All Articles Tagged "single life"
My family tends to get together for holidays and birthdays, and I’m always the odd one out with no children. So when everyone else is run down from the struggles of parenthood and just wants to relax (read: drink), I always find their children thrown into my company. I’m the one called upon to help keep them entertained, and therefore, quiet.
I’m 26. I’m not old, right? There’s no rush for me to go off and get married and start a family, right? I didn’t think so either. Now, can someone please pass the message on to my relatives? I mean, sure, when wedding season rolls around, I too wish that I were getting married. I want the big wedding with all its pomp and circumstance as well, but I’m just not there yet. But I will say, the starting a family part I do find myself thinking about more and more these days. On Mother’s Day, I found myself scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, ogling over all the mother-daughter, mother-son photos I could find. It caused a stirring in my ovaries that I’m just not ready to handle. Has anyone else been there?
It’s like you want kids, you’re curious to see what you’ll produce, but at the same time, you don’t want any parts of parental responsibility any time soon. You take joy in knowing that after a few minutes of holding a baby or playing with some of your relative’s kids, you can always give them back to their parents and go home stress-free. However, somewhere deep down inside there’s a longing. There’s a desire to have a daughter who looks like me or a son who looks like his father. If you’ve ever seen one of those memes where the baby has a poop explosion that goes beyond the diaper and basically gets everywhere and your first instinct is to burn the room because you can’t stomach that disaster, chances are, you aren’t ready for motherhood either. But still, the ticking clock is sometimes too loud to ignore. I want the child that comes home with a macaroni necklace for Mother’s Day. I want the child I can style and profile with in our matching outfits. I want to do fun things and take day trips with a child. Or, at least, I think I do. But when I also think about the maintenance, the dependency, and around-the-clock care and attention needed, I just get so overwhelmed and feel like I’m in need of a power nap.
With that being said, there are plenty of things to consider before deciding on children, no matter how many flips your uterus does at the sight of a cute, chocolate, chunky baby. I think about all the plants I have killed in an attempt to develop a green thumb. I think about how much I like to sleep in on a Sunday morning or stay out late on a Friday or Saturday night. And I think about what I would do if the kids thrown into my care during family gathering were my own and I wasn’t able to give them back. I think about all sorts of things and realize that I need to go sit down somewhere because those warm and fuzzy feelings are often fleeting. But still, you can’t ignore the delight little ones bring–when they’re on their best behavior, of course.
Does anyone else hear their biological clock ticking louder and louder? Does it leave you wondering whether or not you’re really ready to be a parent? Does it set your womb on fire?
Your mother may be on your case about finding that “special someone,” but are you really alone? It’s 2016, and most of us know that we don’t need a man to make us happy. But do we know what relationship we’re in and that we have that does make us happy?
Whether you’re married to your job, in a serious relationship with your best friend, or going the distance with the idea of Mr. Right while loving on and getting to know yourself the right way, these might be the relationships in your life that bring you the happiness you’ve been looking for.
Being in love with being a mom to your child is not only a relationship, but it’s also one of the best ones.
When you feel some room open up for you to be able to add something or someone extra to the picture, that’s exactly who a prospective partner will be: “extra.” They will add on to the happiness you already have.
No matter how positive or cheery you are, there comes a point where you just can’t take one more bad date. And when you reach that breaking point, you can be driven to do some really weird things. Here are hilarious things many of us have done after a bad date.
When I got the call from my former college roommate asking me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, I was beside myself with happiness: happy for her found love, and happy that I would play a part in her special day. The months and days leading up to the big day were filled with much anticipation and excitement; chit-chatter about the bridesmaids’ dresses, bachelorette party and hair appointments flooded my email inbox. I welcomed these emails with such enthusiasm that I in turn bombarded my own family with talk about dress alterations and hair options. But it wasn’t until I was sitting on the church bench watching my friend glide down the aisle in her silken gown, that I started having unexpected uncomfortable feelings about her tying the knot.
