Single all my life
Ah, yes. Being single at a time when you’re supposed to be anything but.
Maybe this is a disaster and I’m supposed to be panicking, especially in relation to the fate of my egg cells. But oddly enough, I’m not.
When people ask me about my love life nowadays (and it’s sweet they think I have one), I don’t know what to say because there really is nothing to tell. I have been single all my life, which is partly why, when I hear prepubescent kids whine about how they haven’t found their “forever” yet and how maybe they’ll die alone and such, I try my hardest not to laugh in their faces. My darlings, please. You ain’t been through nothing yet.
Then again, I’m a peculiar nut, and I may have experienced life (and love) differently from others. It is no secret to many of my friends that my experience of brokenness in the family has led me to be especially guarded when it comes to who I let into my life, much more my heart. I try to work through it, but it’s not easy. Some experiences—especially ones we go through as a child—really do shape us, at our cores, and it is very difficult to weed out that thread from our past and just live without it, because it has come to be part of our very fabric.
Now add to that the fact that I’m strongly introverted, a lover of solitude and freedom, and here you have someone for whom being single is less of a bother and more of a second nature.
I’ve heard all the romantic clichés, of course, about how maybe I just haven’t met “the right person,” or how maybe it isn’t “the right time.” I’ve also heard the less dreamy ones, about how maybe I have standards too high for any earthling to meet, or how maybe my calling really is single-blessedness, if not religious life. But my favorite is when someone attempts to explain to me, in psychoanalytical terms and often condescendingly, how I might’ve been messed up so bad in my childhood that I now have these intimacy and commitment issues to contend with, as if I haven’t all but written a psychological report about it.
Now some, all, or none of these explanations may be true. I admit it bothers me at times, but in spite of my own or others’ theories, it is beyond me to know at this point exactly why things are the way they are. Sometimes people, especially those who insist that women stick to the cultural timetable of getting married and settling down at a certain age, seem to demand an explanation for singlehood, as if it were a disease whose etiology needs to be traced for it to be cured. And sometimes I do fall into that line of thinking as well, and I attempt to figure out what could’ve gone so wrong with me for me to be single at this age.
But of late, I’ve realized that though I might indeed be cracked in some way, I’m not less of a woman — and certainly not less of a person — just because I’m single. And society shouldn’t be making me and other singletons feel otherwise. We need to broaden our definition of an acceptable and respectable way to live. We need to recognize that while finding love, getting married, and raising kids are beneficial for the continuity of the human species, such events are not the only measures of a life worth living, or well-lived.
It is all very fluid, how things are in this world, and all I can say is that I’m just trying to ride it out like everybody else. Currently, I’m working for causes that matter to me, in a field that I love, and that’s all there is in my life for now. If you ask me why I still haven’t found anyone or settled down at this point, I don’t have the answer. I have speculations, yes, but instead of going through the trouble of explaining all the theories about it, maybe I could just give you a wan smile and say, “I don’t know.”
It’ll be closer to the truth than any other answer I could give you, and it will have to be enough.
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Carla Marez P. Peruelo, 27, is a licensed psychologist.
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