“Have you put up any (fall/Halloween/Christmas) decorations, yet?”
“Oh, I don’t decorate, since it’s just me. You really put up seasonal decorations?”
I have had that conversation at least 20 times, since my divorce. I’m aware that there are several reasons not to decorate for the holidays. Maybe you’re working 11 days a week and you’re neither home enough to put up decorations, nor are you around to enjoy them. Maybe you’ve just announced your divorce by knocking on your dad’s door and blurting “I’mgettingadivorceI’msorryIruinedChristmas” and you don’t feel like tainting such a wonderful season with bad mojo. Maybe you don’t already have those decorations and really don’t have the funds to devote to something with no function. Maybe you just don’t enjoy the holidays, because you have no soul. Fine. Whatever. You know what’s the worst fucking reason ever, though? That you’re single.
Lack of seasonal decor is not the only scenario in which I’ve heard people use their solo relationship status as an excuse for missing out on something. I hear it when someone didn’t get the chance to see a movie in theaters, eat at that new restaurant, go to the state fair, or see that live show. Being single has stopped these people from going shopping, having a night out on the town, and attending that reunion. Maybe your distaste for eating alone at a restaurant has nothing to do with embarrassment and you just think that sounds impossibly dull. Maybe the fair is expensive and makes you fat. Fine… but if the reason you’re not enjoying yourself is because you think everyone is staring in horror at the single person buying a Christmas tree, I assure you, they’re all equally self-absorbed and probably don’t even realize you exist.
I’m not preaching the virtues of being single over being in a relationship. Far from it. I want to write the “Did I really just agree to get married again!?!?!” and “Holy shit, I’m someone’s mom!” blog posts, eventually. Statistically speaking, as long as I’m trying, I will. So… I’m going to enjoy being single while it lasts. I love the fact that I can curl up underneath my favorite chair, suck my thumb, and write a blog post, without anyone there to tell me how incredibly weird that is. If I want to shout “POTTERTHON!” and tearfully sniff the words “Emotion should be hidden like the last fucking horcrux!” when Cedric’s dad yells “That’s my boy!”, I’m not interrupted to share the TV during Duck Dynasty or whatever stupid boy show someone wants to watch. I can sing and dance to songs about how awesome the dog is, while blaring 50’s Pandora and no one gets a say. I’m even going to do so with some fake pumpkins and cheap garland in the background, damn it!
If I’m not supposed to decorate for the holidays, because I’m alone, at what point do I get to start enjoying myself? Are we still so stuck on the archaic idea that life does not truly begin for a woman until marriage? That’s a silly question, because we sure as hell are in the South. Is it not enough that I go on all of these awful dates, but I also have to sit staring out the window alone on Halloween night, longing for the days I get to dress my kiddos up in cute costumes they hate? Horseshit. In 10 years, I’m going to be trudging up a sidewalk, sleepy toddler on my hip, freezing my ass off to beg for candy I’ll probably trash and replace when Gail convinces me it’s all poison and razor blades. I’m not going to be regretting the time I spent wishing my life would start. I’m going to be remembering the night I spent watching Everwood on DVD with Gaily, while we ate far too much candy and she kept snapping at me to stop swearing, because children existed and could be just outside the metal door that was at least 10 feet away from me.
In 10 years, I’m going to listen to screams and giggles and arguments in the living room and remember that time I tried to teach myself the Thriller dance from YouTube… and failed. I’m going to stay up all night wrapping my presents with special Santa paper and bitching about how creepy Elf on the Shelf is, while longing for the days of my hot pink Christmas tree and half naked, semi-drunken, over-analyses of the claymation Rudolph movie.
“There are more important things than comfort: self respect! Santa can’t object to you now.”
Being single isn’t better than having a family of your own. It’s just a completely different and equally valid stage of life. Even if you want to find a long-term relationship, you’re here right now, regardless. You might as well enjoy it. I spent enough time wishing the world could spin faster, to know now how much I was missing in that moment. I almost missed all of this by getting married at age 12, so I’m not turning down the opportunity to enjoy it today and not just by going on bad dates or dancing with douche bags in bars, either. I’m going to watch Hocus Pocus before September even hits, dress up the dog, and decorate my purple foil Halloween tree, all for myself, because fuck you, I’m festive.