Image from Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, who I am a little bit in love with right now.
Your life isn’t complete if you’re on your own. We all know that, right? Elizabeth Bennet and Bridget Jones both needed a Darcy to be complete, Cathy needed Heathcliff and Tyler Durden needed Marla Singer. Magazines are full of tips on how to bag a guy. How to make your relationship last. Every novel has a romance thrown in there somewhere, most mainstream films end with love and almost every poem is driven by heartbreak. Finding ‘the one’ is apparently a big thing. But what happens if, for the time being at least, you’re perfectly happy being single?
I’m single right now; I have been for a while, and society has tried its hardest to make me feel not okay with that. We need to find Sophie a boyfriend, are seven words I hear a lot. Note how I’m not even addressed in the second person. Clearly being single is such anathema there must be something that renders me physically unable to find a partner myself, otherwise why else would I be alone? I so desperately need to be saved from a fate of spinsterhood that it’s an all hands on deck kind of situation. An intervention of sorts. Another thing that bothers me when people throw out this line is the heteronormativity it comes wrapped up in. The automatic assumption that it is in fact a ‘boy’ (that is a man) that I’m looking for. The question is always do you have a boyfriend, rather than are you single. When I tell them no, I don’t, they never follow up their question with, well, do you have a girlfriend then? They just jump straight into matchmaker mode.
After a while you start to feel like there’s something wrong with you. Everything tells us that being single is bad and being in a relationship is good, so why am I happy being partnerless when no one else is? Should I be making more of an effort to fall in love? But the truth is, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single. The problem lies with the expectations of society. Have too many partners and you’re desperate; don’t have enough and you’re frigid; sleep around but don’t settle down, you’re a slut. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Nothing will ever be good enough except the perfect fairy-tale ending, and let’s face it, life doesn’t always work out that way.
I will proudly announce from the rooftops that I’m single, and it suits me just fine. Don’t get me wrong, one day I do want to fall madly in love and settle down in couple-y bliss; if the right person walked into my life tomorrow it would be lovely, but there’s no rush. Right now I’m a walking, talking embodiment of being young, free, single and loving it.
It’s nice not having to be a grown up. Not feeling like you should be putting down roots and reaching milestones. As a singleton you’re free to do your own thing, whether that’s hiding away in your bedroom with a cup of tea and a good book, going on a messy night out, or booking an impromptu trip somewhere hot without having to consult anyone about where you should go. You don’t have to worry about how many relationship hours you’ve racked up that week and you certainly don’t ever need to feel guilty about having a technology-less day and texting no one. And arguably the best thing; never having a crisis over whether to tell your other half about that guy or girl you kissed in Corp. Single, you’re free to be your own person, doing your own thing.
Life isn’t a race. Some people take forever to fall in love, some people take five minutes. What does it matter? Sometimes I have to remind myself that there’s time. I want to have lived a life before I hopefully settle down and have a family and there’s nothing wrong with that. Equally, there’s nothing wrong with settling down the second you turn sixteen. It’s all about personal choice, and individual circumstances.
Personally, I’ve seen enough bad relationships in my time not to fall head over heels for the wrong guy. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m worth more than that. I owe it to myself to wait for someone good and so do you. Perhaps if we didn’t have a national crisis of women and young girls with rock bottom self-esteem on our hands the balance would change. Maybe then there would be just as much importance placed on having a good relationship with ourselves as well as with our other halves.
As an entire gender we need to learn to love ourselves, and that love needs to come from within as well as from the mouths of the people we’re sleeping with. It’s okay to want reassurance, it’s okay to enjoy being with someone else, it’s okay to like feeling safe. But it’s just as important that you’re your own person, you respect yourself and you know how to be alone. At the end of the day sexual partners come and go but you’re stuck with yourself forever. So look after yourself! Do what’s right for you. A guy might complement you, but you should try your hardest to be complete in yourself.
P.S. Bloody single supplement. WTF???