Why are you single? · Pavitra Gurumurthi Transition Mentor
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Why are you single?

Why are you single?

If I only had a dollar for every time I got asked this question.

Really, how does one receive this?

My default response has been to make a joke, get awkward, become philosophical, change the subject and/or get defensive. And just as quickly, I pretend that my egoic self isn’t triggered in any way.

As an Indian woman society has consistently demanded that I be married by twenty-three, procreate by twenty-four and my life would be complete.

I was told as a young girl that once I am settled (‘married’) I would have the freedom to do anything I wanted. My intuitive intelligence called bullsh*t even at that blossoming age as it was out of alignment with what I perceived in my physical reality.

I longed to be a good, obliging Indian woman. Sadly my burning desire to belong, be accepted, loved and included did not override my inner guidance to follow a path that could not be squeezed to fit into the little box labelled society’s expectations.

Now, this did not mean that my desire to be in an intimate relationship wasn’t alive.

I took immense pride in knowing exactly what I wanted and  I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. Oh, that pride! Along with a dash of judgement made for a deadly cocktail of self-loathing and separation.

Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I found myself oscillating between a couple of unfulfilling relationships and intense drawn-out periods of isolation. I covered this all up very cleverly (thanks to my ego) with as many excuses as I could find. ‘He wasn’t good enough for me’, ‘I am not interested in a relationship right now’, ‘ the timing is just not right’, ‘I cannot seem to find anyone like-minded’, ‘I am happy being single’, ‘I have too much going on in my life right now’. The list goes on.

There has been some truth to this, at different times, but mostly I carried within a deep sense of shame, regret and sadness. With each passing year, I became painfully aware of the growing distance between me and society’s expectations of me, as a brown woman.

But I surprisingly did not give up hope, neither did I become cynical. With each failed intimate connection I only grew stronger in my determination to fix myself. Yes. I cringe as I write that word – FIX.

You see, growing up never feeling accepted for who I am meant I was constantly trying to embody a PERFECT version that would finally be accepted. This meant I was the PROBLEM and I took it upon myself to get rid of any aspects that were coming in the way being in a healthy relationship.

This caused more isolation and I even convinced myself that I wasn’t relationship material. I distinctively remember my core inner dialogue: ‘Once I get rid of my (insert any negative pattern of behaviour) I will find the man who loves me for who I am.’ (Translation: Everyone, including my family, will love me for who I am).

How is anyone to love me for who I am, if I am not able to fully love all that I am?

This is low self-esteem.

This does not just affect those of us who are single. I know many who are in extremely unhealthy relationships for this very reason.

As I acknowledge my own struggle, I worry that I will be perceived as weak and be judged and yet I feel this incredible sense of freedom for finally giving it a voice.

Most of us have battled with low self-esteem to varying degrees and yet we seem to hide behind our thick smelly blankets of preservation and deny ourselves the intimacy that comes with being vulnerable.

Low self-esteem.
This is why we hurt ourselves.

Low self-esteem.
This is why we deny the love that is universal and readily available to us all.

Low self-esteem.
This is why we compete, compare, hate and destroy.

Low self-esteem.
This is why we give up on our right to breathe.

By recognising and owning this, there comes a sense of personal responsibility not only for myself but for those who come in contact with me.

To stop making excuses to be me.
I am not the problem. Neither, am I the solution.
I am just me.
And all of me is all there is to be.

Single or not, are you with me?

Imagine how, together, we can change this wounded blueprint to bring forth more healing in ourselves and our relationships with each other.

 



Free Guide To Exploring Loss Through Journalling (includes 24 prompts to get you started)