It’s human nature for people to classify one another. When we describe people, we pull out the most significant characteristic to help identify them … the woman in the wheel chair, the hairy guy, the blonde lady who looks like Barbie, the tall guy.
Although it’s not a physical characteristic, I’m noticing more and more that the rest of the world sees me as “single.”
It wasn’t that long ago that I rejected the “single” title. I was in my early 20s, and I remember being encouraged to join the Singles Ministry at church. I had considered joining the Young Adult and Women’s groups. “Young adult” and “woman” were labels I readily accepted, but I didn’t really think of myself as single.
I had lived nearly a quarter century of life, but no one called me single when I was 13 or 18. So, why was I given this label now? Was I supposed to be coupled?
I was just me, like I’d always been. I wasn’t ready to be classified as single, but the rest of the world didn’t seem to care. It started to feel like I was walking around with a “single” sign taped to my back.
There was the time an executive at work made up a New Year’s Resolution for me. She declared that it would be the year I found a man, and she said it in front of all of my colleagues. Then, in a prayer circle, the married woman next to me, prayed for the success of my future marriage. It’s not just married women who seem to be acutely aware of my singleness. Last Christmas, my 30-something male cousin with Down syndrome asked me where my boyfriend was. I wanted to ask, Really? Is that what’s on your mind?
Maybe I should take it as a compliment that everyone seems to think I should be someone’s better half. I think I would make a good girlfriend and eventually a good wife, but in the meantime, I am a daughter, sister, professional woman, homeowner, Peanuts collector and old-school hip hop devotee to name a few labels.
Maybe “single” is the thing that stands out the most, or maybe that exec and praying wife didn’t know enough about me to offer up anything more significant than hopes that I find a man. In a way, I appreciate their concern, but here’s hoping their views of me have become a bit more layered.
In the meantime, I’ll accept the “single” title. After all, there’s nothing wrong with being single.