I attended a friend’s wedding a week ago. It was a beautiful ceremony, I was deeply moved by the two people in my life who were becoming one, promising to love one another until death do them part. I have no doubt that my friend and her husband will be very happy together. I walked away from the wedding with a few questions though about the attitude we have towards ‘singleness’.
In their book Lady in Waiting, Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones write about how they attended a wedding where the bride said in her thank you speech, “Thank God I’m not a single woman anymore!” Can you imagine that? As if her life as a single woman was such torture. I think I would’ve laughed!
Fortunately, my friend (the bride) said no such in her speech. However, a fellow bridesmaid leaned over as the couple approached the dance floor for their first dance and whispered ‘Don’t you just envy those two? Being single sucks!” She is only 24 years old and feeling the pressure. Never mind that I’m a year older. I wanted to say to her, “You are not sick, you are single,” but I smiled instead.
So, this got me thinking… Why do we have such a stinking attitude towards singleness? As if being single is a disease. Why do we think that the only way we can be happy is if we are in a relationship? This is not good for our self-esteems, moreover, it’s this kind of desperate thinking that lands us in toxic relationships.
Pause. But then again, we are in South Africa, just a month ago our president Jacob Zuma was quoted saying in an interview, “I know that people today think being single is nice. It’s actually not right.”
Single people hate being single because they (I mean ‘we’) have bought into the idea that something is wrong with being single (as per president’s words). And so we look for ways to fill the void… we party hard, we bury ourselves in our work, we jump from one relationship to another, we settle for whoever comes our way- running away from being alone. Our feelings of inadequacy and incompleteness stem from there. Contrary to popular belief, incompleteness is not the result of being single. Come on now, your happiness should never depend on your relationship status.
I dare ask: Can we really afford to act like victims just because we are single?
I think not. It’s time to stop crying, ‘Help me, I’m single!’ There is nothing with you. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.
Live your life, and if you meet someone along the way, that’s awesome. If you don’t, well, just keep living, keep smiling, keep being happy.
“Being single is getting over the illusion that there is somebody out there to complete you and taking charge of your own life.”
– Omkar Phatak
“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” Sex and the City