Archives for category: single life

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing.
I just stop, and look at the mess around me, and the way that emotions make me feel, and I wonder why I keep on doing it.
Sometimes I wish that you actually could burn out the emotions that happen when something good doesn’t work out. Sometimes I’d like to not feel, to not have that grip around my heart, that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I’d really like to be able to eat something without wanting to immediately throw it right back up. I’d really like to feel that I want to eat at all.
And yet, in the moment, oh my god, in the moment, that sense, that rush, that swell of emotion that engulfs me when I drop my guard, and let myself feel. How could I give that up?
It’s like a drug, and I know I’m addicted.

The sense of belonging, even for just a while, is something I need. Walking along the seafront at five in the morning, your arm round my waist, mine around yours, the smell of your hair as it occasionally blows into my face, how could I want to forget that?
And yet now, when I see that’s likely the only time I’ll know that moment with you, there’s a part of me that almost wishes it wasn’t real. The sadness of knowing that’s all there ever will be is crushing, and that pain, that’s something I wish I didn’t have. That’s something that never changes.
My problem is that I feel. All of our problems are that we feel. Feelings are the worst, and yet, I keep on doing them. We keep on doing them.
When we kissed you said you don’t do feelings. You told me that I make you feel, and I told you that maybe just for now, right at this moment, feelings are okay. They needn’t last forever, they can just be about the moment.
I was right, but I was also wrong. Feelings start in the moment, but they don’t always stop there. Sometimes they carry on, and they follow you around, like a shadow you can’t see, always a little behind you, but there none the less.
Fucking feelings. They eat me up, and stop me from being okay.
And I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t know where to put them when they become memories. I don’t know how to feel about how to feel.
Friends tell me that I need to protect myself better, to develop a tougher exterior, but I don’t want to harden up. I don’t want to build a shell to protect myself, even though it would be the sensible thing to do. I’m afraid that if I do, it’ll make me cold. I’m afraid that I’ll no longer be able to feel anything at all. And yet I know the stark truth in this, as if I didn’t feel then I wouldn’t have to spend days, weeks, months getting over people, and I wouldn’t feel that sadness that walks alongside me in those times.
But I’m afraid of losing the ability to feel just the same. Like I said before, it’s a drug.

I leaned in close to your ear, and asked if I could kiss you. You leaned in as well, and as our lips touched I felt the rushing of blood through my body, the tingling of nerve endings, the softness of your mouth, and the gentle warmth of your tongue as it discovered mine. It felt like everything else dissolved away, even though we were surrounded by a hundred other people, and the music was so loud.
Your hand touches my face, and as we kiss you slowly stroke my cheek. My skin prickles with goosebumps, but it’s not from the sharpness of the winter night.
My god, those feelings. They run rampant through my soul, and make me realise that this is what life is about. Connections and emotions. Links between people, delicate and strong, like spider silk, weaving lives together, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes forever.
Those glorious, burning, heart ripping feelings.
And we can never win. It’s like a glacier, a huge unrelenting emotional glacier. We chip away at its vast hulk, trying to get a foothold whilst all the while it keeps on coming.
We can climb to the top, only to look around and realise it’s so vast, so uncharted, that we were foolish to even think we could ever claim it as ours alone.
I need to feel, even when I don’t want to feel. I need to know what it is to keep the glacier at bay. I need the warmth from another, I need the warmth from you.
I know given time I’ll forget what this feels like. I know this because when I do feel like this I remember the times it’s happened before. I remember the feelings, the magnificent, all consuming intense and beautiful feelings. I remember all the feelings, even the gut wrenching, all engulfing, salty sharp feelings.
The happiness, the sadness, and everything that lives in the gaps between.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing.
Then I remember, and I realise why even if I could, I’d never give this up. How could I ever let go of those glorious, burning, heart fucking feelings?
How could I even think that was an option?


I’ve got to say, right now, I’m not feeling it.
Maybe it’s the winter. I don’t especially like this season, it’s cold and damp and dark. It makes me cough a lot. I’m not even kidding, in the winter I have a cough for about 4 months. It gets tiresome pretty quick.

Maybe it’s Christmas. I haven’t got any presents organised, I just wander aimlessly around the shops surrounded by so many people, all doing the same.

Maybe it’s being single. This time of year is pretty dark, and at the moment, I don’t know, the world seems pretty dark as well. Sometimes you need someone to help with that. Sometimes you need someone’s hand to help, and to hold. That doesn’t happen so much when it’s just you.

