I’m weird, one of my best times for getting inspired to write is during housecleaning. I think it’s a procrastination thing. I wasn’t planning on posting, but I checked my comments and one made me think. Then I started doing the dishes, and snap, crackle, pop, a memory kicked in, and next thing you know, I sat on down and got crackin’.
It’s not until you’re single and you’re all right with it that you finally realize just how much of society is centered around fitting in and joining the club — getting married, getting laid, getting validated. Society pats us on the back when we find ‘someone’ and if we’re single, we’re told to look at ourselves and find what’s wrong with us, not what’s wrong with them.
Maybe, just maybe, we’re fine. Maybe, just maybe, they’re not good enough for us. Maybe, just maybe, we’re holding out for something better.
I’ve come to learn the hard way that being comfortable with being single is one of the biggest challenges we can face. It’s so easy to run into the arms of someone “who’ll do” instead of toughing it out alone. It’s so easy to stay the course of least resistance in a relationship that doesn’t deserve your commitment. Getting laid is a breeze, if you set your sights low enough.
We’re scared of being alone. I remember my mother breaking down in tears several months before her death, before she even got sick, when she accidentally got stinking drunk (the first time I’d ever seen her drink more than a glass or two of wine) on my birthday and was throwing up and was horribly hung over the next day. I took care of her, cleaned up after her, washed her vomit-stained comforter, and anything that needed doing. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I’m not scared anymore… I’ve been so scared that no one would look after me when I got old and sick, and now I know I don’t need to worry about that.”
I think we all ultimately know that fear. God knows I’ve been intimate with it.
We’re a tribal society, despite how uncivil we can sometimes be to each other. It’s our heritage, our legacy. We’re in it together… so being alone is something seemingly incongruous to human nature. But we need to know we’re able to handle it, and so few of us ever really try to learn if we can.
We sometimes fail to see how much society conditions us to need the approval of others – from report cards as kids, job reviews as adults, and every fucking time we use our debit cards, it’s all about getting approval. When you’re single and alone, who’s there to give it to you? Who’s there to tell you in the night that everything’s going to be all right?
You. Just you. Me. We’re self-contained, but everything about our society tells us we’re not. It’s a struggle. It’s hard. Never underestimate the difficulty of going it alone, but also, never ever underestimate the wonder of making it work. There is nothing more rewarding than that night when you realize there’s no one in the world that could make you feel better than you feel right then, right there.
Loneliness will always find you, though, but it will always leave you, too. It’s like a tide. It ebbs, it flows, and you just need to find the rhythm.