ALL THE SINGLE LADIES
From kindergarten crushes to the dream Kim and Kanye wedding, does it really suck to be single?
By Lucy Egan
“There are things you can’t get anywhere but we dream that they can be found in people”
Harold Smith, Twin Peaks, 1990
From a young age people are led to believe that a relationship is the answer to happiness. It becomes associated with their self-worth, their interactions with others and their identity overall. It’s a form of social conditioning that is subtle but can affect a person’s identity, their life.
Let me be clear, I have nothing against relationships as a whole; I think that they are beautiful. As van Gogh said, “ ….there is nothing more artistic than to love someone” but I don’t agree with the pervasive social opinion that if you are single, there is something wrong with you.
Let me reiterate;
There is nothing wrong with you. You are enough.
Society places a lot of value on relationships. In this context; relationships is a romantic partnership between two individuals. Relationships carry connotations of success, fulfilment and happiness, three philosophies that are desired in modern times.
Tropes like the ‘happily ever after’, seen in Disney movies particularly, reinforce the message, that once you find the individual that you’re ‘meant’ to be with, that resolves all issues with oneself and between the couple. This unrealistic standard highlights the sense of expectation attributed with romantic relationships- that once you are together, nothing can go wrong or be hard. From a young age girls and boys are served this imagery and they strive their whole life to find it.
And then there’s people themselves. As soon as you’re old enough to know what love is, it suddenly becomes a big deal. From kindergarten, onwards, relationships develop in various forms and depths. It’s part of human nature. As you age though, the emphasis on relationships increase. Suddenly its embarrassing if you haven’t been kissed by sixteen, as if it’s a reflection upon your personal failure as a person. There must be something wrong with you. And if you’re not married or thinking about it by your thirties, people are rumbling and hypothesising as to the causes. They must have some deep character flaw. It becomes far less insidious and far more prevalent. Relationships become a social indicator as to the status of the individual. People become less censored about their questions and less guarded with their reactions. And their overt worshipping of those who are in a successful relationship is more obvious.
Relationships are a beautiful thing and they are very important in human nature; but it’s ok not to be in one. You may not have found a person you want to be with or you may not care about relationships or you may be interested in other things. That’s all ok. You don’t have to invite society’s preoccupation with other’s lives and their interactions, into your life. People are messy and complicated and it’s ok for things not to have a simple ‘happily ever after’. I think more and more today, the traditional representation of love as a heterosexual couple that marries and has kids and lives into old age together is being changed. Love is beautiful in all forms.
And love is messy and complicated, just like humans.
Many people may come and go; or not many at all. That’s up to you. People shouldn’t feel pressured to have a relationship because ‘everyone else is’ or ‘it seemed like the right thing to do’. We are taught from such a young age to rely on the notion of romantic love as the answer to all ills, like happiness. We are taught it is true happiness. We are taught that this person will be ‘the one’ and that there will be no other people in our lives. It’s not true.
You will have friend soulmates, family soulmates, animal soulmates, music taste soulmates, party soulmates. It won’t be one person. Don’t limit yourself.
Remember Van Gogh; “…there is nothing more artistic than loving someone”. But there’s something to be said for those who love themselves, as well.
Lucy Egan is a 19 year old writer from Newcastle. She is a passionate feminist and enjoys writing in all forms; short stories, poems and articles
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