Ain't No Shame Ladies, Do Your Thing...Just Make Sure You're Ahead of the Game (and Other Hip Hop References)

I quickly dipped into the guest washroom near the reception area, to compose myself and wipe a few tears I couldn’t suppress. Angry tears. Humiliated tears.

One of the Legal Assistants where I worked at the time thought it would be a good idea to run after the Boyd delivery guy I always joked with, as he exited the building, to casually ask him if he would, you know, GO OUT WITH ME!!! 😱 YEAH- that’s not too pathetic! 🤬 She came back chuckling like it was nothing, saying he had a girlfriend. 

Never mind that I had ZERO interest in him. Never mind that she didn’t think of running her lame attempt at playing cupid by me first. And never mind that we weren’t 16-year-old girls looking for a date to the school dance. I felt degraded, almost. Not only was it unprofessional, she now made me 1- look interested in him when I wasn’t and 2- dread the next time I would see him...when I used to enjoy interacting with him; like, just as a fellow human. F***ING PEOPLE. 

There had to be a reason she thought it was okay to do that. And there had to be a reason so many others felt it was okay to say/do inappropriate things throughout the years about the apparent crime I committed back in the day: daring to be single.

Did You Get Your Tickets Yet?

Society treats single women like they should be displayed in dimly-lit tents, for amused and horrified spectators to gawk at and get their money’s worth from purchasing tickets to the latest touring freak show. Between the 3-legged man and the guy who can turn his head around 360 degrees, would be a biologically normal woman, who was content, minding her own business, had all her shit together (her own place, car, friends, financial stability, aspirations) yet had one unfathomable rarity: she wasn’t hanging off some dude’s arm. Gasp 😱 say what?! Playing “I wonder what’s wrong with her” guessing games could even be the main event, like height and weight guessing games at county fairs. 🎡

Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt (the T-Shirt being offensive comments and awkward moments)

I was single for six years, in my early to mid-twenties, and I was, for the most part, pretty okay with it. And when I say single, I mean single, single. Not “sewing my wild oats” and having the time of my life single (you need alcohol for that and I hate the taste of it). I mean quiet nights writing poetry, watching Roseanne reruns and hearing about friends and their relationships single. Don't get me wrong- I had a social life and enjoyed “dinner and dancing” nights out with friends. But I had many quiet nights in between.

So why was I single for that long? 

Different reasons. I was still healing from my first break-up (if you can tell by my poetry, I’m a sensitive person who likes to work through my feelings and understand them before moving on), I didn’t want to be with someone just to be with someone; and I really didn’t see the point of dating anyone who I didn’t see as the all-encompassing “one”. So what I did instead was crush on either completely unavailable non-options, or on very shady (at best) characters. I was obviously not ready. SEL_-SA_ _TA _ E 👉👉👉👉 Pat, I’d like to solve the puzzle now:  “SELF-SABOTAGE”- Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! (👏👏👏 wild clapping from the audience 👏👏👏). Thanks Vanna!

And why was I okay with it? 

Unlike many of my friends, I had no pressure whatsoever from my family (love them). I had goals other than having kids right away that, quite frankly, consumed me. My paralyzing fear and crippling indecision over what career path to take was a full-time obsession. Basically, I had enough to feel like crap about already, thank you very much. The romance thing was always secondary.

What I wasn’t okay with, however, was how others made me feel about being single. And yes- one could argue that people can’t make you feel a certain way unless you let them blah blah blah 🙄. But it’s hard not to let them, when they say and do such stupid things, and punching them is illegal. 

So in the spirit of Valentine’s day coming up, I first wanted to remind single people everywhere how truly badass they are, for navigating the constant onslaught of gross patriarchal pressure, sexist and outdated ideas and for just dealing with the overall weird and judgy vibes in the air that follow every awkward-moment “yes”, to the classic, recurring question: “are you still single?” 

As I would need an entire blog post (minimum) to address society about this topic, I’ll save that for another time; and instead give singles out there, who WANT to be with someone and feel triggered by this time of year, some good points to help them weather the storm of the lovey-dovey posts headed our way, in T-minus a few hours now (and I'm sorry/not sorry if I'm part of that).

