Sunday, 10 June 2012

Being a single woman

Before reading this, I think it'd help you to understand where I'm coming from here: of course, this is not a blog specifically aimed at women by any means! But on this one occasion, I'm writing from a very personal perspective, which happens to be that of a 28 year old woman who has 'offcially' (in naming terms at least) been single for about five years. I'm writing for myself as much as for anyone else who feels frustrated, confused, proud, glad, angry (etc) about being single.

If you are a woman who understands these words, your first pleasure can be found in the knowledge that you have experienced something in life that many others haven’t. If you are a woman who truly understands these words, then you can add a further gratification (even if it’s a bittersweet one) in knowing that you have felt feelings that many others haven’t. What is life anyway, if it’s not to experience and feel things?

Being a single woman is being alone.

We know how it feels to make all of our decisions alone, for ourselves and nobody else. Big decisions, long term decisions: what am I going to do with my life, where am I heading, what is my aim?

We know how it feels to make all of our small, short term decisions alone: what am I going to eat for dinner? What shall I do this weekend?

We understand the empowerment and freedom of this capacity, and at the same time, its loneliness.

Being a single woman is being in charge of our own happiness.

We can’t fall into another’s arms when we are feeling weak, sad or scared. We hold ourselves up. We choose to wallow or we choose to find our own forms of comfort. We can be proud of the strength we must find in our darkest times.

Being a single woman is having space and time.

We have physical space: we can stretch out in our beds; we can decorate our homes with pretty things and never have to explain their purpose; we can go where we choose, when we choose.

We have mental space: we have only one person’s problems to concern ourselves with: our own.

And we have emotional space: we have not promised our hearts to one person. We can find that closeness with whoever needs and deserves it.

But we also have a space in our lives that couples do not. Time to ourselves can be both gloriously indulgent and painfully isolated.

Being a single woman, it is easy to search for answers we will never find to questions that we do not like to acknowledge.

We will question why we are alone when so many others have found love. We will ask if we have acted in a way that has led to our being single. We will ask if there really is someone out there who truly wants to be with us, and wonder if we may have met this person already but somehow missed our chance.

We will look into our past relationships with sentimentality, and with bitterness.

We will wonder if we have been scarred so badly, we will now live a whole lifetime of being a single woman.

And we will never reach a conclusion. There is no conclusion to be made, our lives are simply what they are.

But we still hold somewhere near our hearts, the beautiful expectancy of future love.

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