Selfishly SingleI grew up listening to all the classic fairy tales and old-school Disney, where girls grow up to be princesses and eventually meet and marry their prince. For every girl there was a boy, for every Barbie there was a Ken (even if Mattel markets otherwise). I always wondered what my prince would be like. Would he be dashing? Would he be as smart as me? Would he whisk me away on a white horse? Would I get married to him in a beautiful white dress?
As I got older, and I began to relate to other boys and girls in general, I quickly realized that Disney was wrong and all the fairy tales were too. There were no princes where I was, only frogs. So far, the only princes I had found were close to me, right at home in the form of my two older brothers and daddy. I was the only girl in a large family of primarily boys (extended family included) so I was naturally spoiled like a princess by all my aunts who had pined for girls and never got them. So finding nothing but toads out there for me in the real world was shocking.
Moving up into Junior High, I remained steadfast in my belief that boys were no good for you, and this belief had manifested itself even stronger when many of my classmates would run from one boy to the next a dime a minute. While I didn't think that this type of serial monogamy (at the time I didn't know it was called this) was good or even healthy for a person, I had come to understand that, for some people, it was a very normal way of life and living. And, although I didn't agree with it, I accepted it because they're free to date Rod and Bob and Jim as much as they want. Steve is new and exciting, but I've already known Steve for six weeks, and there's already Bob there who's newer and more exciting than Steve. And when I'm done with Bob there's always Tim.
But something else happened for me during Junior High, and that was when my Daddy passed away due to heart failure. And my brothers and I had to watch and endure how Mom would quietly cry at night in her room when she thought we were asleep, or she was being too quiet to hear her. This was where I started to think about love--the romantic kind of love. I love my mother, father, and both my older brothers, but I never knew what love was--what it truly meant to love someone. It was only a little later on that I found out what it was and knew that I, nor any of my classmates or even friends, have ever truly been in love.
Love is something you can't fall out of. It's a hole so deep that you lose yourself in it. To truly love someone, is to lay your life down for them. It's one thing to say you'll take a bullet for him, for her, but it's another to actually step up and do it. To truly love someone is to take all of them in, their hurts, failures, flaws, and successes to cherish, support, and celebrate with them. It's to grow old and die with them. John 3:16 says this: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but live everlasting life." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says this about love: "Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
Love is eternal, that's what I learned. Everything less is affection. True enough, this is how God views love, but when I hear about other types of love in comparison to this, this love is always purer.
In High School, I learned something else about love. I learned that to not love is to be selfish. And so, armed with my understanding of love, knowledge that I have never been in love, and epiphany that to not love is selfish, I learned in a very roundabout way that I was selfish. The dating around me continued--got worse even. People would hook up and break up. And ex-boyfriends and girlfriends were numerous. I also learned that it's not right to mess around with a person's feelings in such a thrifty way. I told myself I'd never treat someone else's affections in such a cheap way because it's not good for them and it's not good for me.
I also learned about the other side of love in High School. The other side that isn't so happy, the side that's all about pain and sacrifice. When my dad died, my mother cried. After so many years of marriage, there was still love--so much that it overflowed into tears when it suddenly had nowhere to go. It broke my heart to see my mom like that, and many times I would go and sit with her, and let her just cry and hold me. Love is devotion.
Over the years, I've told many friends who have asked, and nearly all of them know, that I have no desire to get married. I don't want a husband, I don't want children, I don't want to start a family. I want to marry my job (probably) and be single for the rest of my life. I know what marriage and companionship can bring me, and I don't want any of it. I don't want to fall into the chasm called love. So when everyone tells me that I'm bluffing, and that they're going to give me the biggest "I told you so" on my wedding night, it just irritates me. They roll their eyes and plan their speech on my wedding night in their head, I can see it.
Thinking back on love, the sacrifice part of it, I realize that it scares me. I don't want to love someone so much and have them go away. I don't want them to become half of me and take it with them when they're gone. I don't want to be left with the leftovers and in pain. And manifested from this was pride: Why be half when I can already be whole on my own? Why take the leftovers when I can have everything? So when I saw it this way, the benefits of love all diminished and became meaningless and even sounded resentful to me. I began to focus on how much love requires you to give everything of yourself, ignoring how, in reverse, it meant you would be receiving everything from someone else.
To this day I choose to ignore it, because for me it's a choice. For others it might just be misinformation, misconception, or true ignorance dependent on their idea of love, but for me, it's a choice. And because I know to love nothing is selfish, I would have to honestly say that I am selfishly single. And very proud of it.