There was a gem in the local paper this morning from an anonymous commenter that I felt compelled to share. There have been several articles as of late that have been rather unkind towards those who are well into their life spans, yet have never married. A situation with which I can well sympathize. My ringless finger has been like an irritating rash for the past twenty years that absolutely everyone seems to notice and in turn feel compelled for some inexplicable reason to comment upon whether they know me or not.
One of the first things I was typically asked was whether or not I was a homosexual, quickly followed by the aside – not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s interesting how they always include that aside as if the subject matter cannot be broached without it. That in itself tells you they aren’t asking the question with heartfelt understanding in mind, but with malicious intent to stigmatize you with tired stereotypes which they themselves clearly believe in.
Well the answer is I’m not, never have been, and am not in the slightest bit curious or tempted by said proposition. As my mum would say, it simply isn’t my cup of tea. And to answer the predictable follow up question, no I’m not in denial. I am of a sound mind and know exactly what makes my heart sing and it is most assuredly the complete opposite of myself.
So once that initial bit is out of the way, desperate to be right about at least one thing in their shallow lives, the accuser usually runs after me to ask yet another inappropriate question that goes along the lines of – I bet you got really hurt before and you’re scared to take a chance again. Nope. That is usually followed by the oh so helpful suggestion that I go online to a dating site and pick up a complete stranger. No thanks.
Then of course in their frustration, not having a “cause” for the “effect” they really scratch to the bone and say something along the lines of you must be self-centered and cold. I love that one. It’s never that I’ve been surrounded by inadequate people – as I used to tell people, “it’s not me – it’s them”.
Here’s the truth of the matter – and rest assured it’s not a carbon copy story that can be applied to all unmarried people – men or women. Everyone’s story is different. In my case, I honestly enjoy being alone. I am an only child, I enjoy serenity, I don’t constantly need an audience. I got to travel the world, do as I wished, and in all honesty, until just a few years ago when I finally did meet someone with whom I’m still in a relationship with today, I just really wasn’t terribly interested in meeting everyone else’s expectations for how a typical life for a woman should plod along.
I didn’t want to marry my “best friend”. How incredibly boring. We have the capacity for passion, why settle for less? I want to be so wildly in love that decades from now when I look up at my husband from my breakfast toast I still want my heart to skip a beat as I see a sparkle in his eye that is mine and mine alone.
As Robert Frost said it is worth choosing the path less chosen. Be true to yourself, your path is yours and yours alone. Don’t let someone else chart it for you. So hang in there ladies and gentlemen. You may never find your soul mate, but it certainly doesn’t make your life any less fulfilling. Be the kindest, most educated and inspiring person you can be. It won’t blunt the countless knives that will never stop being thrown at you by insensitive idiots. But keep in mind the ones who are the nastiest and the loudest are usually the ones in the unhappiest marriages themselves. Feel sorry for them, they have to take their frustrations out on someone because they don’t have the courage to lead the lives they truly desire for themselves. They’re imprisoned in stereotypes from which they will never escape even if they want to because they themselves swallowed the key.
Despite the myths, no, you can’t die from loneliness. It can make you mighty miserable. But it is also a powerful fuel for finding purpose “outside the box” and I will tell you from experience that that can be very fulfilling indeed. It helps you evolve into your true self and there is nothing more attractive than that. So, in returning to the inspiration for this rant, the anonymous gem in the paper was this. Someone wrote the comment, “long time single people are simply unclaimed blessings. Be a blessing to yourself and the world around you and you’ll find the rash doesn’t itch quite so bad.