Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Singleness [and moving updates to the weekends]

Good evening, dear readers! I'm sorry for the late update. I'm officially moving updates to the weekend for the time being, as they're hard for me to keep up with during the week. Until I get myself acclimated to my new schedule, weekends are much easier for me to manage. Thus, you should look for updates on Sundays! I won't guarantee I'll get them up any earlier than that, so just check in on Sundays (or whenever you see the tumblr or facebook mention of a new post). I plan to try to return to a middle-of-the-week update schedule later, once I'm more settled in my new job, but until then, I'm going to do what it takes for me to keep things going.

All that housekeeping aside, this week I hope you'll indulge me as I talk about something that's been on my mind lately: Singleness.

So as many of you know, I recently started a new job! This is a wonderful step in my life since I'm now an editor officially. The schedule is taking some acclimating, but I'm adjusting gradually and learning to better budget and manage my time. At any rate, in this job, I find myself surrounded by young women in the same age bracket as I. Many of these women, in their early to mid twenties, are already married. This, along with a comment made by a single young woman in conversation with me, got me thinking. The young woman said she didn't like the film "Brave" because Merida did not have an actual love interest; the movie had no "Disney Prince" to sweep in and create a romance. She made it clear that this was the sole reason she didn't like the movie.

The strong, independent female was the POINT of "Brave". Merida didn't need a man to make her interesting. She had her journey to travel and character development to undergo, and she didn't need a man for any of it. She stood on her own, and that was the point. To throw in a prince as her love interest would have undermined her agency as a character. She wanted to choose her own fate rather than have it chosen for her by a marriage she did not desire.

We as women are told so often through the media, through other people, women included, and through the overall attitude of society that we need a mate to be validated. We're told that yeah, it's okay to be single, as long as you're aiming towards getting a significant other eventually. It's okay to be single...for now. But you're eyeing up every guy as a potential romance, right? You're assessing whether or not he could be your Special Someone, right? This eliminates the idea that any guy can be your friend. Never mind that an excellent foundation for a relationship is friendship. Every guy has to be a potential relationship.

This idea that a woman is less valuable when she doesn't have a man is extremely prevalent in Christian circles, and since I'm a Christian I kind of tend to run in those circles. The local Christian college, where I now work, was known in my old school and in the community at large as a place girls went to get an "MRS" degree. It was a college you went to in order to get a boyfriend, and eventually a husband, not an education. This whole attitude, this whole mentality, frustrates me to no end. Bettering yourself should not be the means to the end of gaining a husband. Educate yourself. Learn, grow, experience the world, and don't do it just so you can be a better girlfriend or possibly meet this great guy. Do it for you, because you're worth it. If you happen to meet someone and fall head over heels, great!

Ladies, you're valuable with or without a mate. It's okay to be single. It's okay if you never find someone you want to settle down with. It's okay if you never want to settle down. It's okay if you find the idea of taking on a romantic relationship nauseating or unappealing. Make friends with guys and girls. Form meaningful, long-term relationships of the platonic variety. Forge friendships that will last a lifetime. You matter for you, not for your potential as a wife or mother. By the same token, if you find the person you want to be with in high school, great! If you find that person in college, fantastic! If you find them walking down the street one day outside the local Gamestop, excellent! You're valuable whether or not you're in a relationship. For the Christian young women out there, don't ever let anyone tell you that you have to be married to have value. In the Old Testament, we remember Deborah the prophetess for her prophecies and for accompanying a warrior into battle. Her husband is mentioned once, and only once. In I Corinthians 7, Paul encourages men and women to remain single, not to pursue marriage. Read it for yourselves if you have any doubt!

In conclusion.... Please, my dear readers, don't take your value from your relationship status. Don't look down on someone because they're single, or because they're not single. When you enter a relationship, you're not joining with your other half. You're an individual, complete and whole as you are, choosing to be with another individual. And if you never enter a relationship, you're not missing half of yourself. You're whole the way you are. Your significant other can improve you, yes - I'm not disputing that - but they are not the source of your value. Dear readers, please remember that whatever state you're in, you matter. Work on yourself. Don't rely on someone else to shape you or magically transform you into a better person. The power is in your hands, not someone else's.

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