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Sex + Relationships

How Daniel Sloss’s “Jigsaw” Encouraged Me To Be Content With Being Single

Before watching the masterpiece of a comedy special that is Daniel Sloss’s “Jigsaw,” I was unhappily single. I saw my friends get into relationships and I was feeling as though I needed to be in one. I found myself constantly pining over people who, in retrospect, weren’t all that. Worse, I began to feel that because I have never been in any serious relationship, I would end up single forever. That seems like a funny joke people make about being single, but this was a legitimate anxiety that recurred in my therapy sessions and my sad drunk thoughts.


desk with plants and keyboard
Photo by Sebastian Bednarek from Unsplash

“There must be something wrong with me,” I thought. I seemed to chase after people I knew were unattainable, and I was not interested in anyone who chased after me. No matter the situation, I felt stuck in the pattern of unrequited love and wondered if that was telling of my inability to match with someone else. 

I heard Daniel Sloss’s “Jigsaw” show on Netflix be recommended to me twice in one day through different sources, thus piquing my interest. Not only was the set filled with dark humor (which, just to clarify, is making light or morbid or painful subjects, not spewing outrageously offensive hate speech), but it also included an odd, more serious Ted-talk-esque speech for the last 20 minutes on being single… the type of speech that would normally seem to be out of place in a comedy special. 


netflix logot on tv
Photo by Thibault Penin from Unsplash

Without exaggeration, no movie, lecture, TV show or even advice from my therapist has ever made me internalize a message or relieve some discomfort I’ve had in the same way this comedy special has for me. 

Essentially, after making jokes about fantasies of tripping children and his dead sister’s grave, Daniel Sloss shares how we have come to the belief that we need someone to be complete. The idea is present and has been present in the media since we were children, giving us a sense of immediacy to find “the one”. Sloss gives the example of how Disney princesses always find their prince, but immediately after the show when I hopped on Twitter, I realized that this has manifested into our online presence as well. My timeline is always flooded with people imagining scenarios with a partner, retweeting pictures of couples wearing matching pajamas, going on cute picnics, talking about healthy relationships. On top of the retweet, there’s always some comment asking “when is it my turn?” or something along those lines. I literally could not stand to look at it anymore, signs telling me that what normal people do is try to find a relationship, to the point where I deleted the app from my phone for about a month. 

In the special, Sloss begs the question of whether or not we are actually in love with partners we have at our young adult ages, or whether it is the idea of love that is enticing to us. That would be a perfect explanation as to why I see so many of my peers staying with partners they constantly complain about and tolerate their appalling behaviors. We have come to prioritize simply having a relationship over finding someone we actually love, so we would rather stick it through and keep indulging in the facade of a perfect relationship than be in the horrifyingly tragic state of being single. 


A torn pink paper heart strung on white string with a black background.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

“It should be as easy as breathing…. If it gets difficult at any point, get out because there’s 7.5 billion people on the planet. You’ll find a new one.” Harsh as it sounds, I genuinely agree with this statement. It is the strangest thing to see people brag about staying with their partner no matter how difficult things get with the relationship. I don’t think every relationship should be without its flaws, as nothing is perfect, but if you’re constantly getting through the tough times with your partner, that doesn’t sound very promising for the rest of your life. No part of that is appealing to me, and it made me realize that the last thing I want to have as I’m trying to work on myself and my goals for the future is a relationship that brings me more worry than peace.

Perhaps the most important point that replays constantly in my head is this one: “If you only love yourself at 20%, that means somebody can come along and love you 30% and you’re like ‘Wow that’s so much!’ It’s literally less than half.” I want to strive at loving myself at 100%, because I don’t want to let a low self esteem allow me to accept mediocre love. I absolutely refuse to settle for someone just because I’m bored, nor do I want to settle because my expectations are “too high,” nor do I want to let myself rely on someone for a source of love because I can’t find it within myself. I’ve had the privilege to see examples of people who go above and beyond for their partners, so I know it’s possible. If my abuelito could go every night just to talk to my abuelita through a hole in her yard’s fence when they were dating, I too can have a partner who puts the effort in to make me feel special. 


rose wine
Kaboompics via Pexels

In a world where just about every story is about love, it was incredibly refreshing to hear someone reassure me that it’s ok to be single and focus on myself. We say it all the time, but more in the way where you say something you don’t truly believe in but want to make yourself feel better. Though, the way Daniel Sloss broke down how we’re taught to search for a soulmate, how many people in the world there are to meet and how not loving yourself can lead to toxic relationships resonated with me in ways that I cannot begin to explain. It seems to have resonated with others as well, as he reports he has ended 34,000 relationships including 93 marriages as of June 2019. 

Thus, I’m done with trying to actively find a partner be my “other half.” I am a whole person who is astoundingly complex, and I want time to get to know myself and feel confident in who that person is. I haven’t “given up” on finding love, but I’m not going to search for it and wait for that to give me the green light to be happy. Further, it’s no longer a heavy subject for me that brings me anxiety about my happiness in the future, now I just have existential crises about things that matter like living in a capitalist world and working for the rest of my life!

Love yourself written on wall
Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst/Shopify

If you are perpetually single as Daniel Sloss is, and as I am, I urge you to watch this and reevaluate how you are interpreting your singleness. If you are in a relationship, I dare you to watch as well to see if your relationship can withstand the test of Daniel Sloss’s revelatory “Jigsaw.” Not that I think it will break you up, but in the case that it does, please message me!

 

Mariah is a second-year English major at UCLA from Palmdale, CA. Besides being a feature writer for HerCampus UCLA, she is the creative director for the Equity and Accessibility team on UCLA's Academic Affairs Commission and a member of UCLA's Latinx Film and Theatre Association. In her spare time, Mariah loves finding hidden gems on Netflix, making earrings out of polymer clay, and writing stories.
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