I know you. I’ve been you. I am you.
I know that, in your weaker moments, you’ve been overcome with frustration at the appearance of a wedding album on Facebook. Another friend married, another friend moved to the other side of the invisible line you’ve drawn in your life. In order to feel okay, and maybe to feel better than them, you have to remind yourself that you are smart. You are clever.
That is why you’re alone.
You imagine that ignorance and happiness always go hand-in-hand, that the couples who are so happy to pair up and settle down only are so because they have less of an appetite for life, less desire to make sure that everything is complex and engaging and challenging. They are happy with less, you imagine, because they are more simple. And you, you are different, you are single because you want more out of your life and aren’t willing to settle for a cookie-cutter wedding at 28 and a couple of photos on Facebook.
But you know that’s not true. You know that you take refuge in your intelligence because the reality is too dark to discuss: You’re alone because it hasn’t happened for you yet, plain and simple. Your complexity perhaps does doom you to singledom, but not because it means you’re too good for anyone. It just means that you are less satisfied by the reality of daily life with someone, and will pick apart nearly anyone who stays in your life for any real measure of time. It hasn’t happened for you, and you don’t know if it ever will.
And your mind is not a replacement for love.
You know that there is someone out there for you, that there is someone who matches you word for word and can keep you entertained in the way a good book or a meaty conversation with a friend over wine does. But you are unsure if you’ll ever meet them, because looking for love has always gone to the back burner. Part of being a “smart girl” — being labeled as such from such a young age — has been believing that there were much more interesting pursuits in life than falling in love with someone.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe you were so desperate to not be what little girls are supposed to be, to not look for your Prince Charming so as not to be a Damsel In Distress, that you’ve thrown away love altogether. You were not going to be like other girls, and it’s come at the price of your happiness.
You are still single, emphasis on the still. It’s been so long that you have assumed that love would manifest itself with the relative ease that everything else has in your life. It’s been so long that you have been sure that one day it would happen for you. But that day is today, and you are alone. All you have are your snarky jokes about the girls who are living out the dreams of the Disney Princesses of your childhood right there on your Facebook.
And you cannot consider that they might be smart girls, too, that they live the same kind of rich inner life that you do, that they have dreams and aspirations outside of being happy in love. Because that would mean the worst thing of all:
You’re not that smart. You’re just lonely.