It’s okay to be alone

As I was growing up as a teenage girl, I wasn’t aware of my looks. I was a quirky, nerdy, spotty mess. I had no understanding of what self-loathing was. I did not care much of what people thought of me & I confidently liked whoever I liked and perhaps over-confidently assumed boys would like the look of me too. It wasn’t until I entered university that I became desperate for affirmation from the opposite sex. I thought that when you went to went away it university it was an automatic happily ever after. You would find the person you were destined to be with and fall madly in love, court each other for three years and then at the end of the university there would be a dramatic proposal, and you would drive off into the sunset. Mistake number one. While this happened for many of my peers (namely everyone I shared a house with during my second year of university – I was the only singleton out of 5 girls), I remained “forever alone.”

 

Sure enough, I dated various guys, and I use the term ‘date’ very loosely. I was gullible and naive thinking that every guy that showed some interest had good intentions. Mistake number two. Every experience of talking to a guy I was remotely interested in ended in them saying “they weren’t ready for a relationship” or “they were getting over their ex.” Which are all valid reasons, and I don’t knock anyone who says this words. However, I do feel some loathsome emotions when these words are uttered after gaining the coveted second or third base and then a barely a fortnight after proceeding to date someone else. I tore myself down after every instance, filled with loathing and self-hate. There must have been something seriously wrong with me. I failed to understand what I now know to be the many nuances that occur in the dating game. I had been unable to realize that there was even a game. Because of these experiences, I began to question what was wrong with me. What my face too round? Was I ugly? was I not curvy enough? Too skinny? Did I have not enough boobage? Was my skin too dark? The list could go on and on, and I’m sure every girl or woman has questioned their appearance about the attention or lack of they warrant from the male sex. I was lost & exasperated at my failure. While my close friends had celebrated their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Year anniversaries with their partners, I was yet to have my first boyfriend. Not for lack of want I can tell you that. The void in my heart became more prominent and emptier. I declared that maybe I was never meant to be in love or be loved.

This need to be loved and appreciated led to me allowing any attention from anybody to be acceptable. I did not think about the qualities of the person as long as somebody, anybody found me worthwhile enough. This even more than before allowed the wrong person into my life. He was who I always dreamed of having, appearance and interest wise. We both loved hip-hop music, anime, Bollywood and going out to eat. He had everything except for spiritual awareness. Now for those who are not religiously inclined, this may seem unimportant or irrelevant. However, what is relevant is the tendency to compromise one singularly important feature we desire in our spouse for what appears to be a host of other redeemable qualities and think that there will be no significant implications. As people, our beliefs, and own morals are what shapes the decisions we make in life, the people we socialize with influences how we think and actions that we view as acceptable. In my case, the person I allowed into my life was not a man of God, and in addition, his friends that profoundly influenced him did not have a desire to strive for greatness. Instead, they had the mindset of countless in our current generation. Party, get high, sex, repeat. Because of my desperation for validation and love, I did not put thought into whether I should date him or not. I merely thought “Why not? It’s better to be loved than to be alone”. Big Mistake number three.
In the course of our relationship, because I did not value myself or have a sense of self-worth I allowed unacceptable behavior because I was fortunate to have someone who loved my ugly mug and I did not want to go back to being alone again ever. Now that I have been through the perils of what seemed to many an emotionally manipulative relationship, I appreciate and value what it means to be alone. In the words of Paul:
Now, to the unmarried and to the widows I say that it would be better for you to continue to live alone as I do. But if you cannot restrain your desires, go ahead and marry—it is better to marry than to burn with passion” –  1 Corinthians 8-9
In my time leading up to this relationship, I burned with passion. It is not something we address in the church, how to deal with a desire that comes from within us. Only that it is impure for there to be sex without marriage. It is the one great fault of many denominations, Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian – to name a few. Some do address this issue, and though I found some solace in a spiritual group at bible studies, I was too deep in the world to understand what I was doing. But I have digressed enough from the title of this post. Back to the matter at hand.
Fresh from a relationship where I had been given so much love and pain, where I still love this person tremendously I have had to figure out how to be alone again. I had to learn to accept myself, grow myself and love myself more than ever. Because in the absence of someone to tell you that you are beautiful you must be able to say it to yourself. We hear this countlessly that someone can only true love you when you love yourself. In our mid-twenties, it is easy to fall into the mindset that there is no time. That you have to have found a spouse by 23, been together for 2 years, get engaged by 25 married before 30 for us as women, to have a child before our eggs expire. Failing to understand that a marriage and relationships are partnerships between two people who have mutual goals and beliefs. It is in my humble opinion now that your twenties are for yourself. You are fresh out of university trying to make and step into a foothold for success in your life. To achieve something for yourself. To do that you must be able to understand who you are firmly before you can introduce such an uncertain factor such as a potential spouse into your life.  Being in your twenties is not necessarily for finding one person and sticking by them no matter what nonsense they carry out. In the words of Judge Lynn: “Your Twenties are for firing dudes who don’t act right,” and I strongly recommend anyone man or woman to watch the video below.

Yes, there is the appeal of a “ride or die” however, I  think many should take this statement to mean that you will be beside your partner whatever life throws at you. This does NOT mean sticking by when your boyfriend/girlfriend/ partner is malicious, unreliable, abusive or anything else you deem unacceptable because YOU  understand yourself and are firm in what you want for yourself.  I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine about being married young, and she had valid and well thought out points. I understand that merit and security lies in being married young and while it is a perfectly wonderful desire to have for many I found a twitter thread that summed up my thoughts perfectly.

With that, all I have left to say is that it is a beautiful gift to be with someone who loves you wholeheartedly and I smile at those who are fortunate enough to found something so genuine so early. For those who haven’t do not be discouraged, for there is no shame in being by yourself. Rather it is a great opportunity to develop and understand who you are, what you want, your purpose and shine brightly and confidently in a life that you have crafted for yourself. I am certainly on a journey to do the same.

 

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