I often wonder what goes on peoples’ minds when they ask me “Why are you still single?” , “Have you never dated?”, “All women your age are either dating or married”, “When are you planning on settling down?”, “Don’t you know how to attract a man to your side?”. This is the most widely asked question in my life. Not only my family, friends but also acquaintances or any other people I come across. If I had to be paid a dollar for every time I have been asked that question, I believe I would be a billionaire by now.
At times I answer politely making them understand that a woman’s sole purpose in life is not to just get married and have kids. Not every woman is inclined to chop onions and potatoes in the kitchen. Or I simply respond “I am still waiting for my Mr. Right.” But at other times I simply lose my temper and say “I am happy just the way I am. I don’t need a man to run my life. I can take care of myself.”
It’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship or love someone. It’s just that I have been through relationships so often that it has become a norm for me to get hurt or heart broken, to get bruised beyond repair and to feel suffocated with terror and despair. The amount of time that I dedicate towards the relationship is soon seen as tremendously worthless and could never be turned back. I have devoted hours to helping my partners succeed, providing comfort, shelter, companionship that I have lost myself completely. In giving priority to my so called better half I have often been taken for granted that I hardly gave priority to my needs and desires.
I have been driven to extreme lengths where I held on to beliefs that in reality never make sense. He shouts at me because he is frustrated and stressed out. He is so busy he doesn’t have a second to spare for me. He is trying to change me for my own good. He loves me so much that’s why he tries to teach me the right way to behave with people. He treats me as an equal that’s why he has no hesitation in asking me to pay the bill or ask for money to party. He wants to improve my standard of living that is why he wants me to adapt his way of living. All these remarks have been believed by me with the utmost faith only to realize he loved me not for what I am but for what he could get from me physically and socially. He wanted to change me not because he wanted me to experience a life different from the one I was used to but because I could bear the burden of shouldering his responsibilities as well as mine. He wanted me to remain grateful for all my life for making me see the wealthier side of life.
I have done everything possible under the sun to make relationships work. I have wasted hours watching the seconds tick by hoping to get a call or message from them. I have canceled my appointments to spend time with them only to have them cancel at the last moment. I have shed tears to hide my pain and depression at having to do things I never enjoyed in the first place. I have worked hard to lavish my income on things I was happy to have my beloved experience or possess.
I jumped from one relationship to the next fearful of missing out on having a relationship. I wanted to feel what it means to be a girlfriend or sweetheart so bad I agreed to date and hang out in a jiffy, with any guy that first approached me. I was so touched and blinded by emotions and social norms that I wanted to belong to a gang and party hard. I wanted to let the whole world know I had a boyfriend or lover so much that I hid all the suffering and cracks in my relationships with a perfect smile and fake happiness.
I lied that I was receiving affection and all the love I required from my partners. I purchased gifts for myself and lied that it was a gift from my man. I squandered money without a care just to keep the relationship flowing. I agreed to perform acts that I was not comfortable with just to hold on to someone. I knew I was being lied to or taken for a fool but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Even after knowing the whole truth I still held fast to the belief that he would come back and that my love as strong enough to win him back.
Amidst all this drama I forgot about myself completely. It was like the real me never existed. It took time and a lot of heartaches later that it dawned on me I was scared of loneliness. I was so afraid of not belonging somewhere or dying alone that I accepted the creepiest bit of affection just to not sleep alone or to prove that I was capable of being loved. I was reluctant to let go because my sense of worth was related to things I had no control over or to persons other than myself. I wanted to achieve and possess things that only left me devoid of emotions since I didn’t want them in the first place. So many times I ignored my gut feeling that this was not working or that I should probably let go.
Now I know better. I am stronger and better able to understand myself. Before I love someone else I need to love and accept myself. Before I point out another person’s shortcomings, I need to accept my faults, mistakes, and flaws. I need to be enough for myself. I should do the things I want to do not because someone asked me to or wants me to do but I need to do it for myself. I need to be at peace with myself before I set out to seek tranquility somewhere else.
Before I look for another relationship or seek marriage, I need to accomplish my goals and dreams. I need to be emotionally, mentally and spiritually ready for this new change. I need to re-discover myself, my interests and desires.
I need to educate myself more and fulfill my goal of achieving my Masters. I need to travel and see the places I have always wanted to see. I have to be strong enough to be able to support another person. I need to learn a new language or make new friends. I need to be comfortable with myself and accept myself completely before I set out to accept someone else. I need to tread carefully so I can awaken my inner spirit and redesign a new me.
Until then I am a single woman on the road to self discovery.
I am not perfect and so many times I will fall back and cry to have a partner. I will feel sad when I see my friends happily married or with kids. I will regard this as rubbish but I will always hold true to the fact that I need to love myself before I love someone else. I will always come back to this point until I am sure of myself and my goals. And if it never happens I will have my family and true friends for companionship. I will adopt a child and dedicate my life to that child. I do not need to be married or in a relationship to survive. I just need true love and it doesn’t necessarily have to relate to a man.
I am a single woman and proud to be one.