June 20, 2015

A Sole Piece of Advice from one Single Person to Another.

Franciso Osorio/Flickr

When I first wrote this piece, it was titled “10 Pieces of Advice for a Recently Single Girl.”

That piece didn’t quite sit right, and in the name of context, this new article was born.

The “Ten Pieces of Advice” article first came together over a lunch hour after explaining my doubts, fears and intrigue around Tinder to my workmate. It was a conversation I had talked about with many of my friends, one that I continued to have until the cold, rainy Sunday that I finally did it—I signed up for Tinder.

There’s now a little red flame on my home screen waiting for me to make my first swipe.

But on this particular day of writing, I was feeling playful and curious about the possibilities of singlehood (I can try that 5:2 diet I’ve always wanted to try! I can quit my job, move to Bali and teach yoga! I can date a woman if I want to!). I wrote the article in this frame of mind and, without thinking too hard about it, I hit the submit button.

Since then, I’ve been stressing out about the piece.

First of all, my original article was pretentious as all hell. I sometimes tend to be so in my writing, just as equally as I fall back on self criticism (in which this original article was also awash with).

The article supposed that any woman who has endured a breakup has been through the same ordeal as I have—which is ridiculous, really, because I know better than to presume such things. Two of my closest friends are also going through a breakup, and while our circumstances and life positions are similar, our opinions, values and coping mechanisms have differed greatly.

The article also supposed the readers are young-ish (like me), childless (like me) and employed (like me), all of which I imagine make separating from one’s partner a little less complicated. It also guessed that the readers have a beautiful network of friends, like I do, who have the patience of saints and will listen to me rework my version of the story, rattle off the pros and cons of starting to date again and whine about the “too many choices” paradox I count myself both lucky and cursed to endure.

Secondly, the article suggested that my life has been wrapped up in the breakup. It has and it hasn’t.

Over the last five months, I’ve written a lot about breaking up with my partner. Some of it has been published. Some of it is still waiting to find a home somewhere on the worldwide web. Most of it will never be read by anyone, including myself, who will happily leave those explicative, rant-filled journal entries unscrutinized. I’ve also written about many other things, including (but not limited to) finally rereading and editing the novel I wrote years ago.

Things have changed enormously, as can only be expected when someone parts from a friend, lover and partner whom they shared a life with. I moved to a new house and have a roommate again. All of the long, beautiful hair my ex-partner loved has been chopped off into a bob. I exercise more often and stay out drinking and dancing way later than I used to. My sex life is nonexistent.

That being said, my life has gone on.

I work, eat, sleep, laugh, cry, dream, talk in circles. In short, I still am who I am. Breaking up with my partner hasn’t changed this—it’s only offered me more space to be who I am, which has been both brilliant and terrifying.

I hope the adage that “life goes on, no matter what it throws at us” is a commonly shared perspective all of us newly single women and men experience. But even this I cannot be certain of.

I’m no more or less qualified to hand out advice on the human experience than anyone else.

I am an expert in being single and being in a relationship insomuch that I have lived through both of these experiences and am mostly satisfied, or at least accepting, of what both of these statuses entail.

We are never alone in our experiences—many people have sailed the same waves of hardships before us.

But we are also always alone.

Just as relationships between couples cannot be compared, a single person’s experience cannot be compared to another single person’s experience. We must navigate the choppy waters of our lives with our self-awareness and beliefs. The people in our lives will support and love us the best they can, but on this journey, we are always, in the end, on our own.

So the only piece of advice I am still happy to publish from my original article is this:

Some days will be fine, good even. Others will be utter shit. Embrace it all. We’ll meet someone new one day and all the time we spent healing and learning from the past will make our next relationship, and the person we are in it, stronger and better.

For now, let’s be single.

We are enough.


Relephant Read:

Advice to All the Single Ladies.


Author: MaiLynn Stormon-Trinh

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Franciso Osorio/Flickr

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