Wednesday, April 20, 2016

To all my single girls out there holding it down...this PR's for you

Do you ever look back on a situation and think, "Yes! I did that like a boss!" That's how I felt after my 5k last weekend, but not for the reasons you might think. I had a huge victory in the area of owning my singleness. No one but me knew it, but that was the real challenge I faced that day.

Let me explain. For a couple of weeks leading up to the race, I was dealing with some major grief and loss issues. Some birthdays and milestones came up and triggered some difficult memories. I had not been in a good place emotionally. Therefore, I was already a little sensitive going into the race. I had committed to running it with friends though and I was determined to make the best of it. Because I was already in a tender spot, something told me to prepare for both of my friends to bring a plus one. Sure enough, they did. One friend brought her boyfriend along and the other brought her homegirl. Thankfully, I was mentally ready.

You might be wondering what's the big deal. If you've been partnered for a while or you date frequently, you might not know what it's like to walk in a single girl's shoes. Let me assure you, it ain't easy. There can be a lot anxiety walking into new situations and connecting to new people. While others might not treat you differently (most won't even notice you're alone if you're cool people), it's easy for you to feel self-conscious and internally wrestle with being the fifth wheel. Bringing buddies along at least helps minimize some of the awkwardness. But, sometimes, you have to face it alone.

In situations like these, it's tempting to get quiet and isolate from the group. That, in turn, makes things weird for everyone. Instead, do you want to know what I did? I warmly greeted the friend I hadn't seen in months. I didn't try to address why it got distant in the first place or share how sad it made me. I was just happy to see her. I interacted with her boyfriend and tried to make him feel comfortable and included. I talked and laughed with the other two friends. Every chance I got, I tried to link everyone together in the conversation, so no one felt left out. Basically, I totally rocked a potentially awkward social scenario and managed to enjoy myself in the process.

Did I mention I got a personal record on my run? That was icing on the cake. Like I said, the real victory that day was facing my fear of rejection and ridicule. I swear, some days my relationship status feels like a scarlet letter on my chest. However, unrealistic or imagined it is, the shame of being alone seems huge, very real and very scary. When I made the decision to face it instead of avoid it, I was able to overcome it.

I ring this PR bell for myself and for all the other single girls out there who know exactly what I felt like that day. There are many of us who often fly solo and do it with enormous grace and dignity. To all of you beautiful women, stay strong, keep holding it down, and hold your head high. This PR's for you.

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