It occurred to me that this is the third Valentine’s Day that I have spent as a single. Only this time, I wasn’t really all that bothered by it. The first one, two years ago, I had broken up with my now ex-boyfriend of nearly two years the week before and spent the day in denial and frustration. I irritably spent the second one at the gym, where I was one of about three patrons that evening. But this year, things felt different.

I went to the gym again, assuming that, just like last year when I was living in Antioch, it would be empty. I was shocked to find how wrong I was. 24-Hour Fitness was as crowded as ever, and maybe even more so; I couldn’t find a free treadmill for the hour that I was there, and I usually am able to snag one with minimal effort and waiting. I realized that life out here is different from life back home. Here, people don’t stop for anything. And I’m one of those people.

After my workout, I freshened up and wiled away the hours with the boy friends, Joe, Pete, and Miguel. With three of the four of us being single and not caring much for the frivolous holiday, we opted for a night in, complete with pizza, beer, and non-romantic comedies. It was simple but included a handful of things I loved: great company, over-indulgence, and laughter. Who really could have asked for more?

Having been single for a long time now – admittedly disregarding those almost-relationships I’ve had over the past three years – I have come to learn a lot about myself and my history. First and foremost is that I’m the relationship girl. I don’t do casual, as evidenced by my strongest friendships, all of which are years in the making. Thus, dating, for me, is pointless. Why “have fun” with a random stranger when I’d probably have a better time hanging out with friends? They get my quirks and humor, there’s no need to explain or impress. So much less work, really.

Then there’s the issue of meeting new people. Clearly, being interested in singing and performing arts means that I will only ever attract gay men. This has proven to be true over the years. I thought that by branching out and meeting people through other parts of my life – primarily work (and thankfully I work in a very large organization that allows for a sizable margin of anonymity) – I could meet straight men who had other things in common with me, aside from my narcissistic need to be on stage. I mean, we must have come to this company for similar reasons, right? Unfortunately, the guys I end up meeting either don’t understand my interests or manage to offend me in one way or another. This has happened more times than I would have liked.

So where do I go from here?

Last night, I found myself yearning to perform once again. And once again, I felt frustrated and constrained by all the responsibilities in my life that prevented me from doing so. Then, a crazy thought occurred to me: if I ever find a spectacular performing opportunity, I’ll quit my job and take it. In that moment, I truly understood that this is something I have to pursue, if only for the sake of knowing whether or not I was meant for it. Until yesterday, I had always told myself to be rational: stay where you are, just a year or two more; you need to stay and be a grown up. The irrationality of my thoughts shocked me. Am I really willing to give up my security for something that might not even be a possibility?

And then: maybe this is what it’s like to be in love. Only with singing have I ever really felt that sort of reckless abandon. Where nothing else in the world matters as long as I have that. I simultaneously feel as though I am an expert and a novice. There’s the constant need to learn more and to continue to grow. Singing provides me with both comfort and empowerment. I can be myself, plain and simple, without the fear of self-consciousness or judgment.

I want to believe that it is possible for me to find this kind of happiness with another person. But am I supposed to find it or is it supposed to find me? Singing is an innate sensibility of mine. I never had to go looking for it. I can only hope that that’s how love will be.

For the time being, I’m going to give up the search. I didn’t seek out the most fulfilling things in my life; with time and patience, they managed to somehow stumble upon my path. And until I find myself at a crossroads with Cupid, I may as well just enjoy the journey there, accompanied or not.

1 comment:

matthew said...

"...until I find myself at a crossroads with Cupid, I may as well just enjoy the journey there, accompanied or not..."

By far the wisest thing I've read in awhile. Good for you!!