Today I’m celebrating my relationship with myself. I have been single for 16 or 17 years. I can’t remember anymore.
All this time I’ve been in relationship with myself, having all the ups & downs, twists & turns by myself. Who can say whether it’s been easier or harder to be alone? I celebrate the avoidance of being in any toxic partnerships, the avoidance of divorce, the avoidance of the kind of pain that happens when you have to (for whatever reason) disentangle your life from someone else’s and start over.
I haven’t avoided love or heartbreak all this time, I haven’t had the fortune of loving someone who loved me back or who wanted to be my partner. So I remained single.
I know I’m not alone, but I feel like I’ve been alone for a truly remarkable amount of time, especially given the remarkable efforts I’ve made to be “out there” in search of my partner. You can’t imagine how many dates I’ve been on. It’s mind-blowing. I don’t regret anything. It’s not that nothing has worked, but it hasn’t resulted in me being in a relationship. I remain single.
There have been long periods of burnout, jadedness, extreme disappointment, and flat-out disgust with some human behaviors. It’s exhausting sometimes, but probably no more so than anyone else’s journey. I always bounce back though, knowing I have no idea what’s up ahead.
There are couples in my life whose relationships I admire and respect. I remember sweet, thoughtful moments that they tell me about and I write them down to help myself remember what I am looking for. I am also aware that the partnership that will be right for me will likely be even more incredible than I can imagine.
When the time is right, I pray to take courage and show up as my whole authentic self, to know what I need, ask for what I desire without shame and allow time and space for something unique and special to develop with the person who is my best match, ready, available and desires to be with me. All the wrong people have educated me so well in what I don’t want, what I must have, and what I can accommodate and compromise about.
The unknown has been my friend all these years, full of possibility and also mostly empty of being met in the way that I desire. I’ve been plagued by some very destructive thoughts that what I want doesn’t matter (is inconsequential to another) and won’t ever be available to me. These thoughts hurt deeper than anything else. It assumes that what matters is keeping others happy so that they won’t leave. I break and heal from this wounded place almost every day, all the time, my being is a tapestry of scars from the damage of this idea.
I’ve also met myself in a million beautiful ways. I make all my own decisions about what I do and how I spend my time. I spend the majority of my time alone. I often experience such deep peace and happiness after a day with myself. I am very blessed to have such wonderful friends and community, but at the end of the day it’s me, myself, and I. Whether I feel happy, tired, depressed, peaceful, angry…I’ve got myself to be with or to try to escape from.
I’m good company for myself and mostly good company for others. I have a lot of love to give, and am able to receive a lot of love in return. There’s nothing wrong or broken, no stone unturned or unexamined along my path. I honestly don’t know why I’ve been single for so long. I’ve formulated 101 theories…and yet, I am still single.
The failures I have witnessed in myself include not being clear about what I want and need, not expressing those wants and needs in an effective way, and holding back the most vulnerable and lovable parts of myself in an effort to accommodate what I presume another person wants or expects from me.
Also projecting about what they think/feel and a general lack of courage to put myself out there for fear of being rejected. I’ve experienced plenty of rejection, it’s never easy to recover from. I do feel like all of that could be worked through with a person whom I felt safe communicating with.
It takes a certain strength to live in a way that is different from what many people consider normal or expected. I didn’t know that I would spend so much of my life as a single woman. I have no idea how much longer I will continue in this way. I don’t wish to be pitied, I do wish to be understood and seen.
What works best for me is to be as happy and peaceful as I possibly can in this unknown place. I do not feel sorry for myself. I enjoy my endless freedom, quiet time, deciding to do things on a whim just because I feel like it. I like what I’ve got and I still want more.
Recently I bought a notebook and filled the whole thing with handwritten pages of everything that I wanted to experience and feel in my partnership. Then I threw it away and moved on. The future is unfolding moment to moment, those thoughts and ideas are instantly outdated as soon as I write them down. It was a good use of my imagination and I’m sure the universe took note in some way.
What I do invite is for you, if you feel moved, to assist me on this journey. Please pray (if that’s a thing you do) for my partner and I to find each other swiftly and easily. I know many people have already made this prayer with me, but it can’t hurt to repeat it. Thank you.