Leslie Jones And Why Being Tired Of Singleness Isn't A Lack Of Self Care
The internet has been buzzing for a week with articles about comedienne Leslie Jones' caption under her post-workout photo.
“Ok back to cardio. But confession I feel like I’m doing it for nothing. “I know it not I’m healthy and look good but I really feel like ‘what’s it all for’ if the people you want to notice don’t. I just feel like I might die alone," she stated.
There was a beautiful out pour from celebrity friends and fans to remind Jones of just how beautiful she is. However Feb 2 Jones set the record straight by tweeting, "Wow y’all had a party with that post lmao. If there is anyone in the world who loves themselves that is me! It was just a single woman complaining post. Thanks for the love but I think y’all misunderstood . love everything about me just ready for a man to do the same. CHEAH!!".
I totally understand Leslie on this and I now feel that another conversation needs to be had. Sometimes it feels like us single women aren't allowed to be vulnerable and open about our desire to be in a relationship. In my own experience it's always my friends who are in a relationship or some form of involvement who are quick to diagnose me with some internal issue once I open up about wanting a shift in my love life. At the slightest mention that I would like to have a special someone I can always bet that I will hear one of the reoccurring 4 things:
1) "You just need to love yourself more and practice self-care."
2) "You need to spend this time alone getting to know yourself."
3) "I don't think you know how tough relationships can be."
4) "Just be patient."
I know these are well meaning comments, but I won't lie sometimes it comes off as insensitive and one sided. For one, I am the self care queen. You can always count on me to research new ways to show appreciation towards myself. As a matter of fact, I'm the friend that's always putting my other friends up on game about what they can do to get/keep their energy in check. I am also no stranger to spending time alone. I am an only child who was barely allowed to go anywhere which resulted into a majority of my years at home tucked away in my room. I haven't been in that many relationships and now I even live alone as well as work from home. Then, just because I haven't had a relationship in a while doesn't mean that I've forgotten that it's a responsibility that has pros and cons. I am always taking mental notes as I observe my friends and family who are booed up. Bottom line is I'm not lacking in any of these areas. Being patient is tricky; I must admit this is all you can do when nothing else seems to be working, but it still stings when you've been on this single journey for a while.
I try to reason that the people who view my single girl complaints as a cry out for help with my self esteem are usually the people who don't know what it's like to be alone. Being single and alone are two different things. I have friends who are technically single but you can always bet that there is someone they are involved with or chasing after them. I am the only person I know that is alone; meaning 0 involvement and no one (as far as I know) interested in changing that. I sometimes wonder if the same people who were dishing out comments as if I'm being dramatic had spent some real time alone, would they say the same thing. To those who are accustomed to being shown interest my complaints on my down days seem silly because they can't relate. They don't know what it feels like to go a week without that form of attention, let alone years. I've heard the argument from their side. "I wish I could be alone and take some time to myself." But even in that, there is a difference between being alone by choice and not being able to change your love life if you wanted to. I know that even if they did pause their love life, whenever they decided to get back on board it would be a line of people who've been awaiting their return. As for myself, no matter if I am actively looking or couldn't care less (I've done both) the results are the same. I wish that there was more understanding and less dismissive or assumptive dialogue being had about the subject.
Let's be clear, I am not on the "being single is the worst thing ever" bandwagon. I see the blessings in it. I enjoy being able to take risks with my career and reinvent myself however many times I want to without having to consult anyone. But just because I don't hate being single doesn't mean I don't have the desire to be loved and give love. I hype myself up when I get dressed, I give myself pep talks when on the sofa crying because my goals fell through, I take myself shopping and to the movies. I'm not afraid to do any of these things, but sometimes I do wish I had someone to tell me how amazing I look,endless hugs and cuddles, have spontaneous days of spending time together or to experience knowing that I have someone in my corner. I appreciate when people applaud me for my motivation and getting things done with sometimes little to no support system, but I don't want my life to always look like this. I've become way more accustomed to being alone than I'm starting to think is normal and like Leslie sometimes I wonder if this will forever be the case. I want an opportunity to learn things about myself and life while being partnered with someone as well as see if I can give as much as I think I can.
Wanting these things doesn't make me weak it makes me human. My self love shouldn't be in question because I admit that it would be nice to know that someone outside of myself thinks I'm as special as I affirm that I am. It's the same way as I think I'm a great writer, but whenever someone takes out the time to tell me so it's a really great feeling. Confirmation can be just as rewarding as affirmation. I understand Leslie's caption for what it is. She probably is very proud of her motivation to stay on her weight loss journey and is loving the results, but has her days where she wishes she had someone she could run alongside a treadmill with or to send her a long cute text message telling her how beautiful and proud of her he is. There's nothing wrong with wanting that attention and it's just frustrating that some can't see that.
The way some people react when you express your desire to want to be in a relationship can come off as dismissive or judgmental. To be honest, I always feel a bit embarrassed when I begin to talk about my love life (even now) and my desire to make a change. I get worried that I will be accused of being desperate, needy, depressed, lonely, insecure and a slew of other negative things. Based on the feedback I usually get, it's as though people expect me to ALWAYS uphold this "I'm a strong black independent woman who can do it all alone and happily so" image. I've noticed more respect is given when I take on more of a "I don't need anybody" type of attitude. But that's just not real life for me.
My love life looks like a bunch of ups and downs just like everyone else. I have days where I am neutral because my mind is focused on something else, I have days that I'm fulling indulged in my singleness and thinking of tons of stuff I can do with all of my alone time and I have days like Leslie, when I'm wish I had that special kind of attention. I love myself and I'm very proud of the many things I've accomplished and how well I take care of myself. I just look forward to the day that a guy can join in on me loving me. It's V-day season which can be hard for people who are that alone type of single. To my singles: do whatever makes you feel good. If you want to cry and complain; do it. If you want to indulge in self-love and take yourself out; go for it. To everyone else I hope that you're willing to be a listening ear and hear this person's desires out. Truth is sometimes all we need is to be heard.