As a single woman constantly revolving in conservative Christian circles it can be difficult for me to find value in my life. When I am surrounded by women who are raising children or serving their husbands, I can feel quite out of place. When I cook, it’s just for me. If I do manage to do some housework, the only one who sees it is me. When I am eating alone, which is 95% of the time, I never have to yield to someone else’s food choices. In so many ways I do what I want when I want. As long as I get to work when I’m supposed to and accomplish what I am supposed to, the rest is up to me.
Sometimes being around my friends who wear the mom hat so well makes me feel guilty. My life looks so selfish compared to theirs. So what do I do? How can I pursue selflessness, self sacrifice, and those other godly characteristics when I don’t have a family?
Oh, what a stereotypical lesbian I am in the fall. I adore flannel shirts. I love an extended hike through a colorful forest. And if I can extend the hike into a camping weekend I am all for it. I love pitching my tent in the leaves, pumping up my air mattress (I’ve aged enough that unless I’m backpacking somewhere, I break out the coleman), and warming water for tea on my camp stove.
I enjoy the solitude of camping even more now that I have a roommate. I just love being out and alone. Usually. And yet if I have service, I post pictures to Facebook – look at my campsite, look at this pretty view, look at my breakfast. I want my experience to be witnessed. I want to share it with someone. No one ever wants to join me on an adventure. Honestly, for most of my friends it would be kind of awkward to spend that much time alone together. Camping for two is camping for a couple. Whether the sleeping bags get zipped together or not, spending days alone together is the perfect activity for two people who are getting to know each other in an exclusive romantic way.
What would it be like to make two cups of tea? What would it be like to have another hand to help pitch the tent? What would it be like to wake to a fire built by someone other than me? What would it be like to point out little things like pretty rocks or spiders to each other while we hike? What would it be like to chat over the chirping of crickets? What would it be like to make love under the stars?
I have seen and done some amazing things. And no one knows. Stories are so much better when they involve people. Friends. Companions. Lovers. I have a lot of memories of places I’ve been, but for the past several years, I don’t have a lot of good stories to share. Because most of my memories are just me. And that isn’t super entertaining.
Will the same be true of my whole life? I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure the adventures keep coming, but will I get to the end of my life and find that my story is boring because it lacks people? Are crazy experiences and memories of cool places enough to build the story of a life if that life is lacking a co-star? Even Tom Hanks had Wilson.