Singleness Doesn’t Have to be a Waiting Room

Just based on personal observation, a lot of relationships and situationships (including my own) fell apart over the course of quarantine. Although breakups are sad on a normal occasion, that feeling seems to have been elevated due to the sense of isolation. 


Couple holding drinks at a Halloween party. Original photo by Claire Hendrix

Throughout the past eight years or so, I’d been in a pretty constant string of relationships without ever stopping to focus on each individual one. Does this make sense without oversharing? Okay, great. Moving back in with my parents without any crutch of a partner had a large toll on my mental health. Within the past couple of months, however, I noticed that this pattern existed for much longer than the duration of quarantine – it had existed for almost a decade, but I never stopped to actually analyze where it was coming from. 


Screenshot of a March 2020 notes app entry. Original photo by Claire Hendrix  

I was reading this really awful note to myself that I had written in late March of last year, and another from three weeks prior, and I kept falling through this rabbit hole until I reached the end of my notes in 2016. The common theme strung throughout these insidious love letters was that they were centered around a friendship or relationship that I was distraught in, but persisted in making it work for the sake of it not being awkward at parties or with mutual friends. 


I wanted to be loved to the point where I was not loving. It made sense to me at the time, but it’s really hard to look back and realize how self-destructive I was. I never really took the time to realize that a lot of my unhappiness in life was harbored by my need to be loved by everyone I loved. 


Original photo by Claire Hendrix  

This is a hard habit to kick. I’m assuming if you’re still reading this and aren’t my mom, you’ve probably dealt with this in the past or are dealing with it right now. For me, this wasn’t something I stopped doing on purpose. I started journaling recently and realized that I really value alone time and wish I got more of it. Do I still fantasize about taking someone out for a picnic and cooking vegan pancakes with them the next morning? Of course! But it’s not an impulse I feel like I have to jump on anymore. Granted, this might change when I get vaccinated. It’s honestly very likely. 


  Tampa Bay Auto Repair sign Original photo by Claire Hendrix  

My point is that being single doesn’t have to be the waiting room before you meet someone you love. Sometimes being single is just getting to choose what you listen to in the car and getting to pick what you’re cooking every night. Sometimes it’s being able to wake up and go to sleep on your own time. It’s having more time to write to yourself at 10:47 on a Tuesday night about how your mental health isn’t so unstable anymore. It’s being in a place where you don’t have to explain why you want to be sober for a couple of months. Maybe it’s listening to Better Oblivion Community Center at 3 am, but sometimes it probably shouldn’t be. Sometimes it’s questioning your identity over your morning tea and not having to explain it to anyone. And yeah, sometimes it’s wanting a duet partner for your Target runs. Sometimes it’s missing smelling a Sun & Sand Yankee Candle and a little bit of smoke when you wake me up with my just right creamer to coffee ratio. And sometimes, it’s realizing that you’re not waking up to snoring and being glad to be in your twin bed at your parent’s house. 


I hope this makes someone feel understood. 


Chat soon,