”Those are our cosmic marching orders from the top down: Beget while the begetting is good. If the universe is such a smarty, why did it make life so fragile that it has to perpetually procreate? The same universe that filled the suffocating void of space with fire and ice also made life pretty flimsy. Did it run out of materials? Why didn’t it just make us out of diamonds and granite? If we were more durable, maybe we wouldn’t have to follow such strict rules. Thankfully, what makes us human is our adorable penchant for occasionally ignoring our biology. We eat forbidden fruit. Build towers of Babel. LOLcats serve no specific evolutionary purpose.
There’s a big difference between being alone and solitude. Recognizing this difference is the first step in wresting control of your story from the cliché script pop science says we can’t help but follow. When you’re alone, you feel lonely. Unloved. “Single.” Loneliness is just not being able to stand the person you’re stuck with your whole life. And that person is you. Loneliness covets what others have and frequently instant message. Loneliness can feel like emptiness inside, but it’s the opposite. It’s more like a cavity – a damp hole that’s full of rotted hopes, selfish prayers, and fear.
Solitude, on the other hand, is our soul’s default setting. Solitude is being alone, but not lonely. Solitude is an art; it’s projecting an avatar of yourself in the inflatable bounce house of your mind and giving that version of you a hug. It’s building a secret garden and throwing up a gigantic golden door not to keep people out, but to see if there’s anyone clever enough to pick the lock. Being “single” does not, in fact, mean you are incomplete. It means you are totally complete. “Single” is not a brand that scars Facebook and dating site profiles. “Single” does not mean “Unloved.” “Single” means “I’m making myself a magical pot of pasta and re-watching season three of ‘The Wire.’ What are you bringing to my dope-ass party?”
Men don’t fear the “single” label. We have our own issues and fears, but they are likewise illusory, socially created scarecrows, and generally deal with how every man is a falcon, a mighty falcon everyone wants to pluck! I’ll just go ahead and save that generalizing rant for another day. Men don’t mind being “single,” because we have mythologies that celebrate the whole notion of being on your own. Woman, you are not “single.” You are “Ronin.” Now, I know what the overwhelmingly female readership who frequent The Frisky are thinking, Do you mean nerd legend Frank Miller’s 1983 dystopian sci-fi comic book epic Ronin or the gritty 1998 cloak-and-dagger classic “Ronin” starring Robert De Niro? No on both points, ladies!
I am referring to the Ronin of medieval Japan. Ronin are samurai, the mighty warrior class who wield razor-sharp katana swords with fatal grace and serve at the pleasure of a feudal lord. Specifically, however, Ronin are samurai who have no master or lord, either because said lord was killed or disposed. They were free agents of badass. Granted, the most famous Ronin died avenging the murder of their master. But Ronin could also just, you know, stroll around the countryside, drinking tea and writing poetry about nature’s splendor, and hacking off the arms of bandits and nogoodniks. They are alone, and answer to no one. Ronin are serene and powerful, merciful and courageous. Ronin live that ancient Zen saying, “Que sera, sera.” A Ronin respectfully bows before kingdoms wild and civilized so that he may peacefully pass and resume strolling along the path he is forging for himself. Now, re-read that last rambling sentence and replace each “he” with a “she.” See? You’re not single. The world needs you, not the other way around. Sit and breathe. Defend the weak. Stop to salute the lotus flower. Roam the world and never feel alone. You are Ronin – you answer to no one. Your heart is your only master.
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