(Published Idaho Family Magazine 2015)
Just like that. You can change your “status”. Instantly you can become single, in a relationship or remain vague and announce to the world “it’s complicated”. Yes, I’m referring to the social media site, Facebook, the place that has become the definer for our existence. Our status has become an extension of whether or not we are indeed alive, or if we have “arrived”.
It is easy to get shuffled in the jumble. Easy to be part of the hype of looking like we have it “together” or are funny, upbeat or even, heaven forbid, normal. Personally, I’m weary from the upkeep and am pushing against the urge of proving who I am because I clicked the “save” button on my profile. Instead, I long for a relationship status that doesn’t seem to fit in, but meets me in the space I’m residing right now, midway through my life.
“In a relationship with….ME!”
That status isn’t an option. At least not on Facebook. Yet it should be. Especially for a few folks like me. I’ve spent the last almost-five years announcing to the world that I am single. This means different things to different people, pending on the angle. To some it might mean that I am completely unattached. To another it might be defined that I’m in a relationship, just not married. And still to another, it could come across that I’m so broken I’m not relationship material.
For me, single status once meant that I was in transition.
Our cultural pulse convinces me that I’m defined by my status. In other words, WHO I am with (in relationship) defines me. So not being with anyone, well, that becomes a statement of lack and abandonment. Instead, “who am I when I am with another” should be a more accurate definition. Who do I become? Am I enhanced in this relationship? And with those types of questions, if I’m fabulous when I am single…I’m fabulous regardless.
Back then, my singleness, at least to me, was a state of numb-limbo – someplace between relationships and marriages. Until a couple of years ago when I began believing I was just too busy, too quirky, too analytical, and too….well, you can insert your own adjective here….. I was simply “too much me” to really deserve being embraced and loved by another. I arrived at acceptance. Single status would simply be my life. I convinced myself that being single forever would be just fine.
Deep down, I never bought my own sales pitch. I just became busier to avoid becoming lonelier. Busy insured that I would have no room in my life or my schedule to be unsingle. I did take a brave step here and there – an attempt to dip my toe into the vast waters of the dating pool only to feel the icy chill and hurriedly seek the safety of shore. Dating to me was a cluttered, risky business. Unsingle seemed to suit me.
In my youth, I remember jotting a Dream Guy List. You know this checklist even if you’ve not written it on the page – you most likely created a mental one at some point. This is the list that kept track of the traits you thought mattered in a potential partner. Someone spiritual. A good provider. A sense of humor. Loves to read.
In the middle of my life, that checklist dramatically changed. It is shorter. Much shorter. What remains when I filtered through the surface and short-term satisfaction are about three items:
- Honors G-d
- Loves me and my kids
The rest of the stuff was really fluff, but you’ll have to make your own new list.
So here we are, with my new status, my self-relationship, partner-to-one. Now I need a new approach to this checklist. I need to ask, does my new partner, me, measure up to my own checklist? In other words, am I datable to me?
The part that trips me is the “loves me”. Attention is required here on the first part of item three.
The first step to change is the awareness that something needs to change. The second step is action. I’ve made a plan for this Valentine’s Day. I’m taking myself on the town. I’m making me breakfast in bed and writing myself a love letter. In fact, I’m going to spend 2015 falling in love with me. The head over heels kind. All of me. My quirks. My edginess. My analytics and my flaws. I’m planning to send myself flowers too. And in the evening, I’ll light a few candles and play the perfect song, just for me. I’ve even written myself a poem.
Later, I’ll design a pillowcase with all the things I love about me written in brilliant fabric markers so I can “sleep” on my own acceptance.
What I’m only beginning to realize is I’ve not really been single at all. I’ve been rejecting me, beating me down and neglecting me. I’ve never really been alone. I’ve been with the one person who loves me unconditionally all along – I’ve just lost sight of her along my journey as I tried to measure up. I’ve had the one person who will never abandon me right here.
I’m inviting myself back. Rebecca – meet Rebecca – the new love of your own life. Status complete!