I recently blogged about how everyone is entitled to their own story, about how every story is special and deserves to be told. And it’s the truth. Just because my love story is different than someone else’s doesn’t mean either is necessarily right or wrong. They’re simply each our own.
But along with building some sort of bridge out of our differences, I feel these differences also form the very divide we’re trekking across. You see, if everyone’s story is different, then no one person can truly understand my story. No one human really knows what it’s like to be me. And this feeling can cause — in my experience — sheer isolation.
We all know that no two people are exactly alike; just like the snowflakes that fall in winter, we’re all unique. It’s the age-old truth we tell our children. And that would lead us to conclude that no two people share the same exact story. Similar, maybe. The same, never.
So for a gal who’s trying to navigate the journey of singlehood, it’s often difficult to find that camaraderie, that shoulder to lean on. And I’m not talking about my future husband’s broad, masculine shoulders here. I’m talking about finding that community in another human being who understands what I’m going through.
Can I find another almost-32-year-old who’s single? Yes.
Can I find one who’s had exactly as many relationships as I’ve had? Maybe.
Can I find one whose relationships have lasted as long (or short) as mine, or have occurred in the same seasons of life? Probably not.
Can I find one who is just as tall as me, who weighs just as much as me, who looks just like me? Never.
Can I find one who struggles with the same insecurities, the same doubts? Probably.
Can I find one who grew up in the same family, with the same parents and siblings? Just a handful.
Can I find one who’s from the same hometown, went to the same high school, attended the same college? Yes.
Can I find one who works as a writer, who’s held the same odd jobs throughout the years, who’s blogging about dating? Doubtful.
Can I find one who’s lived in the same cities as me, who’s traveled the world exactly where I have? Not likely.
Can I find one who has the same circle of friends, the same neighbors, the same church family? Nope.
As you can imagine, I could go on and on with this list. The point I’m trying to make is that there is no one with exactly my history, my upbringing, my experience. There is not one human on the face of this planet that sees this life precisely as my eyes see it.
In a way, this makes me feel special.
In another way, especially when speaking of my quest to find love, it makes me feel incredibly alone.
For all those friends who’ve said, “I know what you’re feeling”; and all those family members who’ve said, “I understand what you’re going through”; and all those complete strangers who’ve said, “I know firsthand what it’s like to be single in your thirties” — I wonder if they really understand. I wonder if they truly know what it’s like to walk in my (size 10) shoes, to feel my frequent joy and my once-in-a-while heartache. I absolutely believe they practice sympathy toward me, but I doubt if they can truly empathize.
Because it’s my journey. It’s my story. They’re my steps.
And every step of my journey plays into where I find myself today.
So today, for some reason, I feel isolated. Have you ever felt this way? Normally, in writing this blog and engaging with readers, I find such great community of shared experiences and support. Even though I’ve got readers both married and single, both old and young, both black and white, both Christian and Atheist — we still all come together in this place to read, to talk, to discuss. It means something special. It warms my heart.
But then there are those “other” times when I really think about our differences, and I feel so small, so alone. Blame it on the Monday blues. But what I feel, what I write is authentic. It’s me. And I can’t deny it.
I want to believe that God understands. I truly do. We all know Jesus didn’t get married while on this earth. Maybe he, too, wondered why he was single. Maybe his family nagged him about getting married. Maybe his disciples wondered what was wrong with him. I doubt it. His purpose seemed so clear, so focused. I doubt he even worried about relationships in the romantic sense. He was too busy saving our eternal souls. I suppose I won’t know for sure until I ask him in heaven one day.
So I’m left to wonder. I’m left to feel alone sometimes. I’m left to write Debbie Downer posts every once in a while (like this one).
And I’m left to choose to find more comfort in knowing my unique characteristics make me special, rather than dwelling on the fact that they make me different.
Photo credit: Mina von M, Flickr