Life as a single woman sucks sometimes, but for me there has always been a deeper pressure to partner up. I grew up hearing God had someone in mind for me, and then watched as my friends got married quickly after high school and all through college. Now they're having children, lots of children. And here I am, single. Awesome, but single. Where is God's knight in shining armor that was promised to me if I stayed true to the path?
I haven't stayed true to the path, but while I was still doing my due diligence (with the best intentions), I was hurt far worse by Christian men than any of their nonreligious counterparts after.
So I'm sitting here, almost 28 years old, over a year out from my last meaningful relationship, and tonight I feel that pressure: the stomach ache, the anxiety, the sadness gnawing at me just behind my eyes, the hopelessness. I (embarrassingly) go to Google and search for "encouraging blogs for single women" thinking that if there's a Buzzfeed for cooking bacon in the oven three ways, there's a blog out there for a (too lazy to find an appropriate coping skill) woman like me who's just having a rough night.
All but two of the results in the first three pages were targeted to the single Christian woman. I know there are single women out there who aren't Christian. I'm friends with dozens of them, and they're friends with dozens more! Are we the only ones who Google stupid shit like this at night? Are we the only ones? Those of us who were raised in the church, are we the only ones who are scared? Have we been fed some idea that others have not? Is this just another way that I've been a sucker, a victim of fundamentalism and black/white thinking?
I have never really been able to put my finger on what really upsets me about fundamental Christianity. I grew up as a deeply devout and involved member of the Southern Baptist church. It shaped me, cared for me, loved me. I am forever indebted to the people in that church, but something is not right.
I get the need to have purpose, to have something greater to live for. I understand and appreciate the strict moral compass that protects you from pain. I realize that it is scary to have your beliefs shaken, and that it's easier to hang on tight. I get it.
But the thing is that we don't always understand how putting God in a box can hurt us more. Our words have a lasting impact. The minute I understood that God was much more than what is in that box, my world changed. And I'll be honest...sometimes it has been ugly, but I'll be damned if someone else's idea of protecting me 20 years ago is going to hurt me tonight.
I am incredible. I'm smart. I'm fun and weird, and I live an exciting life. I am not hopeless or unworthy, and I'm not a sucker.