Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The stigma of being single

Earlier this summer, I had a very humorous conversation with an older gentleman. Actually, I was probably the only one laughing over of our chit-chat when he indicated his concern over the fact that I was still single - I mean, still single - he said it in the same tone as he probably would've used when saying words such as antichrist and death.

I mean, you know, they are all kind of the same thing, right?

As it turns out, he had a great deal of concern for my singleness and expressed uneasiness over the fact that I had never married. He was completely perplexed and studied my face for a long time, almost as if he was attempting to find the defect that kept me single.

Slightly insulted, I mostly found the entire conversation fucking hilarious.

At one time, however, I wouldn't have been laughing. From the day I stepped out of high school, I've felt immense pressure to have a boyfriend, 'find a man', or 'settle down' because apparently, that was what I was supposed to do. I was always very confused by this fact because I never really got the impression that any of my guy friends got multiple lectures, hints, and suggestions that there was something 'wrong with them' when they were single.

When I hit my mid-twenties, the pressure only increased. Each time I would return home for a visit, relatives would ask about my love life and meddling questions quickly turned into gentle pressure with comments on how it was 'time' to settle down. I never handled the pressure very well and had a tendency to rebel against anyone who attempted to push their ideas on me. Truth be told, I would hide any relationships I had in order to not be polluted with questions about babies and wedding dates.

Marriage? Kids? At that time, I considered it a trap. All around me, I saw people who I considered way too young to either get married or have kids, running out to buy wedding dresses and maternity clothes. I didn't understand the rush. I questioned whether they wanted marriage or feared to be alone. I wondered if the marriages would work out - many of them didn't.

In my twenties, I partied as often as my body, schedule and finances would allow me to and honestly, the idea of not hitting the town on a Friday or Saturday night seemed like a complete waste of a weekend. In retrospect, it was all an escape.  Entering a surreal world where everyone dressed, acted and were different people from in their real lives seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, the interesting thing about escapes is that they eventually don't work and real life kicks your ass.

My life has taken a lot of twists and turns since that time and luckily, I never found myself married in my twenties because the results would've been disastrous. The guys I chose back then were often terrible choices for me. Granted, many of them were defective and I attracted them because I was pretty defective myself and had a long ways to go with my own personal evolution.

To a degree, there is a sense of isolation when you're single. A few of my 'suddenly single' buddies have been shocked to discover that sometimes their couple friends will no longer extend social invitations when their status changes. I've had similar experiences as well but didn't really think it was a common issue until a few of my other friends started to make similar complaints. These people have even suggested that sometimes it feels as if the world is 'punishing' them for no longer being part of that mainstream couple world. This wasn't such a surprise to me.

I think that everyone's life is unique. We all have different timelines for different reasons. My life has been about personal growth and learning some tough lessons, all of which is something I feel is essential before tying the knot.

Popular movies and television often leave us with the misconception that until we find out 'soul mate' we are incomplete as a person. This is absolute bullshit. Not only is it not someone else's role to 'complete' us, but we are also not 'lacking' because we are not part of a couple. Love is a beautiful thing but only when it's real; not when it's a life raft for those who were already drowning.

Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing

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