Thursday, December 18, 2008

being single during the holidays

If you know me personally, you know that normally, I'm pretty happy with my status as a single woman with a career and a life bursting with hobbies and activities. I sometimes wonder where another person would fit into this life and how I could manage a relationship while juggling all my other responsibilities, my job, volunteer work, theatre stuff, and of course - we can't forget the most important thing - the writing.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, it's inevitable that I will be asked the "dreaded question" by at least 12 people, mostly well-meaning aunts or cousins who know how old I am and who know my past history, so they wonder, as any normal human would, about my status right now and whether or not that might change in the future. Normally, I brush off the question, which usually goes something like this: "What aren't you married yet?" with something amusing that is meant to show them that I still have a sense of humor about things and am not taking it too seriously - because most of the time, that's how I feel.

This year, however, I was hit from another angle - one I didn't expect. My cousin was there with her newborn. You know where this is going. My first mistake was holding the baby. I know, I know - this is so stereotypical. The 32 year old single girl holds a baby and everything changes. Well, that's not exactly what happened, but it's close. I watched her watching everyone - so aware at such a young age. I watched her watching me while I baby-talked her and tickled her nose. We looked at the Christmas lights on my aunt's tree. I could see the lights reflected in her big blue eyes. It reminded me of when each of my sister's kids were born and how much I loved holding them and just looking at them for hours. And I was sad. Truly, deeply, devastatingly sad. I usually brush off the whole thing - marriage... children... it's probably not for me because if it was, it would have happened already. But when I held that baby and she fell asleep in my arms, well - it was a moment. But that wasn't the thing that got me. What got me was when my cousin (the baby's mother) came up to me and said, "you're a natural." I've never thought of myself as "good with babies" or "good with children." I mean sure, I'm great with my sister's kids, but they are special. But when she said that, I nearly started to cry. And then a voice inside me - the independent, busy, career-minded, single woman - started to scream at the other part of me. Started screaming that I am happy being single and I don't want a family. But this other voice, the new voice, it wouldn't shut up.

So now there's this new fear. A fear that I'm going to come across as desperate. That's that last thing I want - to be one of those women who is just looking for a husband. And I especially don't want to come across as one of those women who just wants a man so she can have a baby. That's not true at all. Loneliness is powerful and we all have a deep need for companionship. I've been alone for a very long time. I'm not sure why, other than the fact that I'm not society's vision of pretty or attractive or whatever. But I look at other couples and think that I'm at least as pretty as that girl so how did she manage to find happiness and I haven't yet. That's petty, I know, but most of the time I think that's the main thing keeping me from finding someone, because if people take a second look they will realize that I'm a great catch! See, I have lots of confidence in my inner beauty, just not much in my outer... whatever.

And I know I'm supposed to let go and let God take care of things. I know I'm supposed to trust that if I'm supposed to be with someone, He will make it happen. But still, I worry. Still, I get impatient. Still, I fear spending the rest of my life alone.

So okay, this post took a really interesting turn, but I intended it to be just a glimpse into what it's like for me, being single during the holidays. I think that mission was accomplished. I'm going to stop now, though, before I humiliate myself any more!

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about you a lot lately, dearest Anita. We should talk soon. Although what you described could be taken as your being desperate, I know you and that's not the case at all. There are others out there who will understand, too. Your patience, capacity for love, and passion for life will not go unrewarded.

    Much love,