I find there is a war inside of me and it is painful to choose sides.
You’d think from that description I am struggling with something very important.
I am not.
I am struggling with being 26 and single, but not for the reason most would think I am. I am not struggling with loneliness (at least, I don’t think so).
I am struggling with the expectations of a single woman in my society (American Small Town) and my sub-culture (The Church). And I have two conflicting thoughts about my singleness:
1. I am not broken because I am single.
2. Being single is not my choice. It is not my fault. I do not push men away (at least I don’t think I do), but for now they seem disinterested.
I find these days that when I am alone in my room painting or writing or pendant-making or praying or watching t.v. or eating I am not lonely or dreaming about my future boyfriend or fiancé or husband or anything like that. And when I am out on an adventure with Ben or Keegan or Rachael I am not thinking about my future spouse at those times either. Sometimes I wonder about what it will be like to actually bother to settle down and collect furniture and decorate the walls and adopt kids, but even then I am not thinking about who I am to settle down with.
I don’t think this is a problem.
Actually, I think this is quite lovely. And free. And content. This is not to say that if a lovely, single, bearded, Jesus-loving man asked me out I would say no. I would definitely say yes. I am content, but I’m not dead.
But then I spend time with my lovely married friends and their lovely, sticky, grubby children and the war begins.
I am asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”
“Why not?” they query.
“Oh they will. The right guy will come along,” they assure me.
I’m not sure when I started getting insecure about the “right guy coming along,” but I think it directly correlates to the number of times I’ve had this conversation.
Or there is my personal favorite: “We just want you to be happy.”
I’m sorry, did I give the impression I was unhappy? my bad.
And eventually over time I have begun to justify my singleness even without being asked. It’s as if I have to walk into a room and explain that I am okay. And that makes me wonder if I am okay? Am I convincing you or me or both?
But here’s the thing: I’m okay.
Nope, haven’t been asked out recently.
Yep, kinda makes me paranoid that it won’t ever happen.
Nope, it’s not going to stop me from making plans and having adventures.
Yep, sometimes I am convincing myself that I’m okay.
And my struggle finds me wondering where I fit in this thing we call The Church. This place where so much emphasis is put on marriage and child-rearing. Did you know that Jesus never married? (Okay, that’s not really fair because the church is his bride so he’s pretty much married a billion times over, shoot.)
Am I counted out because I’m the single hippie girl that sits in the back doing art with watercolors and spit?
I don’t think so.
And when I am, well, screaming helps.