And we all fall down.

Over the weekend, two close friends and I jumped in a Mustang and took off.  Destination: Canada, Windsorto be exact.  While some single women may be intimidated by the thought of falling into the dreaded third wheel zone, travelling with this couple was a blast and sans cutesy, awkward couples-only moments.  After toasting to champagne, we quickly hit the casino and the excitement overcame me.  When did this become my life?  I loved every second of being free, single and able to do whatever (or whoever) the hell came my way.  It all seemed so glamorous, a life that I was always meant to own.  And like the perfect pair of Louboutins, it fit perfectly.

It was the next morning, over an early breakfast of gourmet banana bread and parfait, that I realized I wasn’t an integral part of the couples equation.  It wasn’t my friends—no, they were lovely and gracious, including me in the fun of their getaway.  It was that chair, staring me down from across the table.  It was empty and taunting me, reminding me that yes, I was a single and I had no one to sit across from me. 

On the long, rainy ride home I couldn’t erase the image of the lone chair at our table.  My mind overcame me and suddenly I wondered why, in the musical chairs of life, is someone always left to stand alone, or worse, left to fall on her derrière without the cushion of a chair to catch her fall?

Recently, over a conversation concerning my refusal to settle for just any man, my friend called me fearless.  Yes, she explained, while many friends and acquaintances we knew were settling for the comfort of well, anyone, I wasn’t.  I was waiting out the storm, hoping for a sunnier outcome.  I was the girl falling on her ass, while the last woman standing bumped me out of the way and claimed her chair, or the lap of the next attractive guy.  I never understood it—why not wait for the perfect fit instead of the fit of comfort?  I’m sorry, but this girl will never trade in her Louboutins for a clunky pair of Stride Rites.  Comfort isn’t in my nature anymore… and neither is Mr. Right Now.

While it may seem admirable or gutsy, refusing to settle has its downside, too.  Enter the lone chair.  But then I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert’s thoughts on loneliness—how it’s not only OK and normal to feel alone, it’s human.  And, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I am alone, by choice and circumstance.  But, just because I have a lonely moment once in a while doesn’t mean I’m going to settle for the next comfiest chair.  Because when it all comes down to it, I don’t need that chair and, as Gilbert wrote, I will “never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for [my] own unfulfilled yearnings.”

Sometimes I stop and look around me.  So many of those friends who claim to have found “love” have only found the comfort and security of not having to face the day alone, on their own.  I am making a choice—I am choosing to face my day in my own way.  I am becoming the independent woman I was always meant to be and, honestly, I love it.  Sure, I have moments when I miss being the other half of a couples equation, but then I look at my friends who took me toCanada.  They remind me of what I want.  They share something real, a true bond of love and friendship and laughter.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

And then, as my own sentimentality begins to conquer my mind, I remember the reason why I am choosing not to settle: my friends.  If I settle for any old chair, I’ll never learn how to stand on my own.  One of my favorite poems reads “love doesn’t mean leaning” and I’m realizing just how true that statement is.  Evolving into the woman I was always supposed to, an independent, self-sufficient woman, means I will be able to give someone a stronger partner someday.  A partner who can fall, dust her backside off and keep moving on with life.  I can’t wait to find out who will be sitting in that chair one day.  In the musical chairs of life, I’m learning, it’s OK to fall, and it’s even better to learn how to stand alone.

4 Responses to “And we all fall down.”
  1. js says:

    I just want to say that i think you are an amazing woman and an amazing writer! To be so fearless and not to settle for anything, is something i wish i will be able to do in the future……

  2. Melisa says:

    I’m 21. Just graduated from college. I’ve seen friends and my crushes settle for crap because they just want a warm body and they get to stay in their comfort zone, and not put forth much effort. But me, I’m still waiting and I’m not really worried because I know I will find someone great one day. I don’t want to settle, especially when I see how “great ” the relationships around me are. I’m glad I’m not the only early twenty year old woman who feels this way. cheers!

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