As salaam alaikum,
I was single until I was 27. Scratch that, I was woefully single until I was 27. I am 29 and still unmarried. In the age of more equality for women than in recent past, higher percentages women in colleges and universities than men and entering the era of embracing or rejecting leaning in, people have given me reasons why we're still single since before I should have been worried about it.
Those of us who are in this class, those of us who are or have been woefully single, know these "rationale" well. We know it so well and it's so tired that I'm not going to recant it here! Suffice it to say, it is largely untrue.
Whether it's a small pool of black men who will accept a woman who has more degrees or more earning potential, whether it's a small pool of Muslim men who will accept such a woman, whether it's a small pool of men, regardless of religion, who won't push sex...there are diverse factors at play as to why so many of us have been so woefully single.
But we should never think that it's because we are impossible. That it's impossible for us to be desired by a man, impossible for us to be loved, impossible or just too damn hard, because that is also not true.
We, my sisters, are fantastic!
Every long-single woman I know, whether she is woeful or not, is a fantastic, multifaceted woman who is not in any way impossible.
Granted, being in an actual relationship after being long-single is a steep learning curve. We are fantastic but we're far from perfect and after living comfortably in your own clutter, so to speak, someone else being present and moving through that clutter puts your shortcomings on blast!
After being long-single, being in a relationship with another person will present a steep learning curve, but it's not impossible. And it may be hard to break through the walls we've built for so many years to protect ourselves from loving too easily and getting too hurt. And things that may be self-evident for someone who has had more relationships than we have we have to experience for the first time. In some unanticipated ways, we are grown women like young girls in ways our partners do not expect.
And the rest is starting from zero and recognizing that letting someone, anyone into your life like this, this close, this intimate, is hard simply because that person is outside of your body and not you.
And it's not our faces, the amount we cover or do not cover, our size, our shape. When it comes to the physical strictly, there is literally someone for everyone. When I was woefully single, I used to want someone who loved me but never did I imagine someone looking lovingly upon me when I couldn't look that lovingly on myself. Who would have though that I would still be gorgeous even when gaining weight and my face starts to take on that rounded oval shape?
We are fantastic! And there are tons of things that we don't have to have all figured out before entering these relationships. We don't have to love ourselves fully, we don't have to have lived out our every ambition, traveled to all of the places we wanted to go, be fully realized women. It would be nice, but we're not perfect, and we're still going to frown at our thighs in the mirror sometimes, and engage in negative self talk every now and again about the stupid mistake we made at work, stupid me. We won't have learned that third language, we won't have filled up our passport, because it's okay to still be a work in progress.
Because we won't change but the context of ourselves and aspirations change when we make space in our life for another. And it's okay to grow from that point, too.
We are not impossible, we are fantastic.
I know because at 27 I met someone with whom I could just be exactly the Muslim woman I am, exactly the physician that I am, exactly the black woman I am and everything in between that I haven't had the chance to be with anyone else. And I thought there was something wrong with me, intermittently, in the years before when I wasn't considered past my face, by body, my cover or lack of cover, and my potential in short-term sexual encounters. And loving me is easy to him. And loving him is easy.
And before I met him, I knew I was fantastic.
I just also thought I was impossible.
But none of us, sisters, are impossible.