January 18, 2010

Maybe It's Me: What's Wrong With Me, or, A Rant About Married People

“What’s wrong with you?” They asked.

“What’s wrong with me?” I repeated their abundantly rude question, completely dumbfounded that they would accost me in such a manner.

“Yes, what’s wrong with you? We can’t figure out what’s wrong with you. I mean, you’re twenty-five and you don’t date. You’re a good looking girl, you have a job, you have your own place, and, as far as we know, you’re not socially awkward, so, we can’t help but wonder . . . what’s wrong with you?”

I’m sure my family meant well by their staged intervention, but I couldn’t help feel slightly attacked. As if they would automatically assume that I was somehow defective as a person simply because I didn’t have a significant other; that because I wasn’t dating it was due to not being wanted by a someone and not at all because I might’ve been the one who didn’t want a someone.

Why can’t a girl choose to just be single for a while? After dozens upon dozens of first dates that left me unimpressed or disappointed in the apparent sea of candidates I had to choose from, and after finally meeting the someone I thought I would be spending the rest of my forever with only to have him shatter my existence, I made the conscious choice to call it quits for a while.

No boys. No dating, no canoodling, no flirting . . . nothing. As a result of extricating myself from that entire social world, I’ve had the opportunity to really focus on myself. And not enough of us have done that. And, maybe it’s me, but to truly know ourselves - to know what makes us thrive or what distracts us; what we stand for, believe in, and want to become; our breaking points; the recognition and acceptance of the things we really need over the things we thought we wanted, etc. – is an important and healthy objective. One too few of us really strive for when the advancement of our careers, money, material objects, and our social standings all seem to be the priority.

Add on top of that list a significant other and where does that leave one time to truly find, rediscover, recognize, begin to appreciate, or fall in love with themselves?

I have the rest of my life to spend with someone, but not the rest of my life to spend with myself. This is a fleeting moment of solitude I was blessed with, and so I’m going to revel in the empty space before it is overwhelmed and intruded once again with someone other than me.

Am I wrong in thinking that?

I’m inspired to stay single as I watch my friends disappear and quite literally lose themselves, one by one, to either very serious relationships or marriage.  It’s both discouraging and unappealing to me.  And it also makes me wonder if these friends ever had a chance to spend time with themselves before sacrificing that indefinitely.

I was in the car with a friend recently and we were lamenting the loss of our recently married friends. It seemed to both she and I that they changed dramatically after getting married, like their entire identity altered along with their last names. It was baffling to both she and I that such once strong-willed, independent women became codependent, package-deals once they said, “I do.”  Both she and I have had to explain to these friends who confront us when they realize we don't spend as much time toegther that absolutely nothing about us has changed; they're the ones who got married and instantly became different people.

If my future means becoming all-consumed with a significant other I allow to unintentionally alter my personality and also suddenly means I also having no time for either my unattached friends or myself, than perhaps I’m better off single as it seems to me that single people are both much more accepting than non-single people, and, still have the opportunity to celebrate their individuality. Something that seems to me to be getting slightly lost as I watch all my twenty-something friends get married.

“It’s certainly hard to hang out with them, isn’t it?” My friend asked illuminating this very point. “I can barely get alone time with her anymore. And when I do she instantly wants to know about my love life, like she’s just hoping I’ll say I’m seeing someone so that we can all double-date. And when I do mention that I met someone – just met someone! – she automatically has to ask if he ‘might be the one.’ We’re growing so distant because I don’t fit it in with her or her married couple friends. I feel like such an outcast and it’s only because I’m not married!”

It's like the horrors of high school cliques have followed us into adulthood, but this time the cliques are based on relationship status.  There's "the married with kids" clique, the "married" clique, the "enagaged/serious relationship" clique, and then the "everybody else" clique.

And despite being a part of that more broad, less personal last grouping, I couldn't be happier.  Actually, I couldn't feel more special or unique!  "Everybody else" includes all of us - the heart broken, the defiant, the searching, the soulful, the patient, the uninterested, the individuals, the unattached - who can not be defined by another person.

This relationship thing where people are losing themselves to another person instead of allowing that other person to help them expand and deepend as a person is ridiuclous!

It’s all very disconcerting to me.

So what’s wrong with me?

What’s wrong with me is that I enjoy being me, especially now that I’ve really come into my own.

And until I can meet that someone who’s going to embrace and encourage that now or in a year from now, then I’ll stay single.