This post is a continuation from Part 1, in honor of Unmarried and Single Americans Week. I wrote this last year, but it is previously unpublished. I’ve experienced a relationship since then, and no longer agree with some of the sentiments here, but it’s still good work and may invite your own reflection and introspection. Enjoy.
Holidays are sometimes–but not always–a downer. People enjoy the holidays because they usually get a break from work, and/or they get to hang out and have quality time with family and friends. But sometimes I dread holidays.
Holidays exacerbate the fact that I am alone.
I have never lived in a place where I had extended family. Even growing up in a nuclear family, that was it–no cousins, Gramma or anyone’s house to go to locally. And as a adult living in various cities with lots of acquaintances and few close friends, and without roots, I rarely get invited to private gatherings/house parties/cookouts. I try to keep busy, but sometimes I feel left out when I go on Facebook or Twitter and see all the fun that others are having.
I can never avoid the inevitable questions before and after a holiday weekend: “Got any plans for the holiday?,” and “How was your <insert holiday name here>?”
“Ok. Just a normal day.”
Sometimes the other person will soften the uncomfortable mood with, “Mmm hmm. I didn’t do anything either.”
It’s hard to be independent and self-sufficient parent. I don’t like being without a partner. I don’t want to make all the decisions in my household. I don’t feel like killing bugs and fixing things and mowing the lawn–but I have to do it all–or pay someone to do it all. Sometimes it’s too much to wrap my head around. But who else is gonna do it? I realize that some women who live with a man that could do such things may be just as independent as I am now (without one), but they really do have an option. I don’t. There is no one else here for me to put my foot down or strong arm if household chores need to be done. This independent woman thing is real old for me. A hot song (whether from Destiny’s Child or Ne-Yo), but in reality–exhausting.
The Grass Isn’t Greener
I’m good when it comes to going to the movies alone–I attend all social events alone (sometimes I meet friends there, but not always). And I expect to see couples and full families out and about wherever I go. But every once and awhile, I will feel something when I see a couple sitting somewhere together in church, and the man puts his arm around the woman or her chair in a way that only affectionate men do. Or maybe we are all holding hands for prayer, but you can tell a couple by the way they hold each others’ hands.
At times like that, a pang of longing–not a wave but a sure, strong pang–hits me.
Before my sister met the man who used to be her fiancée, she would regularly utter self-deprecating thoughts such as “I’m single, so I’m a loser,” but as her relationship unfolded over two years (she recently had a breakup also), she reminded me that relationships come with their share of aggravation. I know that the grass is not greener on the other side (I’m divorced), but sometimes when it’s been a while, you forget.
But it’s alright. I’m alright. I have to be–I’m a single mom.
Getting into a relationship just to be in one isn’t the answer. I don’t want to undermine myself, get my feelings hurt for no reason, teach my daughter the wrong way to live, or disappoint God by choosing a mate unwisely.
So is the grass greener on the other side? I doubt it. I’m in a single season and I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m open. In the meantime, I’ve got a trail to blaze.