupcaking in this cuddle weather or trying to calculate how much longer I have to be punished to this baeless life, I got ANGRY! I was officially SICK of talking about, thinking about, dreaming about, and praying about me with Mr. Wonderful. I mean, there HAS TO BE more to this season than counting how long I’ve been on the market and wondering if “He” is getting any closer to finding me.
That moment sat me at proverbial table with the facts of my life spread across it. I looked at the life that I dreamed of and prepared for. I gazed at the life that I currently live. I considered a future that remained completely unknown. I stared at my unbalance. Sitting in this frustrated and single space, I asked myself, “Aren’t I more than the romantic relationship I’m committed to?” Based on the old school model of society which primarily prepared me for the husband, 2.5 kids, and house with a white picket fence and a two car garage all by the age of 27, no. According to that model, I am a failure. I refused to accept that answer simply because I didn’t like it. I dug deep within myself, thought unbiasedly about the life that I am living, and asked myself that question again. “Aren’t I more than the romantic relationships I’m committed to? Am I not enough alone?” Then I responded to myself, “Yes, Chris. You are whole.”
Whole – hōl/adjective
- all of; entire
- in an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece.noun
- a thing that is complete in itself.
- all of something.
“The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”Proverbs 19:22 [New Living Translation]
I hope this helps.