Thursday, August 13, 2009

Table for 1


Hello and welcome to my difficult blog post.

I'm pretty open and honest on this blog and probably write a lot of things I don't want my family/friends/employer/random strangers to read. But my blog doesn't have a theme or a niche, my blog is all about moi. So for me, honesty and a little intimacy is key.

That being said, there are a couple of topics that I have avoided for the most part, and this post is about one of them - being *gasp* single.
I have technically been single for almost 4 years now, but truly, I've only really been single for about 2, and that's because I spent the first 2 of those years obsessing/crushing/dating/whatever-ing with one boy or another (all inevitably ending in heartbreak or admitting and finally recognizing that "HE'S GAY"). I was really good at crushing, always have been (with girls too - love me some girl crushes!), and since it's been so long since I've had a crush, an object of my affection and attention and obsession, it's been... weird. Disconcerting.

And for some reason, in the past year, I've started feeling "pressure" from friends and family (and yes, perfect strangers) to find "the one." Or, at least, someone to date. One friend told me, "I think you've just been single for long enough. It's time to put yourself out there!" My mom and dad drops hints (okay they're not really hints, more like boulders) every time I see them. Even Ma Soeur makes comments like, "NO Carolyn, you are not allowed to get another dog until you have a boyfriend!" Okay... To say that I'm less than pleased with these comments is an understatement. But until very recently, I hadn't truly figured out how I feel about being single, and so my responses have been limited to, "But... there's no one out there" and "Boys are ugly" and "I'm TRYING!" (Fact: The last is so not true. I haven't been trying at all.)

Last week I went to an event with Christine Arylo, the author of Choosing Me Before We, who was recently featured in a podcast avec the lovely Kimberly Wilson. I went to this event unfamiliar with Christine's book and figured it was all about finding yourself, loving yourself, respecting yourself, etc. Well, it is. BUT. It's a lot about doing all those things in order to be in a healthy relationship. And that, my friends, is the problem.

I don't want a relationship.

Did I just say that out loud?

I like being single.

How many times have you heard someone say that and knowing it not to be true? It's why I find it so difficult to say. I'm afraid I'll get the, "Oh... well good for you! Ahem... yeah." Because people assume that every woman is happier in a relationship than not in a relationship. And I assumed so as well! Everytime I read a blog about an adoring boyfriend (like Nina's Simon, I mean, how adorable is he??) or heard about someone's engagement, I thought I had to be depressed about it. Oh woe is me, the single one, sans boyfriend/partner/lover. But it was only when I was smacked in the face with reminders that I'm single that I got depressed about it. The rest of the time, I have been happily and obliviously living my single life with, well, joie de vivre and completely sans boyfriend. I may think my life lacks, but I rarely think it lacks because I don't have a man.

And all this, all this truth and realization, hit me during that event with Christine Arylo. Because I was in a room with women who were so obviously not okay with being single. And it made me sad for them, but very very happy for moi. Because I was okay. I AM okay. Not just okay, I'm FABULOUS! My life is wonderful right now. Sure it has its ups and downs, but I wake up every morning a little happier. That's the truth. And I just have this gut feeling that 26 is going to be an INCREDIBLE year, my best yet! How exciting is that? And how GREAT is it that my happiness is a result of moi and only moi? This has never happened to me before.

Because? Confession: I used to be a serial monogamist. Here's a summary of my relationship history: high school sweetheart, other boyfriend, then high school sweetheart again, with no less than weeks in between. At different points in time, I thought I was going to marry both of them. (I also broke both of their hearts and have been convinced that bad relationship karma was headed my way). But my point is, I was the girl who was always in a serious relationship. And no, I wasn't blissfully happy all the time, but I never had to deal with wearing the "single" label. And let me tell ya, it's a tough label to wear, especially in this society, and especially in the south. Being 25 and single in Texas is the equivalent of being 40 and single everywhere else. (Yet another reason I need to leave...)

