However, on the bottom line, as a woman, I can still feel some kind of judgement and some askance looks that see me as a woman who couldn’t find the right man at a certain age (as if the
“right man” were a thing to find). A poor woman who couldn’t fulfill her motherhood purpose in life. I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint all the pure believers. I’m not a failure, because I do not see me like that, so there is no need for you to feel sorry for me. I’m fine by me. Not that we single women have to justify why we have no “man” or babies in our life, we don’t have to ladies. Being alone, which is far distant from being lonely, can be something positive that we can enjoy and appreciate. Yet, make no mix-up; it can be tricky and full of setbacks, just because life is tricky and complex, whether you are single or you aren’t.
MY EYES FROM THE TOP OF THE WORLD.
Vinicunca / Rainbow / 7 Colors Mountain. What your see at 5200m above sea level. December 2017. Peru
Take a few minutes and imagine yourself on top a very high mountain, all alone. It was definitively a difficult hike. On the way up you have been through some lovely valleys to admire; also deep dense dark forests; there have been some rocky stretches and a few moments to rest and relax; it’s been hot, cold, sunny and cloudy, with some heavy rains and a bit of snow. You’ve had time to feel encouraged, tired, victorious and defeated. Quite a journey, right? Now, look down, treasure your trip to the summit. How do you feel? Are you proud of yourself since you managed to do it alone, or proud of yourself simply because you managed to do it? Ops! Maybe, you decided not to go up since it was too hard for you to hike up on your own.
Anyway, for me, the answer would have been different depending on when in time I would have had to give a response to that. A couple of years back I would have been strongly proud - “Oh yeah baby!! You did it all alone to top of the world!” At present time, I would be merely pleased for the fact that I could do it. Well, being single is a bit of the same. For me, it is not a state I feel proud of, since there is nothing to be proud of. It is just the way it is and I just accept it because it’s
my life and currently, I happen to be living it like this. I believe there are many other things worth fighting for than feeling sorry for my love/live situation. I remember not long ago having a chat with a male friend of mine about this same matter, being single. His point of view was all up in arms and making a stand for the glorious single lifestyle: “chicks” all around, online dating web pages... I must admit that, some years back I would have blinded myself with the idea of how wonderful and advantageous being a free spirit was. Nevertheless, that day it felt different, people alike are the best mirror to see your own reflection. Just then I realized that me being free and single was not something I had to be proud of, it was something I had to live with, because it was just as normal as being married or just having a couple. It was just like that; there was nothing exceptional about it. From that day on, I have put all my efforts in embracing my pride of being a woman in essence, a human being who happens to be single, instead of being a woman who is proud of being single. It definitively felt much better and much more label-free. Existence is easier when you release yourself from any kind of social labelling. Life is like a long journey up a hill, we’d better focus on paying attention on the details of what we do rather than the general idea of how many people we have around to do it with or to admire us once we ‘ve done it. You should never let anyone, especially not yourself; play down your achievements owing to your marital status or for any other reason, it’s not important, it doesn’t matter, and for sure it does not define you.
In light of this idea, I remember all of the times I have run into married people, friends, relatives, acquaintances, students’ parents or just some random people I had to talk to and they tell me: - “you have no idea how I envy you, being single and without children is the best possible way of living... you are one very lucky woman”. Excuse me? There is no doubt that I’m a very lucky woman. I’m healthy, I have a job and a roof to shelter under and I’m surrounded by great people, so you should envy me for that, not because I’m single. I didn’t choose being single. However, I’m
aware that the combination of my personal decisions took me to the place I’m right now. The same way married people did. So don’t envy me, you could have chosen differently, but you didn’t.
Or even worse, those who pity you and give you that look of poor thing...
“What’s wrong with her? She is not that bad, I wonder why she hasn’t found a good man?
Don’t you worry, I’m sure you’ll find the love of your life soon enough!”
Hey!!!! I’m right here!!
There’s nothing wrong with me! Well, almost! I am a beautiful person in and out; -I’m very smart; I’m fun, entertaining, adventurous, handy, kind... blah, blah, blah... here comes the BUT, but I always get to feel attracted to those who are younger, or even much younger than me; those who live far, far away; those who are not interested in having a relationship, and those who just happen to see the world from a completely opposite point of view to mine. In spite of all those inconveniences, I’m not worried, and I’m not looking for the right man for me. Why should I? As a single woman I have learnt that the best happens when you leave things to fate, instead of pushing them much too hard. Perfection is not real, what is real is the right moment, a person at the right time, no matter the specifics, just someone whose circumstances match yours in balance, without even knowing how long for it’s going to last. Going with the flow as much as you can, but in a firm pace. Because people should come and go according to each other’s needs, in all levels. This is definitively something I got to know after some time. Our paths work along, aside until they don’t, and this is when we must stop and check and redirect, and when necessary, just let go, no matter how hard it is. Letting go is the only way to make space for new things in life. Nothing fits well when forced. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s ok to desire having a person by your side, it’s a wonderful sensation. I do want someone by my side (candidates accepted!) But we do not have to accept whoever passes by, just because we fear being alone or due to social, economic or religious pressure. Feel free to say those pushers: Fuck off. Poor you, so uptight and judgy. Leave me and my singleness alone!!
