Wedding DressI am in my early twenties, hardly the time of life when one should be feeling a spinster.  However, I remember my first friend getting married when I was seventeen.  She was a year older than me and just out of high school.  Ten months later, there was a baby.  Since Nicole, I have had a slew of cousins within two years of my age – on either side! – get married, a passel of friends, and a whole horde of acquaintances.  The list only grows.  This past July alone I managed to avoid attending three weddings – one each Saturday for the first three weeks of the month.  My own roommate just, and I mean just, got into a steady relationship and already people are laying bets on the date of her engagement.  I’m all for those two figuring it out on their own, whether it’s right for them to marry at all, much less the whens and wheres of it, but even I’ll admit that it’s pretty solid that these two are getting together.  I’m just not mentioning it because I want them to do this on their own.  Two of my three younger sisters are in stable marriage focused relationships.  I can count on Nikki to be awhile out, but Kate could call me tomorrow and I would not be surprised.  My three older brothers are long married, one’s even divorced.

And then there’s me.   I’m single and pretty darn happy about it.  Sure – it sucks to be the third or fifth wheel on dates and double dates with my friends.  It can get pretty lonely.  The last date I went on was a phone date because he is in Virginia and I am here… and the follow-up is not going so hot.  We’re fizzling before we even get off the ground – and dang it, we’ve got scads of potential!  But back to the happy: I can concentrate on anything I like, any  time I like, and any where I like.  My roommate was on the brink of choosing to go out-of-state for her MS, a huge step towards her independence, and now she’s not even considering it.  She’ll never know if she can make it on her own because she’s never been there (her home is less than an hour away from our college).  I’ve been on my own in several different places, and am going to be in several more.  I have contacts all over the US and a decent few across the world.  I can be friends with crazy people like my cowboy quasi-stalker and not have to explain myself.  I can be best friends with my male best friends and not have to worry about crazy jealousies getting in the way.   I can get fifty-thousand degrees if I want, though I’ll settle for three.   I am content to be single, alone and adventuring.

See the pattern here?  So I can adventure, learn, grow, and build all I want – but if I’m doing it alone there’s a tragic purposelessness to it.  What use are my travels, degrees, discoveries, or friendships if I can’t share them with people because they’re off getting married – or  I’m off refusing to date?  Total loser, totally single.  Anything I do, I do it purely for personal gratification, to inspire the secretive smile to play across my face.

Take my bra for instance: it’s bottle green.  I freaking love this bra.  Green’s my favorite color and there’s the triumphant fact that I found a bra that is cute AND my size – difficult for a girl who actually has a chest.  No man will see it – or not in the next long while.  The only reason I wear this bra is to feel sexy… for myself.  Not something I need to do.  Not something I ever thought I would WANT to do, but here I am with it.  Because I do feel that loser part of myself a little too often for a girl so young.

Maybe marriage has driven me to discover a part of myself I never expected: the part that needs to be pleased by itself.  It is the little things: the green bras, the lacy underthings, the matching EVERYTHING that make some bad days bearable.  It’s  not easy being surrounded by so many married, engaged, or marriage-minded people.  It makes the single life seem and feel empty without it ever truly being so.  But I have my little smiles that only I get to know the causes of, and I’m discovering the part of myself that would search the racks for fifteen minutes for a bottle green bra and matching panties.  It’s a discovery of self, of humor, and of art – the art of being pleasing to oneself.  And once I have learned this, I can begin to search for someone to share this art with, and to learn a new facet of it, the facet that comes with togetherness and may even lead to marriage.

But for now, I’m gonna hang out in my bra.  I love the color.  It suits me, and I’m beginning to understand why that might be important in more ways than just one.

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