A couple of days ago I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in the States. We’ve known each other for 4 years, and she’s a very shy, very sweet person. She was sad though, because she’s 39 now and she’s still single, and she feels like, and I’m quoting here, “a dried up old husk and very bitter”.
I lost it.
It actually makes me angry to hear her like that. I know it’s not her fault of course, and that makes me even angrier cause she is a sweet, fun and lovely person and she doesn’t deserve to feel like that.
I hate society. I hate those who created and perpetuated the myth that, in order to be a successful, functioning human being, you have to find a man, get married and have kids. Otherwise, you’re failing at life. They raise us, girls, teaching us that there’s ONE AND ONLY right path to follow in life, if you don’t, you did something wrong and you’ll die alone and miserable. They teach us that we’re never gonna be complete, or truly happy, if we are single. They teach us we’re not worthy, if we’re not even good enough to find a man that marries us. And we end up believing it. But hey, a man who’s still single at 39 is a just bachelor, a golden boy who enjoys life without feeling in chains, a woman who’s single at 39 is called “an old bitter spinster” and laughed upon.
Well, I say FUCK THAT. I don’t accept that and I never will. And I don’t accept that society and its stupid rules and structures and cages can make a person like her feel like there’s something wrong with being single at 39. There is NOTHING wrong with her. A HUSK? Really?? Stop right there, girl. You are not worthless. You are neither dry nor bitter. You are sweet, caring, you are full of love and enthusiasm for the things you like, you’re always there for friends, for those people you love and who love you back.
I know that, when I replied to her email, she probably thought “yes okay, but I still feel lonely, I want someone to love me *romantically*”. Well, yeah, she’s right. Who doesn’t. But let’s call things with their name: that’s a luxury. People who get to fall in love, be together, and be *happy* together, are LUCKY. I bet that everyone sees that everybody around them has got someone, but do you people really think those are all successful, happy couples? Nope. At least half of them are miserable. They’re just miserable together.
The point is, you DON’T need someone else to make you happy, or to make you feel worthy and good. That’s a plus that some of us may never get, because life’s unfair and love makes no sense whatsoever. The good news is, you just need YOU to be happy. You can fill your life with SO.MANY.THINGS. other than a “romantic love”: books, movies, music, art, a hobby that gets you in contact with nature, animals, your friends that care about you. You could even find something you like about your job. It’s not ideal, i know, but it’s something. It’s an alternative, and it is a valid one.
There isn’t only ONE right way to live a life. Take their rules about what your life is supposed to be, what it *should* be according to them, and toss them. Burn them and forget about them. YOU get to decide what to do with your life, and how to feel about it. You gotta make do with what you have, and flip the bird at anyone or anything that makes you feel like you’re missing something fundamental.
Probably she also thought “Wow ok. But dude, what the hell do you know about how i feel? You’re 23, you’ve got your life ahead of you, at 39 you’ll be probably married with kids”. Truth? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I’ll have a husband or a wife and we will live happily/miserably ever after in a big fancy house. Or maybe I’ll be single, I’ll have my dogs that I’ll love with all my heart, a job that doesn’t involve poisoning the planet and I’ll live in a small but comfortable apartment, and every morning I’ll wake up saying “fuck, another looong day ahead, alone”, but then I’ll open my window and I’ll remember that I’m not really alone, and that I’m here. I’m alive.
I get to see the Avengers movie n.18, I get to tell my friends how awesome they are, I get to read a poem, I even get to write a poem if I want to, I get to hug my dogs and walk in the fresh, open air and smell the flowers while I can.
And society will still tell me “NO! Stop! You can’t be happy! You’re single! You’re a failure! You’re just a bitter, dried up husk! You can’t be anything but that!” and I’ll reply “Watch me”.
I apologized to her if my rant sounded like I was patronizing her. I really wasn’t, and she understood it and thanked me for giving her a new perspective and making her feel better.
My mom had a couple of boyfriends in her life (jerks, mostly -_-), then she thought she found the right one, and at 40 gave birth to me. Guess what, mirror mirror on the wall? He was the jerkiest of them all.
They never got married, she has been single ever since, she raised me by herself. We made do with that we had, and we’re a tiny but happy family. And some women in our town told her “but why don’t you find yourself a nice, rich man? I mean, you’re 45/52/63 years old now, and you’re STILL single!”. She just shrugs and goes back to doing her business. Sure, I left for uni and she felt really lonely sometimes, but she has 2 lovely cats, some very good friends that love her, a nice house, her books, her enthusiasm and curiosity, and life doesn’t suck.
I don’t want people to feel like they should be different from what they are.
You are perfect. If there are small things you’d like to improve, start with those, but do it at your own pace. Enjoy small things, the everyday life things.
Look for the silver lining as much as you can.