Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
// Marianna Schmiesing //
I am perfection.
Sometimes, I say that to myself in the mirror at 1 am, marveling at the bodacious topknot on my head that won’t be seen by anyone except me.
But I don’t say that often during the day, partly because, objectively speaking, I know that it’s not true. But also because I am single, and according to A Lot of People Who Talk About Single Women in Their 20s, I should be “Working on Myself.”
But that’s not what we meant, they say. We never wanted to make you feel like you weren’t good enough. Just fall in love with yourself. You don’t need a man to be happy.
Maybe that impression is a little mean, but I don’t really care because that’s the mood I’m in.
Maybe you’re still single because you’re meeeeaaaaann and don’t caaaaaaree.
Touché. But whatever.
I’ve grown to resent the sentence: “Work on yourself during this time.” It’s probably because I have identity issues. But also, I usually hear that advice from pretty, married, and aesthetically pleasing young women, or an Annoyingly Optimistic Young Catholic Woman Blogger who’s trying to convince herself and her audience at the same time.
(I will say that the advice, “Enjoy yourself/take advantage of your freedom during this time” is acceptable. But let’s get back to my beef—)
Let’s start with “Work on yourself.” To me, that implies that there is something wrong. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But we’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with you. Good things can always get better.
Okay, cool, my pride has been exposed, but let’s move on to the next phrase.
“During this time.”
The idea of time implies an end. So, “this time of singleness” implies an end of singleness. For this end, there are only two options: Marriage or Death.
(I’m implying the death of old age. Please don’t do anything like Romeo and Juliet.)
When I “work on myself during this time,” I am unconsciously picturing an end where my Wedding 😛 Pinterest board can incarnate itself, and I float down the aisle like an elegant blimp. It is very unconscious because it has buried itself under my Travel!, bread & stuff, and EXerCISE you LAZY BuTT Pinterest boards, all those things that I do in an effort to “work on myself.”
But when I push aside all those things I’m working on and slap that “I Love Myself” grimace off my face, I find what’s been rotting in the state of Denmark.
I’m expecting this time of waiting to end. And I’m expecting that whatever I’m doing now will get me there. I hear the advice, and I think that I’ll reach some point where I’ll be rewarded. That I’ll finally be recognized in my efforts To Work On Myself.
This goal might be unconscious, but my life can still revolve around an unconscious goal.
Thinking like this doesn’t sit at the surface of our motivations. Over the years, I often thought that I was purely trying to fall in love with myself, better myself for myself, and love who I was because I’m A Beautiful Daughter of The King.
But every time I became overwhelmingly sad after dressing up and going to a party and not having A Really Cool Guy Who Probably Looks Like Hercules come in and sweep me away to go eat tacos, I had to figure out why I was so upset.
I think that I had to reconcile two things.
Don’t worry, I’m not giving into despair here. I’m just trying to separate and re-sort the wants and desires that are having a party in my head.
Getting married is a goal of mine, a pretty major one. But I also have other goals, other ways to fall in love and be loved. However, my other goals are neither a way to achieve getting married, nor are they a distraction from that desire.
Marriage can be a goal. But it’s not going to be the reason that I’m working on myself, consciously or unconsciously.
One final thing: This can apply to your prayer life. Holy men fall in love with holy women. A woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man must seek Him in order to find her. This is a beautiful sentiment, but it should stay in men’s ministry, and women must forget it. It might not confuse you, but it confused the heck out my motivations, and now I can stand next to John Proctor from The Crucible and loudly proclaim, “It hurt my prayer, sir, it hurt my prayer.”
Don’t fall in love with Jesus so that someone will fall in love with you. Just fall in love with Him.