So, I’m ready to talk about my single life. In 2017, my ultimate goal was to experience different events, challenge myself to travel alone, and work on my self-love. For so many years, I felt somewhat empty because I never experienced a relationship, nor had an intimate connection with a guy. However, I realized that it hasn’t happened yet because it’s not the right time, and in previous years, I definitely wasn’t ready for one. Let me take you back to my wonderful days as a 1st grader.
I’ve been infatuated with the idea of love and relationships since I was in elementary school, watching Disney movies like Beauty and The Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. Now that I think about it, why were we exposed to love stories at such a young age?
Growing up, I used to be the girl with the sweatshirts, jeans, plain shirts, and sneakers. The only “girly” thing about me was the four ponytails with colored barrettes in my hair. I loved Pokemon; so much that I used to trade cards with a few boys that I grew up with. Basically, I was like the “homie”, but never the girl to fall in love with. Although I have never been in a relationship, I had moments of getting my heart broken a few times because I was either too scared to tell guys that I liked them, or that I was rejected by boys who didn’t feel the same way. Particularly 8th grade was the hardest time, because I had carried my rejected feelings from middle school to high school, and treated some of my significant friendships with the opposite sex—horribly.
As a young teenager who only seen love represented in movies, music, and television, I was never taught to control jealousy, envy, or to heal from conflict. I remember writing poems expressing every emotion privately, and also publicly—meaning on social media. Obviously that was a bad idea, and those poems created huge conflicts that I still regret to this day. By 15 years old, I experienced depression because I felt like my weight, my looks, my dark skin, and my quiet personality were reasons why no one liked me or thought I was attractive. I was way too young to have put so much pressure on myself, and it’s sad that I felt like I needed a relationship or “puppy love” to validate my worth.
Thankfully, poetry made life easier towards the end of my high school career, because I was able to focus on something that loved me back—a purposeful hobby that gave me a reason to love myself for the first time, and made me feel worthy enough to be alive. If I could tell my teenage self something now, I would tell her that I’m happy that she realized how beautiful she is, and by the grace of God, she found a passion that saved her life (physically and mentally). Although I regret my actions that resulted in various broken friendships, I’m grateful that it happened because it closed a chapter of the many years of insecurities that my teenage self suffered from.
However, my time in college graced me with first time experiences for my dating life, all while securing my innocence. My first two years of college was all work and concentration on my studies, but I always wondered if I would ever have that “college sweetheart.” Movies like Love & Basketball, and even some couples I watch on YouTube had put that possibility in my head. However, images portrayed in the media wasn’t enough for me, and I needed real-life examples to guide me. Since I had no concrete examples of love at home, I observed the relationships around me–like my best friends who are in committed relationships. Their experiences taught me both the highs and lows of relationships, and gave me a realistic idea of what a relationship is supposed to be. So, eventually I had the courage and bravery to try out dating; starting with online apps, Tinder and Badoo.
First of all, I didn’t know until later that Tinder was mainly for hookups—which is what I WAS NOT looking for. However, I did experience at least two dates with the same person from it, and he was incredibly respectful. Outside of dating apps, I also got to date someone from college, and that also an interesting experience. Although, both of those separate situations didn’t work out, I’m grateful that it happened because I figured out what I didn’t want in a partner, what my boundaries were, and realized that I needed more time to work on myself before I go back into the dating world again.
What I’m 100% sure on is that I want a best friend first. My high school experiences of having feelings for someone, and then trying to be their friend, just doesn’t work for me. Even though I might be attracted to someone, I have to push those feelings to the side and authentically be their friend, nothing more at that moment. This is to avoid “the friend zone”, to protect my heart, and not fall into unrealistic expectations. In the most simplest terms, I relate so much to asexuality because my main focus is to build a lasting, respectful, and trusting friendship, which would be the foundation for a potential intimate relationship.
Another thing is, that I just have to be patient and also be aware. My mother once told me that I could be blocking my blessings every time I have headphones on in the train, at the supermarket, or at school, because someone may have wanted to talk to me, but didn’t want to bother me. Very interesting. There are honestly times when I absolutely don’t want to be bothered, especially while I run my errands or work out at the gym, but I also don’t want to be seen as unapproachable. As a Black woman in this day and age, I have to constantly remind myself that I shouldn’t believe the unfortunate stereotypes some people place on me, and that the right person will appear in my life, when I least expect it.
Another thing that I learned in this era of dating, is that I cannot accept something in a man, that I’m hoping will change over time. I know now that women and men communicate differently, share different goals, and move differently, and I have to figure out what qualities of this person am I willing to accept wholeheartedly, and also what I will never accept.
Today, I’m still in this journey of loving myself everyday, and constantly reminding myself to not see my flaws as reasons for my single life. I have plans to do more solo trips, go to concerts alone, and even eat by myself. I’m not in a rush to find a partner to share my adventures and fun experiences with, and I still have some more learning to do. Plus, I’m only 23—marriage and motherhood are the LAST things I think about…THE LAST.
All I know is that the moment when I do have that special person, it would be someone that I would be proud of, someone who has ambitions and goals of their own, and someone who also believes in God.