I’m a 32 year old, never-been-married single black woman living in Reno. No roommates, no kids. No romantic prospects. No best friends. No family. I moved to Reno in my 29th year of age, right about the age where if one hasn’t freaked out about their life yet, they definitely are about to. But I breezed right through it and still remain mostly unaffected. Other than what I may have absorbed from society, I’ve never felt a real, immediate pressure to team up with someone. I may have put pressure on myself in the past, or have had strong suggestions by friends, but that’s about it. Over the years, I’ve become quite settled into a life of being singular.
The word “brave” has been thrown out there by some people to describe what I’m doing. Though it flatters me (I think), I don’t really understand why people say that. Is it brave because I’m a woman? Is it brave because I’m a woman my 30s? Is it brave because I’m a black woman in my 30s, living in a mostly non-black population? Or is it brave because I don’t give a shit about any of that? To me it feels like I’m just living my life. I’m not really risking anything that deep for me to see some kind of “bravery” in it. Being teamed up with someone isn’t something one can choose with just anybody. For it to be right, a lot of elements have to line up that are simply out of our control. If I’ve learned anything from Life and/or my parents, it’s that I have to be ok with MYSELF and with what I’M doing above all; then make adjustments as needed beyond that. Yes, I suppose it would be nice to have a partner sometimes for some things, but I’m not pressed at all. For me to want to align myself with another person, would have to take a really fuckin’ fantastic person and the right circumstances! In the 6 years that I’ve been single there has only been one or two people with whom I could’ve seen myself taking that kind of a risk. Outside of that, I’ve been ok with just me – for better or worse. It isn’t about distracting myself with work and friends or to “keep busy” to avoid loneliness. People can still feel lonely even with all that going for themselves. I’m also not trying to prove anything to anyone or to spite society. I’m just, being. For now, and probably the foreseeable future, I guess I have to accept “being” single. Maybe I will always stay this way. Would that be the worst thing? I’ve done so much by myself so far, and I like who I am and I like my general position in life, how different or bad would my life really be if I never fell in-step with anyone again? No one seems to want to admit this, but I know that it’s possible that I may never be with “the love of my life,” let alone even FIND a person like that if I haven’t already. I’m not sure yet what I think about that actuality. What I do know, is that I’d rather create a life and a mind for myself that isn’t dependent on whether I do have a partner or not.
The painting above is an important one to me. It’s not meant to be a lamentation of a love I don’t have, though I can see how one might think that right away. But those colors are not sad colors at all! For me it’s merely a statement of a truth in my life. The “solodolo” painting for me is more about a certain freedom than a cry to have a romantic love in my life. It seems like we hear about love found, love lost and the search for love all the time. What about accepting no romantic love at all? I’d like to hear more from that perspective. And not the “I don’t need no man,” or “These hoes ain’t loyal” type of shit. Though I’m sure it’s empowering to some, to me it reads as defensive or like an armor that people sometimes use to cover up a deeper pain. I see right through that. However what I’m talking about is more of a calm, content acceptance of a life that apparently many of us can’t imagine. A kind of life that we are inclined to take pity in when we see it in others.
I still don’t know if I’d use the term “brave” for singular people in the world, but I hope that the projection of pity or sadness will continue to be removed from the singular life.
Would love to know your thoughts in the comments.