All My Single People

Last Sunday was Valentine’s Day. The night before I was with some friends, I imbibed some alcohol, I complained about boys. I came home and I wrote the following Facebook status: “I’m a woman. I’m single. I love it. Deal with it.”

I woke up the next morning, looked at said status and initially felt a twinge of chagrin. Oh, no, I thought to myself, how embarrassing and desperate and– Then I stopped. Because you know what, it’s true.

I do love being single. It’s something I haven’t had a lot of experience with. I made an attempt from the year 2014-2015. I tried to be single for the duration, and while I counted it as a win at the time, I’m gonna go ahead and say, this was not the case. Whether or not I specifically called it “dating”, I was involved with people during that year. Welcome to being a millennial. No one is going to say what anything is, and everyone is going to be pretty upset about a lot of nothing.

Anyway, the point is, I really like being single. It gives me space to do and be a person all on my own. Which is an amazing and life-affirming thing. I get to think about what I want to think about. Whether that’s suddenly getting very into whale noises or obsessing over Adam Driver. I get to go down that rabbit hole without worrying about who I am or am not neglecting. I have room to stretch my weird little mind. And I’d like to take said space to talk about relationships and not-relationships.

Being in a relationship is not winning. Because interacting with other human beings is not a game. If you’re “playing” to “win” and are frustrated because following “the rules” isn’t getting you anywhere… I maybe found your problem.

No one is an object to be achieved. As many movies as exist that cast (primarily) women as the trophy, women are in fact people with lives of our own and no time to sit around judging you on your strengths and weaknesses and deciding whether to place you in an imaginary sexist creation called “the friend zone” or not. That doesn’t exist. If someone says they want to be friends it’s because they don’t want a relationship with you, for any number of reasons. They don’t owe you anything. Move on.

Being single isn’t losing. There’s no timeline for when you should have dated someone by or married someone by or whatever else you’re aiming for. There are only messy people living out their messy lives and hopefully doing their best to love and respect the people around them. There shouldn’t be pressure to be in a relationship (or for that matter pressure to not be in a relationship). And, yes, rejection is frustrating, but it isn’t the end.

Sometimes I’ve been asked how or why I’ve been in “so many” relationships. And honestly it’s because I make a fool of myself over and over again until something sticks. That’s it. That’s the secret. There are no rules I follow, nothing particularly intriguing about me. I just ask people questions, fall for them, ask them out and get turned down. Simple as that. Occasionally some weirdo says yes.

Be honest with people. Be vulnerable with people. Be yourself with people. Don’t let anything force you to be what you don’t want to be. And enjoy the precious time you get to spend with yourself. You are truly amazing all on your lonesome, just as you’re truly amazing in context with others.

Me? I’m a woman. I’m single. I love it. Deal with it.

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This I Believe Revisited

In my freshman year of high school, my humanities teacher, one of the coolest people I know, asked us all to write a “This I Believe” statement a la the NPR segment. I wrote then about feeding our cat Kitty/Jake (probably should write a blogpost bout that too someday). I’d like to write now about the Force.

I believe in the Force. Not in midochlorians. Not in telekinetic powers. Not in Darth Binx. I do think lightsabers would be better than guns.

What I believe in is a connection between all things in the universe. In a physical and in a spiritual sense. We are all made from electrons spinning and whirling around somewhere (forgive my hazy physics…), and on a particle level I am not entirely sure where I end and the rest of the world begins. In that sense, I am in some way connected to the farthest reaches of the universe. This provides me comfort sometimes when I’m missing people, I know that we are still in contact whatever the distance.

But more than a physical conception of this universal connection, there is my simple belief in it. From my childhood religious days, I learned that beliefs are not based on rationalizations. They come instead from that secret locked door just behind your heart. And while I’ve moved away from many of the teachings of those early years, I still believe in belief.

I believe that we are connected, that every action pulls us in some direction, that the words we speak, the way we treat others, it impacts us all. Which is why we must be kind. Which is why we must be better than what we believe we can be. Not only for the people we are impacting in the present, but for all the consequences that ripple from it. Out to the furthest edges of the galaxy.

This I believe.

Obvious Invisibility: Part II

A year or so has passed since last I wrote about this topic. Which is irresponsible on my part. I think I make excuses to myself about not writing about race because I don’t want to be dominating the conversation, but there’s a difference between taking over a discourse and remaining silent out of cowardice.

So, here’s the thing, I don’t know all the details of what’s happening at Carleton right now, but I’m assuming it’s similar to last year. We’re a really white campus, in terms of who is given public voice and priority rather than necessarily purely by the numbers. It is still unacceptable to use excuses such as strictly proportional representation in student government, residential life positions, and extracurricular activities. It is up to the people running said programs, incumbent particularly on the white representatives, to encourage people from every background to audition/apply/vote what have you. To make these processes easier for people who don’t traditionally have as easy access.

Ease of access may be hindered due purely to differences (differences devoid of any sort of moral value, simply differences) in skin color, the way they treat elders in their families, the language they speak at home, how they are taught and trained to behave in classrooms, their socioeconomic background, the way authority figures have historically behaved towards them. All of these factors and more need to be taken into account when determining how to run an organization and how accessible said organization is to all people.

I’m framing this primarily based on my understanding of Carleton. I don’t yet have enough knowledge of my current location to speak with any sort of weight. But I’m doing my best to observe my surroundings and using what very very little power I have to effect at least conversation if nothing else.

We live in a grossly unjust society, with a long and gruesome history of racial violence. White discomfort is, for me, one of the least important factors to be taken under consideration. My former resident Reina said it super well that we shouldn’t be worried about “white fragility”. It’s time for me to stop living in my cowardice and start facing up to the realities of our society, not frozen by guilt, but determined to right the injustices of our ancestors. Determined not to repeat the crimes of last year, and the crimes of last month.

Black lives matter.