If you are lonely when you are alone then you are in bad company.Jean Paul Sartre
I’ve had a boyfriend since I was 16, with very limited periods of singledom/doom inbetween and from the age of 14 I’ve been very aware of how I am seen within the context of the male gaze. I’m not sure at what age men learn to be subjects within the world around then and women learn to be objects, but at some stage it happens and it can create a lifelong blueprint.
This is the first time in my adult live that I’ve lived fully alone for any length of time without any meaningful relationship with a male going on, apart from my son that is.
I have full control of the remote control to watch what I want on TV, I don’t have to keep constantly putting the toilet seat down, and on every level I don’t have to compromise, at all. I’m mistress of my own destiny and I’m very happy thank you. My friends are all telling me that I look amazing, happy, and that single life suits me. I’m out, about, and doing my own thing. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
But, and it’s a big but. Somewhere in my brain is some faulty programming that keeps telling me I need to be on the lookout for a relationship. It must be faulty code because in my day-to-day life I’m totally happy being single. I’m more than capable of putting up shelves, cutting the grass and doing any number of other ‘male’ tasks around the house, so I don’t need a man for any practical purposes.
I earn my own money, own my own house and am financially independent with plenty of friends. I absolutely love having the freedom to flirt, do what I want and have anyone round to my house that I like without having to ask anyone’s permission. Life is a ball. But the glitch in the programme keeps saying ‘well you can’t go on forever on your own’ closely followed by ‘you need to find a man’.
I call this fault my chirpy monkey. He is popping his head up now a lot because I’ve had a summer to remember but now the nights are pulling in and I’m thinking a warm body in bed and someone to make me a cup of tea would be nice. ‘Get yourself an electric blanket’ was the sage advice from a friend. Somehow my chirpy monkey keeps telling me that this stage in my life has to be a temporary thing, and therefore needs an end date. Yet I know I’m learning so much and my self esteem is growing so much that I need to have this period of growth in my life before I even think about bringing a second person into it. I need to engage with any future relationship being the best version of myself that I can be so that I don’t accept anything less than the right treatment from the right person. But for that to happen I need to cage the chirpy monkey and learn to be an object rather than a subject. The irony being that in order to do that I need to be on my own. Be with my son on our own. Need to travel on my own. Eat out on my own. Mix with as many different friends as possible. Then, and only then will my faulty programming correct itself. Well that’s the plan anyway!