Relationship writer Jazz Keyes gets candid about why she is single...
By Jazz Keyes
Life has a funny way of forcing you into deep reflection. If it’s not during times of grave turmoil, it’s when you feel completely at peace. If we are conscious enough, at any given moment, we will notice that we are attempting to think ourselves through a difficult experience, or are trying to figure out how to sustain our sense of joy.
Last year around this time, I was utilizing all of my mental strength to sort through a series of emotionally challenging decisions. Not even a full 365 days later, I am spiritually still and emotionally whole. So my mind started to speak to my heart.
The dialogue between the mind and spirit is an intense one. When we do not allow the two to work in harmony, we make one-sided decisions. The alignment of mind and soul makes the healthiest choices. So, the conversation between my mind and my heart went a little something like this:
It’s 5 a.m. in Africa. I’m settled comfortably in the back of a 14-seat caravan as I prepare for an 8-hour trip to a small town on the far end of Kenya called Malindi. Chatter and laughter permeates through the van for the entire drive. The window allows for fresh breezes, a view of nature and the beautiful faces of melanin rich African people. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of putting my feet in the soil of the Motherland, and here I am.
My heart asked my mind, “If we decided to live as we have for the past year, would you be at peace?”
My mind asked my heart, “Is there anything else that you yearn for?”
Love is a never-ending thought, especially in the world of a relationship writer. But ironically, I write about love from a place of wanting others to experience the blissfulness of companionship. For those who must heal before they invite love in, I offer my privacy as sacrifice. Here are my experiences to encourage people through that process.
I hardly ever write about my personal journey of finding true love. That’s mainly because it’s a path purposely left untraveled. I am not ready to be loved. This profound revelation came from the conversation between my heart and mind. I am not mentally prepared to process love, nor am I prepared to offer what it requires in return.
Today, in the back of a caravan in Africa, I made peace with where I am in life right now. The idea of being married on an island in a spiritual ceremony has been replaced with wanting to travel the world solo. The freedom I feel after getting off a plane that has just landed in a foreign place is one that I am embracing. I love leaving after meeting lifelong friends and family.
Where so many men/women express feeling calm and elated at the idea of marriage, I feel intense anxiety. The desire for romantic date nights infiltrate my mind briefly, but they are often pushed out by a stronger need to fill my days with unstructured adventure. While some are excited about taking their relationship to the next step, I’m trying to figure out how to live in a different country every 3 to 4 months.
So, again my mind questioned my heart, “Is it possible to love your life without having conventional love and marriage, or have you simply not found the right person?” I could very well look back on this article a few years from now, smile at my husband and laugh about how I never saw myself being a wife. Then again, I could read this piece next year and still be fully at peace in my solitude.
Who knows? Whatever happens tomorrow, I’ve already made peace because I gave my heart permission to:
1) Live life on my own terms.
I will not be molded or manipulated by how other’s believe my life should be lived. We hinder our life flow when we allow others to come in and direct our process. We can all depend on the same life strategy, but it does not guarantee we will all achieve the same success. I tried living my life by aligning it with other people’s rules and I failed. To live life on your own terms is to say you will not veer off course to travel a route that was not laid out for you. Instead, you will accept that we all must find our own way to our separate destinations.
2) If it feels right in the moment, do it!
Recently, I watched an episode of Being Mary Jane. In this particular episode, Mary Jane’s mother explained how petrified of people possibly judging her dancing and ridiculing her. Paralyzed by her fear, she couldn’t even bring herself to dance at her wedding because she was so concerned about what others would think and say. A feebly and elderly woman admitted to spending her life never dancing. She told her daughter, “Whenever you feel like it, dance.” Allowing yourself to participate in the things they make your heart beat wildly is the definition of living. Too often our overthinking or fear of judgement prevents us from feeling the rush of the moments we are given. I won’t deny myself whimsical and carefree moments obsessing about the way things, “should be.” I acknowledge where I am in life and I refuse to force myself transition out of this place before I am ready.
3) Change my mind.
I am not obligated to feel like this next week. In fact, I can choose to think and behave differently tomorrow. We lock and chain ourselves to who we “said we were,” never to realize you have the right to change your mind. If the sun rises and suddenly your heart decides it wants love and stability despite having a lengthy history of crazy times and short lived loved affairs, you’re entitled to do so.
I currently have a solid appreciation for my alone time. That doesn’t mean that 3 months, a year, or 5 years down the line I won’t want different. I am allowing myself to be freed from the constraints of yesterday. When there is a shift in what my heart longs for, I will honor that.
4) Let love in when it arrives.
I made a declaration to myself not to reject love. Should it arrive in my life, even in the midst of my countless adventures and absolute contentment with singledom, I will not block love or run from it. I will not allow fear, past hurt, or doubt to block it out. I recognize that you don’t have to actively seek love to welcome it.
5) I won’t explain or apologize.
People question how a life with no partner can be gratifying. My girlfriends are worried that I will grow old alone and wish I would settle down. I go between explaining my lifestyle choices and defending them. I give myself the right to just exist. To no longer feel the need to get those who have chosen a different course than I to understand and accept the idea that my life is just as fulfilling. I am done trying to convince myself that maybe I want something different.
Right now, a relationship and marriage are the furthest things from my mind and I am content with that, because I gave myself permission to trust my heart and honor my journey. I know that wherever I end up, it is exactly where I am supposed to be!
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.