September 14, 2020
I Don't Know How to Feel While Single!
How do I find the middle ground between despair and hope?
I don’t know how to feel while single.
Do I go out or can I afford to stay in? Must I download this app and swipe again (and again) or is it okay to rest?
There is a well of despair that deepens with every swipe, with every passing year.
How do I both accept that marriage may not ever happen for me and the fact that it actually might?
How do I hold onto two diametrically opposed outcomes?
How do I embrace my single life like I’m told, but also make room in my life for a partner, as I’m also told?
I live in an apartment that I can afford and that’s big enough just for me. Only for me. How then am I being asked to make space in my closet for someone who may not exist? Kathrine Woodward Thomas advises the single woman to set out another place setting at dinner time, to make another plate of food. For what? Who is the visitor? Will he suddenly appear because I make enough for both of us? Or may it be a visitor who never arrives?
I haven’t mastered planning for a future by myself and at the same time making space for the possibility of merging that future with someone else.
How do I find contentment in this seemingly never-ending, indefinite season?
How does one live with absence? I enjoy my life. I have friends and family who love me. It is filled with laughter and good food and memories. And I still feel despair in the pit of my stomach. What do I do with that? Why hasn’t my full-life compensated for the paucity in my love life?
How do I live a full life and ignore the gaping lack?
How do I stay hopeful but live a life alone year after year?
“It happens when you least expect it.” But what happens if I can’t help but be expectant? What happens if I’m always anticipative? Will it still happen?
How do I act as if I’m taken and chosen for, but prepare and be practical about living alone?
Even Beyonce got cheated on. “I kept it fun,” she says. You can be pretty, at the top of your game, have “bomb pussy” and still be betrayed. So many men are trash. And yet I still want one.
I don’t want to want one. But I do.
How do I keep from being bitter? How do I keep bitterness at bay, keep it from eating away and swallowing and consuming and gobbling my best wishes for others?
I don’t always know how to be happy for others. Their happiness and triumph is not always an encouragement to me. How can I turn my jerk reaction of “When is it my turn?” to thoughts of “I’m so happy for you!”
I don’t know how to keep holding onto hope longer than I had anticipated. Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
I don’t know how to simultaneously hold onto joy and sadness.
I don’t know how to hold space for possibility and yet accept.
I don’t know how to live with unmet desire.
How do I hold onto hope? What does hope look like here?
How do I thrive in the in-between? The meanwhile?
I don’t know how to exist in the in-between… or the not-at-all.
Should I even think about it as an in-between? Like I’m living life in the interim? What if this is it? What if this is my life? What if there is no interim?
How do I reconcile long-term singleness with a God who can do anything but doesn’t?
It comes so easy to others. They do not try as hard as I have. They have not prayed as long as I have. In dating and mating and love there often is no correlation between effort and success. My pain may not commensurate with the outcome I seek.
I may be on an endless (aimless? ceaseless? pointless?) search. I may not ever get what I want.
I may not get what I had originally envisioned. I don’t know how I feel about that.
I don’t know how to do this.
I don’t know how to exist in the tension — and there is a lot of tension (and frustration).
There’s such a fine line between “I desperately want to be in a relationship” and “I don’t need a man.” How do I exist in the middle ground? It feels tenuous. I teeter. I waver. I vacillate. It’s a balancing act in which at any moment I feel like I can fall off of the tightrope of hope into the abyss of despair.
Stay single for long enough and you start to ask yourself, “Do I need to get married? Do I need to be in a relationship? What good is marriage anyways? … Do I really need a man? Look at all of the things I am doing and can do by myself. Maybe I don’t need one.”
…and then all of a sudden (gradually?) you shift from independence open to interdependence to self-sufficiency and nullification.
I don’t know how to do this.