There was a growing uneasiness inside of me as I witnessed the single kiss that ushered in her new life, and simultaneously closed the chapter on her old maiden life– the life that I’d been a part of. It all became too much and eventually culminated in tears welling up in my eyes. “Get it together! You’re not wearing waterproof mascara!” I scolded myself as I blinked furiously. On such a joyous occasion it was ironic that I felt so sad in that moment: saddened by the imminent loss of yet another friend to the abyss of marriages, mortgages and kids. My Facebook news feed can attest to this phenomenon as it has all but evolved into a ream of pictures of engagement rings and weddings, and links to articles on breastfeeding. Us singletons know nothing of that world and it scares me to think of what that could mean for my friendships with my now married and soon-to-be married friends. This BuzzFeed video does a nice job of summarizing how that feels.
For the remainder of the afternoon I tried to push aside my somber feelings but as I caught up with more college friends and learned of their upcoming weddings or was introduced to their serious bae, I became acutely aware of my singleness. Even friends who had once boldly traveled to LA and NYC to chase their dreams had since returned to their hometowns empty-handed and hollow-eyed, ready to settle down. Childish dreams had since been put away and hard sacrifices had been made– that’s part of growing up, right? I was fascinated by what appeared to be an ongoing race to the altar among my peers, and even more fascinated by the fact that I’d somehow missed the invitation to compete. So alas, there I was, a lone ranger amidst a sea of couples listening to stories filled with “we this” and “our that.” While members of my cohort eagerly babbled on about wedding venues and gown details, in my head I was just like, “So… we’re seriously old enough to get married and start households? Don’t we need adult supervision for these kinds of things?”
I deeply inhaled the crisp evening Fall air, a feeble attempt to stifle the rising panic within me. My head was reeling from dizzying questions: how come everyone is engaged except for me? What does that say about me? Am I going to regret not locking down a man before my boobs start to sag? When do boobs start sagging? Would anyone notice if I took a power nap behind the tent? Or perhaps my head was reeling from alcohol intoxication. Inconclusive. Either way, I proceeded to stuff my face with cake in the corner alone, eating my feelings and reflecting on how far off-track I’d gone from the “Life Plan” that I’d devised for myself back when I was 13 years old. By now, at age 29, I was meant to be trying for a baby with my husband of two years, whom I obviously would have met whilst in my junior year of college and had dated for five years prior to getting married. I chuckled to myself, amused by my teenage naivety and the absurdity of the proposition. Let’s be real: I would suck at being married! For starters, I sleep on a diagonal thus making me utterly incapable of sharing a bed. Not to mention that I hate group assignments and marriage is the longest group assignment ever. There’s also the fact that I’m still figuring out my career and that I like to spend my money the way I want. The only thing I hate more than compromising is ironing men’s shirts. Marriage is clearly not for me right now and I have doubts if it will ever be. I might always be the bridesmaid who’ll be dancing it up solo on the dance floor. I think I’m OK with that (so you can stop pitying me). The panic subsided.
When I flick through the pictures of my friend’s wedding, I feel honored to have stood by her in support of her decision to get married. I wonder who she’ll become as she takes up her role as a wife, and wonder if we’ll still have things in common. But most importantly, I hope that we’ll remain friends throughout the changes to come.
Emotionally, I’ve been on strug mode as of late. If you believe in the notion that there’s a season for everything, this would be the Season of Dafuq, First-World Edition. You know, one of those periods in life where you realize you have a roof over your head, some discretionary cash in the bank before the bills arrive, an allegedly steady paycheck, and your health but, in melodramatic fashion, “everything is wrong!”
Yeah, that was me every other day for a good couple of weeks before I realized dis tew much –“dis” being the 3-month-old food baby growing in my belly from emotionally eating, not to mention recognizing that behavior wasn’t getting me any closer to my goals, the most immediate of which being fitting into a size 12 for my friend’s wedding next weekend.
