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Dispelling the Stigma Against Single

Pouring my heart and soul into myself instead of someone else, I found I wasn't defective despite the messages I had been sent. Rather, I was self-reliant in a way many of my coupled friends were not.
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There is so much stimuli telling women that they are defective if they are single. When we are young, we are fed the Disney cliché. As a result, as soon as many girls see their first Disney movie, they are planning their wedding. It is as if they should go to Bridezilla Bootcamp on a quest where they will fight to the death, many girls become Golum in search of the perfect ring. Then there is the joke that the bridesmaids will be sentenced to Pepto-Bismol pink dresses so the bride can shine. Yes, the bridesmaids are the single friends. Oh, and then a single girl must catch the bouquet. It cannot be a young girl. Otherwise, some woman feeling the burn of everyone around her getting married might go crazy.

Once one friend gets married, the rush to the altar begins. Fulfilling the checklist society tells women they must have, it is a race to see who will get married next. Then, of course, with marriage comes the fact that your life is no longer your own. The divorce rate in this country is so high, in my opinion ,because most people don't realize marriage is a business arrangement. They share the home, finances, etc. Once people have kids, their dreams take a backseat too. Suddenly, people realize marriage is just a trap and happily ever after is a myth. Not that future partners are evil, but sometimes things fall apart because everyone is human. This truth is never accurately portrayed.

Meanwhile, the single woman is painted in the most negative possible light. There is the fearful depiction of her. Yes, this version is morbidly obese, eats ice cream out of the container with her bare hands and only loves her 20 cats. This lady appears in the nightmares of those who are awaiting Prince Charming, and fear this is what they will become if he never arrives.

The second version is the bitter model that exists in the minds of straight men. Overly made up with blood-red lipstick, this woman readily spits out anti-male rhetoric and has too many opinions, and thus is labeled a "man hater" by her male counterparts. Meanwhile, "man hater" is just a misnomer for independent. However, this version also dies alone.

The last version is the Middle American Parental Fear. Yes, single means their daughter is a lesbian. Meanwhile, there is nothing wrong with same gender love. It more or less speaks to the internalized homophobia most of the uninformed feel. Their daughter does not have a man because she gay. Personally, I think that version is the most demeaning to everyone involved.

Yes, I am single. I do not qualify for an obesity study because I kick box and weight train. Sure, I love ice cream, but I do use a spoon. Oh, and I am allergic to cats. While I am independent, I do not hate men. I actually have quite a few male friends and enjoy their company quite a bit. Yes, I own red lipstick, but don't rock it out as much as I did when I was younger. No, I do not identify as lesbian. I think the thought that someone is labeled and potentially discriminated against for any reason due to their sexuality is abhorrent though.

When I was younger I will admit, I found it hard to live without a boyfriend of some sort. At 19, I remember being so lovestruck that I loaded myself up with liquid courage and told the dude how I felt. Shortly thereafter, because I forgot to eat, I puked on myself. Needless to say, he didn't return my feelings. At 21, I found myself entwined with a partner who was verbally and physically abusive. He made me believe I couldn't do anything without him and attempted suicide when I tried to leave. When I finally had the courage to break free, I discovered one thing: At the end of the day, the most important thing is not only loving yourself, but your happiness.

It changed the way I dated too, and I am grateful for that. I went from craving a partner to fill the void to wanting someone who treated me well. In that quest I also realized that I was quite capable of being my own person, with or without a significant other. I began enjoying my life and cultivated friendships with a host of people who wanted what was best for me no matter what. Yeah, there were a few flames but they burnt out. Some wanted too much too quick. Others eventually displayed qualities that turned me off. Then there were those that just died out and we ended up as friends. Truth be told, some of these are my most fulfilling friendships because we enjoy each other, just not in the romantic sense. I also found that I was fulfilled chasing my dreams like an Olympic runner chases gold. Pouring my heart and soul into myself instead of someone else, I found I wasn't defective despite the messages I had been sent. Rather, I was self-reliant in a way many of my coupled friends were not.

Some of my friends are coupled, and some have kids. I am happy for them, but the truth is, I like my freedom. I am not ready for that, yet. My time is my own. In the words of Madonna, "Love don't live here anymore." However, if Love chooses to knock, I won't slam the door if it truly is right. Until that time, this Lone Ranger is riding solo.