Alone Isn't Lonely
When sickle cell patients talk about how it affects their love life, most people think it’s an extreme exaggeration. Sadly, this is actually true.
My first relationship
The first person I ever dated was a man named Viktor. I was in high school then and he was working at a brewery. I really liked Viktor because he pampered me always and he was older than me. I felt safe around him. We could talk for hours, go on road trips, movie nights, etc. He hated movies but would watch them because I hate watching alone. He was a darling. The thing is, all this while, I never told him about my sickle cell status. I feared he would leave the moment I told him.
Things went well until I had crises at his birthday party. It was so sudden and intense. I saw the panic and frustration in his eyes all through the journey. He was lost and confused. I could tell. Even though he said nothing, I knew the connection was about to end if I dared tell him about my sick cells.
Convincing myself that no one would understand or want to be with me because I’m sickled and trusting that I was doing the right thing by keeping mute. Thanks to the smart-mouth doctor who took care of me at the hospital, the secret got spilled and the end of my fairytale.
Expectations and marriage
My love life has always been a mess because of my disabilities.
Where I come from, a woman is incomplete if she’s unmarried, childless, or incapable of performing basic chores like cooking, cleaning, or washing. Well, here is a sickle cell warrior who can’t perform basic house chores, that alone disqualifies me from getting married.
Understanding this gave me an open mind to explore my strengths and ignore my flaws... Yes, I may not be enough to be a wife, but I’m more than qualified to be a mother. My last relationship provided the option of being a single mum and I took it.
Society will judge us
The thing is, no matter how hard we try, society will always find something wrong with every choice you make. So just make the ones you believe are best for you. The question, how are you happy and single? How do you satisfy your sexual needs? Doesn’t it get lonely?
Single doesn't mean lonely
While my love life is mostly not up for discussion, there are always exceptions. I never understand how people feel lonely because they're single, forgetting there are others around you who can fill that space almost perfectly. My cousin for one can never allow me to be lonely. Then there is my best friend, my other friends, and my family. Come on, are you that afraid of being with yourself? I just admit there are nights I just want to be pampered. But those are just facts. Just like being in a relationship comes with its own problems.
Self-acceptance and love are not limited to staying strong and choosing yourself over everyone else, it’s also learning to be comfortable in your own skin and space, and enjoying it.
Appreciating my alone time
Over the years I’ve found myself loving my alone time more. Time with myself is more calming and welcoming to me than being in the arms of another person. While many advise me to get a man, I am convinced that I am better off single.
Not that I’ve lost faith in love or don’t want to submit to a man (like my dad puts it). I just don’t have time right now to explain myself to a stranger all over again or learn to adjust my boundaries. It took me a long time to attain this level of self-love and positivity, I’m not ready yet to work through a relationship... For now, all that is just negative energy in my space... I’m not ready.
Especially since I am now putting my life back together and I believe this is something I need to do on my own. Not that I don’t like being taken care of, but I’ve grown to get used to taking care of myself and I’m great at it.
I know how hard it is to open up with the struggles of Sickle cell we face. It’s just too hard to talk about because we mostly feel that no one cares about our inward battles. Why? Maybe because our physical and health needs are almost completely ignored, so why would issues like our mental health, loneliness, etc be a worry to anyone...
It's okay to be own our own
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a loner. Especially when it is based on issues of temperaments and natural behavior. Some people just love to be alone 24/7. It’s just how they are. While many may see this to be a problem, I don’t. I love my alone moments and won’t trade them for anything else.
The ability to be alone but not be lonely is one of the steps of self-care and love. Question is, if you don’t love your own company, how can others love it?
Getting bullied as kid sent me into my shell. The way I see it, I’ve always been a loner. I only tried so hard to hide it by becoming loud at a point so it doesn’t get noticed.
Now, I’m in the zone where I don’t care what anyone else thinks and so I’m more comfortable showing this side. Whether my past played a role in me being reserved or not, I love the woman I have become and I have no plans of allowing anything or anyone to get in between my healing journey.
Dear Warrior, you are allowed to get used to taking care of yourself and not allowing people into your space. It’s your world, don’t let anyone tell you how to rule it. At the end of the day, we are soldiers at war alone in a world filled with villains. And we sure are kicking ass.
Have you taken the Sickle Cell In America survey yet?