OK, I did not expect that at all. Since I posted “Something more on being single” on Tuesday, almost 2000 people have read it. I’ve had messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years, comments from people I have never met, and generally an overwhelming response to the things expressed in that post. Clearly it is not a minority experience. I’ve been incredibly touched by the people who wrote to me about their own hidden struggles (not exclusively with being single), and by the warmth and compassion of those who wrote to say, “I didn’t realise that was how it was. Thank you for explaining.” Either I only know an exceptionally nice subsection of the population, or most people genuinely are kind and don’t want to hurt each other. I find that really encouraging.
A few people have told me that the post has opened up new conversations among their families and friends, and one messaged to say that her church leaders have all read it and are going to discuss the issue at their next meeting (!) Nobody has told me to stop whingeing or seemed offended by what I wrote (for which I am grateful – been a wreck all week just from writing this stuff down, so that might not have gone well). What this says to me is that it might be more OK to talk about the hard stuff than we seem to think. I think a lot of people would love an excuse not to have to keep acting so bloody perfect.
I’m a little puzzled by the absence of response from single men. It seems unlikely that there aren’t any (although certainly feels that way sometimes), and I’d be curious to know what their experience is. Where are you guys? Talk to us! (I know that’s not What Guys Do, but I managed to persuade a man to bring a salad to a braai the other day, so anything is possible).
Thanks everyone who has read, shared, commented, messaged, discussed, ranted or otherwise responded, whether to me or to someone else. It’s a privilege to share “this beautiful mess” with you all.