So, this is me. And friends and family, if you're reading this (and i know some of you are...), please stop. Because I am happy. And I know you love me and want me to find my future husband and all that (and yes, I do too, just not right now), but you don't have to worry about me. I am just fine on my own. I'm discovering myself in all kinds of new and shiny ways, and I am loving each and every second of it. It's divine.

23 comments:

Revisionista said...

You're right, Carolyn, you ARE fabulous.

Teaching college in the southeast, I see a lot of my female students feeling the same kinds of pressure at 20 & 22. I want to tell them it can be divine just to be with themselves for a while~~it's not like we're back in the victorian era where women needed men for financial & physical security, right?

Yay for being brave and putting this post out there.

Rizza said...

what a great attitude to have! do what makes you happy.

Revanche said...

I love a gal who is cool with her singledom. I've had friends who were perpetually single and unhappy and those who were totally happy with it. I believe you! Enjoy it. If things change, fine, if they don't, fine!

Nina (Femme Rationale) said...

i know this is something only a girl in a relationship can say, but i miss being single. i really do. i actually cherished my time as a single gal, as short as it was. i can't help but wonder who i would be today if i hadn't been w/FM my entire 20's. enjoy your time now...once you find a guy, that might be it. and you may never have ur singlehood back. anyway, you have your 30's to freak out about finding a guy. JK

p.s. you're not alone...i can cook every food out there - really, every kind - EXCEPT korean. it's so unfair and frustrating.

sowmia said...

LOVE the post and the sentiment :) and can i say how satisfying it is to see you be so positive about yourself and your life!!

Andi said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you or with being single, and I am so glad that you seem to be at peace with that decision. If I could go back and do it again, I would take years for myself to enjoy being single!

Melita said...

i love you for being you!!

michele said...

Carolyn, I was totally in the same boat as you when I was 26... always the serious relationship girl, but single for the past 4 years and feeling lots and lots of pressure from family, coworkers, friends and strangers to be "plus one" and settling down. (Plus the added pressure of my YOUNGER sister getting married!) Because I felt so much pressure to be part of a couple, I even did eHarmony for a little while and allowed friends to set me up on some of the most god-awful blind dates EVER!! It was only when I finally snapped out of it and ignored all the peer pressure that I realized I LOVED being single!! I was really happy single!!

And wouldn't ya know, when I made peace with my singlehood and really started enjoying it, that's when Sean (my now Fiance!) came along and swept me off my feet!!

So congrats on your awesome outlook and keep having fun!! : )

sophieandhilde said...

Hey girl!

Nothing beats loving yourself. One shouldn't worry about being single or not having a man by your side. You are a beautiful young girl who is standing on her own two feet. Heck, you are fabulous and am glad that you are totally proud of it! Life's never gonna be better! So have fun and enjoy your birthday week!

xoxo Prasanna

kylie grethen said...

mon dieu, get out of my head girl! we are so on the same page...why is it in the south we are "old maids" in the early twenties? for moi, being in a relationship isn't what defines me. i have thought a lot about when/if i do want to be in a relationship and i desire it to be two complete people coming together in a relationship to share joys and happiness together, not two empty people who NEED one another to be full. i am not currently growing and nurturing myself in order to be whole for a relationship...not at all. i am growing to be the best moi possible for me and me alone. if there is someone i meet along the way who is divine and i want to let them into my world, bien! but if not, bien! i don't know why america has brainwashed women into thinking our only way to happiness is by marriage. it's so boring and dull!

if you haven't done so, you must read entre nous. it's a delightful book that has a yummy section on exactly what you wrote about...and it made me proud to be above all the typical "i need a ring on my finger, stat" thoughts that people try and throw at me all too frequently.

i'm so happy you voiced exactly how i feel...it makes me feel a little less alone!!!! you are a gem! xox!

Ellecubed said...

Thank you so much for having the courage to post this Carolyn. You really shine through in this post.

