Famed comedian Leslie Jones posted the following on Twitter a few days ago, and it hit everyone (including myself) in the feels:
Many people rallied around her to comfort and encourage her, including Meagan Good (who I humbly believe provided the best response):
Although I doubt Leslie Jones will ever see this humble post (but then again, I once doubted that Jeannie Mai would ever see my posts but then she actually read my blog), I know what I’d say to her (partly because this is what I say to myself):
*Sigh* Leslie. Leslie, Leslie, Leslie. It’s hard out here in these streets. The streets be frigid at times. I know what it’s like to feel that you’ll be alone forever (and ever. Amen). Many single people, if they were to be honest, feel the same way. I know what it’s like to have a dearth of marital prospects, and I know what it’s like to be alone.
Thanks for being real.
You may just be venting and probably don’t need any advice from me. But heck – here goes. I can’t give you any tips on how to meet or attract men – I think we’re both stumped there. But from one single person to another, I say this:
1) Keep exercising. Treat fitness first as a gift to yourself (and perhaps a gift to a partner, should you be so fortunate to find one). Exercise because you love yourself and because you are worth the effort. Get fit knowing that your body is a vehicle for you to do great things (and besides — if we’re gonna be single, we might as well be healthy because we ain’t got nobody to take care of us when we’re sick! Lol).
2) You don’t need to turn every man’s head. You just need to turn the right one. 😊 I’d rather turn only one head in my entire life than turn all heads possible and have to weed through all of these chicken heads to see which ones are loyal and serious and which ones are not. Ain’t nobody got time. I’d rather be left alone than bothered by streams of suitors who only want to play games. Consider it a culling process – a favour. I believe what’s meant for you won’t miss you, and if it misses you, it wasn’t meant for you. Whether it’s love or life, passion or purpose, I’ve always believed and trusted that the right one(s) — even if it’s only one — will notice.
3) On dying alone: if you pour into people, if you invest in people, if you take an interest in people, if you try to be a good friend and a loving, charitable person, if you continue to be generous and kind and warm and funny (as you already are), I’m pretty sure you won’t die alone, regardless of your marital status. Marriage has yet to shield anyone from the prospect of dying alone.
You’re allowed to wallow in self-pity and feel whatever you are feeling. On days like today and at times when you occasionally feel hopeless, take some time to wallow, make a snack, phone a friend, but ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep pushing. Anything is possible.
A lot of the other responses to her tweet contained glib and trite responses like, “It’ll happen when you least expect it!” or “There’s someone for everyone!” Other people responded as one often responds to a single person — point out their flaws, intimate that there is something wrong or something that needs to be fixed (“you give off masculine energy” said one person). I also noticed that Leslie’s admission of discouragement made a lot of people feel uncomfortable. I think a lot of the responses she received were because people were thinking, “You’re sad? Don’t be sad! I don’t want you to be sad! It makes me feel bad!” when in fact there is something to be said for feeling what you’re feeling.
Ishani Nath explains: “I can feel some of you reading those words and wanting to respond with ‘No! You have to stay hopeful! There’s someone for everyone! It’ll happen when you least expect it!’ But TBH, that’s not a helpful response because when you’re single, those statements can feel like a lie. Instead, it’s truly OK to just say: ‘I hope that doesn’t happen because you’re great’ or ‘That really sucks.'”
I’m learning that if you are upset or sad or angry about anything, it’s important to allow yourself/give yourself permission to be sad or upset or angry. As Pema Chodron writes in When Things Fall Apart:
When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is move to the right or the left. We don’t want to sit and feel what we feel […]
Meditation provides a way for us to train in the middle way—in staying right on the spot. We are encouraged not to judge whatever arises in our mind […] We are instructed to let the thoughts come and go as if touching a bubble with a feather […]
The experience of certain feelings can seem particularly pregnant with desire for resolution: loneliness, boredom, anxiety. Unless we can relax with these feelings, it’s very hard to stay in the middle when we experience them. We want victory or defeat, praise or blame. […]
Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It’s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our usual fearful patterns upside down.
Less desire is the willingness to be lonely without resolution when everything in us yearns for something to cheer us up and change our mood. […] So even if the hot loneliness is there, and for 1.6 seconds we sit with that restlessness when yesterday we couldn’t sit for even one, that’s the journey of the warrior. That’s the path of bravery. […]
[…] Could we just settle down and have some compassion and respect for ourselves? Could we stop trying to escape from being alone with ourselves? What about practicing not jumping and grabbing when we begin to panic? Relaxing with loneliness is a worthy occupation.
[…] This basic truth hurts, and we want to run away from it. But coming back and relaxing with something as familiar as loneliness is good discipline for realizing the profundity of the unresolved moments of our lives. We are cheating ourselves when we run away from the ambiguity of loneliness.
Glennon Doyle Melton, in quoting Chodron, says that sitting in the hot loneliness is the journey of the warrior (p. 200, Love Warrior).
(Not to get all Buddhist on you.)
Leslie herself says it this way — it’s okay to vent how you feel:
On that note, I leave you with a video I watched that talked about our harmful penchant for disabusing ourselves of negative emotions:
As always, I welcome your thoughts!
Featured Photo Credit: HelloGiggles.com