I sat down after class after a student of mine was upset. I looked at her and noticed the tears swelling in her eyes and I could feel the utter loneliness of adolescence that I once had at her age. I asked her what was bothering her and she shared with me that the she had an altercation with a guy she was talking to. In that moment, my chest swelled up with air and I began my self-rant.
In high school and even until now, my relationship with boys/men resemble a puzzle. They involve more problem solving than flirtation; anxiety rather than friendship; and guarded rather than open. In addition, I am a late bloomer and dealt with self-esteem issues because I did not fit the mold of a commercial, sexy woman. I listened to underground hiphop, never curled my hair until college, and rarely wore makeup--didn't think that guys would like me because of this.
Without that affirmation, I was unsure of my desirability and assumed that no guy would ever like me.
The first think I told my student was from a heart of worry, thinking to myself, "Please don't grow up to be like me." I told her that she is beautiful and intelligence, and even at a young blossoming age, she radiates boldly like a queen. I shared with her that last year was one of the hardest years of my life because I experienced my first break up. I regretted that my relationship with my boyfriend was such a priority that it overshadowed the passion of my work.
As I watched the sadness leave her eyes and faith brighten, I knew she believed me. She believed me when I said that there will be guys lining up to try to be with her and only a portion of them are even capable of supporting her; furthermore, only a handful worthy. She believed me when I told her she has amazing work ahead of her, and loneliness will breed resilience and creative flows. She believed me because I am living this, as we speak.
Being single has been one of my greatest challenges because being in a relationship status is a significant moment of affirmation for me and my family. It is a social indicator that you are ready for happiness and a future life of family and adulthood. However, relationships are much more than a milestone. They are a shared experience that hinges two together into one shared life. I have encountered different men, yet cannot get discouraged that my future partner and I have yet to sync. It is in these moments I am most tested in my self assurance.
As I was pouring out my self-advice to her, I witnessed how far I have grown. She believed in my words because I believe in myself.
Lessons I've Learned:
There is a negative stigma I often face with singlehood. It leaves the impression on the one who is single as difficult and "too independent." This is not the case. Don't let singlehood miscommunicate a message of inadequacy or lacking. Here are some things that I have found in my singlehood.
Keep working hard and don't be afraid to be "intimidating" and "too focused."
Waiting for love is not a sign of weakness--compromise is.
Self-romance radiates a type of glow in singlehood that is rare.
Romantic Partners are not the first priority; it's all about balance.
Friendship first. It's hard enough to meet good friends.
It's good to practice boundaries of the heart and physical interactions
All because you're open to date, doesn't mean you're thirsty
Don't play games, even if others do.