I always feel like every great thing has some obscure and meaningful small beginning, and I really want this right here to be great so we’ll start right there, at the small beginning.
The small beginning in this case is me, quite literally me. I am a small person. This is something that has really brought all 5 foot something of me to a humbled state of existence. Well this and street style in Seoul.
You see, I have this tall walk, taller-than my body walk, which I learned from my mother. I also carry all my learning and knowledge in this short history of my life like a chip on my shoulder; thanks to my father. And none of this is a wrong thing to do, it simply obscured my view of me, the small individual.
Another thing I have only recently learnt about myself is that I am ‘single’. Not ‘single’ as a point of reference for when we begin long and hearty conversations on relationships, not ‘single’ where there is context and even a useful conversation to be had. But ‘single’ as a term that somehow in one fell swoop, lowers you from socially acceptable to socially unacceptable.
Single where there is almost always an underlying opinion.
Single that derides such phrases as ‘you’re such a nice person to be single’ or my all time favourite ‘why are you single?’.
And don’t get me wrong it’s not everyone, my friends and I almost certainly talk about our relationship status with laughter and even derision. And this isn’t even angst at familial pressure on the subject. Nope, this is out-of the blues, random people and random contexts, that make me bite the Nigerian in my tongue really hard and give way to full-on British pleasantness.
I’ll give you an example.
*auntie at the hairdresser*
“It’s not good to be alone” / “You don’t have a boyfriend why”
*otherwise entertaining comedy show*
“Where are my single ladies, so I can hook you up”
In and on their own, maybe there’s really no harm to any of this, opining on a stranger’s relationship status, whether they are single or married or ‘complicated’; I mean surely we all know exactly what is really under the hood of our labels of a relationship status.
And people’s nosiness I can always spite with a little bit of misinformation (lol). But I am often left wondering as to the assumptions already seemingly made about me, or my lifestyle at times like now when i’m single. It feels like from the questions that almost instantly follow that first one, it is so easy to tell that people often view the state of just being unencumbered with another person’s emotional well-being, as being negative.
But I’d like to say no, and thank you.
I, a small, single, being like me, has a life that speaks for itself, my relationship status does not speak for me.
While I have a single story (lol see what I did there) of the singles experience, in mine, no harm, or misfortune, or loss has come my way by virtue of my being single.
So please, just because your single life sucked does not mean mine must too.
Words by Ebun Ajayi