When I was going through my ‘not so happy times’ in my relationship with my ex, I used to often worry about the stigma that would come along with being called single if I did take the drastic step. Yes, I used to worry about what society will think. Will their idea about me as a person change, will they form opinions about me because of my past relationship and what will relatives and friends think when they meet me. Will they think I failed at what should have been and is seen as a natural progress for women, especially Indian women. And will I get only sympathy and words of wisdom from aunts who don’t really care about my future or uncles who want to hook me up with their divorced nephew. Yes, I have seen it happen to cousins and friends who have been through the whole separation scene.
I have seen people close to me view single girls as someone who made a mistake.Someone who couldn’t handle something as simple as marriage and someone who really should have compromised more. And trust me when I say this that we never want our singleness to actually be an ingredient to identify us with. We would rather have people see other qualities we possess. When you are failing in a relationship, and you sometimes in your heart know that it might not last, you still want to give it a try. You dont want to be part of the group where you are called “single” because it has this stigma attached to it. At that point in time, you are so desperate to work things out, you will potentially compromise on everything and anything to make sure that you’re ‘not single’.
Sometimes I have friends asking me why I write my heart out here about the whole singleness factor. Well for starters, writing is cathartic. It makes me feel good and I do it because it feels like someone is always listening no matter what. Also, there are so many single people out there who are in a healthy place emotionally with their desires and their single state and their goals and their needs. I certainly put myself in this category.But its been a transition for me. I haven’t been here from day one. Its taken a while to sink in. Its taken its own sweet course and now I am comfortable. And there are so many girls out there who really are not capable or able to be in the state I am in today. They believe being single is the worst thing to ever happen to them. They never realize that no one person in this world is worth shrinking your own self for. So they believe it was all their fault and they are not as emotionally strong about their status.
There is never any one formula to being happy when you are single. There can never be. In all these years I have seen my friends’ love stories succeed and fail. And I used to tell myself I will follow the rules and find happiness in my attachments. No, that is never really how it works. Yes, it has its own magic and with time you realise that you have to keep the magic alive. And as long as you are happy in your own skin, when you do find the perfect person, it will not take that much effort. The relationship will slide into your life, just like muslin on soft skin.
Now people like me are really happy with their singleness, this new found feeling. For example, I love my life, I mean, really enjoy my life. I have some stellar friends, an incredible job, amazing parents, the best boss anyone can ask for etc. etc. I’m happy, even content, but that doesn’t sometimes seem enough for society. For them, all of these do not matter. For I am single. So this is the stigma I mean when I talk about singleness.
And like author Jo Coudert put it – “You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.”