Hi, my name is Learkana. And I’ve been single my entire life.
I guess your natural instinct might be to reassure me that there’s nothing wrong with that (if you’re not a dude). Or you might be really surprised (if you’re a dude).
I’ve agonized and wrestled over my singlehood for a while now. I would like to say that overall, I have some complicated feelings about my relationship status (or the lack thereof). But of course being the neurotic overanalytical person that I am, I perceive myself as having complicated feelings about everything, so…
Let’s just be really clear about some things. Yes, I identify as a 22-year-old spinster. Yes, my dreams nonjokingly include getting my own studio apartment and potentially owning some hypoallergenic cats (or maybe just some cat figurines, I’m not much of an animal person tbh). Yes, I occasionally think to myself (and yes, occasionally out loud), “Learkana, you’re going to die alone.”
But that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy BECAUSE of my singleness. Usually the thought, “Learkana, you’re going to die alone,” is accompanied by a lot of unexplained chuckling that causes my roommates to side-eye me and shake their heads. It’s just funny to me mostly (both the idea of dying alone and my roommates giving me weird looks). I think because I’ve come to terms with it–dying alone. (And my roommates giving me weird looks, I mean that’s just a given.)
“If you keep thinking that way, you will die alone,” Nicole keeps telling me. Yeah yeah yeah, the whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing. But I personally think I have legitimate reasons for believing that I will very well end up alone (please note that by “alone” I mean “never having been in a fully and mutually committed, loving romantic and sexual relationship”). My personality, my identity, and my beliefs and values make it EXTREMELY difficult for me to attempt the dating thing, let alone the whole falling-in-love thing (look out for my anticlimactic dating stories, to be posted on here!). I’m a cynic. I’m sarcastic. I’m blunt. I’m short-tempered. I’m an unapologetic feminist (and if you think that the fact that I tacked on that self-identification after all those purportedly negative qualifiers as some sort of confirmation that they all make up a summation of what a feminist is then bitch, please, know that correlation is no causation–I could just as easily be a cynical sarcastic blunt self-hating misogynist). I’m introverted and enjoy being alone a lot more than most people I know. I’m also loud and obnoxious and crude and petty and spiteful. I spend a lot of time inside my head and my family conditioned me to feel shame and hesitance about my appearance, my body and my sexuality. So yeah, I have a lot of roadblocks on the journey to Coupledom, especially as a straight Asian American female. (Beware sexism! Beware racist fetishizing!)
But what if I don’t want to journey to Coupledom? Why does being with someone have to be the end destination? If we are sticking to this metaphor, I would like to take an alternative route to Somewhere Else, please. Preferably, Self-Love. Or Independence. Or Alone-But-Not-Lonely. I definitely need to reach those places. Not to say that these roads are mutually exclusive from the road to Coupledom, but…you know, when you’re traveling to more than one place you’re more likely to get lost. You might hit a few more bumps. You might take a wrong turn and…shit where was I going with this metaphor
People have told me, “You’re going to find the right person.” “You’ll find a really great guy.” “You’re gonna find your soulmate someday.” But you know what? There’s absolutely NO guarantee! So quit with the hopeless attempts at consoling. Also, not to mention needless attempts–I’m not sure I’d want to find this so-called figment of everyone else’s imagination even if it were plausible, but I’ll talk more about that later.
I think the idea of a soulmate is very subjective. I respect that some people feel that way about their significant others, but I think it’s more a state of mind than some kind of actuality. Even if I did put stock into the whole soulmate idea, realistically, only some people, not all, would have a soulmate. The mainstream idea of a soulmate is contingent upon what I’d like to call “coupledom essentialism” anyway, which I take issue with and is the real problem–er, topic–I would like to address. (Plus side of having my own blog: I get to make up my own fancy terms and have them sound all official-like! Woo hoo!)
Coupledom essentialism: the socially ingrained notion that a single person must be in want or need of another person to complete them, thus forming a more perfect union, or whatever.
