I am the only person at the Chinese noodle restaurant without company. Except for an old man in the corner chewing his fishballs forlornly. I know what it means to be lonely.

The most poignant memories of loneliness are of troubled nights; when I scroll up and down my phonebook trying to find someone to talk to, and then falling asleep with tears rolling down my cheek, finding none.

Being amongst a group of cheery noisy people with whom I fail to connect comes in closely second. It’s as if I’m caged in a soundproof room, and no one can hear what I’m trying to say although their noses are pressed to the window. They stare at me, uncomprehending, no matter how desperately I try to gesture.

I have never, however, until recently, known what it means to be lonely as a single.

I am assaulted by romantic love everywhere I go: the movies, novels, music, even conversation topics.

The worst thing is that everyone around me is pairing up. That hits the hardest, because it is so tangible. Boyfriends, boyfriends, more boyfriends. The high school kiddo, the guy whom I thought would never date until he at least had a job, older women who took care of me…suddenly they are all dating!

And just today my classmate changed his status on Facebook from ‘being single’ to ‘being in a relationship with (another classmate)’. There goes another pair of love birds. When I saw it, I felt exactly like the lemon in Ribena’s ‘Lemon meets Blackcurrent’ advertisement, except that I didn’t meet Blackcurrent.

I am…challenged. Taunted, even. When are you going to get your guy. You know how it goes–the single woman feels unattractive and unwanted to a certain extent.

My views on dating/courtship/marriage are challenged. I have been brought up to believe that dating is bad. No, seriously. It might’ve been a communication error, but throughout high school I was always worried that my parents would get mad if they found out I was attracted to someone. Sometimes I regret that I was never able to talk about these issues with my parents.

Then there is the Joshua Harris view which I found totally convincing after reading his books at 14. Harris believes dating should be considered with marriage in mind. Hmm…the thing is many Christians around me don’t seem to be practising that! And you know what, some of them seem to be living good, happy, fulfilling lives.

Well…there’s too many aspects of dating, so I’ll just stop here. I have no conclusion, but that’s alright. I wrote this just to help me think things through; writing has a way of elucidating stuff. And perhaps someone will relate. It gives me great fulfillment whenever someone comments or emails me to tell me that, because I think this means my writing helped them in some way. Today someone asked for help because of stress in Singapore and I was glad to offer it. Without my painful experiences I wouldn’t have been able to understand, and without writing them down she wouldn’t have been able to find me.

p/s: I wanted to title the post The Stigma of Singleness and then laughed because it was too dramatic. Heh.  Comments are off because this is not a time I’d like discussion. Thank you!