A million little things make a life worth fighting for. And then... out of the blue those strong feminine independent pillars tremble and you feel sad... and suddenly you would love to share a million little things with someone. Because let’s face it, having a good partner by your side is an extraordinary feeling and when you get home after a working day, you would love to worry about dinners, schools, arguments about money expenses or even listen to and help with the other’s problems; so you get to choose the dinner menu together; you start a negotiation about the TV show you madly want to see and finally you give in cause it doesn’t really matter; you become brighter when they tell you “how wonderful you look tonight”; your hobbies become scuba diving or playing cards, which you previously hated but in the end you have a lot of fun, and your holiday destinations are not important because you get to live them with someone you love; and you don’t mind opening up about your worries and fears. You combine agendas without leaving your own space aside, because you MUST NEVER LOSE YOUR OWN SPACE AND IDENTITY OVER ANYONE, you can just simply do as you wish with someone else by your side sharing both your lives.
On the whole, it’s a little bit less like paradise on Earth, yet, it is still paradise. Cause you know what? You are still you, whether you have someone or you don’t. I do believe that I’m the one who makes the shots. I’m the one who knows what I need and what I want and I don’t like to be questioned otherwise.
The idea of taking care of your own time, inevitably leads me to one of the backbones of being single: availability. Everyone assumes that because you are single, you must be always available (getting even worse, when you are a woman, because your duties as a woman are still like stoned engraved in certain parts of society. I’m talking about taking care of elders, children, housework duties or illnesses, and many more) WRONG!!! NO WAY!!! ABSOLUTELY NO! Me being single and having no children doesn’t mean I have all the time in the world to do favors, to make calls, to catch up, to do errands... and a long list of doing things for others. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t want to meet because I feel like staying at home watching a TV show in my couch, alone. Yes alone. I
enjoy my time alone. I cultivate it and love it. Yes, I sometimes just don’t want to attend all the meetings with friends or family I am asked to. I am not being rude or ungrateful, I still love you all, it’s just that “Me time” is important for me, and I don’t work well with official duties. It’s a difficult job; tell me about it, for me it’s still “work in progress”, but eventually it’s something you learnt to do for the sake of you and everyone around you.
Over the years, and with the huge help of some people who guided me in my lowest moments, accompanying me in the long and bumpy path of growing up and becoming a better person, and to whom I’ll be eternally grateful, I’ve learnt that I’m an specialist at blowing myself up. Fortunately, I’m in recovery with flying colors. I have been too many times ok with people I liked but who did not offer me what I deserved, that I’ve been on the verge of losing faith a few times.
But believe me when I say this: WE DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, WE DESERVE TO BE LOVED AND WE DESERVE, AT LEAST, THE SAME TREATMENT AND RESPECT WE WOULD GIVE OTHERS. NEVER, NEVER, ACCEPT LESS THAN THAT. THE KEY TO A HEALTHY LIFE IS TAKING CARE OF US IN THE FIRST PLACE. NEVER LOSE FAITH. Listen to your intuition; it’s always right, even though your tricky cheating mind or anyone else tells you otherwise. Ask for help when you need it. Being single does not mean you have to do everything alone, since the smart move is to learn when to ask for help to make things easier for you. As well as that, surround yourself with a robust orbit of people. We tend to accept some people and things just because we think low or because we are not brave enough to make up our minds about difficult issues and we prefer to play safe. It’s fine; it’s a rightful position to face life. For me though, experience and many years of making decisions alone have showed me another way: I come first. What’s more, doing that doesn’t mean being selfish, that means that only when you are honest to yourself and to your beliefs, desires and wishes, you will be able to establish the pillars of a healthy family, friends and social circle. Easier said than done. But after some training and many mistakes, going against what you really and deeply want just feels naturally wrong. And that means hard work and tough decisions. Cause getting to know ourselves is never easy.
Thankfully for me, maturity comes in handy in times like these, when no matter how wrong you think something is, you are that stubborn warrior who just wants to win. Being an Amazon warrior is exhausting, since it’s not possible to win all the battles of life, so eventually, you just have to surrender to your inner peace and for the sake of your soul and the silence of your whispering mind, stand down. Being single sometimes can be confused with being in a constant fight with the world; it’s like building up that immense wall you live behind to survive against the external world. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and strong, happy and sad, human and superhero. Mark your own pace. Timing is flexible and different according to who you are. Only after such a long journey of learning, falling down and standing up, being alone is not something to be afraid anymore, it’s just a circumstance, just like any other. Work with positivity!
But I’m still standing! Yeah, yeah, yeah
*Despite stormy days, it’s essential to keep shelter under your own umbrella and stand up under the rain. Better days always come, and then you go back to having a “normal” life, as if normal is a concept that can be standardized, right?
