The Walk of Almost Single-Girl Shame
Wisps of sea salt are still carried in the sky, but the clouds hang over very grey when it’s February in Virginia Beach. The windows of my little red Toyota Camry were still fogged with the chill of the early morning when I turned into the small court within the heart of my apartment complex where my new home was.
Please, Lord. Please, please, please, I prayed as I pulled into my usual parking spot. Please, don’t let my roommate be outside walking the dog right now.
My roommate, “M.” and I had only lived together for a few weeks. And already, that morning she would be privy to one of my darkest, most troubling secrets. I wasn’t quite ready to make eye contact with her and ‘fess up to where I had been all evening long.
The New Roommate
We met at work, shortly after my boss insisted that we hang out. According to him, we were “personality twins.” And the more I got to know her, the more I realized how right he was. We were basically carbon copy versions of one another.
She and I found solidarity in the fact that we were both curly-haired twenty-something’s working at a nearby inn. And that we both loved Jesus–a rarity in the hospitality industry.
Even though we had so many similarities–down to the number and ages of our younger siblings, and philosophy on the greatest movie of all time (Gone With the Wind)–it was still mildly terrifying to think of exposing her to who I actually was by living with her. Who I was at my truest, most genuine self–my struggles I hid beneath the black blazer and smile I wore to work every day.
Would she care that I left my dirty dishes in the sink?
Would she care that sometimes–maybe all times–I didn’t always take out the trash straight away?
Would she judge the way I have entire pizzas delivered to the house when I watch The Bachelorette?
Would she hate the way I belted show tunes in the shower every morning?
But these questions were just a simple black blazer cover up for the question I really wanted to ask that chilly, February morning as I pulled up to our little apartment:
Would she notice that I didn’t come home the night before?
I stepped out of my car that morning and walked into our little home. M. was not outside walking the dog as I had feared.
Good, I thought, shooting out a sharp breath of relief. She’ll never know–and we’ll keep it that way.
Looking for Love in One Very Wrong Place
It was the first time in almost three years I found myself living with another person. As a former restaurant manager slash graduate student, I had practiced the art of living alone. My schedule and social life was quite disjointed–my restaurant responsibilities left me in the fray of diners and the crumbs they left behind until at least 1 a.m. every morning.
Afterward, I spend the early hours of the morning catching up on homework and preparing my reading for my day of classes that began at 9 a.m. Sleep would come later, when my classes ended at noon.
After nearly three years of living life quite the opposite way–living alone, sleeping when the rest of my friends and family were awake, and struggling to get myself to at 9:30 a.m. church service after working for sixteen hours straight the day before—life was becoming a bit of a challenge.
Okay, it was becoming a super-colossal hindrance to my faith, joy and happiness. But, I was fine on my own. Just fine. Or so I thought.
See, with living alone and with the absence of any sort of accountability in my life, I was beginning to search for an elsewhere community. I wanted to find that acknowledgement of my soul and spirit wherever I could. Lately, I had been looking for it at one of my guy friend’s apartments at an inappropriate time of night.
No one knew this about me. My single girl apartment didn’t tattle that I didn’t come home every night. It didn’t proclaim to the world that I needed a place to belong. But I knew. I knew that spending the night with a man—even though no Biblical, “Ten-Commandment” boundaries were crossed—was wrong.
I secretly knew this late-night habit of mine was an outcry for something else. It was an attempt to find the love that seemed as though it had found everyone else in my life. It was an attempt to feel wanted and cherished. It was an attempt to find worship and communion somewhere.
And now, as I stepped into my quiet apartment that crisp February morning and locked eyes with my roommate, M. knew it, too.
I confessed the morning’s events to M. later that day.
She had asked where I had been, and had told me she thought it was very odd when she realized I hadn’t come home the night before.
It was awkward. And uncomfortable. And honestly? It was the most relief I had felt in a long time.
Why was I trying to do this all by myself?
Living with another person–whether you’re married, single, or still living with your family–is the most real form of accountability in existence. Not only do your cohabitants know of your less-than admirable habits of letting the trash overflow, or ordering too much take out.
They see you for who you really are. In the midst of your sins and struggles.
But, they also lock you into who you really are (or, like in my case, who you really want to be).
Just because you’re a single woman does not mean you have to live through your life and struggles by yourself. When temptation strikes, you don’t have to face it alone just because you’re single. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit you simply can’t do things on your own. In fact, letting your stubborn, white-knuckled fingers release something that you’ve been holding onto in hopes for something else is very brave.
It’s a sign of strength to earnestly recognize that the way you’re living life is wrong, and that you need desperate help. Accountability. Community.
I made a pact with M. that day. Claiming that if we were living together for this particular season, then it must be for a reason. We promised each other to learn as much as we could from one another while we lived together.
Lesson one? Always sleep in your own bed.
And the next night when the late-night, “Hey, what’s up?” text lit up my phone well after 11 p.m., I couldn’t delete it fast enough. I turned over in my bed, and cut out the light.
I was locked into a new community. And it was just in the next room.
Brett Wilson is a Christ-loving, single, curly-haired, left-handed coffee-addict. She is a public relations writer in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Brett lives with her best friend and a Boston Terrier named Regis. You can read more from Brett at her site, www.amanworthwritingfor.com, or on Twitter.
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