And that brings me to my first-world problem: I’m chronically single. I know it, my friends, family, and co-workers know it, hell, you probably even know it thanks to this article and that one too. Not once has that stopped me from being genuinely excited for my friend’s upcoming nuptials, or my two MN girls who recently got engaged, or my friend and one of our newest columnists who recently connected with an old boo. In fact, I seem to want to talk about people’s weddings more than they do. But I can’t lie and say their unions haven’t heightened the awareness of my singleness — not that I forgot or anything. It’s just these types of announcements always lead back to a “so what’s up with you, when are you getting married?” kind of interrogation and I’m running out of deflecting jokes about how “you know I’m crazy” while going home at night and trying to convince myself I’m really not.
“It’s just not normal” I kept repeating to my best friend last night about being seven years a single slave (and that’s probably being generous). When she didn’t respond, I thought the phone died. Instead, she told me she’d logged on to MadameNoire to see what kind of articles we’d been posting lately because she didn’t understand this world of boo’d up women I was referring to. “I don’t know any women who’ve been single as long as I have, so often,” I told her. ”I do!” she retorted, and then proceeded to say the names of the five closest women to her, all of whom are apparently in my same boat.
That’s when, in my 2 am delirium, I had to admit perspective is a bish. While I didn’t find comfort in the fact that other women I know by association are also enduring restless, lonely nights, there is something to be said for exaggerating the experiences of a select few to be the norm. Everybody is not dating, engaged, or married; that’s just a fact. Those closest to me might be settling down for the long haul but there are still a slew of women out there single and struggling to mingle which means my issue actually isn’t all that specific to me at all.
Thinking on that point actually made me even happier for those around me. Just a couple of weeks ago when our #RelationshipGoals columnist told me she was dating again, I told her she better act right. “This is bigger than you!” I said half-facetiously, thinking about the Mary Jane-esque stereotype every single Black woman in media is dying to debunk. It wasn’t until last night, though, that I realized all the recent couplings around me are bigger than them as well. I’m not supposed to work with three successful, intelligent Black women in their 20s with rings on their fingers and another three in loving long-term relationships. The fact that 5/6 are loved by Black men is practically equivalent to a unicorn citing in this day and age –that’s if, in the words of church folks, you want to believe the word of the enemy. And while I’m running my mouth, let me go ahead and point out that three of the four Black men in my office are dating or married to Black women and the forty-something Black woman in another department will celebrate 20 years of marriage to a Black man next year. Two sets of close friends of mine are celebrating one-year anniversaries this month; last month my friend who just got her doctorate also marked her four-year wedding anniversary, and in March one of my best guy friends will jump the broom.
I could sit here with my simple self and question why I’m not one of them or take pride in the fact that instead of feeling like a statistic, my personal and professional circles are living, breathing (and happy) examples of the falsehood of such stats. You know the ones that tell us Black women aren’t desirable, nor lovable — and certainly not by Black men. I don’t just know one or two people who disprove those claims, it’s to the point now that so many Black women around me have gotten or are getting snatched up, I have become the outlier. And in a strange way, that makes me happy.
Though I would never walk around and proclaim “I am Mary Jane,” as BET would like women across the world to do, I won’t lie and say I don’t relate to the character in Mara Brock Akil’s latest drama. And by relate I mean share some of her fears about being eternally single and having nothing but my work laptop to cuddle up to at night — not acting a desperate fool and embarrassing myself on a weekly basis when it comes to men.
Last night, I prepared myself for what I expected would be a mentally taxing two-hour season finale of “Being Mary Jane.” Lord knows the roller coaster of emotions she sends us through in one hour is enough to have to puff a pack of cigarettes and sip a few cocktails afterward so I could only imagine how I would feel after a double dose. Thankfully, the first hour of the show was pretty light and even a bit joyous as Niecy welcomed her new baby into the world. The second part, however, had me cringing nearly from start to finish.
