Being single is not a problem — here's why
October 30, 2016 at 11:00 am
My uncle from Canada called me. The first words out of his mouth were not “How are you doing? What’s going on in your life?” Instead, his start-up conversation question was, “Do you have a boyfriend yet?” As if that was the most pressing and important piece of information that he needed to know in that moment. I rolled my eyes and replied, “It’s nice to hear from you too, uncle!” I can’t tell you how many well-meaning family members call me and ask me that question within the first minute of our conversation. Once they discover that I’m still very single, the disappointment in their voices is palpable. They then begin to offer me unsolicited advice and promise to pray that I meet someone soon.
In the Haitian culture, not being married or having a serious boyfriend by your mid-twenties is often looked upon negatively and people start to seriously worry on your behalf. I often joke and laugh about this situation with my friends and cousins because they can relate — they also have had to suffer through awkward conversations about their singleness.
Last year, I was in a serious relationship that ended suddenly. It took me some time to grieve the relationship and move forward with my life, but it happened. Although it was hard, I finally got to a place where I not only owned my singleness, I actually, dare I say it, enjoyed it.
However, even though I’m in this content place, I’m annoyed that being single carries with it a certain stigma, especially for black women. In fact, whenever black woman singleness is mentioned in the media, it’s deemed as a “crisis” and the “blame” is put on us. However, the 2010 U.S. Census showed that about 49 percent of black men ages fifteen and older were not married in comparison to about 46 percent of black women. As Author of The Sisters Are Alright, Tamara Winfrey Harris noted, “If discussion of the black marriage crisis were driven simply by concern that the black community had access to the societal and economic benefits of matrimony, then surely time devoted to dissecting the problems of unmarried black men would equal talk about unmarried black women.” But it’s not, and it’s black women who are told to fix themselves in order to be deemed more of marriage material.
But being single is not a problem. I repeat, being single is not a problem. It’s most certainly not your problem or my problem; it’s their problem. I enjoy the freedom that I have and my newfound confidence. I don’t wait for others to give me permission to do something or to go somewhere, I give myself that permission.
Although I do want to get married one day, I’m not waiting until then to start being my best self and living my best life. That moment is already here — that moment is now.
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