Day 3: The Experiment

By now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking to yourself, ‘Man, you said in your first post that you’ve never had trouble with women, and you said in your second post that you’ve got friends and family around you anyways; so what’s the point of your experiment? What makes it ‘worth it’?’ There are people out there who have been single, and will be single, much longer than this and who will not blink an eye at the experience. What does it even mean, really, to be ‘commitedly single’? (Hey, am I onto a new hashtag trend?! Hahah. OMG let’s do it! I just checked and I don’t think that’s a thing yet.)

ALRIGHT new topic. Let’s define ‘committedly single’. I mean you already know I have a deeply ingrained insecurity and fear about not being in a relationship. You know I’ve been hopping from one to another and they’ve all a) gotten progressively shorter as we go b) end terribly c) have had no real fulfilling or satisfying impact and d) never given me the chance to process what I think is a very important part of being a well-adjusted independent and productive member of society.

THEREFORE I have begun this experiment, now on day 3, of being ‘committedly single’. The biggest difference is the significant emphasis on not seeking out a partner. That’s really what I want to set out for myself as a goal to accomplish. A full year of being single and not trying to change the situation. Now I’m very familiar with my options. This means no CoffeeMeetsBagel. No OKCupid. No Tinder. No POF. No eHarmony and that founder who pronounces ‘this Fri-DEE and Satur-DEE’ so strangely. No Barnes & Noble hoping to find a shy book-girl in the aisles. Just being me, the best version of me, and working on me for the sake of me. Take a look at the painting at the top of my blog. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

What do you see.

Both are paintings by Brent Lynch. The left with the man is called ‘Cigar Bar’. The right with the elegant woman is called ‘Evening Lounge’. Together, they make for a place I’d probably get a good steak and whiskey, ‘Cigar Bar and Evening Lounge’.

BarBut think of what these paintings symbolize. Together they make for a great image, a motif reminiscent of the ‘Godfather’, ‘Casablanca’, even ‘James Bond’. You can smell the cigar smoke wafting in the air. You can hear the jazz piano being played in the background. Listen for the clink of ice being dropped into the shaker. The sound of muffled footsteps on the velvet carpet. It works. But separate the images now. Remember that this isn’t a single painting but two put together. ‘Cigar Bar’ is a painting of strength, solitude, mystery. ‘Evening Lounge’ pours elegance, sophistication, and independence onto the page. They are complete paintings in and of themselves. And this is how we should feel about ourselves as well.

NO ONE should have to feel like an incomplete painting. LoungeA piece of puzzle waiting to be
completed. Our borders should be well-define. Those who look at us should see something whole and complete, for all intents and purposes ‘finished’. Now we may find at the very edges some areas that weren’t fully done, or maybe where there wasn’t enough paint applied and so it fades a bit. Maybe on the edge of the canvas we see evidence of where the painter thought to continue. But for the most part we’re ‘done’. And that’s how we should all feel not just in a relationship but before, after, and in-between. No one should ever have to feel like a puzzle piece, waiting to be completed, with those large holes and gaps, walking around with funky non-defined edges, with no one, especially yourself, knowing what the full picture is supposed to be. And no one should ever have to look at another person and feel like they have to ‘complete’ them because that’s a huge responsibility and not the
purpose of a relationship.

That’s what this year will become about. How do I become the best me for the sole reason of wanting it for myself. How do I, if I can, content myself with being single and find satisfaction and fulfillment in the things I do on my own. I’m not running to my next relationship. I’m not waiting to find the next woman who will ‘make me whole’. I will make myself whole, and present myself in full resolution to someone. Eventually. One day. Just 362 days from now.

So that’s what this experiment is about. Finding internal motivation and incentive. Purpose. To stop living for relationships and being ‘the relationship guy’ and become ‘Man’. And now, to discover and define this new term of ‘committedly single’, which I cannot wait to write more about. I’m excited. I’m fired up. This is it everyone. I’m pacing the floor. I feel electricity at my fingertips. Today overwhelmingly goes to MAN.

Day 3

Man: 3 Loneliness: 0

 

Day 2: The Man and Loneliness

So I want to clarify a few things. I know, and I would be remiss to acknowledge, that I am not alone. I have a loving family. Both my parents are still alive and together, and my younger brother and I are very close. I have my very small, intimate group of friends (‘The Man and the Crew’ coming soon!) that I have known since elementary school. I can’t exaggerate my situation or minimize the reality that when I look around me, I do have people. I’m not alone. What I feel, and what I believe many of you who have been in relationships and can relate to, is lonely. You know how we are. There are people like us who just…hold back, reserve a portion of ourselves, for relationships. Perhaps this is something else I need to work on. To learn to live fully and not hold back, waiting for a relationship to live the life I want to live in the way I want to live it. Who wants to be with someone who hasn’t been themselves? And that’s a lot of pressure to place on someone else isn’t it. ‘I have been waiting to be with you in order to do everything I’ve ever wanted and now that I am, I can finally be complete.’. Nah, you wouldn’t want that burden either.

