Rose Richard: I am me, walking the road alone

After three years of having a boyfriend, I thought it would be hard to be single. And to a point it is, especially after years of having someone to warm the other side of your bed and root for you even when you are at your worst.

At first, it was hard. I was so lonely. My bed felt so big without another person in it. I would come home and there was no one to massage my back or listen to me bitch about work. I didn’t have a partner anymore. Everything I did, I had to do on my own.

When you go from being ready to marry someone, to being ready to be on your own, to being ready to find someone else, your feelings go in a hundred different directions. Making the decision to marry someone isn’t easy. It’s also not easy to decide not to marry that person. These past few years have been filled with many difficult decisions.

It doesn’t matter how or why I decided to be single. It’s a fantasy of many women to be Mrs. Somebody, even of mine. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what could have been. Perhaps this summer I would have been Mrs. Somebody in my $3,000 Lazaro dress and full-bar reception.

However, it didn’t happen. I’m still Rose Richard, not Mrs. Rose Somebodyelse. Yes, I’d take the other party’s last name. I’m old school like that, but mostly it is because no one ever gets my last name, Richard, right. They always say Richards, or worse, Richardson, or some other horrible bastard mutation of my name.

It doesn’t matter. I am Rose Richard right now, for better or worse. I am me: single and without baggage, at least to all appearances. I am not interested in cultivating a relationship, not interested in diamond rings or Lazaro dresses, or even a full bar.

Right now, what’s important is finding out who I am, by myself. I can’t define myself within the constructs of another person. It doesn’t matter what they want of me, or what I think I can do to change myself to make myself fit with another person. What’s important is what I want and what I need to do to achieve my goals.

I know this sounds selfish, but one needs to have a pretty firm idea of what one wants before one chooses a life partner. For so long, I’ve been choosing the kind of person who doesn’t appreciate the academic Rose, the Rose who reads a lot of books, the Rose who questions authority, or even the Rose who gets really drunk and spends the next day being useless.

It seems like finding an appropriate partner should be easy, but it’s not. There’s always something wrong with me, or the other person. I can’t cook, I’m not so good at cleaning, or school just gets in the way of things. I’m not Martha Stewart, and there’s nothing anyone can do to make me that kind of person.

No, I’m imperfect. I don’t know if I’ll ever get married, or find the kind of person who can tolerate me longer than six months. I’m at that weird age where many of my friends are getting married and some are having children, and my family members are wondering what is wrong with me.

I, for one, do not consider my singleness and childlessness to be a flaw. There is so much I could not do if I had any sort of attachment. I couldn’t just leave after graduation to go to any graduate school I wanted. Every decision I have to make after I graduate would have to be weighed against the needs of my spouse or partner. I just can’t do that.

I admire those couples who go to college together and make it work. It can’t be easy for them, and I’m sure their road is filled with bumps. I hope that someday, I find that person I’m willing to work really hard for. But for now, I’m really okay with walking the road on my own.