I was at the grocery store last night, meandering down the aisles looking for specific things but in no hurry. It was a run of the mill Kroger trip, and I was picking up various food items I needed in order to make my lunch for work the next day. I looked to my left and there was a couple walking past me discussing what kind of chips to get. A few paces ahead of me a girl was talking on the phone to someone who was obviously her boyfriend. I thought to myself, “where’s mine?” For the first time in a while, I felt an ache in the pit of my stomach that seemed to sneak up on me from the depths of an oft-ignored place. Loneliness. It is one of the most debilitating feelings in the human scope of feelings. We have all felt it at some point or another, and it is one of those things that can be difficult to cope with especially if you feel as if everyone around you has seemed to find the cure for his or her particular brand of loneliness in a significant other.
I am a girl who relishes her alone time. I understand completely how delicious singleness and being alone can be. I not only enjoy my company, I look forward to it. I always go grocery shopping alone. I go to the park alone. I get coffee alone. I go to the movies alone. I am consistently energized by my solitary ways, which allow me to think my thoughts and delight in my own wit. However, there are nights like the other night, while grocery shopping by myself for the trillionth time surrounded by couples that I can’t help but think: “there’s a difference between being alone and lonely, and you my friend are the latter.” Feeling lonely always manifests itself as an unnecessary pity party whenever it hits me. I think, “Where’s my partner? My person? Where is my love, the person who is going to be there with me throughout the mundane trivialities of life in order to relieve me of my duties of keeping myself company?” They are all valid questions, but they can be soul crushing and anxiety inducing if I dwell on them for too long.
Being a woman, I am consistently bombarded with messages that I should be actively seeking a boyfriend at all times. A woman who says she is comfortable being single is only lying to herself and is wholeheartedly in denial because how could that be possible? How could it be possible for a woman who is unattached not only thrive but also prefer her status as single? It is possible. I am living proof of that. Millions of women across the country are living proof of that. According to a recent Gallup poll the number of women between the ages of 18 to 29 who are single rose from 49% in 2004 to 60% in 2014. Women are choosing to stay single longer for a bunch of different reasons. For a lot of women, including myself, finding a boyfriend or a husband is not their first priority. It is their career, becoming financially independent, or moving to a new country. A boyfriend can just be a fun byproduct on the journey to other things. Despite enjoying being single I obviously still crave that kind of all-in attachment. I would not have indulged the pity party if I did not understand the merits of what I was feeling. On some level we all crave it. It is such a beautifully human desire, and there is no way to get around it.
I am not waiting for someone to come and complete me. I do not need a partner to move me from a half to a whole. I want a friend who will make me a part of something bigger than myself. One of my favorite Chuck Palahniuk quotes is “ What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody…” He goes on to talk about having a mutual addiction. I want that, someone who cannot get enough of me, someone I cannot get enough of. It sounds so unbelievably appealing.
My aloneness is an old friend. We know each other well. I wear her like a badge of honor. I wield her around as a justification for my fierce independence. It allows me to move through the world not answering to anyone content that my comfort in my own skin is enough. Most of the time it is. But sometimes I ache for a person to share myself with. Someone who knows me, who listens to me, who lets me love them. It is something so frustratingly simple, yet immensely unique. Not right now. Patience is the only answer, I suppose. Until the universe sees fit to show me this person, I’ll keep relishing in my singleness, and I’ll take a friend the next time I go grocery shopping.
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