“FML” Syndrome Triggered by Heart-Shaped Merchandise

If being single bothers you, especially in mid-February, here are some reminders that hopefully help you stop wishing you could "accidentally" shoot Cupid with your own bow and arrow...just this one Valentine's day 💘

🏹 So you got the memo. Feeling lesser than? Worthless, even? That’s not your imagination, that’s because you can take a hint. Or several hints. Or several centuries of hints. Western society was started by white Christian men, who set things up rather nicely for themselves. In order to keep women (and pretty much everyone who doesn’t fit their description) oppressed and disadvantaged, they had to “other” and dehumanize and convince them that their only purpose in life is to have children and do laundry. Which, down the line, looks like “you’re nothing without a man” messaging. And before you know it, you’ve picked up all these vibes and inherited these values that were passed down long before you were even born. Sexism is so insidious and ever-present that it’s easy to forget that your bad feelings about yourself might have originated from a group of self-serving people, who very strategically encourage you to feel this way about yourself. And had I not stumbled on the amazing Ali Shapiro, thanks to my food issues, I would not have looked any further to connect these dots myself in regards to how we've been hella socialized. Ps-check her out if you struggle with food and everything that comes with that:

🏹  The only magic bullet that works, is a blender. It's the person who gets to their goal weight, and still feels like crap. The celebrity who cries himself into a pile of cocaine because he has accomplished everything by age 23 and has nothing more to strive for. It's the person who meets the "perfect" mate, but then dips when the honeymoon phase ends and the real work begins. I'm not sure why intelligent humans are so prone to magical thinking, but there is no such thing as an answer to all your problems, in any one thing or person. Whether it's fame, a thinner body or a relationship, you'll still have shit days and regular work to do once you get there. The only happily-ever-after that exists is in fairytales and 2hr RomComs. And even then- I'm sure if Cinderella had her own reality show, the season finale would feature her throwing her glass slipper at Prince Charming, after an epic fight over why his pumpkin carriage was parked late one night in Snow White's laneway.

🏹 The grass ain’t greener, honey. Yes, I’ll admit- the honeymoon phase in a new relationship is worth envying. There are stars in your eyes, butterflies in your stomach and a whole lot of exciting bedroom gymnastics going on. 

When you're married and feel butterflies in your stomach, it usually means you shouldn't have had that second iced coffee and should head to the nearest washroom.

After the honeymoon phase, however, the going gets real. Just like washboard abs don't happen without prioritizing fitness instead of UberEats (trust me, I have them so I would know….🙃😄), the support, love, affection and good company that come from a solid relationship require commitment and effort and insight dammit. They are the result of learning to communicate better, working through rough patches, being patient with each-other’s shortcomings, being willing to compromise and to be “wrong” sometimes, navigating the moods, needs, desires, etc. etc. etc. of 2 whole, imperfect people who are bound to annoy each-other and have differences at some point. You might just be wanting different problems for a change...and I get that. As long as you get that the grass is about the same green on both sides of the yard. 

🏹 You don’t want no scrub. I’m convinced some people would rather lose a limb than be single. Hence the internal “OMG what does she see in him” dialogue every time you feel like calling the Guiness Book of World Records on the most disturbingly mismatched couple. People downgrade and settle for many reasons; one of them being for the sole purpose of not being single. It doesn’t mean they’re happy, that they’re in a good relationship, or that they’re any less lonely than some single out there. But all that doesn’t always translate on cute FB pics. So before your brain believes everyone and their uncle is blissfully coupled-up, consider that you might be thriving more than many of them, but just don't know it. Heck, they might not even know it yet. I mean, who wants to admit to themselves that they settled on a gross, sub-par, chauvinistic creature because that's all there was left at the buffet table? Unlike them, a scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from you.

🏹 You can catch-up fast. And I mean, real fast. When I finally met my now-husband, we were together all of 4 months before we moved-in together. Meanwhile, the same friends in the same long-term relationships were having the same doubts they had had for years about their partner. It's not a race, but I think it’s worth noting that being single for a while can actually save you time in the long run. You’ve had time to process and heal from your previous relationship, you’ve reflected and observed in other couples/prospects what you want and value in a partner and chances are you’ll appreciate them that much more when you find them...because it took a minute. Working on yourself, instead of jumping from relationship to relationship with unresolved emotional stuff, will likely attract a way more compatible partner to you. Fast-forward to now and it's been over a decade since we moved-in together. And, although we have our issues and our share of Doug and Carrie Heffernan spats over mundane things (“AGAIN WITH THE FRIDGE WARRANTY!!” 😆), we have a very supportive and loving relationship overall.

