20-something and Single: 4 Mistakes I Have Made Being Single
When Mr. (or Mrs.) Right Doesn't Appear
I never told anyone this including my mother. But, at the age of fourteen, I wanted to graduate college by eighteen, have a job by nineteen, buy a car by twenty, and get married by twenty-one (so that I can drink at my own wedding!).
At fourteen, everyone in my middle school was coupling up, and by the end of my high school career, some of my friends I fell out of contact with either had a kid (or two), got married, or is in some sort of committed relationship with a significant other. By the time I turned eighteen I was getting nervous.
I graduated from college with an A.A. Degree and high school diploma simultaneously at eighteen. I didn't have a boyfriend. At nineteen, I worked a prestigious insurance company, making pretty good money.
Again, no suitor in sight. By twenty, I didn't have a car, but I had an insurance license and I've been taking classes to better myself in my career. I expected my future fiance to show up before I was twenty-one. Instead, two months after turning twenty-one, I got that car. And, I learned very quickly that I'm traveling down a very slippery and familiar path and I needed to pump my brakes and look at the big picture and step away from the microscope.
I'm going to list the following things I've done wrong and why it's kept me single and I hope it will help other people feel better about their outlook in life.
Mistake 1: Gave Up
In high school, which was situated in a college campus, everyone and their professor was dating, engaged, and married. My brother's friends who were in their early teens that were dating. And, here I am at eighteen, I didn't even have a date to my junior prom. I went with my best girl friend (and had a great time).
One year after graduating high school, and no matter what I did to find a prospective boyfriend, cook, smiled, make-up, high heels, cute outfits, keep a job. Nothing I did worked and I felt empty, ashamed, and humiliated when the guys I thought would go for me. Would either end up dating someone else or completely ignore me. I didn't exist. I felt invisible. And, I started to blame myself. I was the problem.
So, I gave up.
I stopped applying my make-up, I threw on whatever clean outfit I had in the closet, and I ignored invites to parties and other events. It got to the point that my day consisted of; going to work, eating lunch, leaving work, and writing in my journal, and sleep until it's time to go back to work again.
Looking back, I did myself an injustice. I missed out on meeting great people at parties, I let my love for fashion take the back burner, and I blamed myself for my own failures in finding love.
Mistake 2: Taking the Wrong Advice
I've never been on a date EVER. I've never been asked out, not even in middle school by the nerdy guy or the uncool kids. Even though, every person I assumed was uncool quickly found their partner in love.
A well meaning friend gave me advice long after I graduated high school, and gave up on myself. She thought that there might be a guy who was interested in me, and I needed to confront him and let him know my true feelings. I thought this was great advice at the time, because I'm a bit of a turtle, I hide when I see a shadow. So, I thought maybe, I'm not outspoken enough, that I'm invisible.
So, I called up this guy, my mother was the one who introduced him to me, he was quirky but nice, and I thought he liked girls like me (I'll get to that point in the next mistake I made). When we talked, he'd stay on the line for hours, when he came to our house, he'd eat my cooking and compliment me like crazy, I really thought he liked me and I wanted to know his intentions.
When, I told him a few weeks after we hung out. He blatantly told me, after I spilled my guts to him, that he's not interested. That he always thought of me as a friend. Ugh! I took the advice without looking at the big picture. I initiated the phone calls, even though he did all the talking, the guy came over for free food, and I fell for it.
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Mistake 3: Weight Not, Want Not
Here's the part of the article where the other shoe drops. I've been overweight since I was a toddler. The hilarious thing is that my body proportion confuses people. They assume, I'm lighter than I am. I have an hour glass figure, and like most African American women (I'm not speaking for all of them) I have butt you could sit a glass on.
So, I knew my weight was always going to be an issue when I tried to pursue someone I was interested in. I used on the "fat girl" tricks: be overly funny, nice and complimentary, don't speak your mind, say yes to anything, and if there's a skinnier hotter girl in the room, just try to be the sweet and bubbly one.
Let's just say I'm still single for a reason. I tried every diet known to man, and joined so many gyms, I deserve a lifetime membership to most of them. Sometimes, I'd lose weight, and the only ones who notice are my family and close girlfriends. A couple of guys mentioned how much weight I lost, but they never seemed to attempt to date me or ask me out. I tried really hard to be more out going now that I had a smaller size to work with. But, I wasn't at my goal weight or the "ideal weight" so I never heard back from the guys I liked and they avoided me like the plague. I started to sabotage my diets, and I stopped working out.
This goes along with the giving up on myself part, because I thought changing the shape of my body would make me more appealing and it didn't. It just left me alone and sad. And, eventually, the weight returned.
Mistake 4: Trying to Hard
All of my issues above can be wrapped up into this one category. I tried to hard to impress guys who never were interested in me. I lost weight to gain attention. I wore heels (even though they hurt like hell) to impress people. I doubted, judged, and scruentized every single thing I did, even down to the way I laughed in order to make someone like like me.
All of my efforts failed because I tried to hard. I literally, as my mother said, scared the guys away. I usually initiated conversations via text that went nowhere. I sent funny Youtube videos to show my cool and funny side to one guy. I've even cooked a full course (healthy) meal to impress guys and show them that I'm great in the kitchen.
I'm sad to say that being nice, genuine, and a bubbly person is my real personality and the fact that no one of the opposite sex observed that about me, made me feel crushed and worthless.
I went to a wedding yesterday. The bride was gorgeous, her skin was the color of cream sweetened with brown sugar. Her dress beautiful and elegant. Her groom balled like a baby when he saw her walk down the aisle. I thought to myself, wow, I'd really like to be the bride for the day. And, then my mind raced back to all of my issues I've had with myself and suddenly I snapped back to reality. I have things to do, to make myself a better person. I need to travel. I need to move into an apartment, I need to be healthy. I need to be happy with who I am without the groom (for now). Being single and twenty-something, sucks and sometimes it's awesome. I am happy for the couple. They're probably on their honeymoon today, cuddling in a hammock or hiking through the rainforest. Or, they could be having one of their first fights over where's their luggage.
I'm not married. I'm not dating. And, like Susan Boyle. I've never (EVER) been kissed. But, you know what? That's okay, because I'm twenty-one. I have plenty of time to worry about marriage, tax penalties, taking care of another human being, (having kids, yikes, no thanks), and worrying about my aging parents.
I learned very quickly, thankfully, that life isn't about who you marry or even about getting married as soon as possible. It's about looking at the next step and enjoying the journey and not worrying about the destination.