The impossible task of becoming the perfect adult
I was inspired to write this post after reading the wonderful Charlotte Maria Robinson’s piece on modern dating. I often think about the pressures that society and the media place upon us from a young age and the fallacy of the ‘perfect adult’ that most people in their 20s are battling to try and become - the independent, responsible, successful home-owner with a strong marriage and a child or two. The marriage part of that fallacy, and the whole ‘love thing’ in general, is something that has both confused and filled me with fear in equal measures for a long time.
As kids, we are told not to worry because “there’s someone out there for everyone”, as though life is impossible to go through alone. As though there’s some secret about how terrible it all becomes that we’re yet to find out, and when we do, we’ll realise we need someone else to share the burden. And as though the day we find this magical person will be the day when we finally become ‘complete’. That every day we live until then will be as half a person. It’s also frequently implied that to never find that person will somehow be our failure and will be the mark of a life only half fulfilled.
Perhaps when reading my blog posts or listening to my music, you might have a preconceived idea about my life. Perhaps you think I have tried being in relationships but I have decided to be independent because I enjoy it better this way. If you thought any of that previously then you’d be wrong. You see, i’ve felt the emptiness that no one ever seems to talk about openly. The emotions that only take place quietly where no one can see, but that I know for a fact are being experienced right now not only by some people I call friends but by millions of people i’ve never met.
No one’s ever fallen in love with me. No one i’ve ever given my heart to has given theirs back. Anyone who has ever shown an interest has only been up for something brief. Apart from a few weeks back in primary school, i’ve never had a boyfriend (and it hasn’t been for the lack of trying). I’ve watched friend after friend who used to be in the single club with me magically find the perfect match and write posts saying “when you know, you know” on Facebook whilst I have given up hope on this rare, mythical happening ever taking place for me.
And yes, I confess, when I am tired and feeling low, I occasionally let the doubts and depressive thoughts creep in. Is it because I am unlovable and annoying? Is it my fault for not putting myself out there enough? I look at myself in the mirror and i wonder if it’s possible that anyone will ever want to be with ME, everything I am, flaws and all, forever. And if I will ever feel fearless enough to let them in?
It is actually surprisingly hard for me to write these words, because I am so used to putting up a front about this stuff. Truly, deep in my heart, I do believe that it is fine if no one ever finds love, including me. Who ever said you needed to anyway? Who made up that you had to get married? The excessive peddling of the whole fairytale fantasy is extremely harmful to both men and women, and it angers me that anyone ever has to feel anything less than a beautiful human being just because they cannot live up to it.
And would any of us really prefer to be in a bad relationship rather than have the freedom to flourish as individuals?
I will always continue to argue that it’s absolutely fine and normal to be single - forever if you want - but I also want everyone to know that it’s ok to feel the way I do sometimes. Everyone likes to make out that they know exactly what they are doing and who they are, but it’s not realistic for anyone to feel like that 100% of the time. People have an incredible skill of only showing their finest moments.
Just remember that you are incredible, strong and capable of anything. On your own or in a relationship. And you don’t need to be anything anyone else says you should be. You are enough. Always <3