Four years ago last week, I wrote a post called “Exit 89, &tc.”
Indirectly, it kicked off my yearly Lenten sabbaticals, since the day after was Ash Wednesday. Except for weekly posts on Sunday for Project 52, I only broke my silence once.
This year, I’m not taking Lent off; I felt that I had taken so much time off from blogging, purposely and accidentally, that to go right ahead and take Lent off too was negligent nigh unto criminal. But sometimes, your neurons still clamor for white space.
To that end, I had planned, with Cassie, to take off the week of March 22 from social media. But Sunday before last I was on Instagram and saw something that made my heart plummet into a spiral of bitterness and anger, and I knew: March 22 had to be March 8, before my heart combusted.
Four years to the day I took white space to clear my broken heart, I was taking more to clear it further.
I never wanted to be the single blogger.
I never wanted to be the single blogger because I never wanted to wear the label. I am more than a single woman.
I never wanted to be the single blogger because if that season ended, then what was I going to blog about?
I never wanted to be the single blogger because my heart literally could not take it. I was telling Ashton a few weeks ago I hate writing about being single because thinking about it only increases my own discontent. And I recognized that vividly these past few years, so I have kept my silence.
But the dam’s burst, y’all. Singleness is fun and easy some days, but others, it very much is not.
Singleness is hard every time I pay for groceries.
Singleness is hard every time I wrestle those groceries up the stairs because I will. not. make. two. trips.
Singleness is hard every time I pump gas in my car in the freezing cold.
Singleness is hard every time I wonder if I have enough money to cover bills each month.
It’s a relief to say that, even though I hate to think that some of y’all may think I spend a good portion of my time in misery. I don’t. For the most part, I enjoy being single. But it’s not easy to watch people younger get engaged and married. And it’s not easy to watch people your age having kids and buying houses.
It’s not easy, mostly because it doesn’t feel fair.
And this is where it gets tricky.
Because I LOVE when my friends have their milestone moments. When a friend of mine texted me a few months ago that she was engaged, I pulled over at a gas station IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE* to text her back and clap and cry and cheer. Because I LOVE that my friends are in those seasons. I really, really do.
But that doesn’t stop me from wondering, hours later on the couch in the wee sma’s, when it’s my turn, like it’s a game of Life and everyone gets a spin.
Shortly after the end of the relationship that had precipitated “Exit 89, &tc,” I wrote a post I titled, “What I Got Instead,” after a Sara Groves song that encompasses what feels like MY WHOLE LIFE EVER.
In it, I mentioned that as I was writing my tumblr bio (which was also the about page here at WSS for over three years), a sentence spilled out, which read, “I believe singleness is a gift even when it isn’t easy.” And I wrestled with those words, wondering if I meant them, until I decided I did. I was 19 then, and I chose trust where four years before that, I had chosen bitterness.
And so I have a divided history, of walking away in anger at 15 and watching my heart shut down, and of choosing to trust at 19 because I had seen the destruction of the former option. And here I sit, at 24, deciding, really, the same thing all over again, as I have every day from those experiences.
Do I believe this is a gift? (I wrote two new entries this month in the list I’ve kept for years of reasons I’m glad I’m single, so that would indicate that I do believe this.)
If so, do I act like it? (My experience on Instagram Sunday night indicates not.)
I still see Exit 89 nearly every time I pass, but I smile now. Progress is slow, but I’m a little further down the way than I was before.
And the simple home of systems and answers we all know
What I thought I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful
I keep wanting you to be fair
But that’s not what you said
I want certain answers to these prayers
But that’s not what you said
*This was really just in northern metro Detroit, but it was a part with which I was sorely unfamiliar and it was the fringes of the metroplex, so it was basically nowhere to me.