Here. Is. The. Deal.
To all my writer/blogger friends: the out of control numbered lists of things we should and shouldn’t be doing has gotten way out of hand.
Now, saying, “The 5 things you should …” or “the 10 things you should never …” is okay enough but the proverbial line in the sand must be drawn here and now! The other day I saw a friend on Facebook repost an article that said, “The 37 things you should never say to …”
Listen, I don’t even remember what the things were because I couldn’t get over how they stopped at 37?? Or actually, how did you even get to 37? I once tried to write a list for my younger brother on his 30th birthday with, “30 reasons I love you” and I got stuck at about 11 with nothing else to say. Now, I was eventually able to make up 21 more reasons but it taught me the lesson that lists are rough people, really rough.
So, come on folks, lets get back to numbered lists that make sense: 3, 5, 10 – those are all perfectly acceptable; 37, 42, 17 – you are just asking for trouble.
Now that we got that ugliness out of the way, lets get back to the 26 1/4th things you should never say to someone who is single AND named Mia Chard.
#1 You are so lucky to be single cause you get to travel. So ……. I’m not exactly sure where the correlation with singleness and traveling comes from but I’ve gotten it a lot and my question for those who have made this comment is: Have you never been traveling and seen couples or families?? Where are you going that you only see hundreds of single people out traveling by themselves? If that is really the case, tell me where it is you go and are seeing those hundreds of single people traveling alone and I’m there in a heartbeat (massive amounts of student loan debt be damned!) and finding my husband!
Now, all joking aside, I get that possibly, maybe, it’s easier for me cause it’s cheaper and I don’t have to worry about bringing kids with me?? But, lets refer again to the paragraph above and the parenthesized sentence and let it sink in that I’m not traveling for about 75 years, given that sentence combined with the fact that my chosen profession is social work. So, just know that next time you say the above I will assume the full sentence that you were trying to say is, “You are so lucky you get to travel – – – – – to Wendover, Utah.” When you put it that way, I tots agree with you!
#2 Have you tried ______________. Now, unless you are completing that sentence with the words, “a McDonalds McRib,” please don’t say them. Actually, don’t say those words either because: A. McRibs are gross and if you like them we are no longer friends. B. This is not 1997.
Yes, I have tried online dating, Tinder, LDS Planet, and I have a few scarred memories to prove it; like the one time a date asked me nothing all through lunch and answered my questions with monosyllables, only to then finally ask me a question after three minutes of silence with that one question being, “Do you like Taylor Swift?” and then getting a little annoyed with me when my answer wasn’t yes but a fumbled response of, “Errr, um, I guess, I don’t really think about her that much … I mean, I don’t not like her …”
I’ve also asked guys out, I’ve attended a LDS singles ward (for all you non LDS readers, a “ward” is a particular religious congregation usually separated by geography but in some cases, separated by marital status) for basically eternity and recently moved into what could be my life sentence until 45 … Dun, dun, dun … a MID-Singles ward. Could I try other things? Yes, of course but one small fact that I sometimes point out is how tiring it is for a homebody (don’t worry, I also read this as “homeboy” like a million times and while that also fits it is supposed to read home-body) like myself to have to be pushing myself to make it to activities, to group outings, to places where I might, “meet someone,” since I have been doing it since I was sixteen.
Isn’t there a site where you can meet other introvert/extroverts who enjoy spending evenings at home, reading, playing cards, talking, or watching Netflix?? My small talk tolerance meter is reading dangerously high and one of these days I might just completely lose it when someone asks me what I do for work or what I like to do for fun and I’ll start telling them I count ceiling dots for work and enjoy walking backwards around cities for fun – now that’s an interesting conversation.
#3 Don’t worry, if you don’t get married in this life, Heavenly Father has someone prepared for you in the next life and you’ll be married in the eternities.
Let’s just make sure that sentence is never uttered, especially if it is uttered by a well-meaning friend or foe that happens to say that just as they go home to their spouse and children.
Let’s remember together the last time you were impatient as you waited for something … maybe the line at the post office was too long (do people still go to post offices??), or you were stuck in a slow moving traffic lane for about 2 minutes longer than you thought you should have been, or possibly you decided to kick it old school and go back to Dial Up Internet where it took a solid 5 minutes of a weird crackly noises before AOL could tell you that you had mail – how well did that waiting go over?
