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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Why I'm a Single Sista: I Made a Choice

I suppose many of the people reading this are single sistas just like me. ::e-hugs:: See? You're not in this by yourself! That is, unless you're Chilli. In that case, you gotta take your list and gone 'bout your bidness. 
A few weeks ago I went to a mid-afternoon tea with one of my favorite people I met while in law school. For the sake of respecting her privacy we're gonna call her Cassie. As we munched on finger foods, giggled at our mutual love for tasty foods and sipped delicious tea in our red dresses, we also spent a little time catching up. It has been over a year since we were in law school together and although we live in close proximity to each other, adult life got in the way. 

We were wrapping up and preparing to go our separate ways when Cassie hit me with, "Girl WHY are you single?" I could tell she was just itching to ask me lol! Its been over a year since I was in a committed, monogamous relationship. At the time of Cassie's inquiry, I was barely dating and turning men down left and right. Cold world. It was clear she didn't quite relate but I was not offended. Suitors, friends and family members-alike have all asked some form of: 
Why haven't you settled down? 
When are you gonna have children? 
What are you waiting for? 

Taking time off is not the norm. People barely care if you jump from 'ship to 'ship but if you take time off something must be wrong. I tried to hide how I picked up on Cassie's surprise at me not having a +1. "What do you mean WHY?" was all I could fix my mouth to say. She elaborated by running down the list of qualities that make me a catch AND a keeper. The list was from a woman's perspective, but it was all true. I responded, "I realized I needed to work on myself so I took myself off of the market." That answer usually gets a few side eyes. I had told no lies as that was my original reason for taking myself off of the market. I did not like the woman I was becoming. The things I was tolerating for the sake of NOT being single were unacceptable. The way I pushed a man's limits had to stop. I decided to change it.

My standards aren't extremely high. 
I'm not difficult to deal with.
I'm not ugly. 
I'm not naive. 
I'm not stupid. 
I don't throw my "list" in people's faces.

I'm not one of those women who sits around wondering why I'm single. I know exactly why I'm single. In the year when black women were being encouraged to settle, I decided to completely stop dating. What a joy it was to be single during that "lets join forces and attack single black women" era. It jolted me when I heard the combination of Cassie's concerned tone and her genuine regard for my well-being. That moment helped me realize my decision to be a single sista was deeper than the answer I gave.  How deep? 

I'm scared of heartbreak. 
I'm scared of losing myself. 
I have been on both sides of infidelity.  
I'm shallow. 
I'm spoiled.
I'm stubborn. 
I'm proud. 

Do with those qualities what you will. I like to think of the past year as a journey. Its my first time taking serious time off from relationships. I'm not in limbo. I'm not having regular sex with the same man. I'm not entertaining offers for a second chance from my ex. I'm not bitter. I'm not angry. I'm not confused about my sexuality. I simply made a conscious decision not to enter into a relationship until *I* feel ready.  Through learning to trust God & repairing the trust in my own judgment, I'm almost there. 

I'm as single as a dolla bill.  I have gone on a few dates but nothing too serious. Being single has its ups and downs but the time I spent alone has made me a much better person. Starting the journey was tough and I hit some rough spots, but it is one of the best experiences I've had in all my years. I learned to love myself. I love people more. I'm more humble and empathetic. I'm not concerned about men being intimidated by my "success." I'm not chasing men who don't value me. I don't feel the need to "impress" a man. 

When I see other women struggling with their love life I'm quick to recommend taking time off. Too often we seek validation from other people without first finding self-love. While there is no man waiting at home to rub my feet, I've learned to deal with my own emotional issues without self-medicating. You gotta take the good with the bad. 

For the other side of this conundrum, check out this series on Sex & the Sister where my girl Candice shares why she is NOT a Single Sista. 


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