Let’s start with Mary Jane Paul rolling up to David’s house and demanding that his new woman fetch him for her and then making a complete scene — not to mention a donkey’s behind out of herself — by proclaiming to be a “ride or die” chick and sobbing her way out the front door. Or shall we talk about MJ sitting her “ratchet ass,” as Kara called her, outside Andre’s house, contemplating going in to apologize to Avery and ending up trying to school her on fellatio? Or perhaps we should focus on her lying on the floor of her kitchen with a turkey baster and asking Lisa to inseminate her with David’s sperm, even though she knew it wouldn’t work. At some points during the night I watched the show and laughed to myself thinking about similar discussions and behaviors my friends and I contemplated when we were way too open over a man who dogged us out (and also had too much to drink), but then I remembered I was 20 at the time and Mary Jane is twice that age, i.e. too old to be acting such an inconceivable mess.
There’s lonely and then there’s reckless abandon. I continue to be amazed at how often Mary Jane jeopardizes her reputation, not just as a self-respecting woman, but as a professional. There are things I won’t write about, say on camera, or do out in public because I know at the very least someone can at least trace things back to my name, even if they don’t know my face. Here’s Mary Jane, a woman whose face is plastered on televisions across the nation on a nightly basis interrupting dinner parties, giving out bogus sidechick advice at luncheons, and trespassing on private property. I’m curious how she’s managed to accomplish so much in her career when she’s being so reckless with it now. But that brings me to my point about desperation: Though I imagine if I don’t have Mary Jane tendencies now I likely won’t develop them in the next 10 years or so, what scares me is the idea that, for some, desperate times call for desperate measures. And just about everything Mary Jane does these days falls under that guise.
Mary Jane clearly wasn’t feeling the way she is now when she was in her late 20s or early 30s. That’s why she seemingly broke things off with David so easily and ascended to the top of her profession. But then before she knew it she looked up and started asking herself what she has to show for being a good girl. I’ve been down that road before, which took me down an even darker road, so perhaps I got my Mary Jane phase out of the way early on. But as I knock on 29’s door and start thinking about my future, it’s, for lack of a better word, a bit depressing to be doing it on my own and grappling with the idea that I may always be me, myself, and I. That’s not to say that I’m about to become a sperm snatcher but, as I pointed out in my title, If I come to a point that I can’t accept my singleness and starting acting a plum fool in these streets, Jesus, don’t just take the wheel, drive the whole car off the cliff and take me on to glory. Just kidding. But really…
What did you think about last night’s season finale?
Halloween had barely passed this year before my 37-year-old sister asked me if I had made a Christmas list…and she was dead serious. It made it that much more clear to me that we are both officially adults with the power to celebrate the holidays however we please, even if that means not celebrating at all.
The thing is that us single folks without kids end up in this weird holiday purgatory where we aren’t always sure of what we should be doing and who should be getting what. The holidays were easy when I was under the age of 18. Mom and dad asked what I wanted and as long as my grades were good, it was a done deal. When I was still in elementary school, I knew my job was to behave all year, write Santa a letter, put out some cookies and take my behind to bed come Christmas Eve. Now I’m 30, engaged with no kids, and I feel like if I am not throwing a Christmas party for all of my single friends, I’m kind of at a loss. Grandma’s still the patriarch holding the family dinner at her house, leaving me as the sous chef. Killing myself Christmas shopping seems a little senseless unless I’ve got a little one banking on a Doc McStuffins doll, but luckily, I didn’t commit the ultimate twenty-something Christmas crime: dropping a measly table top tree on my desk at home with no presents because everyone is celebrating at mom’s.
It’s not that I don’t have the holiday spirit, it’s just that I’m beginning to feel that there’s no point in dealing with the stress if I don’t have to. No adult is going to die if there isn’t an Xbox sitting under the tree come Christmas morning. As a child I get it: You need something to believe in, something to look forward to, a reward for your hard work all year. But as I get older I’ve realized that as great as it may seem initially, stuff shouldn’t be the only thing to make you happy. The holidays have become more about spending time with family and friends and taking a few days to relax and appreciate what I already have.
