Single Notions & Emotions
I’m a millennial and the other morning I found myself browsing the bookshelves at my local library. Ebooks are fine but there’s nothing like awkwardly whispering “Excuse me” to well-read strangers as I slowly look for 306.709 WADE for the tenth time while grumbling under my breath to no one in particular that the website SAID they had it shelved.
Anyway, I wandered and wandered and eventually found myself unintentionally face to face with the ever-daunting relationship section. How and why am I here?
Now, to know me is to know that I do not place a ton of value on so-called societal norms. Have kids at 40, get married at 80. Who cares? Pft, I sure don’t. Living in the South and knowing what I want or don’t want when it comes to men can be strange at times, though.
I am 27 and single. And you know what? I’m fine. Like, really. There are no secret wedding-themed Pinterest boards or Nicholas Sparks novels dog-earred and highlighted underneath my mattress. Maybe those are oddly specific examples, but it’s called setting a ~ mood ~
Anyway, there I was apprehensively picking up relationship-y books and placing them with downward-facing titles into my yellow plastic basket, making sure that some cool book was on top because I’m a cool girl and don’t you forget it, okay? Cool.
At some point over the past few years I’ve felt some outward-in pressure and side eye judgment about my status. Not from my friends, but from the others.
I began to wonder if something in me was missing because I didn’t necessarily miss a man beside me when I went to bed. It also began to feel very “Oh, you don’t even have a boyfriend? Oh… okay.” And no, I don’t, but what I do have is a rescue dog and a lot of opinions.
See, the older I get the more I find myself using grown up words like “communication” and “compatibility,” and, concurrently, the more I feel a need to put on my robe and eat Werther’s Originals.
Maybe it’s because I’m incredibly chill about riding solo, but I’ve never been one to mindlessly search for something, anything serious out in the right-swiping abyss.
Each time I explored the realm of feelings and shit it was not because I just wanted someone to go out to eat with or because I wanted a placeholder. It was because of those moments that I would look over at him and think, “Ugh, he’s fascinating, quirky, AND looks that cute when he smiles.”(Real thought I once had. Hi. You definitely know who you are.)
What I’m trying to say is that to me a relationship is a sometimes want and not an all-the-time need, but living in the South makes you feel like that’s not… okay.
I’m a grounded person and I don’t have lofty ideas of effortless relationships. I had a line written here about cakes at weddings and life not being a piece of cake but I deleted it due to my better judgment slash my dignity. You get the gist.
Because of this mindset I’ve done some soul-searching over the past two or so years in between snacks and Snapchat to try to figure out what exactly I want from someone. I want to know what happiness truly means to them but also know that we can watch Bill Nye in bed together without complaint. Serious yet frivolous. Someone steady, present. I want to support and be supported. If this damn ship is going down we’re going down together.
Wait. Have I mentioned curious and hilarious yet? “AND someone kind,” my mom always adds to this lengthy list. “It goes a long way.” (She’s right, as moms usually are.)
On those occasions that I found my way into a conversation about a possible relationship it was because of the individual, him, and not at all because of boredom or anything else. It was because I found them to be quite possibly the best match for me at that particular time in my life.
I’m not sure what I was or am hoping to learn from those self-help, self-assessment books, but I think I’m doing just fine because by the end of my library trip I walked up to the counter and put them face up in plain view because, hey, broadening your horizons and shining a new introspective light on yourself is never a bad thing, right? Onward.