Out of nowhere I was the only one. I was the only one on the dance floor giving it my ALL and flaunting my empty ring finger (per the video) to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. I looked around and all my friends could no longer join me. Their ring fingers were occupied and a sad thought crossed my mind as I took down my hands from the “this is my jam” pose – am I the last of the Single Ladies?
It seemed like only yesterday we were reciting the same single woman struggle about not finding a good man or keeping one. Having good girlfriends as an adult is like living out the Babysitter’s Club but with wine. You feel like an invincible army clinging to each other for support and refuge. And yet one by one they’d started to drop off. Saturdays became date nights and Sundays for meeting the family. We’d long since retired our need for partying every weekend, but now even the times spent at the kitchen table eating carbs and discussing blog articles were few and far in between. I have multiple groups of friends like any adult and I would still argue 98% of my closest friends are taken, married, engaged or pregnant. Friends that were already busy are now filling in their free time with falling in love.
And then there’s me.
There’s a meme floating around that says “Everyone is discussing babies and marriage, I’m just over here like I LOVE cake.” It is incredibly appropriate. I understood just how sure my status as the last single friend was when I found myself on a Saturday “doing me.” Which really means I was on Youtube for 5 hours learning how to ombre, marble nail art, and turn a tshirt into a necklace. When all your friends are out falling in love, you pretty much have to find new hobbies. I’ve started at least 2 new workout plans and I may or may not know the choreography to Body Party like the back of my hand. Myself and I have gone on several movie dates and fancy dinners. I won’t even mention how many new natural hair styles I’ve tried. I found myself on the devil known as Facebook and had a mini meltdown.
I remember when we’d all been stuck in loving and losing. And now they’d loved and won. Yet somehow I missed that memo. I love my friends. I am happy for my friends. But was I jealous of my friends?
There’s an old episode of Girlfriends where Joan breaks down during Toni’s wedding. She could no longer hide that while happy for her friend, she was incredibly depressed about her own love life (or lack thereof). I feel her pain. It’s not jealousy that makes you congratulate another engagement and sigh a bit on the inside. I can be incredibly happy for you and consciously unsatisfied about my own love life.
As the last single woman you begin to wonder – when is my turn? I don’t want their happiness. I know they deserve joy given how many times I’ve held their hand when it’s gone wrong. I just want my own happy ending and it’s sometimes difficult to embrace the fact that chapter hasn’t started in my book yet. I’ve got enough sticky note empowerment quotes on my mirror to remind me that what is for me is for me and love will come someday. I guess no one ever mentioned how far away someday could feel.
Before the thoughts of being the cat lady consume me, I meet up with friends and hear tales of dirty diapers, bills, and discuss the difference between vanilla and mother-of-pearl colored napkins. When I hear the married/relationship struggles I remember this single life isn’t all bad. When I decide to get up and chop off my hair and move to Peru there’s nobody stopping me. No other feelings or schedules to consider. No fear that my dream may be compromised for the sake of his or the children. No, I get to live this life until the wheels fall off and maybe just maybe crash into love along the way. For now, I learn to congratulate my friends and sigh a little less on the inside. I breathe a sigh of relief and remember the grass isn’t always greener. Every stage of our life has new challenges and it’s important not to miss where you are thinking too hard about where you want to be.
In the meantime I thrust and shake my hips to the beat in my living room. When Queen Bey calls for all the single ladies I’ll be right there in line for now. Hands raised and waving like I’m on stage. Even if I’m the only one.