I won’t start on a personal rant on how commercialized the holidays have become, but the truth is that many of us are living life wrong and building up holiday credit card debt over things that will be lost or forgotten come Valentine’s Day. As a single twenty-something, you may be wondering what else you have to offer when you have no kids of your own, but you’re seeking out the perfect gift for your friends and loved ones. Well, the one thing you have is the ability to create great memories with your family that don’t require a gift receipt. Some of the happiest moments for me this holiday season have included making a gingerbread village with my best friend over a few glasses of wine, b***hing about the lame office holiday party at happy hour with my co-workers over margaritas, and treating myself to some fabulous online sales with a glass of spiked eggnog. And yes, I did it all tipsy and guilt-free. This may very well be the only time in my life where I can unselfishly worry about doing me because I don’t have to spend my time dodging desperate parents in Toys R Us lines or wondering if I need to provide a vegan option at the holiday dinner I am cooking for 30. So instead of creating stress, I’m going to enjoy all of the things I don’t have to do while I still can.
You’ve got the rest of your adult life to strategize with the hubby about tackling the twins’ Christmas lists or defending why your cornbread doesn’t taste like Grandma’s to vicious family members. For now, have a drink, throw on some Mariah Carey, decorate your little tabletop tree and use this season to appreciate all the responsibility you don’t have. In fact, with the down time, you may even manage to squeeze in some volunteer time at a soup kitchen or shelter or buy some toys for kids who otherwise wouldn’t get any since you don’t have your own just yet. The point is to not feel the pressure to overcompensate because you’re wondering where you fit in all of this holiday madness. You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing: being the best single worry-free sister, daughter or girlfriend you can be. So stop feeling guilty about the kids or husband you don’t have and appreciate what you do: even if it’s only your bull dog dressed in a Santa hat. Besides, we have more important problems to stress over, like where we’re partying for New Year’s Eve…
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.
I had just come out of an exponentially bad relationship of almost two years; one of those relationships that you completely lose yourself and your identity in, and finding your new place in the world after it’s all over feels much like learning to acclimate to living on another planet.
I was 30 years old and beginning my life again. After alienating most of my friends while I was in the relationship because I didn’t want to see the truth mirrored back at me about just how bad the partnership was, I was in desperate need of inspiration, a mentor or a BFF. I was ready to spread my wings and fly solo, to really celebrate my singleness. I was looking for other female voices out there representing the positive, inspirational, joyful side of single life.
Unfortunately, those voices were nowhere to be found. The bookstores offered hundreds of tomes celebrating love and marriage, parenthood and dating. There were books instructing you on how to date a man, land a man, keep a man; books detailing how to “get anyone to fall in love with you” or even “survive your single life,” but not a word aboutcelebrating your single life. Why was everyone treating it as the prologue to marriage instead of a wildly beautiful adventure all its own?
Since I had exhausted all my possibilities and still couldn’t find the voice of hope for single women among all the voices of discouragement, I decided to become it.
I started a column, which soon led to The Single Woman Twitter page, which almost overnight began to pick up steam, which led to a Facebook page, which led to the creation of a website a year later, which led to an e-book, which led to my first published book, The Single Woman: Life, Love, & A Dash Of Sass. As of this moment, The Single Woman message reaches almost a million people across the world, every single day.
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You tell yourself, “That will never be me” when you see the haggard looking woman across the street come out for her newspaper in the only thing you’ve ever seen her wear—her bathrobe. But she never thought that’d be her either! That’s because she missed these crucial signs that she was on her way to becoming a crazy cat lady.
Nobody doubts that you love your man. Nobody doubts that you appreciate having a partner-for-all-activities. And certainly nobody doubts you enjoy having a guaranteed ride to the airport. Even still, everybody misses these aspects of being single sometimes.