One

Is it really the loneliest number? Or is it just single?

It’s something single women these days are programmed never to say or even think: “I’m lonely.” A woman is supposed to be fiercely independent, self-sufficient and thoroughly capable of living happily without a man. Or that’s at least what I’ve found a lot of us have been made to believe and thoughts to the contrary are seldom appreciated and often considered pathetic.

There exist authority figures in our lives (they certainly do in mine!) whom we would be disappointing if we were ever to say that we want to be with someone, that we want someone to have and to hold, to cuddle with while watching bad television, to cook for, take care of and look after us too. It would be a sign of weakness to feel incomplete without someone else. (And we don’t want to be weak. We try to epitomise strong women, don’t we?) Even if we’re not sure we really want that someone else. We remind ourselves how much we love our space, our freedom, the fact that we aren’t answerable to anyone, that we can watch whatever we want to on TV, read when we want to, write when we want to, sleep, wake up and eat when we want to. We really, really do love all of that, but sometimes, rare as it may be, don’t we want someone to share that space? Is it just companionship that we’re looking for? Why aren’t we enough for ourselves? Are we really lonely just because we don’t have that special person in our lives? It just seems so wrong to think that. I feel like if I ever let myself believe that, I would never feel whole again. Being alone is one thing, being lonely is completely another.

Those (sacrilegious) words, however, are uttered by the quintessential single gal, Carrie Bradshaw. At her book release party (Sex and the City, “Plus One Is The Loneliest Number”), she says to Charlotte, “I’m lonely. I am. The loneliness is palpable.” She had recently ended a wonderful relationship which had almost led up to marriage. Maybe when you have had something amazing, when you have had someone fill the void in your heart and your life, only to get used to it and then to lose it, that’s when you can really feel the emptiness and then you know that what you almost physically feel is the loneliness.

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