Those who lament romantic loneliness may be familiar with the following notion:
You need to be happy within yourself first. Only then, will you truly attract a worthy person towards yourself.
I admit… I’ve always been on the receiving end of that statement. From my first, unrequited yearnings from middle school, to my current self, as a thirty-year-old, I have attempted to wrap my head around that statement, and to no avail. Thoughts abounded within me:
Happy with myself? Did every person in a successful relationship now start off as “happy within him/herself? What about all these people who want children, looking feverishly for partners? I don’t even want frickin’ children!
I have to give this statement credit, as an explanation for my own singledom. I was a miserable singleton for a very long time, and certainly not happy within myself. I could never escape this misery either… in fact, it has officially been given a name: Schizoaffective disorder. Boo-yah. This condition is schizophrenia, depression, mania and anxiety all rolled up into a nice neat package. Colorful like sushi, but not so tasty. I’ve had it since childhood too.
I really do take insult though. Is my reason for being single, simply because “I’m not happy within myself?” Really… did I choose to have my mental illness? Did I choose to be born with a cloud of rain over my head? I seriously believe this to be true… that paranoia and depression that I always assumed was “just me,” or “my personality,” magically vanished when I started taking Clozapine three years ago.
You could say that, with Clozapine, I finally started taking steps towards being “happy within myself.” But not entirely due to personal effort… it all started with a chemical adjustment.
I don’t like how people point fingers. A person, happily paired with a wonderful husband, then offers that anemic advice to a single friend. Or perhaps another frustrating statement:
When you stop looking, you’ll see. You’ll all of a sudden find someone!
Is this true? I’ve not lived long enough to really tell. I’ll get back to you when I die, hopefully a hundred years from now when I’m ripe and old. You’ll be dead too, so we’ll have a ball. [NOT SUPPORTING SUICIDE. Just being humorous, and acknowledging the fact that everyone dies some day. We’re not immortal, for chrissake.]
Although… I actually have gotten to the point that I’ve stopped looking. I’ve found four things, all of which when added up completely fulfill me:
- Mental health work and advocacy
- Writing essays, poetry and fiction
- The people in my life: friends, family and medical/psychiatric professionals
The thing is… now that I’m fulfilled, I don’t want a freaking boyfriend in the middle of it, getting all in the way! SERIOUSLY. I know damned well that I do not want children… never have. I also just have… goals, and dreams and hopes for my life. I lost the first twenty-seven years of my life to mental illness, and only since Clozapine has life been well. I’d like to enjoy the next twenty-seven years of my life living the life I should have always had… unfettered and free.
I don’t want to gaze into a man’s eyes. I’d rather plunge my face into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia with a snorkel and get a look at the Great Barrier Reef. I’d rather run a race in the Amazon. I’d rather learn Tai Chi to calm myself. I’d rather forge thousands of friendships with people, instead of devoting my time to a significant other… sitting on a couch watching TV? YouTube after a fuck?
I am just… happy. Happy, that I have found my purpose in life. I’m happy that I’ve carved a comfortable niche for myself on the internet. I’m happy that I have a great mother and brother (as far as brothers go). I’m happy to live in New York. I’m happy that I can speak German. (That’s probably #5, speaking German.)
This happiness… I suppose I’ve fulfilled that statement of advice: You need to be happy within yourself first. And maybe I will attract that special someone into my life. But would I accept any invitation for such? I’m not sure. I’d rather become as physically strong as a beast, and develop my mind by joining in the fight against mental illness stigma. Forge friendships, write essays, and get hugs from my mother on the weekends.
Maybe that is what spares me… a great mom. Who knows.