Everyone wants to have someone…someone to share with your successes and failures; dreams and fears; joys and sorrows. Someone who will stand by you, stand up for you when everybody else is against you. Someone who will be there for you, willingly, without conditions, questions, “buts” and “ifs”.
But why many people would choose to stay alone? I cannot provide an answer for the rest of them but I can provide an answer for myself.
I chose to be alone not because a man hurt me in the past (therefore, I am not a man-hater); not because I grew up in a broken family; and certainly not because I am lesbian. Ugh! I have to deal with these shallow questions everytime I am asked why I am still single. And people, it is offensive to put us in a box (muslim=terrorist, single=lesbian WTH, WTF) just because you cannot figure us out.
I chose single blissfulness for the simple reason that I am a coward…a smart coward maybe, but a coward just the same. I spend all this life protecting myself from getting hurt. I do not take risks. I do not let passion consumes me. I do not let myself fall just for the sake of falling.
Whenever I get close to someone, I subtly put up not only my wall but also, don my metal armor. Early on, I will try to assess the success probability of a possible relationship and weigh its pros and cons. I will find reasons why it is bound to fail and tell myself to be wise about it. I stay for as long as I can rein my heart; and when it becomes too much for comfort, I always do the next best thing – I run.
Why do I always sabotage my own happiness? Well, let me tell you why. I grew up in a poor family. My father’s business met several unfortunate incidents that turned it to bankruptcy before I even finished high school. Therefore, my college education was a result of collaborated efforts by my own parents as well as well-meaning relatives. A charity case…it was not an easy life.
In one hand, you might say that I was still lucky for getting support for my education. Yes, that may be the case. However, it was not easy when you do not know who will pay for your tuition fee the next semester…who will provide for your allowance…who will buy your basic needs as a teenager. Most of all, it was not easy to know that you are incurring a debt of gratitude…debt of gratitude, if you do not know, cannot be repaid no matter how many times you return the favor, that kind of debt stays in your lifetime.
Still, I was able to complete my college, luckily landed a nice job with one thing in mind – that I can finally start my own life. Yet, I have three younger siblings who were entering the university at that time. I could have chased my own dream, true, but that would mean either putting their future in jeopardy by turning my back on them…or waiting for somebody to extend charity. I was torn between prioritizing my own dream or letting someone else’s dream take the front-seat.
I am a proud soul…pity and charity wilt my spirit…I cannot thrive on that. I would rather make a thousand sacrifices, suffer hunger if needed, and walk on fire or high waters, just not to be pitied. Moreover, I did not want my brother and sisters to incur the debt of gratitude and spend their lifetime paying for that. And so I made the decision to support their education and forego my own dreams.
Eight long years…that was how long it took to finish the responsibility of sending them to university. But, it did not end there. When I started something, I finish it through…no matter how difficult, no matter if they broke my heart along the way (that is unconditional love for you, honey). I gave my full support even after they finished school. I know that exposure to various environments could help young people develop their self-confidence and so I covered for that bringing them to nice places whenever I have extra money. And when they needed further schooling, I never complained. I was happy to provide them opportunity that was unluckily not given to me. I am capable of giving…all the way.
To make the long story short, that phase in my life ended…they all now have their own lives. And I am happy for them and never regret a single thing.
Still, going through that huge responsibility made a mark in my perception about having family. I love kids tremendously and they are wonderful creatures to have and behold. However, I know quite well it is a bed of roses…with thorns. So, I made a pact with myself of which I made peace with a long time ago. I will only raise my own if I am absolutely sure that I can provide for their future quite well regardless if I stay alive or not. I will never leave a kid of mine not properly provided for.
My experience taught me that you cannot always rely on people…people who promised you they will be there for you may not be there after all. I learned that the best fallback, the best safety net, is to depend only on one person who will be there for me no matter what are the odds – my dear self. That is how I come to love singlehood.
Will I ever change the way I am? I do not know. My cowardice is sometimes more overwhelming than whatever feelings I have towards any guy. Maybe I will settle down, maybe I will not. I always believe that if I meet the right person then maybe all my doubts and fears will vanish into the thin air. Who knows?
But, right now, I am fine being single…it is simple…no complications…no responsibility except my own self (and my parents)…no children’s future to worry about…and what’s more, I can always do whatever I want to do as well as chase an adventure or two knowing that I can allow myself to be carefree.
I am not unhappy with my life, truth be told…I do not feel as if I am missing something. And I never feel alone. Luckily, I have a gang of soul sisters in my sisters and cousins who have the same passion for traveling and discovering new places like I do. We share the same dream and realize the same dream year after year. Our sole motto in life: work, save, travel, repeat. And when none of them is up to an experience I wanted to try (like parasailing in Bali) then, I am not also afraid to try it on my own. Life is sweet. Singlehood is bliss if you know how to enjoy it. And living in this century and age, we have an awful lot of choices. How can anyone ever say that flying solo is boring? You hold your life in your hand. It is not a question of being inside or outside a relationship or marriage. It is a decision you make – if you want to be happy, you can be, single or double or whatever…regardless if you are a man or a woman or anything in-between, for that matter. Life is simply how and what you make out of it. Enjoy living like it is an art.
Note: This article is an essay I have written based on my personal experience and was originally published in Berlin-ArtParasites during the period of June 2016 through August 2016. The positive acceptance I got from this article gave me inspiration to pursue and chase my passion for writing.