[Bella’s intro: Because writings about single life are so often dominated by stories by and about single women, I am always looking for men’s perspectives (and from people who do not identify as either). I especially like this one by Daz Pearce, because it comes with an important moral: Sometimes, when none of your romantic relationships last, it is not because you have “issues,” but because, deep down inside, you really want to be single. And for good reasons – it is the best life for you. I call people who live their best, most authentic, and most meaningful lives by being single “single at heart.” Daz calls himself a “solo bird.” I like that, too.]
Solo Bird, Flying Free
Guest Post by Daz Pearce
Hello from the North of England – funnily enough, perhaps the best place to start is at the end.
So Dazza, self-styled ‘Solo Bird’ or whatever…can you please explain her, her and her? Weren’t you just a little bit crazy about the three of them, at least at the time? Well yeah it certainly felt like that, yeah – and ostensibly that’s not the work of a natural ‘Solo Bird’ whose best, most authentic life is outside of a relationship.
I say ostensibly…but let me tell you a few things these ‘car crashes’ had in common. First up, I seemed to deliberately ‘pursue’ relationships with women who were incompatible, highly unlikely to take me seriously, or both. Then…I’d sabotage myself, say and do things that would ruin any hypothetical chance I might have had. Lastly, I was absolutely bricking it – scared witless of something, I assumed that to be the inevitable (and brutal) rejection that was on it’s way. Which is strange really, because I’m most certainly NOT a coward. Ask my friends in real life.
Last year I had my first toxic experience of singlism as my ‘Solo Bid’ status came under aggressive challenge, then major threat which crossed over into outright bullying. Funnily enough my real life friends (including the happily married ones) never had an issue with it and just understood that I was ‘authentically different’ on some level. It’s the unhappily married you have to watch out for in my experience – I’m miserable, so you MUST be miserable too!!
I’m glad this happened in a narrow sense as it finally gave me the answer to the question above – in fact I can laugh as I’ve always had some quite brilliant female friends but rationalised “she’s my mate” or “we’re friendzoned” as a reason why we could never, ever be anything more than that. There were ‘female friends’ and then there were people I was attracted to – and never shall the two meet. I was subconsciously (but in retrospect, deliberately) setting myself up for failure.
The self-sabotage and ‘strange behaviour’ was the other side of the same coin – and the horrendous anxiety, which sometimes crossed over into full-blown panic attacks and insomnia? The eureka moment came when I realised that I was scared not of rejection (I actually WANTED to be rejected!!) but the dreaded tap on the shoulder. Come with me and get in the van Dazza, the holiday’s over and you’re in ‘a relationship’ now. I’d basically died and gone to hell.
I did all this to myself because I wanted be single and, deep down, was a Solo Bird at heart.
Of course I did.
Ah yes – in a relationship. I see it on Facebook all the time, someone announces that they are ‘in a relationship’ and everybody jumps up and down like demented little seals flapping their arms about. Welcome to the winners enclosure, sister!! You’re no longer a failure, loser or pathetic inadequate like all those single people!! Of course this ‘relationship’ may turn out to be all wrong, or even abusive, but who cares? Any relationship has to be better than none, surely?
You see…I appreciate that Bella (who I have found inspirational to the extent that I want to continue the chain) doesn’t like the phrase “being single is better than being in a bad relationship” but honestly, I don’t mind it for one important reason. Once you acknowledge this obvious-ism then you get away from the false binary of ‘relationship = success, lack of one = failure” that the majority of the population seem to believe in. It’s a very definite way into the conversation.
The trouble with us Solo Birds is we disrupt the ‘superior status’ that being ‘in a relationship’ apparently represents. To many, being married represents ‘making it’ on the basis that someone ‘chose’ them and from over here that sounds like a pretty appalling reason to do anything. By ‘choosing’ to be single or seeing yourself as a Solo Bird you’re collapsing a hell of a lot of preconceptions and worldviews. That shouldn’t be ‘asking for trouble’ but sadly, it is.
I’m not a ‘loser’ or a ‘failure’ on the basis that I’ve never been married – and honestly I take serious exception to the notion that I ‘should’ feel like that. No I’m not in ‘a relationship’, for that would leave me somewhat suffocated and unfulfilled with all its invasions of personal space, compromises and ‘whatever’ moments. I’m in several ‘relationships’ with people of both genders based on warmth, emotional availability, trust and a concept too many have gone away from…human connection.
You have your one by all means – and I’ll have my ones. As long as we’re both living our most authentic and purposeful life then what’s the problem? Every happiness and thrive, right?
Of course I knew all this at the age of fourteen but matrimania (what a word Bella, thank you) is utterly pervasive within society and basically gaslights you, tells you what you want, plays tricks with your brain. I write music and I remember a highly talented guy (no longer with us – RIP and a sad loss) telling me his first song was about love in the ‘relationship’ sense…” I didn’t even know what love was but thought I should write about it”. Well there’s a Matrimania 101 for you. QED.
The truth about love is that it comes in so many different forms and should not be narrowed down to the content of Barry Manilow songs and slushy movies. If I had to sum up what love means it would not refer to marriage, or living together, or sex – loving someone means you’re prepared to take time out to make his or her life slightly better than it currently is. Not because you want something in return, but because you care deeply about that other person.
Now I’m as comfortable in my Solo Bird skin as I’ve ever been. I know I’m operating on a higher level of consciousness – and have more love to give to others than ever.
If THAT doesn’t sound like a happily ever after then you need to shake your matrimania.
[From Bella, again: Thanks for this, Daz. I still don’t like that saying, though, as I explain in “Stop saying that being single is better than being in a bad relationship.”]
Dazza is a musician, poet and writer from Preston, UK. After several (by his own admission) disastrous attempts to start relationships with ‘the wrong people’ he finally began to ask himself if this was all ‘subconscious but deliberate’ and he was actually a solo bird at heart. His other interests include sports, psychology, and philosophy.