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Read Letter

Diary of a single girl

Dear Jil, of course you know her! Headstrong and slenderised, her features thinly fleshed, she’s no doubt lovable but that’s not very obvious. She was educated in one of the ivy league colleges; grew up in a university campus – her father was a professor. She has the gift of fierce intelligence, and a radical bit of outlook. Products of intellectual environments tend to have. She will go to the ends of the earth for those she loves. That’s one thing about her. It’s not so much faith as blind passion. She opens her eyes shut in loyalty, sometimes bumping her way into life dummies. Some will even say she’s prone to emotional suicide. Those she loves she loves.

Deep down there where it matters, she’s a sentimental – a romantic. It’s camouflaged by busyness. She seems to have taken an inspiration from God on the documented life. God has a Book of Life, she created a journal of life. God records names and acts in his book. She does in hers too. Her journal is highly confidential, just like God’s. It’s so intimate she guards it with her life. It’s a diary cum emotional dump. It’s full of stories, and chronicles, and reflections… Soliloquies of the mind. Her pains, her triumphs, her loves… the near misses and infatuations; wishes, prayers, desires… All are in there. The life of Nucky Thompson (Boardwalk Empire) should ordinarily teach us not to keep such books. It must not fall into enemy hands – or that which is secret will be made manifest.

Surely the thought of loss of such a book must put incredible pressure on one. But some people like to live on the edge of black holes – the event horizon. They enjoy life at the cusp of catastrophe. Once when the book appeared lost she went into panic, her countenance a signature reflection of terror. But it wasn’t lost. She nonetheless derives secret joy from the secret of keeping a secret book. The book is some form of catharsis. It’s full of secrets – secret joys and secret pains.

There’s the secret pain of being single past the age range of conjugality defined by society. It’s a big masquerade in every room of conversation she enters; life is full of such chambers. Nobody wants to talk about it; everyone dances round it. Understandable. But the configuration of life is such that there will always be one or two who accidentally intrude into emotional privacy. And so someone will inevitably utter a prayer for “your own husband”- as if there’s any other type of husband. And some won’t resist the temptation of making one a topical prayer point. She’s attended countless singles events where the heroism of being single is celebrated. The religious say Paul was single and so was useful to God. There’s only one problem: her name is Ashake, not Paulina.

Let’s be honest, and let’s be real: if you crave marriage there’s no heroism in being single. Being single is not adoration for the matrimonially minded. No amount of palliative sermonizing can change that. What you have is longings, and contemplations of what could have been; and what should be. It’s a struggle! And so in her journal she records her disappointment in present continuous tense. She constantly diarises her heartache.

She also records what no one wants to talk about: her sexual pressures. She records her Friday Night tears… on Friday nights – no one taking her out, all alone by herself. She records the difficulty of being alone. (Even her recording sometimes feels sorry for her). She records having no one with proprietary claim over her heart; the aloneness of going to the movies alone; of dating the available not the wanted. It’s a source of tempting pressure for her: should she marry to get married, or should she keep hoping her man will come? Should she wait for the appearance of love, or cruelly crush her ideals on the concrete block of pragmatism? She misses not being able to share her dreams with someone, not being able to snuggle up with someone; receiving presents from that special someone, even fighting with someone! Most importantly, she doesn’t have the joy of conversing about starting a home with that someone, of having his babies. Don’t care how strong you are, that will get to you after a baby shower or two. Or a bachelorette’s party or two.

Unfortunately, the mating dance we call life does not provision for equality of partnering opportunity. While she’s looking for ONE man, some are getting multiple offers and squandering them. Some describe her as independent, but what else could she be? She IS independent! She’s alone! Independence is a party of one! You can’t be dependent if there’s nobody to depend on. She’s not independent because of her intellectual pedigree or background. When you’re alone you rely on yourself. There’s the planning of vacation for just one; the falling in love with places and atmospheres as just one. There’s always the hope you’ll meet someone on those trips. That’s what the movies say, right? Then there’s the shameless longing in your thoughts for another woman’s man, when your thoughts reek of sin. Though it clashes with morality, the thought is nonetheless entertained and dwelt upon, in video. Loneliness produces distortions and conflictions. You begin to see the otherwise unimaginable you.

She once fell in love with a married man. (When recollection of that comes she covers her face in her thoughts). And she’s been the hapless target of a young man out for commercial and sexual exploitation. And someone is always trying to fix you up with “my cousin coming in from the States”. Then there’s that jealousy that comes from interacting with someone who unknowingly took someone you wanted. What do you do? I’d say do what you’ve always done: Encourage yourself, make the most of your career, business. Dress well, go out with the girls, party, watch movies, television, travel,get a hobby… Of course rejoice with those who rejoice. Dream every night, hope every day. Someday your knight will come. He may be in shining armour, or suit or jeans. Until then, live, pray, love!

Your mentor, LA.


© Leke Alder 2014

Tags : Secrets, Single, Pain, Alone, Record

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