put a ring on it?


Weddings.

Proposals.

All those shows on TLC that revolve around getting married or the minutia thereof.

Weepy indie pop.

Chick flicks- or RoCos, as one of my guy friends affectionately calls them.

Chance meetings.

Smiles from a kind stranger.

(Not-so) secret admiration.

You’re about to be bombarded with all this and more for the next two weeks- so I thought I would help you be prepared.

The World is gearing up for one of Hallmark’s favorite “holidays”. And it seems like every year, I write something about the epic Struggle between Singlehood and Contentment with who I am- and then three-hundred-sixty-something days roll by and I find myself staring expectantly at my computer screen, waiting for it to ask me if I come here often.

Don’t get me wrong: I still have the same inner turmoil- so strong at times it feels like it might rend me in two. But I won’t leave you dancing to the same old song. This time, I will force myself to write from a unique perspective within this topic. There is one lesson that Professional Singlehood has definitely taught me over and over and over and— well, you get the idea . . .

I have learned how to be a friend. Friendship is very difficult. Anyone who tells me they want to be “just friends” “just” doesn’t understand what a friend is. There isn’t anything simple or diminutive about it. [A more accurate way of putting it might be “just acquaintences”, “just strangers”, or “just two equally dissatisfied, yet equally intimidated people”- but none of these rolls off the tongue quite so easily.]

My point is- unless it would find me in an unhealthy place emotionally, I take almost everyone who tells me he “just” wants to be friends at his word. And boy- is it “just” about one of the hardest commitments to make! Because friends stick around whether they’re being attended to or not. Friends learn to be honest. Friends share joys and sorrows. Friends fight the constant, uphill battle of communication.

I’m not saying that being single gets easier the longer it lasts- but I am so thankful for each of these guys who, in his own way, has taught me how to listen, not listen, laugh at myself, or laugh at him- at just the right moment. For every one of them who has made me angry, I am thankful. Because in those moments, I know that I am strong, that I have feelings, and that they are real. For every one of them who has made me sad, I am thankful for the opportunity to consider the source, and to reach out and find hope Elsewhere.

As much as I hate to admit it, there can be no girlfriendship without friendship.

But at the same time that I have had to fight to see the forest for the trees, I have also been blessed to look around and see so many people I have had unique connections with still remain as friends. Some have gone, but many of you are steadfast. And it means the world to me. Even though you all still smell funny and have cooties.

Of course, those cooties can be counter-acted by two very important things: solitude and Girl Time. Two more things that Singlehood has allowed me to relish, along with so many unique expressions of friendship. As wonderful as Prince Charming is, nothing can replace the feeling I get when laughing with one of my girlfriends till my stomach hurts. Or when finishing a poem or a story and realizing that I, and I alone, am the first one to see it and appreciate it, complete.

The truth is, as much as I know by experience that it isn’t good for (wo)man to be alone [all the time], I also revel in the things that my time alone teaches me about who I am: whether I’m learning how I have grown or how I need to. And I know there will come a time when my alone time and my time to be silly and go out dancing or sharing the karaoke stage with my girlfriends will be next to none.

But until some fella puts a ring on it, I am free to be me. Even if I sometimes have to do it through clenched teeth. Most of the time, I end up laughing.

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One thought on “put a ring on it?

  1. As your fellow traveler (despite a few short pit stops along the way) on the Highway of Perpetual Singleness, I think I have reached a place in my life where I couldn’t agree more. This year, and beyond, it’s my goal not to chase after the next crush or the next “prospect”, but to focus on those friendships with both genders that I value so much.
    I also like how you put it: “There is no girlfriendship without friendship.” I have to admit that I was nodding emphatically when I read that. And I am proud of you for not having to learn this the hard way, as I have. I have been notorious in the past for leaping into a relationship without looking, for jumping right into dating someone when we realize the attraction is mutual. And one thing I have learned is that, as hard as it is to “just be friends” with someone for whom you have stronger feelings, it is so worthwhile. Doing things the opposite way can give you an excuse not to get to know the other person, not to see them at both their best and their worst, because you are both working so hard to impress one another. I was thinking about this just the other day, and I realized that the strongest, happiest relationships I know of have started in one of two ways: either, the couple were “just friends” for a very long time until they woke up one day and realized they really cared about one another, or, one person was interested, the other wasn’t, the first person was patient until the other woke up and realized that his or her friend was exactly what he or she had been looking for. That is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s only in movies that people fall in love in two weeks’ time and live “happily ever after”. Real, mutual, deep love and appreciation takes time, sometimes seeming eons, to grow.
    But in the end, my dear friend, you will find it to be so worth the wait. Of that, I have no doubt.

    From an editorial standpoint, as you asked me to comment on as well, I can’t really suggest any changes apart from maybe making it a little more generic in the intro and not V-Day (or Singles’ Day)-centric, only because by the time you submitted it, if they decided to print it, that fateful day would have come and gone. Just an idea. 🙂

    <3!

    Like

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