Don’t Put a Ring on It: Why I’m a Happy, Single, Black Lesbian

Being single is all about living life like it's golden.
Being single is all about living life like it's golden.

Being single is all about living life like it’s golden.

Written by Tammy C. Freeman

There is a lot of “advice” out there for us single women. And they all come to the same conclusion: If you’re single, your existence should be desperately dedicated to trying not to be.

According to those countless articles pushing advice designed to “help” you, and maybe even family and friends, single women are defective and in need of fixing.

Family, friends and even strangers will ask you about a significant other … often. If you indicate you don’t have one, you’ll get looks of pity or the unoriginal question “You’re so pretty, why not?” along with offers to “hook you up” and other such shenanigans.

This is no surprise because we live in a culture that subscribes to the archaic notion that a single woman has the ultimate goal of being partnered.

I’m a very happy single black lesbian. Every time I tell people this, they give me the side eye as if the words “happy” and “single” side by side are natural enemies.

The thought is I can’t possibly be happy AND single (and my reply to these folks is simply, “maybe YOU can’t”) and if I am happy about being single, what is wrong with me?

The fact that I’m successful and have a full and productive life according to my terms doesn’t mean anything to folks who think that my life is somehow less-than because I don’t have a partner.

I’ve even seen “that’s why you’re single” hurled at others as if it’s an insult, way too often.

Yes, I’m Still a Lesbian Even Without a Partner

To further exasperate this, for women who love women, there is this unspoken idea that if you’re not actively loving a woman, then somehow part of your identity is muted.  It’s as if who you love needs to be proven by who you’re loving right now.

My identity as a single queer-identified woman isn’t predicated on circumstance, it is absolute.

We fail single women by pushing this antiquated notion that our lives need to validated by having someone else in it. The fact is, I am amazing and awesome and my life is validated not because of who I am with (or not with), but because I am here.

No co-signer or significant other is needed to validate my existence on this earth. Further, women who identify as queer or lesbian don’t need a partner to verify their sexuality, sexual preference or any part of their being, you are who you are, single or partnered.

I’m Not a FixHer Upper

Advice articles are full of ideas on how to “fix” yourself up to attract a mate, advancing the flawed notion that you’re single because something is missing. Don’t believe the lies, there are lots of broken, messed up people in relationships. Being partnered isn’t an evolved state to ascend to. Nor does being single mean that something is wrong with you that requires fixing.

Being single is not about being in the meantime, it’s not about living life at the pause; it’s not saying that you haven’t “evolved” enough to be in a relationship. There is so much out there telling single women to fix this, do that, etc.

Here’s a radical idea, why not just be? Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with continuous improvement. I’m a huge fan of becoming a better me, but, that’s not about becoming a better me so that I can be “ready” for a relationship with someone else, I embrace becoming a better me for myself.

Your life, your identity, your awesomeness is absolute, not relative. 

There is also this notion that single women are living life in a “in the meantime phase.” I see too many single women who forgo home-ownership, traveling and doing all of the things they want to because they are holding space for someone who they have yet to meet.

Crazily enough society reinforces this idea of putting your life on hold until you meet someone. When I purchased my house, instead of congratulations, I got “Well, what if you meet someone?” When I started to travel extensively again, I was cautioned that I may be missing out on meeting someone because I’m always gone. Maybe these people mean well, but to advocate that women delay their dreams isn’t sound counsel.

My heart aches for single women who let these false paradigms hold them back. I refuse to pause my life for anyone.

A Recipe for Self Love

Live your life now. Stop waiting

So for my fellow singles, despite what society says, know that there is nothing wrong with you. You do not have to accept a flawed paradigm that judges women on their relationship status. In some aspects, being single can be threatening to others. Society as a whole is horrible at dealing with anyone who does not fit into a neat box of predefined expectations and norms. Women who are single by choice are, by default, nonconforming. And people, for many reasons, just don’t know how to deal with that. In this case, it’s not you; it’s them.

Moreover, don’t let other people who have no identity and feel empty without a relationship make you feel bad about being single and happy. These people are just projecting their insecurities on to you, reject it and remove yourself from people like that.

Go, live, be free, pursue your goals and dreams. There is nothing external that you need that you don’t already have within yourself. Want love? Be love. Want to travel to the beautiful beaches of Bali? Take yourself. Want to be treated like a queen? Treat yourself like a queen.

Learn to love yourself so fiercely, be so self-confident so that you don’t put yourself in bad situations where you are dishonored. Don’t stay where love is no longer being served out of fear being alone or because you labor under the false belief that you need validation from another.

Fill your life with love, joy and all the good things you want. Buy a home, buy two! Decorate it however you want. Travel the world. Wow and amaze yourself. Learn to love yourself–every flaw, every bump, every scar.  Learn to be alone and love your own company.

Being single does not make you less beautiful, amazing or worthy. Crown yourself, queen! Own every part of who you are. Create beautiful experiences that you will look back on with wonder and amazement. Conquer your fears and jump in with both feet into this thing called life, full of hope, love and gratitude.

Tammy, 35, is a serial entrepreneur, wine aficionado and world traveler. A burgeoning social economist, Tammy travels the world to locate women entrepreneurs in order to share their stories. She loves visiting beautiful places and creating beautiful spaces. She blogs about travel, great wine and home design on her blog