Monday, 13 May 2013

the single life

I'll tell you something strange about me. Unlike many other people on this planet, witnessing a happy couple when I was single didn't make me feel jealousy, bitterness, resentment, sadness or cynicism. It made me feel hope. And it was the kind of hope which sometimes moved me to tears. It was the kind of hope I could stake my life on - the hope which permitted me to let go of all those big, fluffy plans for the future and simply place a little more trust in the unfolding moment. I've started talking about the unfolding moment a lot lately. I'm glad that my life has ended up that way - talking about it as though it matters and as though it can be used as a starting point.

When you are single and you're healing and you're unsure and you're worried, what is your starting point? When it's been a long time since you've felt familiar, romantic arms around you, where are you coming from? What kind of ground do you stand on? People tell you to try and enjoy the single life, perhaps. Maybe they tell you that they envy your position and that they wish they'd made more use of the freedom they had when they were single themselves. This is probably cold comfort to you as you watch them leave the dinner party with their husband or dash off after your lunch date to check in with their girlfriend. But seriously, I am one of those people who encourages others to enjoy the single life and there's nothing disingenuous about it. Once you learn to appreciate what you have as a singleton, you will learn to sharpen some of the tools which probably went blunt when you were romantically attached. 

The last time I was single I learned how to be alone without feeling at all lonely. I learned how to feel as though my journey was seriously important without needing to have anyone to confirm that or cheer from the sidelines. I practised mindfulness without the threat of interruption. I reminded myself that art is mine and that I don't need permission or an audience or a sense of what's popular; I just needed to write to stay alive. I learned that my family do accept me for who I am when I'm starving and tear-stained and apathetic. I worked out who was prepared to stand by me and that I am prepared to stand by me no matter what. I learned that I wanted cleanliness and orderliness for myself alone - not to maintain smooth relations or to look 'normal' to the outside world. I also worked out that the times in which I wanted to worship at the altar of chaos did not have to be justified. I rediscovered how to talk to myself. Really talk to myself. Soothe myself, make myself laugh, check in with myself and tell myself 'well done'.

Don't sell the single life short. Sure, it's preparation for the next big thing. But it's also a pretty big thing in itself. And so are you.

Much love, dollfaces.