Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Single and Afraid

A friend of mine, another single girl, once waited for me after a meeting just to ask me if I was joking about enjoying going to the movies alone. I couldn't help but laugh. Then I realized that it wasn't funny to her. She wasn't kidding around.  Her face when I told her that it was "one of my favorite things to do" is one that I will never forget. She leaned in, almost as if to tell me a secret, and lowly said, "that is on my bucket list - to go to a movie alone. I don't think I'll ever be brave enough to do it though. You're so brave".

It wasn't the first, nor was it the last, time that I would hear something along those lines.

I wasn't always this way. As a child I was very independent when it came to nature. When we would go "up north" to visit the grandparents my Mom always said she knew where to find me; out on my "thinking rock". Time alone, in nature, fueled me somehow, even as a kid. But that didn't automatically translate into loving being alone. My family knew full-well that if I was left home alone (after dark especially) every door in the house would be locked and every light with a bulb in it would most definitely be turned on. My heart longed for time alone, yet needed someone there. Probably why, until I was much older, I always assumed that I'd get married and have a large family - thus ensuring the hustle and bustle of always having someone around.
But God had different things in store for me. He had different adventures for me to have. And along the way, the girl who would once be unable to sleep until someone came home and who would sit on the center of the sofa- clutching a knife- with every light on in the house, would eventually become the woman who rented a cabin in the middle of the woods, with (go figure) a broken lock on the door, and stayed there for an entire weekend, alone.
You see, as a woman, you grow up with a level of alertness that most men will never feel. The constant awareness of your surroundings, especially after dark. The discomfort of the eyes of that man watching you pump gas or walk to your car. The chill of fight-or-flight that rises from cat-calls out of car windows as you're walking somewhere, anywhere. All of these things grooming us by a young age to crave companionship of some sort - clinging to it as part of our identity and safety. And when I say safety I'm not referring to the safety that is actually wise - there are DEFINITE times where girls should NOT be alone. I'm not encouraging anyone here to be stupid. But in this sense I am referring to safety as in needed comfort.
I love camping. I love hiking. I love so many things like; nature, fresh air, raindrops falling on my skin, good food, adventure, movies... and at some point, early on in my sea of friends who got married and moved on from the life and friendships of singlehood, I learned that I wanted to live my life without care of what others think about it. If I want to see a movie, I'm seeing that movie. And I'm buying a kids meal, not for a child but for myself, and I'm enjoying it! If I want a meal at a new restaurant, well, I'm having a meal there and refusing to feel weird about it. I don't have time to worry about eyes on me because I'm *gasp* alone!

Listen, it's not easy to tackle fear. I get that. After years of not camping, because I had no single friends left who enjoyed it, a few years back I finally did it, alone, on my own, in a tent. Drunk people knocked on my tent to check that I was okay at some point in the night. A skunk sprayed somewhere nearby before the sun rose. I had my car keys on one side of me, ready to push the alarm button, my phone in a netted hammock above me, and my hiking knife near my other hand. I spent most of the night holding my breath and freezing in place at the sound of every twig crack....but I did it. I survived. I learned that I can camp on my own and power through the fear. Power and PRAY through the fear! And I also learned a little bit more about myself in the process.

My prayer for single people is not to become these independent women who don't need a man or something crazy like that. But do you? The older I get the more questions I ask myself. Like, "why am I doing (or not doing) this?" and, "what do YOU want to do?". I see couples doing awesome things all the time. I love it! I love seeing people enjoy life. In turn, I don't see why I need to wait (or be too afraid) to enjoy mine.

I realize that my life may not make sense to most people. Heck, I may be that weirdo, sitting at a booth in the local diner, writing away the hours next to tables filled with families and friends talking and laughing away. Actually, I definitely am that person. I'm cool with that. I wouldn't change it for the world. I don't have time to fit the mold of waiting for ducks to be in a row. Because you know what? Let's be real, I'll be lucky if my ducks ever end up swimming in the same pond!

My point is, don't waste time! If you are single, don't waste your time being too afraid to figure out who you are and what you like. Figure it out now and rock it! Refuse to live your life single and afraid.

1 comment:

  1. Miss Taken, I could not agree with you more! Push through the fears and live life. A person can spend their whole life waiting for life to happen as it happens all around them. I love going many places on my own. Sure I like doing things with people too. But I'm not going to avoid doing things because no one else wants to. Just do it! Who knows, you may meet some new friends along the way. Or maybe you won't. But you will become a deeper and better friend to yourself.Love you, girl!