The Truth About Being Single

Every once in a while one or other of my friends will write or say something ostensibly sensible but actually quite stupid. It’s quite unfortunate, when you realise the silliness of it… you know, once whatever lies superficially has been eroded – by sense.

The while came a day or so ago, when a friend, quoting a (silly) movie, wrote the following: “Relationships are just an emotional cage, that sad couples peek behind the bars of, looking at us happy single people, wondering what fear of being alone made them say “I do””. First, would it hurt people to distinguish the place for ‘that’ from that of ‘which’? Would it?

Second, we need to stop finding comfort in lies.

We need to stop finding comfort in lies because the truth really will set you free…it will liberate your thinking; so that you may expand to progressive and productive consideration. And when you so expand, you will – amongst other things- realise that the truth, the hard and often avoided if not distorted truth is that if you are single, you have failed…somewhere. Single, is not the goal, it’s what we settle for while the goal evades us; or worse, when the goal has completely abandoned us. Single is not the goal because when you were a child, and in your mind’s eye, mapping out your life you didn’t wish to spend your life imposing on friends for company; seeking solace in books and movies; comfort in fury animals and bed linen; and pleasure in unmentionable toys. You didn’t have visions and hopes of single-roomed vacations or of meaningless sex with Sam who is in love with Kate but will take a roll in the hay with you when Kate’s monthly visitor comes by. You envisaged more; you envisaged more bodies in your abode. And now, well now you go around calling grapes sour and boasting about all this freedom which you have. The freedom to… well, you say: to take a holiday whenever you wish, have drinks with the ladies at a moment’s notice and not being ‘tied down’… The truth however, is that you only really go on holiday 2, maybe 3 times a year, and the ladies really have drinks every other Thursday and you don’t even really know what you’re talking about when you speak of ‘not being tied down’. Deep inside, you are quite lonely and yearn for the day when you will not be coming home to a fridge of cheese and chardonnay but to someone else; fingers crossed someone who gives amazing foot massages. Fingers crossed she or he, on the evenings when you feel you have bled yourself dry, will be at home waiting with a glass of wine (not chardonnay, let’s face it, happy people don’t really drink chardonnay) and the stamina to get ‘biblical’…you know, FUCK: massage the sorrow away and get the blood going once more. That’s the truth of what you want.

You won’t pursue it of course; because when you were fourteen years old Sipho kissed Thoko instead of you; your parents were divorced by the time you went to University and all they did before that was fight; your grandmother wouldn’t let your mother buy you dolls and she was generally mean to you; daddy abandoned you; your sister is prettier and smarter and you have always been in her shadow; the guy you slept with within 12 hours of meeting didn’t call you back. You are naturally dwelling on all of that, and it has festered and moulded a repellent and repulsive coat of insecurity around you and you are now damaged and broken, and still dwelling. And you can’t let anyone in because if you did they would see just how damaged you are, be repulsed then repelled by your coat of insecurity and leave you. Then all your fears would be confirmed…And you would break a little more. So you won’t try, you will lie instead.

Two of my favourite people are getting married, this summer. I am happy for them , I am happy because I believe that there is no greater accomplishment or achievement in life than the voluntary undertaking by someone, to share with you , for as long as it is possible, a part of themselves. It’s the biggest compliment, it’s the biggest achievement. “I choose you”…. Imagine! Because the other stuff: the career, the property you will accumulate and the places you will go and go to; all that is easy, it requires no more than you simply doing it… but being chosen is really out of your hands. And that’s the goal; to have someone say: “I choose to spend my life, to share my life, the thing most precious to me, with you. I find you worthy of that honour.” That’s the goal; the alternative is merely what we settle for.

Writer: Nomfundo Shezi       Photography: Leeroy Jason