Yesterday morning, I was completely hung-over on my way to work (hey, we had our Small Business Awards, I was allowed to be) and generally, not in a great mood. I didn’t get any sleep, the buckle on my red coat broke, my head hurt, and I was convinced my ass was looking a little wide in my new black sweater dress –isn’t that supposed to be a slimming color?
I always grab a paper on the way into the subway to read on my ride and as I was turning to page two, I heard the cutest laugh known to man. I looked up and saw a little girl (whom I later learned is named Olivia) bouncing in her stroller as her mother and father smiled down at her.
She looked over to me and giggled and waved, and of course, like any other woman, I waved and giggled back. I was admiring how insanely adorable she was –when suddenly, she looked at her mom and just burst into tears. And then she was screaming and attempting to get out of her stroller. The whole train was watching and her little face turned bright, bright red.
I instantly felt awful for her and felt the need to scoop her up, hold her close, and tell her that everything is going to be alright. Which is exactly what her mom did in one swift movement. Within a matter of seconds, Olivia was back to her beautiful, cooing-self, and was again baby-flirting at me.
For the rest of my train ride, Olivia and I waved and smiled and played peek-a-boo, along with other straphangers sitting near me. She watched me with her big brown eyes as she left the train, and once she was gone, it occurred to me how little we change from the time we’re babies until we’re adults.
I mean, every once in a while, don’t we all feel like bursting into tears in the middle of the subway (or anywhere, really) for no apparent reason, just because we want to?
And when we get ridiculously upset because it feels necessary at the time, don’t we want to get up from where we are, bury ourselves into someone (preferably handsome, tall, and strong) who will tell us that, “Baby, it’ll be okay. I love you.”
Isn’t that kind of why being a single gal is hard?
Say, hypothetically, I did burst into tears while riding from the Upper Upper West Side (Alright, Harlem, fine.) to Chelsea. And before I decided to let the floodgates open, I was just sittin’, smilin’, and gigglin’ at some cute stranger. What would happen?
I’d be considered crazy and someone, probably an older woman of sorts, would come and pat my back and tell me to calm down, that it’s alright, and ask me if I needed help. Someone might even throw some change at my boots.
But somehow, that kind of comfort doesn’t seem liberating. It doesn’t relieve the sadness or stop the tears –it just provides attention. What we really want is just to be held by someone we know loves us.
Part of being single is learning how to comfort yourself. It’s about learning how to stay strong, stay grounded, and have coping mechanisms that don’t involve a love interest. Sure, my friends receive ridiculous text messages randomly at all times of the day or night –but in general, I handle most of my emotions on my own.
What I want to be able to do is surrender all of those feelings: the wanting to cry, the feeling awful, feeling ugly, feeling disheartened, feeling discouraged, and feeling like my days of being a single will last forever. That I will never get my version of a darling little Olivia.
I hope my higher power can just take all of it away. Please, just take it away. Make it not as heavy on my heart and free me.
I can’t burst into tears on the middle of the B train. Just not a great idea.