🏹 Level the playing field, why don’t cha. If you’re going to compare your situation to that of others (and feel bad about it), at least get all the facts and allow for a fair comparison. Like let’s say you’re having a crap day and are tired and have bags under your eyes, no makeup, messy hair and are out of shape (pretty much many of us in 2020). And then you hop on to social media, and feel even worse by looking at a “gorgeous” IG model. Did you consider…….the 7 layers of makeup she has on? The contouring that could give tweedle dee and tweedle dum bone structure? The fake lashes that could make a goat look pretty? The possible fillers and plastic surgery? The flattering angles? The filters!? The fact that they might have pressure from a contract to look this way? The possibility that they spend all their time in the gym or even (hopefully not!) have an eating disorder? The fact that they could be unintelligent AF (a turn-off for a lot of us)? The fact that they could be the most miserable and insecure person on the planet as far as you know? Probably not. You just thought, hey why don’t I compare the worst version of myself to the best-looking version of this person and made your conclusions from there.

Comparing your deep, inner situation to someone's surface level relationship situation on social media, or by the only parts you see, is the same thing- an unfair comparison. Apples and oranges. You have no idea what’s behind closed doors or filtered images, so really, what’s the point of torturing yourself?

🏹 Love Attracts Love. And let’s just say a couple really is thriving and happy in their relationship- why not celebrate that? Set your stuff aside for a moment, and feel genuinely happy and excited for them? I know a lot of people believe that the law of attraction, a.k.a. the “like attracts like” phenomenon is a bunch of hooey, but I do feel like there’s something to it. I observe a lot and have noticed that people who can truly be happy for others tend to eventually attract the same kind of goodness for themselves, be it with their careers, health, love, etc... Whereas the people who say “I’m happy for you”, with the same enthusiasm they show when asking the waiter for their bill, seem to finish last a lot. Hmmm, you’re happy for me?  Could you maybe tell that to your face? Or to your actions? Or to your overall vibe? Your lows and other people’s highs can co-exist. And you can still be happy for them. So I think rather than make it all about you and what you feel you’re lacking, try being happy for others as if it happened to you...and before you know it, you could attract the same good stuff in your life faster than you can say: “Check, please!” Make them your #couplegoals, instead of making it your sob “why can’t this just happen to me” story.

And Then it Happened

During my last year of single-hood, I did start feeling discouraged about it. Not because of any external pressure, but because I finally felt lonely and questioned whether it maybe just wasn’t going to happen for me. Would I ever find someone who "gets" me? And I didn’t see many desirable options. Or I just kept getting mixed messages and closed doors. And usually the type of men who felt confident asking me out had slimy hair and missing teeth (we could fix the teeth but the slimy hair is unacceptable). 

The very last month of being single, I had a mini-breakdown before going to sleep. I prayed and told God: "It’s in your hands now. I feel like I’ve tried everything, and nothing works so I'll leave it to you."

Whether you believe in God or not, less than a month later, I found my all-encompassing “one”. 

And here I am today, a decade later, getting my (very unexpected) Valentine’s day gift early today and yes, it’s as sappy as it gets- I cried.

It’s a beautiful bonsai tree that is a mere 11 years old, but will outlive us and be passed down to our future kid or kids (they live hundreds of years and apparently thousands in some cases). The meaning behind it pulls at my heart strings!

I know it's easy for me to say now, but patience really is a virtue. Yes- you might have time-sensitive goals and therefore want to rush or force things; but nothing good ever comes out of rushing what is supposed to be one of the most important and meaningful experiences of your life. So, pace yourself.

Who knows- this time next year, you could be celebrating your first Valentine's day with YOUR all-encompassing one.

It will be your turn one long as you believe it too 💘

Happy Valentine's Day 💕 to all of you out there.



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