Evening train ride home. Body swaying, music playing and then it hits me:
I’ve become comfortable with being single. Like, maybe too comfortable.
Not that it’s a bad thing seeing as to how my comfort is not an adverse effect of any traumatic experience incurred from past relationships. It’s more like an ease within myself and knowing how to be by myself. Allow me to explain.
I don’t have any daddy issues. My mother’s always loved me. And I have an older brother who casually reminds me each year in a handwritten Valentine’s Daycard that he’d kill for me. So when it comes to matters of the heart, there are no psychological or emotional voids to fill over here. Which I’m realizing is a challenge for some since it’s easier to fulfill a purpose than it is to create one.
But I’m not looking for anyone to complete me as a person. Rather, I’m looking for someone to enhance me. Advance me. Romance me.
He doesn’t have to pay my bills. Just be everything that’s real in this faked up world. Because I’m fully capable of being those things to him.
I’m home now. I swiftly undress in my warm abode in an attempt to defrost my cold buns by way of soothing indoor heat. It’s officially winter in New York. After trading my snow boots for house slippers and my pea coat for a robe, I sit in front of my computer in an attempt to distract myself with work. But my mind is thinking otherwise.
See, I spent a good majority of my high school years extremely ill. I had a boyfriend by junior year, a childhood friend. But he went off to college almost immediately after we started dating so already I was doing the long-distance thing from an early age. I guess the physical distance between us set the premise for what would ultimately be my acceptance of time and space in my adult life thereafter. Hmm…just a thought.
By the time I was in a my first real relationship, I was almost three years into being single, happy and most importantly, healthy. My disease had miraculously suppressed itself prior to college and I was thoroughly enjoying the luxuries of being a non-sick 20-something. I wasn’t afforded such good health as a teen and I spent the majority of my adolescent years on a grueling regiment of constant blood work, medication, hospitalization and bed rest.
So by the time my health took a turn for the better, I had to catch up on life. I was never lonely with myself because I’d found hobbies. Plus, I had friends. However, my adult boyfriend convinced me that I was denying myself an extension of happiness by remaining single, convincing me that I was a prisoner of my own doubts. That my self-conviction was conflicting with what could be an even better thing if we got together.
That 6’3 dude could talk. And he could touch. And kiss. And…
“Aren’t you attracted to me?”
“Yes,” I’d reply.
“Don’t we have good conversations?”
“Then what’s the problem? I adore you.” And then he’d go into this enticing spiel of how I’m denying myself the endless possibilities of what comes with being with someone else. I guess he was sort-of right but reality is, I never doubted the benefits of a good relationship. I only doubted it with him. He was a nice friend but not a nice boyfriend. He meant well but didn’t always do well. I know this because he was my friend and never bothered being serious with anyone before us. He wanted to try settling with me and I was scared shitless.
And so I went in.
And 8 months later, my esteem barely made it out. That relationship could have traumatized me. It included exes popping up pregnant, harassing emails and texts, 911 calls, physical fights with friends due to infidelity…
I could’ve been hurt for years to come, but I chose not to be. Even if a lifetime of hellish events occurred in that short time, it was one guy. I couldn’t write off mankind for him.
I tip toe towards the cupboard and grab a wine glass. I rinse it off as I think to myself.
Yea, I’m stubborn. When it comes to who I allow to damage me. I hurt accordingly but I heal accordingly too. Let’s be honest; I was a daughter, a sister and a friend before being someone’s girl and I have to remember not to change for the worse on the account of a bad experience. And let’s not forget that one day I’ll be a wife.
And I refuse to let my light defuse on the account of a bad situation. I have people to live for. People to love for.
My mother told me after my last relationship to date more. “But don’t date like the girls your age date nowadays. Don’t just date to have sex. Allow yourself to be courted. Taken out for dinner and for walks and good conversation. Allow yourself to learn the person you’re dating while you also learn what you like and want out of a man along the way,” she’d say.
She’s the best. I have dated. I do date. I probably have more experience in getting to know people than the girl whose been in a less-than-ideal situation for over 10 years. I have met men who make me laugh but have no ambition. People who have ambition but no personality. Then people who appear to have it all but after a few drinks they remind you why they are in fact single single with every sleazy “your ass in that dress” this and “your lips” that. And of course the ultimate, “You wanna go back to my place after dinner?”
I pop open a bottle of Riesling and fill up my glass. I think by allowing myself to date around versus sleeping around it increases my chances of being attracted to what matters most. Because as far as order goes, I’d rather be stuck off the realness than stuck on the dick.
Or rather, stuck off the realness t h e n stuck on the dick. There you go.
But have I gotten too good at being alone? Tonight I went over to my favorite little spot downtown to sit at the bar for dinner and drinks ‘a la’ myself. They play the best 90’s R&B over there. The new bartender seemed cool. We had great conversation. He asked to take me out. Eh, I passed. I don’t want a conflict of interest with where I eat and who I date.
A realtor sat down next to me. Asked me what I was doing after this and said he had good tickets to the game tonight at the Barclay’s. With my line of work, I already had an eventful evening the night before and had already planned to catch the game at home while I caught up on work. So I took his card and said I’d be in touch.
While waiting for a train, a guy walked past me and whispered “beautiful.“ In one swift motion I thanked him as I hurriedly tried to send a text while my reception was still above ground.
He turned around and came back. My second shot. He asked if I was single and if we could exchange numbers, adding that if I wasn’t single, my boyfriend was a lucky man. I sincerely replied, “Yes he is. Thanks and enjoy your evening.” My train arrived. I got on and immediately got pissed at myself.
What did I just do and why did I say that?
Which brings me to where we are now.
I take my glass of wine and walk over to my computer. I remove the realtor’s business card from my card holder. I stare at it and flick it between my fingers. Flick. Sip. Flick Sip. I check the time.
He’s probably at the game by now.
I’ll call him tomorrow.
Guest post by my cousin, best friend and VH1 journalist, SOJO