You know you are very, well, vocal about your single status when your January first starts with an out out of the blue message from a male friend you maybe talk to every six months saying he hopes your “new year is filled with pretty men who are crazy about books, independent cinema, and commitment.”
And here I thought I hid it so well.
Truth is, if you follow me on any form of social media (but Twitter in particular) then you are already fairly familiar with my, erm, confusion over being single at 32. I mean, hello, look at me: I’m a mix of adorable and hot. I can hold decent conversation. I’m snarky and witty with more sarcasm than is good for me. I read books in a wide range of genres from biography to fantasy. I watch movies. I drink beer and cocktails. I cook and bake and will more often than not give you all of my baked goods (who doesn’t love free cookies?!). I’m physically active but not in a way that will make you feel bad about yourself if you’re not. I’m a full on geek but can pass for chic. I’m pretty happy with my life but also set goals in an effort to constantly improve myself. I love getting all dolled up for a night on the town but also am a fan of lounging around the apartment on a Friday night. I’m an entrepreneur. I have a good job, my own apartment, and my car is paid off. I have a healthy sexual appetite and, well, not to put too fine a point on it, have never had any complaints in that department (let’s just say two years of yoga has some added benefits).
Seriously, people. Take a gander at this foxy lady and tell me HOW IS SHE STILL SINGLE?
I know, I know. Better to be single than in a relationship with the wrong person. Been there, done that. No t-shirt but I did get the boxed sets of seasons 1 – 3 of Arrested Development in the break-up.
So being fully aware that no relationship is better than a dysfunctional one I got to wondering why I care so much. It can’t be for having someone to hang out with on the weekends because, well, I have friends for that and it can’t be for sex because, well, I have friends for that, too (and this is the point where my brain is flashing in big red neon letters YOUR FAMILY READS THIS) and it can’t be for having kids because, well, I’m not even sure I want kids and because, well, once again, I have friends for that who at the very least will let me hang out with their offspring for an hour to work out all the biological clock ticks and then I can just hand the kid back and go take a nap.
Then it hit me: I’m finally at that point in my life where I really, really like who I am. And when you really, really like who you are then all you want is someone to share all of your likableness with.
Truthfully I’m pretty sure I had to regain some of my weight to figure this out. Because even after all of my success, I was still being defined in terms of pounds: originally it was my starting weight and then it became how much weight I had lost.
When that stops being an option — when you can no longer bask in all of your weight-loss glory in a two-steps backward kind of way — all you are left with is the deep, dark, dirty reality you had managed to keep hidden for so long. Your choice is simple: continue to deny deny deny or acknowledge, accept, and adapt.
So it was in one glorious lightning flash moment that actually happened over the course of several months I realized Hey! When I stop directing so much energy and focus on what I look like and how much I weigh, turns out underneath all that silly exterior stuff I’m actually pretty damn awesome!
It’s like the very end of When Harry Met Sally… when Harry tells Sally “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
But, see, that “somebody” isn’t some guy, it’s me. It’s this crazy, quirky, flirty, glittery, curvy, sexy, whatever-else-y force of nature who not only knows what she has to offer the world but wants to offer it. Wants to share it, wants to give it away, wants to find someone who will slay dragons to grab hold of all of this fabulousness because they can’t imagine their life without it.
(Did I also mention that despite my obvious snark I’m actually a romantic at heart?)
In the past, my relationships were all about what the other person could do for me. It was, in the words of John Steinbeck, “selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance.” I would use relationships as a means of making myself feel better about who I was because I didn’t like me. As long as I could be defined as someone’s girlfriend then it didn’t matter that I hated myself because, hey, this person over here likes me. I had so much baggage, I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend I was looking for a bellhop.
Now, though, I feel ready and prepared and full of Steinbeck’s second kind of love, which is “…an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable.”
It’s less about what that person can bring to my life and more about what I can bring to theirs. Like, say, witty repartee, yoga-inspired sex, and free cookies.
Because, again, who doesn’t love free cookies?
Love from the ashes,