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So here’s the scene: it’s my wedding day and we’re in the middle of the ceremony when I am suddenly struck with the epiphany that I really do not want to spend the rest of my life with this man. But we’re too far in and there’s not enough courage in my blood so by the end of it I am both miserable and married.

One part of my brain is still advocating for the possibility of joy. The statistics say there’s a case to be made for arranged marriages; that most of them, despite their awkward beginnings, actually end up lasting. 

The other part is desperately looking for an escape hatch. It’s the part that has conceded to becoming yet another statistic in the world’s large number of failed marriages.

The man I married is nice and earnest. He seems to really want to build a future with me. As far as fate goes, I could’ve done so much worse… and yet. And yet that doesn’t change how I feel. And yet I fathom at how I let myself get trapped into this. And yet I can’t believe that this has become the narrative of my life.

Shortly after, I wake up.

The nightmare came to me last week and it hasn’t quite let me go. I messaged my friends at 5 in the morning, disgruntled by my dumb subconscious. In real life, I don’t think much about marriage. In real life, I am single and there is no man to torture my heart over. In real life, I am a certain version of free.

I remember waking up from the nightmare with this overwhelming wave of relief washing over me. While it only solidified a deeper appreciation for my singlehood, I find myself thinking more and more about marriage in real life these days. It’s uncharacteristic but perhaps, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching and these dreams scarily recurring, what my brain wants the most is for me to just shut up and be honest.

So here it is:

I do not want the inconvenient nuances of a relationship but I do want love. 

This feels like a horrifyingly vulnerable thing to admit but it’s 2018 and I don’t want to be ashamed of the things I want. I don’t care about grand gestures, I don’t even need a ring — what I want is the real deal. I want true friendship tied to deep commitment; I want someone who is fully, truly, and completely all in and I want to be with someone who gives me the courage to go all in as wellIt seems like such a simple request but on most days it feels like I’m shooting for the moon.

I want steady love and I know that means I’m going to have to wait for it. I also know that it may never come my way but I’ll go on hoping anyway. I’ll hope but I won’t live for it either. It has taken me most of my 20’s to realize that it isn’t practical to put everything on halt for the sake of romance just like it isn’t reasonable to throw all my standards out the window and settle. 

When it comes to a topic like this I know people expect an essay on either loneliness or hyper empowered independence. But real life often sways quietly, somewhere in the gray. As a woman entering her 30s, I am often asked how I ‘cope’ with being single. But I don’t cope, why would I? No, I wholeheartedly lean into it. Because the truth is that it’s just like everything else in this world — a multi-faceted state where both incredible joy and impossible pain co-exist at the same time.

So what’s next for the single girl? 

Well, she goes along with her life. She makes things happen. She saves money. She takes trips. She eats better. She builds friendships that are good and lasting, the kind that’ll help her through the inevitable lonely days ahead. She takes her real life and does what she can to turn it into her dream life. She laughs at old nightmares. She finds love where it belongs, which is everywhere. It is for this very reason that she never loses, not even on Valentine’s Day.

 

When she isn’t writing, Isa Garcia is a teacher in a private college in BGC. She is also the author of Found: Letters on Love, Life, & God, published by OMF Literature. You can read more of Isa’s thoughts and writing at her blog, Isa Writes.

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