In my humble opinion the status ‘single’ is too often referred to in a negative way. We assume everyone must be unhappy or lonely if they are not in a defined committed relationship. They must need help or support or someone to call their own. This is what we teach our children – being single is not a goal that one should set. I have had this same expectation of myself my entire adult life. The expectation was for a number of reasons, I was supposed to do life in order: graduate college, get married, buy a house, have children, etc. I had a great appetite to find my prince charming and share every life milestone. This fairy tale just wasn’t how my life story went and after a cancelled engagement and years of all different types of dating methods I had just decided to accept that I was okay with being single and what will be will be. Thank goodness I had these years of trial and error before I met up with my most recent challenge.
When I started writing this blog I was in a relationship. My diagnosis brought a major life test that required a significant commitment for any relationship and after a few discussions about whether we could possibly weather this storm the relationship ended; I was going to face this experience without a partner by my side. I never clearly shared in my writing the ending of that relationship or that I was single because it wasn’t of relevance to the topic I was writing about. When asked if I needed help or about my support system I never had to hesitate in my response, I had friends and family who were helping me and that was and is the truth. But like many others in this situation I did live by myself and have been “on my own” as I tackled the day to day life of treatment and the turmoil it takes on your mind and body.
While I may be single, I am never alone. I have someone who I can call at any time of day and ask for help or talk when I need it. And that my friends is the trickiest part…the admission of “need”. The need I am referring to is the acceptance and vulnerability one must allow themselves to have in order to ask for help. It sounds easy and it really should be, but I am still working on this concept. Even when offered help I have a hard time saying Yes, such a simple one syllable word. If I had to take a guess I would say I have asked for help or support around 33% of the times I should or could have. Surprisingly it was easier at the beginning of this process just after diagnosis. There are a number of reasons I can think of, or excuses I tell myself, as to why I don’t reach out more to others. Overall it mainly boils down to plain ole’ pride and my desire to be independent. I tell myself that I have gotten through over a decade of living on my own, moving from city to city, starting from scratch and so on and for some reason I convince myself that I should be able to do this without putting my burdens on anyone else. Damn the Independent Woman in me, she never stops.
The inherent nature many of us have to prove things to ourselves is not something we should get angry with, we can learn to accept this drive and still choose to accept help and support. My most recent nugget of advice for myself is to stop considering help in passage a failure. Rather than fail, I have found a way, with others, to rise higher faster. It takes me back to a crossfit boot camp I participated in last year where our motto was “stronger together”. This reminder is humbling and makes my heart beam. I am at a solid place in my recovery as a ‘single’ woman because of a supportive community. It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, it takes a village for all of our survival.
I am single, I am proud, I am loved and I am grateful.
You are never single or alone, you are supported.