Vivre Libre Vivre Libre

Vivre Libre

Author Garance Doré

I’m single, and…

· It’s scary. At first, when you’ve never been single before, it’s scary. You feel kind of empty. Then, little by little, you discover peace. You’re still a bit afraid, but afraid and at peace.

· Being single also means realizing all the guys think they have a chance with you, so sometimes you find yourself wanting to say: “Nope, not even in your dreams, dude!!!” But instead you say: “No, I mean, I adore you, but I really don’t think we’d be compatible, you and I.”

· Being single means going on a dating app, then deleting the dating app, then going back on the dating app, then deleting the dating app…

· But it also means having to listen to advice from all your coupled friends on “how to meet the love of your life” and “how they did it” and nodding and saying thank you, instead of saying: “Are you serious? Your relationship is my nightmare!!!”

· In fact, being single means admitting there aren’t many couples out there who make you want to be in one. And the ones who do, don’t have any advice for you. It means asking yourself some seriously existential questions about what you really want, whether the old model of the nuclear family really fits you, or if you just want to be as free as the air, ultimately.

· It also means reading statistics that say the happiest women are the ones who are single and don’t have kids, and that reassures you for two seconds.

· But being single also means realizing that if being married is seen as a success, an objective, the shortest path to happiness and something to be endlessly celebrated, then being single is seen as a failure – nobody ever celebrates singleness.

· So being single means realizing you’re doing just fine, and other people’s opinions only have an influence on your life if you internalize them. It means working on yourself to free yourself from those opinions, only to realize how deeply rooted the opinions of others are in you.

· Being single means imagining you’re going to meet someone.

· Then sometimes you meet someone, and you look at them like you’d look at a piece of furniture at IKEA. Will he fit in my living room? If I move the sofa a little, that could work. Oh no, shoot, I’ll have to get rid of the table.

· Or you meet someone and fall to pieces like a teenager, get butterflies in your stomach waiting for a text, analyze every word with a friend, wrack your brain, and tell yourself that deep down, you’re still a child.

· Or you meet someone, think they’re great on every level – intelligent, calm, great sense of humor – and watch them leave the party with a young model twenty years younger than them.

· It means realizing that when you’re looking at someone like a piece of IKEA furniture, it’s probably time to ask for the check and go home, alone and in peace.

· Being single means meeting yourself. Realizing you didn’t really know yourself very well. And falling in love with yourself.

· But being single also means realizing that despite all your sensible feminist discourse, filled with freedom and philosophical questioning, you still have an empty space in your life in the shape of a man. And maybe it’s time to learn how to live for yourself.

· Being single means thanking life every time a shitty love story doesn’t happen. Seeing the same guy arrive at another party with another model, twenty-five years younger than him this time. Love may not have borders, but it can still have some big cliches.

· Because being single also means realizing you’re like a car that heats up around men. Because you want to be loved, or desired, or simply to experience something. And sometimes all it takes is letting the engine cool down for a couple of days to realize the guy you were obsessing over was in fact Hannibal Lecter mixed with Shrek, and the only reason you found him attractive was… well, shit!!! You don’t even know! Maybe you just felt like being attracted to someone, just to see.

· And being single means having lots of guy friends. And lots of friends in general. Guy friends you can do everything with, whenever they are available. Flirt, have them air up your tires, go see a concert, go to dinner, talk about life, talk about women. Learn about the vulnerability of men. God, are they vulnerable.

· Having guy friends means realizing that the big mystery we’re all trying to figure out about them… is that there is no mystery, after all.

· Being single means hearing the same stories over and over forever. “There are no men left” “Dating in LA is hell” “All men are children” and letting it get to you until you remember those are just words, and that making generalities are just fear.

· Being single, in a country you weren’t born in, means finally understanding the immense cultural canyons between us. But it also means telling yourself the solution isn’t to find a Frenchman, because after ten years of living in the U.S., there are also cultural canyons between you and the French. So you find yourself sitting on the fence, thinking that just like with everything else, the answer is to stop making generalities and go on being curious.

· Being single means being super tense after decades of relationships and social conditioning. Like a bird coming out of its golden cage, not knowing exactly where to go or what to do with its freedom. So, it stays right there, looking at the open door, observing. Then starting to imagine what life could be like outside. Getting scared, returning to the cage, all the way in the back, facing the wall then finally turning back toward that open door, looking at the scenery, finding it full of possibilities. And maybe one day, finally flying away.

· Being single means creating a life for yourself. Beautiful, big, open to your dreams. And knowing that people will always come and go, but your only role is to laugh and enjoy the moment. And to love. Men, women, children, animals…

· And if one day your life companion does show up, he’ll simply join in the curve of your flight – no effort, no drama.

Translated by Andrea Perdue