One day we were all sitting together on sand dunes at summer camp joking about boys. We braided friendship bracelets and confessed crushes. The years flew by and those crushes took us to prom. We went to college, danced on table tops, screaming the words to Kelly Clarkson, and – as the bar closed down — “Closing Time”. We made our way into various careers and forged our way through this world. Then it happened. Everyone else in the group found their person. Those who didn’t finally confessed they’d never wanted guys anyway. They found their happiness on a beach in Cancun with another girl.
And I was left. And like those in other friends groups across the world who were left like me, I questioned myself. I stared at my reflection. I made a pact with myself to find a plastic surgeon when I turned 35. But truly, when I took a long hard look at myself, all I saw staring back was a woman who just didn’t make the cut.
If I’m honest, and if I’m confident in myself, I have a body that nobody would hate on. I have a nose that plastic surgeons borrow for inspiration. I am funny (if one is okay with a few 9/11 jokes). I have a job that has inspired the content of multiple TV shows. Dogs always immediately find me in a room and climb on my lap to go to sleep. Little children lean against my shoulder and tell their parents they love me. Now and again someone recognizes my name from being the top scorer in that one standardized test I fluke nailed. Strangers at bus stops will randomly tell me I’m pretty (clearly the mask covers all sins).
I have three sisters. Four best friends. Six excellent friends. Thirteen women I would want to be part of my wedding. Every single one of them is either married or in a long-term relationship. I am the only one who is not. Maybe it is timing. Maybe it is my ambition that’s pushed me to climb up and up in my career. Maybe I genuinely am not cut out to be a long-term girlfriend. Whatever it is, it has left me left behind.
I’m not alone. I know so many of us are in the same boat. So many of us are stunningly beautiful, smart enough to make MENSA, and kind enough to seduce a whole room, yet cannot find their person.
As we get older, the question we always ask ourselves is: Will it ever be me?
My youngest sister is getting married this fall. I will be a bridesmaid for the ninth time. If nothing else, that should speak to what I’m like with people. If nine different women have liked me enough to actually make me a part of the biggest day of their lives, how does it figure that every single night I go to bed alone?
I don’t write this or share this to make a self-pitying statement. I write it because I know so many people who will read it will understand. So many women will feel this way. Will it ever be me? Will it ever be us?
You’re not alone, girl. I refuse to believe that the fact that I am alone at 28 is indicative of a flaw in me. I refuse to believe that there is a flaw in you. Sometimes it just happens. But I also refuse to be okay with it. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with you.
There is absolutely no shame in nailing life in your own way, but sometimes looking at yet another ring flashed on Instagram Stories, you can’t help but wonder if it will ever be you. There is no shame in going home after yet another endless bridal shower and crying yourself to sleep. There is no shame in turning around and around in the mirror trying to find a flaw to justify this status in life to yourself. You won’t find a flaw. There aren’t any.
My Dad always laughs and says it will be fine. He’s walked two of my younger sisters down the aisle. He’s walking the third and last this fall. In his mind, apparently, because so many tourists stopped us in D.C. asking to take a picture with me thinking I was a model, I will eventually find someone.
It’s not how it works.
I don’t know if it will ever be me. But I hope this makes you all realize that it isn’t you. Sometimes it’s just timing. Sometimes it’s just life. Sometimes it’s just nothing at all.