City Girl said...

great post. as i mentioned, i went through something similar and really loved my single years :)

C said...

Carolyn,

Thank you for sharing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single. When the time is right and only than, you will meet the right Guy and you will enhance each others lives.

xoxo Carolyn

Kirsten said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I have never been a relationship person and I have always been so happy and LOVED being single. I was single for most of high school, I had a boyfriend my senior year and in the beginning of freshman year of college and then I didn't have a boyfriend again until my senior of college.

I was always so happy being single. But, now I've recently been unhappy with my single status - which is totally the wrong attitude to have.

Thank you so much for reminding me that being single is FUN!

Globetrotting Cacti said...

People love you for being you and not your relationship status. Enjoy your life, whether you are currently single or not. You really do shine living it...

Rachel said...

I sincerely admire your honesty. I have often felt the same way. I would see old friends and say "no I'm single." and they'd give me the look. You know the look. It's the "ohhhh" look. The "poor you" look. But I never understood why they did that. And you're right, what bothered me most in those moments is that they did this, not that I was single.

So enjoy your singularity! :) Embrace it and rock it!

kara said...

i LOVED being single! i miss my girlie apartment (with french everything!), doing my own thing whenever aned however i wanted. I cherished it because I knew it wouldnt last forever - i always knew i wanted to get married and have kids when i "grew up". After a very long relationship w/ my college sweetheart, i was happily single, then got sucked into the dating world b/c i thought i *should* ('cuz that's what everyone was saying). It was weird, the guys were weird, i didnt like dating in my 30's, and bad dates made me feel like there was something wrong w/ ME. But I tried to be all unattached and Sex in the City about it. finally just gave up and embraced my single years by being completely selfish and self-indulgent. and LOVED it!
I got married at age 38, and have no regrets. I got to have my "me" time, got to date a bunch when i felt like it, and relished it.
I now have 2 stepkids and tell them all the time (esp my stepdaughter, who's almost 12): don't get married until you are 30! i want them to go to college, travel the world, live in fabulous cities, have all diff kinds of relationships, and dont be in such a hurry for that to end. There's still plenty of time to settle down and have a family (if that's what the choose) after that.
so, i say the same to you, dear girl. do the you-thing first. and it sounds like you already are!

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I love being in a relationship.. but sometimes I wish I were single too

LOL

Bonjour Madame said...

You seem to have a sense of clarity that is rare in most people. Good for you for really knowing yourself instead of doing what's expected just because everyone else does.

Kiki said...

Carolyn, you rock! This was such a joyful post to read - GOOD FOR YOU!!!

I think this topic should definitely be part of Le Book, because you are clearly an expert on it!

Sara Avant Stover said...

i love being single, too (although i'm not at the moment). don't get me wrong, i do love my boyfriend, but i also love being alone. one thing that i appreciate about my current relationship is that my boyfriend isn't intimidated for my need for autonomy. we often spend a month apart as a time when i travel for work, which we both enjoy.
it's great that you're making the distinction between loneliness and solitude. people often confuse the two and think that if you're alone, you're lonely. enjoy your single-dom. it's precious!!

sarah said...

being single is SUCH a luxury! i'm in a forever relationship with the perfect man, and i can STILL say that! cracking up to your HE'S GAY comment. been there!

Alia said...

Amen Sista friend!!

Although you left out one tiny thing...not only is it extra hard to be single in the south, it's also extra EXTRA hard to be single in an Asian family (south and east alike, methinks). But that issue is a huge kettle of fish on its own, so I'm guess you decided to leave it be for the time being...

Fantastic post, my dear. I agree with you 100%, on all of it, and am right there with you on the enjoying single life front.

I think we should start a movement to crush the stigma against being single, b/c frankly, I'm sick of it. Too many young women rush into the wrong marriage/relationship or sink into depression b/c society makes them think being single is somehow shameful or sad. It needs to stop. Thoughts?