As I sit here on my couch watching How to be Single I realize the movie wasn’t completely far off. When this movie first came out I was still in my long-term relationship, I couldn’t possibly imagine that was what single life was about. I hadn’t even known single life in my twenties, so to me the movie just played as good entertainment.
But here I am two years after the movie launch, realizing it is relatively accurate. Getting in and out of a dress for a night out. That shit is freaking impossible! Who designs these zippers? Probably men… Half the time as I try and zip up my dress I pull something in my arm, but getting home at night and trying to undo it? That is an absolute nightmare. If I go out with my sister I generally try and have her start the unzip process so I’m not writhing on the floor. I should come up with a way in which I can easily unzip my dress, but the number of times I’m actually in a dress does not justify me making a device.
When I first realized I was alone I started to go through the second panic Alice did. Who would reset my router? How do I even do that?! Who will help me catch a mouse as it’s running across my living room floor; because my cat just thinks they are fun to play with. Who was going to help me mow the lawn and teach me to use the weed wacker? Who was going to teach me to be a grillmaster? How do I start a bonfire? Who’s going to be there to bait my hook and help get bass off the line? This one scared me the most, only because I’d never successfully done this on my own before. But here’s the kicker these weren’t things I couldn’t learn on my own. They were things I didn’t even know where to begin to learn. I had been in a relationship for a little over four years and never had to worry about learning any of this. He was the one who took care of the lawn and the grill. He was the mouse catcher of the house. When I was unsure about something he would do his best to teach me the basics in case I needed to do it in the future, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t know the ins and outs of a weedwacker or how to grill like a pro. Contrary to my trying I’d never successfully unhooked a bass from my line. Within the first few weeks of singledom I realized these were all skills I could learn. I had the time before and after work to figure them out and there was this magical tutor site called Youtube!! With Youtube I could watch and rewatch how to properly tie a fishing knot, fix my weed wacker.. the opportunities were endless.
Within a few weeks of Youtube I was cooking dinners on the grill, luring mice into my Tupperware container (sometimes with the help of my cat,) tying knots etc. I couldn’t handle not knowing how to do this on my own. My biggest accomplishment was starting my own bonfire in the backyard. I know this sounds like a tiny thing to panic over, but it was my tiny thing I’d never done before. My ex was always the fire guy, he made them, maintained them and ensured we had enough wood to last through the night. I’d never seen him start one without some type of accelerant. One night I was itching to have my own fire. I had plenty of fire wood, courtesy of my fathers many fallen down trees, but I had no idea where to even begin. Off to Youtube I went to learn the ways of my ancestors, going back to the most primal of things. I started with piles of cardboard and paper in the bottom of my fire pit. Following up with adding little sticks of kindling making them into a tepee and then adding blocks of wood around said tepee to ensure a long fire. I’m not going to lie it wasn’t an instant fire…hell it wasn’t even a quick fire. It took me close to an hour to get the wood to finally catch; but when it did I felt more accomplished in that moment than I had in the last few months, I know it was only maintaining a fire, but to me it was more than that. It was my way of knowing I would be okay. This was my way of knowing I didn’t need someone to teach me anything, I could handle doing this on my own.
Being single didn’t only mean learning new things, it also meant there wasn’t someone to come home to at night. It meant there wasn’t someone I could call in the middle of the day or at night and share my adventures with. It meant I was truly on my own. I had to grow accustom to the silence that fell over my house at night. The fact that when I laid down for sleep there wasn’t a body next to me anymore. There wasn’t someone who could hold me at night when I would wake up from a night terror. I was alone. This was something I’ve never been. I moved out of my parents house and right into my current house with my ex. I’d never woken up and not had someone to say good morning to nor had I come home at nights and not had someone there to tell them about my day. This was one fact that really struck a chord in my heart. I didn’t mind being alone some days, but to not have someone to share my life with? That was something all new to me. I loved that part of my relationship. I loved sharing in my life and someone else’s life. Over the first month of being alone I could hardly handle the quiet of the house and the emptiness next to me. I would stay up until 3 am talking to an old friend in Japan (he had a 13 hour time difference so it was perfect) he would talk to me until I would fall asleep. If I would have a night terror I would text him, I didn’t really know what else to do. I would watch tv until the wee hours of the morning and then sleep for a few hours before work. I had an old teddy bear I would hold onto at night, as if I was a toddler again, just so I could have something in my arms. Being alone was going to be one of the harder adjustments I was going to have.
Slowly as the weeks went by I started going to bed at a normal time. I stopped blaring the tv at night to drown out the silence that fell upon the house. But the one important thing I truly learned throughout those first few weeks… I was not alone. I was never alone. My family was always stopping over to check on me, staying the night, or just texting me good morning so I had somebody to talk to. My girlfriends would all reach out to me daily to ensure they knew I was not alone. It’s amazing how one giant event could make you feel completely alone and alienated from the rest of the world… but when you pick your head up you realize you aren’t alone…Ever. I had never been more grateful for my friends and family in those weeks. They were some of the hardest I’d ever endured.. but they were there for me. They were my lifelines.
As I sit here writing this on How to be single I know there really is no right or wrong way on How to be single. We are all stumbling along this life, not only trying to figure out who we are but to also find someone we can share our lives with. If I learned anything in these months it’s life is too short to be scared of anything. We need to take risks, we need to live boldy. and we need to do what makes us happy. In these times of being alone I have learned a lot about who I am as a person, but I’ve also realized I cannot live my life in fear of what will happen. I need to go after what I want. I literally lived through my worst nightmare and came out in one piece. I can handle what comes next.
So readers How does one be single? You enjoy it! You live your life to the fullest. You learn new things. You spend time with those you love. And most of all. You live your life for you.
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