I like to defend singleness. I like to become very defensive, really, and point out all the people, groups, and institutions that are not doing a good enough job at validating me. I stand by my observations and my exhortations. But there’s an elephant in the room that I always pointedly ignore during those kinds of blog posts.
Because the thing I skirt around is painful. It is far easier to focus on what I like about singleness (the freedom!). And it’s easier to focus on fear, and how being single means I get to avoid the potential heartbreak of loving someone so deeply that I accept the inevitability of being hurt by them. It’s easier to pretend that that is the whole picture, thank you, please walk away now.
The thing is, walking alongside every positive thought about singleness is this ever-present question: “Oh God, what is wrong with me?” When people unthinkingly ask why I am still single, this is the question that leaps to mind. Why am I still single? Well, I’ve got a list of insecurities I could share with you. Maybe it’s my personality, my looks, my dreams, my whole self? Maybe I’m disgusting, repugnant, and repelling? If you ask someone why they are still single, please know that, for me at least, you have now sent me into a tail-spin of self-hatred.
I could love being single if it weren’t for that question. I’m not desperate to be in love, start a family, and settle down, though someday that would be nice. But I am desperate (ugh) to know that I’m desirable. I want to operate as a single person in confidence and self-love, but by nature of being a 26-year-old single woman in the United States, I carry around a heavy bag of insecurities. There is always a part of me desperate for affection and attention, just so I can remember that I’m not totally unworthy of human love.
That’s as vulnerable as I can be for one blog post. Even now, I worry: by admitting this, am I even more disgusting? Is my desperation going to turn people off? But the thing I’m learning about vulnerability is that it brings people closer more often than it tears them apart. And honestly, I’m not writing this so that some guy will read it and want to save me. That’s a bit gross. I’m writing this because I think I am maybe not the only single person with this overwhelming question dogging their every step. And I want anyone who reads this with familiarity to know, hey, I’m walking this road with you. We can be giant desperate messes together.