I’ve learned a lot since becoming single, but there’s one skill that I’m especially proud of that I think I’ve developed recently. I guess
you could call it independence, but it’s actually even more specific than that: it’s the ability to make myself feel better when I’m
stressed out or upset. It’s the ability to take care of my own issues without relying so desperately on other people for support (except my mom, because I call her 30 times per day). Essentially, it’s the ability to handle myself in any situation, and it’s the knowledge that I’m capable of this. It’s all very Beyonce-esque.
One of the great things about being in a relationship is that you know you have someone in your corner when you encounter one or more of the following situations:
- Have a crappy day at work
- Are lost and overwhelmed and need someone to talk to you on the phone to tell you it’s going to be fine
- Are nervous about a job interview
- Are fighting with someone you love and need guidance
- See a huge insect and need it dead (this has been especially relevant for me as of late)
- Are having an existential crisis and need to be reassured that you are smart and talented
- Have some other kind of problem and need assistance/words of encouragement/reassurance that you’ll make it through
But when you’re single, you’ve got to depend on yourself. Of course you can count on friends and family, but there’s something much more solitary about the whole thing. This is terrifying, but it’s also kind of freeing. Instead of automatically picking up the phone and calling your other half in a moment of panic, you have to work through whatever’s happening on your own. You learn that you don’t actually need anyone else to get you through that moment, that you can do it on your own using your knowledge, resources, and grit.
I’ve had this realization a lot this past week, and while I’m sort of mentally exhausted, I also feel more confident than I ever have before. Here’s how it’s happened:
Exhibit A: Cockroaches are my kryptonite. I am so scared of them it’s not even funny. Last night as I’m headed to bed I see a huge one in my living room. I would have loved to be able to scream for someone and to have them take care of the dirty work, but I couldn’t. I was pretty rattled, but I did my usual method of drowning the thing in Raid and disposing of it when I had gathered up the nerve to grab it in a huge wad of paper towels and immediately take the trash out. Each time I do something like that, something that makes me sweat and want to cry, I end up feeling like a badass for at least three hours after it’s done.
Exhibit B: I lost literally every debit card (two, to be exact) in my possession this week, leaving me in a less-than-ideal predicament. How I would have loved to whine and cry to a boyfriend, have him feel bad for me, and probably take me to dinner as a consolation prize as he empathized and told me it was all going to work out. Instead I had to retrace my steps and deal with getting new cards since I’m an idiot. I had my mom on the phone for support, of course, but this was definitely a solo mission in a way that it wouldn’t have been had I still been in a relationship. It was a pain in the ass and I hated myself for the whole incident (even though only half of it was my fault, long story), but I got it taken care of and I didn’t need anyone’s help to tough it out. Pretty cool.
Exhibit C: I had both a sinus infection and an ear infection this week. I felt like hell. I got myself to the doctor, got my meds filled, and took care of the day-to-day stuff necessary to feel better. Of course I have great friends who would have helped in a second, but it was nice to know that I didn’t need someone to play nurse in order to get myself back on track and healthy.
You can be independent when you’re in a relationship, sure, but nothing fosters that badass ” I’ve got this” gene quite like having to depend on yourself and only yourself to get it done. And when you start to realize that you actually can do these things without assistance or “Aww, poor baby” comments from someone else, you feel even more confident than you ever have before.