Encouragement Uncategorized

On Being 30 and Single

 

Yoimagesu’ve probably read a million of these things right? You probably read stuff like “10 Things To Do While You’re Single” or “Why More People Are Choosing Not to Get Married” or “Waiting on Your Boaz.” Only very churchy people read the one about Boaz.

I’ve read a few too. Almost didn’t write this because I didn’t want to put another piece like this out in the world where there are already so many like it. I decided to forge ahead anyway because, y’all, I am learning too much about myself not to share. Also, I can’t stop thinking about it so I’m writing about it and . . . Whatever. Deal.

I turned thirty this year. I’m educated. I’m gainfully employed. I’m involved in several civic organizations. I love Jesus. I have wonderful friends and a loving, supportive family. I have a very full, mostly fulfilling life. I can’t even express how many things there are in my life for which I am grateful. Every time I’m tempted to complain about something I don’t have, I try to mind trick myself to focus on the things I do have. (Mind tricks are how I survive most of my days, btw. Like, when someone at Kroger is rude to me, I mind trick myself into pretending that he/she didn’t even do the thing that made me want to practice my “karate chop to the throat” skills. When the person at Panera Bread forgets to give me the cookie I ordered and I leave without noticing, I try to mind trick myself into thinking it’s better for my health rather than doing the natural inner fat girl thing and demanding that the cookie be delivered to my home immediately. Y’all should try it. Makes the stress level go down for sure.)

 

I do not have a boyfriend or a boo. I’m not dating anyone to my knowledge (bc sometimes folks be dating you but you don’t be dating them back). I’ve always taken for granted that I would have a pretty traditional life by way of going to school, getting a degree or two, meeting a nice guy, marrying him, having his babies, struggling between working and being a mommy, quitting my nine to five and doing some hodgepodge between community development and writing, and then sending my children off to college so they could start that process all over with their lives.

When I tell you it hasn’t happened that way, I mean almost none of it happened that way. First off, I went and got some degrees that I question all the time. Like, why? I don’t even completely know what I want to do with my life (or better, how to do it while also paying bills). I’ll save that one for another post though. Second off, the kid ain’t had not a one husband and not a one almost maybe. I mean I’ve loved some of the guys I’ve dated and even thought I’d marry at least 2 of them but . . . nah.

So now I’m single. AF. As cool as I am with that and as much as I am all I-am-woman-hear-me-roar, I am also over here flailing! Flailing! Google “flail” and tell me what you get. Not the definition about flogging but the other one that says “wave or swing wildly.” That’s me. Outchea waving and swinging. Outchea wild.

Let me just say that I’m relatively happy. I am. I definitely have seasons of unhappiness (might be in one right now but that’s another post), but I am usually a content person. Thanks to my witty, insightful, very churchy mother I have never entertained the idea of being a half person who needs another person to make me whole. I’ve always known I need my own life, need an independent source of inspiration, and need to be the kind of person I expect to attract. So, no, I don’t need a guy. There are, however, a few realities I’ve come to face about myself in my singleness that should’ve been obvious from the start – that I’m human. I’m no superwoman. I’m no better or capable than most other people (except a few idiots I know). I crave attention and affection. I want a partner. Like my bestie put it in one of her many random texts to me in the middle of a Thursday afternoon when I actually wasn’t even thinking about future bae for once, “I need someone who is responsible for me.” She is absolutely right. I want someone who asks me if I’m sick when I sneeze. It would even be cool for someone to just be there when I sneeze. Right now, I just ask myself if I’m sick. I sneeze and then I be like “Mariah, you ok?” When I’m having an emotional day (why are there so many of these?), I be like “Girl, you good?” When I’m walking to my car from the mall and I trip over the heels of some couple holding hands and not noticing me because they’re too into each other, I just be like “Whoa boo, you alright?” Every single time, I have to answer myself like “Yeah, I’m cool I guess. Thanks for asking.” I thank myself for asking. My own self, y’all.

