27

A year ago, I published a blog post about turning 26. It was one of my more serious posts, as it was the first time I’d ever opened up about having an anxiety disorder. **Cue the line of eligible bachelors**

Since writing that post, I’ve done a lot of work on my anxiety. I’m by no means cured, but I’ve definitely become more lax about sharing drinks with people. I even ate a fish taco off a hotel floor, which, by anyone’s standards, is downright irresponsible. A death wish, some might say. (Full disclosure: I spent the next day googling variations of: “Do microwaves kill herpes?”)

Since writing that post, I’ve been working on myself. Working on the ability to speak my mind, the ability to let things go, and the ability to get up and talk to people, even when I feel like they hate me.

But perhaps one of the hardest things I’m working on is learning how to value and appreciate myself. I spent a good part of last year thinking, “What the hell is wrong with me? What do they have that I don’t? Am I not ____ enough?” I leave this blank because, depending on the day, I’d fill in any number of descriptors. Spontaneous enough, confident enough, cool enough, pretty enough, funny enough, bold enough, open enough, creative enough. I didn’t feel enough. Period. I felt like an inconvenience in someone’s day, an intruder in their “group.” And while these fears have always lived in the back of my mind, I suddenly found them catapulted to the forefront. It felt like everything I’d feared about myself – my lowest, most self-hating thoughts – were proved true. And that felt terrible.

But today, more than a year later, I’m able to ask myself why. Why does someone else get to dictate how I feel about myself? Why do they get all the power? All of my power?

I’m also starting to realize that people come and go. Friends, boyfriends, lovahs, even husbands – they come and go. There’s only one person I can count on spending the rest of my life with. And that’s me. So isn’t it about time I came to peace with myself? Wouldn’t it make sense to start learning how to love myself? How to feel whole with myself, by myself?

This has been my focus. Which is why I nearly lost my mind when I came across the following:

meme2

If she’s hot and single, she’s crazy.

???

Now to be clear, I’m not saying I’m hot. I’m saying, as a single woman, “What the fuck?”

This meme hit me so hard because it is, quite specifically, the very thought I spent months beating myself up over. The fact that I am 27 and single baffles people, from my dentist to my relatives. I take this meme — even if it was made in jest — to mean there are those who view my singleness as an abnormality, like my childhood snaggletooth. I take it to mean that men must look at me and say, “Oh, she’s single? Well, what’s wrong with her then?”

Why does something have to be wrong with me? There are so many reasons why a woman would be single — why do we automatically assume that she’s a compulsive car keyer?

Maybe she likes being independent. Maybe she’s focused on other things. Maybe she’s just having fun. Maybe she doesn’t feel like doting on anyone, save her cats, friends and family. Yeah, maybe she got her ass dumped. But maybe he was unfaithful.

Maybe she’s just not into you, brah.

Why does a girl need to be spoken for in order for others to believe she’s cool? Why is a woman seen as worthy, valuable, “a catch,” or sane only when a man deems her fit for marriage? 

I realize this post might have crossed the line (several lines, really) from thoughtful to impassioned. And if you thought you were getting into another post about cats or germs, my sincerest apologizes, as I’ve certainly led you astray. To be clear, I’m not making sweeping judgments about men or any other group of people, and I’m certainly not trying to brand myself as a wronged woman in pursuit of justice. I love being single. I also loved being a relationship, when it was healthy. There’s nothing wrong with being in or out of a relationship, as long as you’re happy.

Happy is what I’m focused on. Not who makes me happy. Just being happy. Period. And if THAT’S what makes me crazy, cool. At least it’s not my cats.

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7 thoughts on “27

  1. Jodi crawford

    Wow Joanna! So proud of you! I was single until I met your Uncle Tom at the age of 32!!! Some things are definitely worth waiting for. And you are so right, you have to be happy being by yourself first and foremost!!!!

    Reply
  2. Michael Littman

    Jo, you didn’t ask me and way out of my appropriate space to comment on this. Just know that others feel exactly the way you do, every single day. Learning to love oneself is a lifetime struggle. Learning to accept yourself when others don’t is a lifetime fight. You are more than worthy. F the doubters, and the self-doubts.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: The Flu | Joanna Clark

  4. 365daysofkindness

    I’ve been approached in bars before and guys ask me if I’m single, and when I respond yes, they go, “how is that possible?”I’m sure they think it’s a compliment, but it actually makes me want to throw my (presumably free) gin & tonic in their smug face.

    ALSO, now that I’m approaching the “last good year of my life” (29), married mini-van majority co-workers also think it’s appropriate to say, “Don’t worry, sweetie. You’ll find your other half.” Uhhh…thanks? Wasn’t asking?

    I relate to this post on so many levels; it’s unreal. My value is not defined by someone putting a ring on my finger, and it is certainly not diminished by the lack of one. I am currently busy pursuing worthier pursuits than getting knocked up and moving to the suburbs (although if that’s your prerogative, ladies, power to you!).

    Happiness is an inside job. You should never put your happiness in something that can be taken away from you (aka another person).

    //end word vomit rant that never even started off as thoughtful (but hope it was a bit impassioned)

    Reply
    1. joanna Post author

      Hahah this is so great. You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that someone can relate to something I wrote. I’m glad you feel the same! And for the record, word vomit is always welcome in my book. I do it ALL the time.

      Reply

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