Well, who said we tend to delay what’s hard to the very end? It’s about time I mention what you all are wondering... yet, forgive me in advance... I’m about to disappoint you and might make you mad...Children? NO WAY! Not now, thank you. I don’t need nor want them around. AND I AM NOT LESS OF A WOMAN FOR SAYING THAT. Right now, they are not for me. At this point of my life, and taking into account my present situation, children would mean a huge nuisance for me. Children are a pain in the ass, as well as the fact they are a tremendous responsibility for the rest of times. They are demanding and they cost way too much money, and honestly, raising kids is currently a high risk sport compared to raising kids in the past.
Wow! Wow!! Relax! I’m aware that my last words were not politically correct, I know. However, from a singleton point of view it’s quite comprehensible to think like that, and even from a married
point of view, from any point of view, indeed. There is no rule saying you must like children or want children. Don’t you agree? But it’s true that being single is hardly compatible with being a mum, any step is 2 times more complicated and costly, yet, it is not impossible. IT IS AGAIN JUST A MATTER OF FREE CHOICE, NEED, POSSIBILITIES AND DESIRE. I admit that my previous approach to the idea of children has been pushy on purpose, despite the fact that if I really had that impression on children, it wouldn’t be such a crime. It’s ok not to want children; it’s ok not to like children; it’s ok to change your mind, as long as the second you decide to have children, you are absolutely committed to this long-term life choice and for sure, you are able to provide your future newborn with all the care and love possible. Having children should never be imposed or mandatory. Being a woman is not about having kids; on the contrary, being a woman is having the freedom to make a choice, any choice. In my case, at the age of 38 I decided to become a single mother, and obviously, the only possible way was using IVF help. I will always remember that the first doctor appointment I had was on a 13th January, my birthday. I thought it was a good day to begin with such a huge life changing project. 2 years later and after 3 artificial insemination processes and 1 IVF attempt, I came to the conclusion that I was not going to keep on trying. I had already suffered enough, since it was painful failing one time after another; my body had been through enough hormones, drugs and alterations. Moreover, I had spent way too much money, me and my parents who helped me the unspeakable in all senses. So I eventually decided it was time to give up. I felt it, dealt with it and finally swallowed the sadness and decided that such unfavorable odds weren’t worth another try on my own. I could adopt or just play game and think that I might one day have a couple who would be by my side in time for a baby. And surely, I could finally decide to have no kids at all.
For all that, I have already declined the option of having biological kids alone. However, who knows? Despite truly believing that having kids is something women should do when younger, I still have time to adopt or to have kids with a partner, though I’m running out of time: tic toc biological clock!! Yes, time sucks!! The signs of time passing by are undeniable and unavoidable.
I must say, though that lately, I have the impression that I do not envy modern parents at all. Being a teacher makes me see all kinds of issues with children and teenagers, and wow. Congrats parents, some of you are real heroes. Nevertheless, some of you should have considered having children a bit longer.... A parenting exam ought to be mandatory in a general basis, and some of you made the decision too lightly. Any human being deserves the best of you and others around, so when you are not at best, leave kids for another time, or just forget about them at all. Children are major capital letters, requiring careful consideration when thinking of having them. Well, imagine all that alone. Single mums, you have all my admiration and respect.
We are on the spotlight. Women, fortunately, are mattering more and more to the world. We are being spoken, we are beginning to be heard again, after some dark times, and this is beneficial for all of humanity. It’s about time the world equals for everyone, and although there are many things left to do, our voice is loud and clear. Let’s not waste it.
I admit I’m a bit shaky with people reading this, because it’s probably the first time I publicly say so many things at once, also loud and clear, no filter aloud. I was raised to think that personal matters should stay personal. Well, not anymore for me: I’m a woman. I’m single. I’m 41. I have no children. I’m not perfect. I’ve surely made a lot of mistakes in life. I’ve hurt people, and I apologize for that. I’m sorry; I hope I have your forgiveness. I’ve hurt myself, and for that I ask for my forgiveness. But, most importantly, I want to say that I want love in my life, I don’t deny it. Besides, I truly deserve it. Nevertheless, I’m not going to push myself to the limit. I’m not going to allow anyone push me to the limit. I’m not worried anymore. I haven’t been for a quite a while now. And I’m excited for that. Great things are about to happen for me. I’m sure!
I’m ready for whatever the future brings to me, for worse or for better as it may be. I know I have the strength to face it, whether I’m alone or not. I won’t avoid it. Sometimes I am scared of the future to come, because if things remain the way they are for me right now, I will have to face some very inevitable tough moments “alone”. Let them be in a far, far distance. Worries are real but they are not imperial. At least, not anymore
I will not allow being single to become a definition of who I am, it’s not a problem, or at least it shouldn’t be. Be who you want and deserve to be. Be happy just being you, change what you don’t like, fight for what you want and make it as valuable as that is. We are the ones still standing every single day, present and forward.
* In reference to ABC show “A million little things”. S1 E7