Recounting my coming out story in Alberta, the trials and tribulations of working through my own self-pity and my Mother’s difficulty is saying goodbye to the ideas she had about her son’s marriage.
There was a time for me in the late 90s, after coming out to my family, that my mother would often share her concerns with me about my sexuality.
These weren’t the concerns of Godliness or sin that you might expect from a prairie Roman Catholic household. Rather, my mother’s concerns were namely that she wouldn’t see her eldest son get married.
She wouldn’t get to shed a tear as her future daughter-in-law walked down the aisle. She wouldn’t get the opportunity to sit proudly up on the dais. And she wouldn’t get to join in the storytelling as each of our friends and family recounted my embarrassing coming-of-age tales.
But the world changed.
Gay marriage became legal in Canada, and anything particularly taboo about having a gay son soon slipped from her mind. She met boyfriend after boyfriend of mine, loving some of them alongside me and pining for them when the relationships inevitably ended.
But it wasn’t long before my mother’s concerns changed. When my 20’s came and went, she started to talk more about my being single, my lack of children and my increasing age. She worried about me not finding someone to love and grow old with.
Truth is, there are many of us who have spent a large number of our years single. True, most of us have that friend who always seems to be reaping the benefits of a happy relationship. They seem to have the gorgeous, kind, considerate partner; the fantastic, reliable sex life; the beautiful, happy children or the enlarged, bountiful bank account.
But all at once, in mid-adulthood, some of us single folk seem to unanimously begin formulating that it is now everyone we know who is either married or having children.
Perhaps this is only true for a minute fraction of us, but something tells me that if we looked closer, we would see that there are just as many of our friends and family who are either single, separated or feeling the pain that comes with being in a relationship that just isn’t working.
This year, while the chocolate factories busily pump out heart-shaped confections and production lines work overtime to stock pink fuzzy fauna on store shelves, Tamara Levitt has created a Valentine’s Day gift of a different variety. Her recent video, You Are Enough, is not only an ode to those of us who are single, but also to those of us who are in relationships and seeking to find a part of us that we may have lost touch with. She has created a message for each and every one of us: that being alone is nothing to be ashamed or scared of, rather, it is something to be embraced and celebrated.
Although we are conceived by the culmination of two pools of genetics, it is impossible to be defined by another person and the number of minutes that we spend holding their hand or having sex with them. Being comfortable in our own skin should be the norm, yet, we continue to see that it is not.
As children, some of us feel lonely and confused, alone and terrified. We can easily begin to convince ourselves in our solitude that will never find another person to complete us and give us the answers that we are looking for. Unfortunately, some of us will go through our entire lives looking for that special someone and never realize that we have been seeking a fantasy all along.
That’s not to discount true love, or to deny that a relationship can’t, in fact, be the holy merger of spirit, intention and growth, but rather to emphasize the critical importance of being independent, singular beings who know that love is an innate quality of being alive, not an innate quality of being in a relationship. Love is something that can be accessed at any time.
Someday I do hope to find a partner: a man to grow old with. I do hope to give my mother the wedding that she desires, but I am no longer scared of my solitude.
In fact, I revel in it.
I am able to create and write, I am able to dance and read in peace. I am able to meditate in silence and watch the movies I want to watch. We live in a world that would like us to think that this is a selfish, lonely existence, but us single folk are empowered—sometimes without even knowing it.
Because love will come and go, we are the one remaining factor every time. We are the sole characters in this life, and if we are not enough for ourselves, how can we ever expect to be enough for someone else?
Originally published on elephant journal as You are enough ~ Trevor Ellestad
I am an expressive expander with a passion for plants & wellness, inspiring positive change through genuine connection. I am a communications and digital marketing strategist who believes that success is the result of unwavering authenticity, epic project management, real relationships, and insightful reflection. I am an applied cultural ethnobotonist and caretaker of plant medicine creating deeply respectful, loving, and healing relationships between people and their environment, their bodies, their ancestry, and their spirit.