Both society and mainstream media push the (heteronormative) couple narrative on each and every one of us. Don’t deny it–it’s everywhere. How many movies have ended in pairing everyone off? (What one of my favorite professors at Mills referred to as “the heterosexual embrace.”) Even if relationships aren’t the sole focus of a movie, the protagonist (usually the leading man, unfortunately) almost always has a love interest (usually the underdeveloped female object, unfortunately). How many songs are NOT about being in love with someone? (Maybe about 3%.) Even more disgustingly, our legal system privileges coupledom over singlehood, when you think about all the benefits you receive as a legally recognized couple (hospital visits, filing joint tax returns, getting family rates for shit, etc.). God, now I’m thinking about politicians and celebrities and how we have all somehow silently agreed that as a general rule, being married is a sign of morality and integrity. “But he’s married! He can’t possibly have been a misogynist/child molester/adulterer.” Yes, because a piece of paper absofuckinglutely clears you of all douchebaggery and fuckups, amirite?
Okay back to the actual point. (Was there one?) I guess my personal qualms with being in a relationship involves the idea that I’m always supposed to be in communication with this person, and vice versa, and he’s supposed to be my other half or some shit, and it’s weird if we don’t spend enough time together or don’t call or text each other every five minutes. And you can accuse me of stereotyping, but c’mon! It’s fucking true. I’ve seen it in action, all the time. People’s behaviors are different when they’re in relationships (straight and queer). You’re supposed to be more accountable. I’m not really down for that. I don’t mean to say I’m not down for being accountable, because I’d like to think of myself as a damn good friend, but I mean being the highest level of accountable specifically to my significant other because twu wuv conquers all other social paradigms or whatever.
The main thing that bugs me about coupledom is that once people are sworn in, they aren’t really their own person anymore. Say you’re a good friend of mine and you’ve recently started seeing someone. And suddenly I start hearing about them a lot. Okay, fine, whatever. But then things start kind of getting serious. So when I call you on the phone, no doubt that someone is listening in. Or you’ve probably told them all about what I’ve ranted about exclusively to you. Then whenever I invite you to places, it’s automatically assumed that I invited that someone too. Then it gets to the point where I don’t see you anymore because you’re off doing couple-y things and since I’m not a couple it’s just weird and then you’ll cancel on me or not want to do things with me because I’m single and whenever I see you, you’re with that someone and what the fuck did you two hire a fucking doctor to surgically attach you both at the fucking hip or something gosh
Anyway, I know I sound super whiny and petty but whatever this is my blog I can do whatever I want and also, I did warn you about the pettiness and spitefulness (see a few paragraphs above). Look, if you’re actually reading this and are in a relationship and have been protesting every other line I’ve written because jeez, you are so totally you’re own person AND in a loving stable relationship, have I been living under a rock like some kind of jaded spinster creature? Well more power to you! Also, why on earth are you reading my blog?
To conclude, I don’t see myself being in a relationship anytime in the near future, in spite of having registered for an online dating website (trust me, I half-regret it everyday). I like my “me time” (as Nicole would say) too much, I guess. Getting to do whatever the hell I want without having to consult someone, being creepily obsessed with oblivious dudes without it being a problem, etc. I think I do want to have at least one relationship at some point in my life. I would like the opportunity to be deeply invested in someone romantically, platonically, and sexually, a three-for-one package! (Uh, sorry for the mostly unintended innuendo) However fleeting it may be, I would at least have a chance to look back and say, “Hey, I genuinely loved this person and this person genuinely loved me, things didn’t work out but they were pretty fucking awesome while they did.” But as of right now, that is not a priority. I am my priority, and having fun and being free is my priority. I’m still figuring myself out, and I don’t think I need the plus one and extra baggage on my journey to self-discovery. Right?
So is it weird that being in a relationship is basically just a figurative checkbox on my mental bucket list?
Probably. It also possibly means I have issues and should see a therapist (people have been encouraging me to for years), but hey, everyone has issues and should see a therapist. I’m not alone on that front, at least. 😉
tl;dr FOREVER ALONE
Note: I had actually set out to make this post as empowering, inspiring, and positive as possible but…defensive and resigned was the best I could do ok