Acquired Taste: An appreciation for something unlikely to be enjoyed by a person who has not had substantial exposure to it. —-Wikipedia
I’ve been single for ten years. In these ten years I have evolved in terms of how I prioritize romantic relationships. I have also developed a passion for happiness. Not happiness where it is a temporary distraction from singleness, but true happiness that allows me to stand tall and bloom regardless if I ever encounter long term commitment.
I have experienced an emotional freedom that I never knew existed. I didn’t realize how much of a social prison I was in before I decided to embark on this alternate fairy tale happiness journey. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to fit in; I was not aware of the golden statute I built towards romantic partnership. I used to spend my time in an emotional cycle of disappointment, sadness and depression. I would be fine for four or five months then BAM!!! my insecurity regarding being single would be triggered, sending me back to square one. I have not been triggered in over a year. It brings me to tears of gratitude just thinking about how far God has brought me emotionally.
When you experience something awesome, naturally you want other people to experience what you experience. That is why I chronicle my journey. I want single women to experience not being bound by the desire for partnership and living in abundance even if you NEVER get married. I have said repeatedly that there is nothing wrong with desiring partnership. It is a beautiful experience. However, you should have power over those desires. An unmet desire should just be that: an unmet desire. It shouldn’t come with the chains of grief, despair, confusion and disappointment. Even if you experience those feelings, if you have power over that desire those feelings should not fester.
Today I had a spirited discussion with a woman about singleness. I offered what I have learned in my journey. Instead of being met ￼with open arms, I got opposition. I was told my responses were judgmental and lacked empathy. The person didn’t feel as though I was compassionate to the feelings of depression and sadness of single women who desire marriage. The exchange literally grieved my spirit because I saw so much of who I used to be in her responses.
Although my spirit was unsettled by the conversation, I learned a very valuable lesson today: My freedom experience is not for everyone. Just like I don’t like it when it is suggested that partnership is the answer to the happiness equation, not everyone will embrace the idea that you can be truly happy as a single with no emotional residue.
Let’s face it: society isn’t really exposed to people that are happily single. When a single person, especially a woman shows up in the world as a fulfilled person by themselves, people question the person’s disposition. A happily single person is hard to digest because the experience is counterintuitive to the narrative people have internalized for generations. It is especially hard for women who grew up around marriage and/or grew up in church. Church (I said church as in religion and church doctrine, not the Holy Spirit—there is a difference) espouses that if you do go to service on Sunday, participate in church ministry, pay tithes and abstain from sex you will eventually get a husband if you have faith. When a particular narrative is so entrenched in one’s spirit, that person has no room to even entertain a different life experience. There are women that died with sadness in their heart praying for a husband that they were never promised because religion taught them something that God himself did not will for their lives. Some singles don’t want to be happy single. They want their spouse and they want a space in which they can grieve until that person shows up. If they don’t show up, they choose to grieve because in their mind being happy and single doesn’t really make sense. And guess what-who am I to proselytize to them? People have the right to show up in the world they way they want.
It is not my job to convince every single person to embark on a happiness journey like my own. My life as a happily single person is not palatable for everyone and that is okay. Being happily single is truly an acquired taste.