Today 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 wild 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.
Man: 1 Loneliness: 0