Now, multiply that by a gizillion patrillion (all official numbers, by the way, just make sure you don’t write an article with a list that high 😉 ) and you might begin to barely understand how it feels to be alone and single for most of your life when all you want is a family, people to share your life with, someone else to go home to at the end of the night.
I don’t mean to make light of the LDS doctrine that I believe in, that families are eternal and some blessings happen in this next life, I believe it and I know that a comment like that is often meant with well intentions. For some it might bring comfort but for me it does not. I struggle having that said to me as an answer for why I shouldn’t feel sad or have pain about my current situation. Often times when we chose to share with others how we are feeling, we don’t want our pain solved or minimized; we just want it listened to.
#4 Marriage and kids are a lot harder than it looks, be grateful you are single.
So, that’s basically the best thing anyone can ever say.
Wow. Um. Yup. I think we just discovered the reason I’m not married: I still use “NOT” jokes. Well, I guess I can stop now cause I’m basically certain I just sealed my “single til your dead” card. Anyone want to go to Wendover?
But seriously, folks, I never said I thought marriage and children were easy. When is anything that is ever really worth it, easy? Life is hard and painful for all of us in different ways, I just want the chance at having it be hard and painful WITH someone else, or having those hard and painful moments sprinkled in with some of the best life has to offer as far as I’m concerned: holding a sleeping baby, hearing the words “I love you” from a spouse, watching your child show kindness to another, seeing a spouse or child fail or them seeing you fail but also being part of the getting back up process.
Those moments matter and often turn the hard into manageable. I know it’s hard, I’m not asking for easy.
#5 If you could just love yourself enough and get over some of your past trauma it will come into your life.
Nope. Sorry. Please stop talking.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this one from people and I have no joke for it because it cuts too deep. When this is said it means that the person saying it is giving me a different standard to live by than what hundreds and thousands of other people have had to meet before they found love and family.
This says to me that until you’ve worked out your crap Mia, you are unlovable and you are the most unlovable because you have to hit this higher level of “okayness” or loving yourself enough before you can have a spouse or children – – – other people don’t have to meet perfection but you sure do … Can all of you reading this now raise your hand if you are married and keep it raised if you loved yourself perfectly when you got married and had also worked out all your issues and individual weaknesses before you got married?
Yes, there are ways that I can improve – I can love myself more, I can be better at working through my trauma or abuse; I can be nicer, kinder, and happier. I am working towards all of those but there isn’t this level of perfection in each category that I must meet in order to find a spouse. It’s not a real reason and just needs to not be said.
#6 What’s wrong with you that you have never been married or What’s the deal with never being in a serious relationship? (This has mainly come from 3 different guys on first dates and is for anyone who will possibly, maybe date me in the future – which is probably now unlikely given this post)
First things first – “what’s the deal” is the same thing as “what’s wrong with you” in the above question; it’s just a backhanded way to say it.
Second thing second – Thank you for the many years of therapy I have had to go through as I have worked to get over my self-worth issues due to the awesomeness that is this question. If I send you a bill could you write the check out to Mia’s recovery fund? Make sure it’s enough to cover my next vaca in the dusty Las Vegas of Utah …. say it with me, folks …. Wendover!
Third thing third – Nothing.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with me that I have never been married or been in a serious relationship.
Now, don’t get me wrong – there is plenty wrong with me; just like there is plenty wrong with everyone else on planet earth. We are all here trying out this human experiment and part of that involves life being messy, our hearts being jealous, our words being harsher than we want them to be, our minds being weak, and so many other seemingly wrong things. But, there is nothing wrong with me in terms of keeping me out of a relationship – in fact, I’m starting to see just how much right there is and how much right there is for all of my single friends out there who are navigating this difficult path.
Being single is hard, especially if it’s a road that’s been traveled for a long time. Alone is an interesting burden that alters and shifts in a blink of an eye, almost always when one is just thinking they have a handle on it.
Now the tricky part is convincing yourself that it’s true – that nothing is really wrong with you. It’s hard but it’s a fight I’m planning on winning one day; so don’t give up, cause I won’t if you wont!
Don’t worry, friends, I’m stopping here, because in case you haven’t heard, “6,” is the new “26 ¼.”