Most of my friends save one have never been in relationships. Even then, as of right now none of them have any interest in dating in the future. My younger brother has also spared himself the beautiful agony of it all. My parents never dated anyone other than each other. So at night, when the feelings are at its worst, when in the dead silence my mind races and I think of her, of them, of all the hers of my past, of the future, of my fears, I don’t have a place to put my words. Before now, until I started this outlet, I’ve never let those words or thoughts leave me. They sat in my head, bubbling.

I’ve always actually been a very solitary person. To be honest I enjoy, sometimes crave, my alone time. I am by nature an introvert. I am comfortable eating by myself. Going to the movies by myself. Concerts. I’ve done it all before and I’m sure I could do it again. Could I GroupShotbe the life of the party if I wanted? Absolutely. I can joke and tell stories and entertain and keep up with the best of them. But the next day you’ll most likely find me catatonic, unresponsive, dangerously deep into my video games with no indication of coming back to the light. I think what made a lot of this okay was that I always thought of it as a temporary situation, an ‘alonehood’ that would eventually b
e replaced by a ‘togetherhood’ that I would never lose. I never really considered being ‘alone’ as a permanent status. Far from being okay with this concept, I never even really sat down with myself and took the time to look within myself and understand what that would even mean. The implications.

But now because of this experiment I am committed to being alone. Not forever, but for a year, promising myself to not go chasing again. To not go wanting again. I want to experience the emotions, insecurities, comforts, whatever may come from being in this situation that I’ve worked so hard to avoid. I know I’m not alone. But I feel lonely. Can I be alone and not feel lonely? I have 363 days left to find out.

Day 1: The Man

FrontShotToday I begin an experiment. One that will drive me to face one of the biggest fears of my life: being alone. I am committing to a full year, 365 days, of not just being alone, but of trying to be okay with it as well. No online dating websites. No asking friends or families for matches. No inability to process that I can develop friendships and connections with women that do not necessarily have to end up as romantic relationships. For a year I will try to come to terms and understand something that I have not really ever been: decidedly single and happy. This blog, narcissistic and self-indulgent though it may be, will help to chronicle the journey as I wrestle with the concept of being alone, maybe not lonely, maybe not happy, but certainly satisfied.

I never thought of myself as some sort of Romeo, with women hanging off my arms. I was a kid when I started dating. What did I know. I was tall, dark (for an Asian), and awkwardly funny. I learned very early on that a good sense of humor could make up for a lot. For one, it made me interesting. Fun to be around. I had stories. I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. To share. I was, and am, chubby. Maybe I’ll work on that this year too. But the point was I wasn’t the athlete. But you know what, if you can grasp the concept of being comfortable with yourself at an age earlier than most of the other pre-teens and teens around you, that confidence makes you look good too. I grew up reading my mother’s Redbooks and watching old romance movies. Casablanca, The Count of Monte Cristo. I learned that the reward for a man fulfilling his duties was either the love of his life or the honor of sacrificing his love for others. That’s a heavy load for a guy who couldn’t even hold his first girlfriend’s hand until like, a month in! (I also hilariously missed my first kiss by like a mile. Pro tip: At least one of you should have their eyes open.) But I was hooked. I had had my first ‘relationship’ in 7th grade and I couldn’t go back to being a wildBackShot bachelor about town. I hopped from one relationship to the next. Since 7th grade I’ve never gone longer than six months without some sort of romantic relationship in any form. I started really young, and I’ve never, at a more mature and capable age, really had the chance to process and grasp what it meant to be ‘myself’ versus ‘part of something’. I felt, and those around me felt, that I ‘never acted complete’ unless I was in a relationship. And I thought that was more than okay. For the past 14 years I’ve been ‘the relationship guy’.

But here I am now. Twelve failed ‘relationships’ in, and burned out. I need to find out what it means to be on my own. I have to be okay with myself not being with someone else. I have to wrestle with loneliness and face all of the aspects of it that scare me. I will not win every day. But today I made a pretty big step.

Day 1

Man: 1 Loneliness: 0