Recently there’s been a powerful shift in my perception. I can tell this isn’t temporary. I think a lot of it has to do with my discovery of the term, “quirkyalone.” I’ve been throwing that word around an awful lot, haven’t I? It feels so good it my mouth. It feels so good to have a term for it… it’s kind of like when I discovered, “queer.” What was once an amorphous set of traits or quirks that left me thinking my differentness was wrong suddenly has a name, an identity, and most importantly, a community– no matter how small it may be. It’s still bigger than just me.
I highly recommend Sasha Cagen’s original essay about the quirkyalone; it’s eloquent and concise. If you have time, take the quiz to find out how quirkyalone you are! I got a 113 and answered “yes” to all 10 of the additional diagnostic signs.
But that wasn’t quite when the shift happened. I think it was after a conversation I had with a close friend of mine who, sadly, does not live close by. We’ve both been pretty busy lately, so in catching her up I told her that I’d gone on a few dates with someone new. She was very excited hearing all about him… until I mentioned he was poly. She started acting like a “mama,” as she put it. She said she’s protective, that she thinks I should be “the star of the show,” and that dating someone poly was ultimately settling.
At first, I tried to defend it logically: The traits I’m looking for are hard to find; I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to get to know someone I like; life is short; all relationships end, one way or another; there’s a difference between settling and compromising. But logic is wasted when you simply have different world views. She seems to think I should wait around for someone who fits all my criteria. For one, I don’t like the idea of putting my life on hold to wait around for anybody, but for another I brought up one of my ex’s. I dated someone about two years ago, who I fell for hard, which ultimately had disasterous outcomes. I pointed out to my friend that on the surface, this person had appeared to be “the complete package” for me, but in the end it proved to be a terrible idea. What you want, or need, doesn’t always come in the wrapping you expect.
In her case, I guess she did find her complete package. They’ve been together for a decade now. So I can see why she’s convinced I’ll get married someday. It’s sweet of her, but I’m no longer convinced that’s the only way for this life thing to be done. Sure, we’re all fed the version of reality where humans are social creatures and we’re all supposed to pair off with one other person–of the opposite gender presentation no less–but who says we have to swallow? I don’t. And I’ve shirked 2/3 of those already by dating queers and being open to open relationships. Why not throw out marriage too? It’s a nice idea, but I’d rather be collared. It’s just as romantic, in my opinion.
Anyhow, about 24 hours after that conversation, I had a realization: I was suddenly in tune with being single. I wasn’t just ok with it or tolerant, which is how I’ve felt about singledom for most of my life. I was inspired by it. I can see my life now, all of the beautiful and challenging things I still have left to do, but I don’t see someone next to me. I guess that sounds sad, but it feels freeing. It’s not that I’m closed to the idea of finding a partner, but it’s not a requirement anymore–or more to the point, lack of is no longer a defect. My accomplishments stand on their own accord. I don’t need “another half” to be complete–I’m already complete. Bent and dented, rough and scuffed, but whole. And I’m not without purpose. I’m plenty busy and there’s still SO much left to be done. I don’t anticipate getting bored anytime soon.
When I was a mopey teenager, I’d often tell myself, “some people are just meant to be alone.” It was meant to sting, and it absolutely did. But it doesn’t sting anymore. I just have other things I’m meant to do. So I’m not planning on Prince/ss Charming, nor looking nor hoping nor waiting. But if ze shows up, I’m game.
I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t attribute part of my epiphany to this blog. I know it doesn’t have much of a following (yet!), but I owe you a debt of thanks nonetheless, dear readers. So thank you. Thank you for reading and giving me this miraculous outlet. I feel like my self-worth has skyrocketed since this shift in thinking. I went from being single by force to realizing being allowed in my bed is a privilege and I’m damn picky about who gets it. Things can only get better from here. (So stay tuned.)