Full disclosure: I am writing this from a triggered place. We all have different perspectives regarding the social, psychological and economic effects of COVID-19 but my words are going to reflect and cater to the single woman experience. Check the video out below.
We have been stuck in the house due to COVID-19, infamously known as The Rona, Miss Rona or “That Shit”. If you are introverted and still working, the social distancing aspect hasn’t really had too much of a negative impact as it has on our extroverted counterparts. However, we really haven’t discussed the impact it has had on single women with no children. That’s what I want to get into today because as a single woman I feel it is necessary to address this elephant in the room.
CONTEXT: The screenshot and video is a snippet of a segment of OWN Televisions’ Black Women OWN the Conversation. During this segment, the lady pictured in the yellow discusses how because she is single, childless compounded with her family being 1500 miles away she had to get to know her neighbors just in case something happens to her. Moreover, she talks about how she has shown up for her married friends in every area of life. She attended EVERY wedding, baby shower and christening. However, when it is time for her married friends to show up for her, they don’t because her married friends have families that take priority. Although the pecking order is understood, it still presents the million dollar question:
WHO WILL CHECK ON ME?????
Single women are expected to consistently show up for friends who are entering the marriage and baby phases of life. We are expected to show up because A. it is assumed that a single woman has the time to do so and B. she is vying for the very life experience her friend is embarking upon. Often times, the single woman makes it a point to show up. She shows up for a multitude of reasons. She shows up not only because she really wants to be the first in line to wish her friend well, but she is afraid if she doesn’t show up she will be seen as a bitter, jealous hating ass bitch. Single women often treat showing up for every life event like an insurance policy they can cash in on when it is their time. In my 38+ years of life, I have learned multiple things can exist in the same space. Moreover, that multiplicity manifests in layers. The single friend can be genuinely excited for that friend but also feel as if she is obligated to show up in order to save face and pay that proverbial insurance premium although she may want to sit that wedding or baby shower out and do something that feeds her soul.
When it is time to show up for the single friend, such as checking to see if she is okay during a whole pandemic, the single friend is placed on the back burner. Although the single friend may understand why she is on back burner status, it doesn’t mean that those feelings of resentment won’t creep up. As a single woman you can’t help but feel slighted. Again, two things can exist in the same space. Understanding and resentment definitely can coexist in such situations. Furthermore, single women don’t have a safe space to vent that frustration but that is a different song for another radio station.
As a single woman, being able to navigate times such as these start way before they happen. SINGLE WOMEN MUST CHOOSE THEMSELVES FIRST. If your friend is getting married, having a baby, etc. make damn sure you aren’t attending out of obligation. If you don’t want to attend, SEND A GIFT and focus on YOU. PUT YOU FIRST. PERIOD. If you do this, you have created a balance that will float you when your friend doesn’t make an effort to be there for you and choose familial obligations over your single ass.
The moral of the story is this: healthy boundaries mitigate feelings of resentment. The answer to the million dollar question, “Who is going to check on me? is most likely NOBODY. Society doesn’t value singleness. Just because society doesn’t value single women doesn’t mean that YOU can’t value being single. Although that answer is cruel, it won’t have as much sting and power because you didn’t spend time devaluing yourself by putting everything and everyone first. Choosing yourself first creates balance. That balance will help you navigate those psychological and emotional pitfalls of COVID-19.
Be blessed and of course stay safe.