That’s one of the things. It’s this overwhelming feeling of complete and forced independence, and it is exhausting. I have to take care of myself. I have to be responsible for myself. When I have to buy a car, I do it myself. When I have to pick a retirement plan, I do it myself. When I have to find a new dentist, I do it myself. And, baby, when I tell you I’m a little tired, I mean I could go to sleep right now. I could wake up from 10 hours of sleep and look forward to the next time I could go to sleep. I could take a nap after being so tired from taking a nap. I could wake up, eat breakfast, go to sleep, and then be ready for bed that night. That’s how tired I am. I have friends and family, yes. I love them. They love me. That is not a question. But they neither care to be there every time I sneeze nor care to ask me if I’m sick. The feeling is mutual. I’m not trying to be up underneath my girlfriends or my brothers or my parents or anyone else like that. I would like a “just for me person.” I do not have one. That is my reality. And listen. I know there are far worse realities. I could be trapped in a dungeon somewhere in Aleppo right now. I could be fighting hunger, homelessness, or disease. I could be meeting one of my ex’s baby mamma’s in the parking lot of Wendy’s to talk about how disrespectful she is to me (can we stop right here and give God a mighty hallelujah…!!!!!). All I’m saying is that, while being single at 30 is not high on the list of human suffering, it is also a thing with which I do grapple, and I’m tired of trying to be unfazed by it. I am fazed.

I’m fazed by what loneliness does to me. It is the impetus for many of my bad decisions. I try to make things work that shouldn’t have even started. It makes me less confident in myself in every way. It weakens me and makes me thirsty for attention. It makes me crazy. Frfr. And this is somewhat hard to admit because I’m black girl magic. I’m fire, melanin, and special all wrapped up in a big ball of “you don’t scare me” and perseverance. More importantly though, I’m someone who professes the unquestionable, unmatchable, almighty power of Christ. You ain’t gotta tell me to lean on Him. Girl, I already know. I already know!!!!! But knowing and doing are two different things. It takes strength to lean on God, y’all. It takes a whole lot of mind tricks. It takes constant, consistent, almost incessant messages to do the right thing. Not the easy thing. Not the thing that even feels natural. But the thing that will please God and either prepare me for a husband or prepare me for more of the same – either way, I feel like I’m probably not ready yet.

M’kay, that’s all. I just wanted y’all to know that I’m over here mind tricking myself, oscillating between weakness and strength, flailing and then soaring and then flailing again. I think it’s normal. Idk. Maybe not. I just know it’s happening. Ok bye.

 

 

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I'm Mariah. Jesus is my homie. I live in (and was raised in) the south. I am, as often as possible, actively grateful for my family because I understand their life giving power. Really dislike melodramatics. Really love reading and writing so much so that I aspire to be an author. What else?

8 comments on “On Being 30 and Single

  1. Girl, YES. Yes, yes, yes. My favorite (and, arguably, the most socially significant) part of this was the line “I’m fazed by what loneliness does to me…and this is hard to admit, I’m black girl magic!” We (magical black girls) are taught from a young age to be powerful. Better-than. Unstoppable. Fiercely and often intimidatingly independent. So…there isn’t a real forum or safe space where we’re allowed to say “is it mutually exclusive for me to be magic, and be lonely? Am I crazy for feeling less magic for wanting someone to watch Game of Thrones with me in pajamas on a Sunday afternoon? Where does the need for companionship fit with being a happy, content and successful single black woman?”

    Thank you for creating a space. It’s meaningful to the rest of us out there to know that it’s normal and okay to want and need things outside of ourselves.

    ❤❤❤❤ ❤ ❤

    P.S. I love your writing style. Your ‘voice’ and mine are so similar, though mine is much less refined 😊

    • Being black girl magic is so super wonderful and I’m hoping it makes room for the not so magical parts. Or maybe those parts are magical too but much less talked about. Anyhoo, thanks so much for reading and commenting.
      I would love for you to start a blog so that I can stalk it probably confirm my perspective or have my perspective challenged. Either way, it would be great. Let me know when you get that poppin’. Until then, I’ll continue to co-sign all your FB posts. 🙂

  2. Thanks. I needed to read that and not just think that in my head.

  3. I’m late, but I loved this.

  4. I couldn’t have written this better! Lately I have found myself…should I say irritated with my friends who are coupled. When I try to talk with them about the pervasive loneliness of singlehood…all I get are cliched responses and stories about how much they “loved being single”. And I’m just like >_> girl you a lie…we was friends when you were single…you didn’t love that shit…mmmmohmygod. But yes…loneliness makes you do some questionable things, and it makes you question your worth. So many people sing my praises (men included) but it feels so…false. I’m always coming back to “If I’m so great…how come no one wants me?” WHAT IS THE ANSWER SWAY?! *Sigh* I guess it’s just not my time.

    • I completely understand and I was just thinking about this on my drive in to work today. I understand that married folks have struggles and so when they hear a single person “complaining” they like to remind us that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. I get that, and I try not to harbor ill feelings toward them for saying those things. But the feelings of loneliness and the way we question our value is real. It should be validated without qualification. Just let me feel the way I feel because I’m justified in feeling this way. You know? So anyway, thank you for reading and for commenting. I really appreciate it.

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