OPINION: Identifying ‘you’ without ‘them’

 

Every time someone mentions spending Valentines Day alone, a collective shudder echoes among the female population. I feel that this is unfair; it isn’t the fault of this day that any given girl should feel insecure.  Yet it seems expected that if you don’t have a person in your life, you’re supposed to either cry at Ben and Jerry or be as obnoxious as possible about your single’s awareness day party like Jennifer Garner in Valentine’s Day.

Anna Gensimore is a sophomore zoo and wildlife biology major. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

In my opinion those are the same thing, if it didn’t bother you that you don’t have someone any other day, then why is it any different?  There’s nothing wrong with doing something fun with your friends to celebrate that kind of love, which in fact is often far more lasting than any other love one claims to possess at age 18-22.

Being single on a small Christian campus is an interesting situation; we may be the majority, but most of the time I feel like the outcast. Singles are cast as the temporarily odd little bird. As I look around campus it seems that every other Bible study or special event is somehow based on romantic relationships. Don’t get me wrong, relationships are great, but I’ve never been in a place where advertising schemes and events are more geared toward the taken set.

I thought that ‘ring by spring’ was just a joke, but as I look around I realize that it’s at times a legitimate expectation. To me, that’s a bit sad.  Yes, heading toward marriage is a prospect for most of us at some point, but let’s not forget that there’s a story leading up to it, separate from that person.

When you date someone they become your identifier, but what are you if they are taken away? It’s almost like we’re being told that being yourself and single just isn’t good enough as a form of identity. I once read something that stuck with me: “it sucks when you’re left alone with someone else’s personality.” It’s like a game, especially among girls, tweaking your appearance and interests to make the best presentation to whomever you’re interested in at the time. A hat for “Hipster Boy,” a certain band tee, some sort of name dropping; it’s the same old story.

Society feeds us the lie that we have to forget how to be ourselves to get someone interested. This is why so many relationships fail; if something begins on the premise of a lie, it will likely fall apart when the truth comes out.

A friend once told me that the pretty face doesn’t come off in a relationship until about six months in. What does that say about our culture? Are we so afraid to be vulnerable with someone and risk it not working out that we would rather live a series of  fleeting lies in quickly decaying beauty?  It’s sickening, and I see a cry for authenticity rising as people around me mature.

As time goes on, I see more clearly that going about life while seeking God’s plan is a much better option than seeking the attention of someone who is just as lost as you are and losing yourself in the process. When all else fails, think of how uninteresting How I Met Your Mother would be if Ted met the girl in the first season. He likely would have moved out to the suburbs and settled down, and he likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be an architect for quite some time, if at all.

Over the course of the series Ted has grown immensely as a character; although he has huge emotional needs, he has learned some degree of independence.

As a single person you’re free to explore your own interests without having to keep another person’s future on your mind as well. It’s a time of your life to be focused on finding God’s calling in your life and self discovery, which to me is just as beautiful as any love story.

 Anna Gensimore is a sophomore zoo and wildlife biology major.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Winnie King says:

    It is so nice to know that we have such a smart voice on our campus! Your article is a breath of fresh air…..truth and authenticity are the cornerstones of any relationship. Surely the journey of growth takes a circuitous route that is amazing. Don’t settle and leave your passport in cobwebs, go and find those experiences and people who will challenge you.

    One of my favorite poems:

    The Summer Day
    Mary Oliver

    Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?

    Shine on!!

    Like

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