I know some awesome women.
I really, really do.
I know women who fit and defy every definition. I know women who make their personal life choices from every which way. My phone book is a directory of awesomeness, and my Twitter feed is a spectrum of joy and wonder.
And I keep being asked whether I’m single.
Let me answer this simply, and for (hopefully) the last time for a while: yes.
Yes, I am single. And no, it’s not because I haven’t met the right person yet. It’s not because I’m not looking in the right places. It’s not because I work too hard, and I don’t plan for it to ‘happen when I least expect it,’ and frankly – it just ain’t a thing.
Except, y’know – as soon as you say it’s not a thing, people think… it’s a thing. Apparently more so than ever, at the moment, when I’ve had a few (very kind, but maybe a tiny bit misguided) emails from people asking me to review their dating companies on here.
Now, there are two reasons I haven’t written about my relationship status around these parts previously. First up, I write here as the chronic oversharer – the girl who strips to her pants and gets a bit sweary to make a point about a douche canoe on the telly that she’s never met. So, y’know, there’s a point at which my business is mine – and I figured keeping my single-or-not-ness in the realms of the ol’ private life counteracts the naked-on-the-internet part.
But secondly – it just hasn’t really occurred to me that it’d be a question.
It’s not something I ask people, and I don’t tend to wonder about it until they bring it up – because I go about taking people as I find ’em. Just them.
So it’s been a bit of a surprise to me, as I’ve been doing more press, and getting a bit more ‘out there’ that it’s suddenly a thing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. A couple of people have asked just out of curiosity, mostly in response to me bitching about my rent – as a ‘maybe if you’re attached, that’s a potential solution’ kinda deal. That’s fine. That’s a practical thing.
But more and more frequently, I’m asked it as a Big Question. A personality profiling exercise that’s asked to ‘figure me out.’
And that’s got me wondering about two things.
First up – is the logical ending to the ‘weight loss transformation’ story the ‘happily ever after’?
The short answer, from where I see it, is no.
I’m good. Not just good, in fact, but awesome – and my own journey to this whole ‘healthy’ affair has been purely for me. Sure, the catalyst – or at least one of ’em – was the end of a bad relationship that made me realise I’d been leaning on someone else in search of my own personal happiness – but it was never the case that I wanted to get healthy to ‘find someone else.’
I got healthy, and – more importantly, learned to love myself – and the person I found was me. Me, happier, and more secure in my own ability to create my own lil’ patch of joy.
And I think that’s really, really important whenever you’re thinking about making any kind of change. If you’re aiming to lose weight, get fit, shave your head or get a nose job for anyone else – anyone at all – you’re not going to reap the happiness you ought to out of it. It just doesn’t work like that.
The only person you should ever be aiming to make happy with any kind of physical change… Is you.
And also – why would I be a better candidate for a relationship now I’m thinner?
…I’m just going to let that one hang there a rhetorical question. Because it’s bullshit.
So that’s the first question answered.
But the other one bothers me slightly more, and it’s this: do we ask the relationship question so we can get people figured out? And in that case… Why?
Now, I refer you once again to my awesome homegirls mentioned at the top o’the page. Some of them are awesome single women. Some of them are equally awesome and married. Some are attached (and awesome), some are in kinda-casual-let’s-figure-out-a-definition-later kinda situations (awesome), and some of them I genuinely do not know, because I haven’t asked. You guessed it: they’re still awesome. And as for their sexual preferences: their business.
The thing about all these awesome women, though, is that there’s one thing that unites each and every one of them.
They’re all complete in themselves, just the way they are – with that whole relationship question being a lifestyle choice, not a definition. If they’re coupled up, it’s because they happen to know a person they’d like to hang out with some of the time, or all of the time, or just occasionally after a few beers. And if they’re single, it’s ’cause they’re just not all that fussed. That’s all.
It strikes me – more so, these days, when apparently the impending still-a-few-years-away-but-people-keep-bringing-it-up-Big Three-O means I’m the target of The Relationship Question – that it’s another box to check. Another set of rules to follow, and another set of conventions to be lumped in with – a trap that’s all too easy to fall into, if you’re so inclined.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Regardless of your relationship status, sexuality, gender or whatever – the most important thing in the world is still how you feel about you. It’s a matter of being complete in your own self, and knowing you’re capable of any form of happiness you choose to style out – in short, it’s about loving yourself, everything else be damned.
It seems to me, in fact that right there, in that zen place of ‘I got this’ – that’s the intersection at which positive body image, feminism, and a healthy attitude to the good life meet.
And it’s got precisely diddly squat to do with anyone else.
I have no doubt that this won’t be the last time I answer the question, and I can’t predict what the answer will be at different times in my life – because hell, sometimes I might want to hang out with someone. Sometimes I might not. But it doesn’t matter, and it won’t – because I got this. I’m me. I’m good.
And dammit, if you’re reading this – I’d bet’cha you’re pretty awesome too. So go out into the world, and represent – not for the singles, or the marrieds, or whatever else – but for you, as a person.
Go forth, and love thyself.