I don’t know, I mean I know I’ve got it okay, I have a home, I have people. That’s more than some, and looking at the surface, I’m just moaning because I’m cold, and a bit lonely.
That seems small in comparison to the terrible things that happen daily in the world, it seems inconsequential and trivial. I don’t even know why I’m not feeling it in comparison to everything else.
Thing is though, what I feel is still there. The emptiness, the lack of direction, the loneliness. It is there, and it is real to me.
I know it’ll pass, and I know I’ll feel better, and I know that there will be someone, and I know that it won’t be cold forever. I know this, and tomorrow I’ll feel this and think this, and then it’ll be alright again.
This feeling is only for now, it’s just right now, that feels like a long time.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve been with someone. It’s been a while since I’ve even been on a date. Thing is, I’m not sure why exactly.
I’m still using dating sites, I’m still going out and meeting people, I’m still not being a dick, and yet, nothing is happening.
I’m being proactive as well, I’m messaging people I get matches with, but nothing, not even a reply. I really don’t get it.

Something else is happening as well. The longer I go without dating, the less important it starts to be. What I mean by that is that it isn’t always on my mind, it isn’t something I immediately think about when I meet new people.
I’m not sure how I feel about that to be honest. On the one hand, it’s nice not to constantly feel the pressure to pair up with someone, but on the other hand, I quite like the feeling you get when you do get with someone. I say quite, but I really mean totally love.
I’m guessing that exposure to a feeling numbs that feeling after a period of time, and in many instances that can be a good thing. it’s just in this case, I’m not sure I want to become numb.
Numb, in my mind means giving up, accepting that this is your lot, that every negative thing you thought, might actually be true.
That’s not what I want, and I don’t want time to do that to me, even though it’s happening right now.

Being single is all well and good, there’s the endless Netflix marathons, the having whole pizzas to yourself, the glory that is not sharing a double bed, but hold on a minute and back that truck up, cause suppose you want to do stuff?
I know what you’re thinking, eating whole pizzas is doing stuff, but what if you want to stuff that’s not in your home? What if you want to go to a gig say, and all your friends are busy being in relationships?

Well friends, fret not, because there is a solution. You just go, ON YOUR OWN.
I know, it’s revolutionary, but it can be done. There are loads of things you can do on your own, that traditionally are group activities, and in this new, semi regular feature I’m only going to go and do them!
Today’s feature presentation is about going to a gig, on your own…..

I’m feeling a little nervous about this, if I’m honest. Gigs are normally filled with groups and couples, so I’m not sure how it’ll be going on my own, especially as I’m normally in a group when I do go to see bands.
Let’s have some details shall we?
I’m going to see Marika Hackman, and it’s the last night of her 2014 tour, so it’s pretty busy when I get there.
As I’m walking up to the door, a small mouse runs straight at me. It’s not even a bit intimidated by the huge size difference between us, and I take this to be a sign that too should be like that mouse. I also make a reasonably loud squealing noise, because well, a mouse ran at me and I wasn’t expecting it.
There’s a lot of people inside, but I manage to negotiate my way to a reasonably good vantage point, and then I wait for the band to come on.
This bit, if I’m honest, isn’t as awkward as I thought it would be. If I was with someone I’d chat with them, but looking around, I can see lots of people, just standing quietly, waiting like me.
Listening to the people around me talking is interesting. Someone is talking about the Belle and Sebastian gig he went to, where everyone looked the same, another is discussing what they had for tea. (Rice Krispies, which was a popular choice, if the reaction was anything to go by)

After about 10 minutes the band come on. They’re really good, and honestly, I get so lost in the music that it doesn’t matter that it’s just me. It would be nice to be able to exchange excited glances at the awesomeness of it all with someone, but it doesn’t matter enough to make a difference.
It is very warm, I’m guessing because there are like 100 people crammed into a little room with no windows, but even that doesn’t dilute the pleasure I’m getting from being here.
The band plays, people clap and whistle for more, and I think to myself that going to gigs on your own is okay.

At the end of the night, as I walk back home, I reflect on how it’s been a good experience, and think about how to summarise it best.
Would I do this alone activity again? Yes, yes I would. It wasn’t that scary, and I had a good time.
Yeah, at times it was a little awkward, squealing at a mouse, then being judged by people in the smoking area for said squealing, stands out as a particular example, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. It was fun, and now it’s got me thinking about what to do next time………

I’ve been single for over two years now. It’s weird, as that’s the longest I’ve been alone since I was 19. I say alone, but obviously I’m not alone, I have people, I have a tribe, for want of a better collective noun.
But still, sometimes, I think to myself, is this it?
Is my future just me?
And if it is, how do I deal with that? How does anyone deal with that?
Part of who we are is about needing to belong, to be wanted, both by groups of people, and individuals. The strength of this feeling is strong. It makes us talk to complete strangers, it makes us share stories, emotions, feelings, all in order to create a link with another soul.
We need this, I need this. It’s a matter of survival. It’s a matter of life.

The possibility of being without that, of knowing it’s a reality that becomes more likely the longer I stay single, is honestly really fucking scary.
People do it, I know not everyone gets the story they deserve, and they survive, they live, they deal with it. It’s just, well, I’m not one of those people. I don’t want to be one of those people.
I don’t want to deal with it, even though, ultimately, that’s exactly what I will have to do as, in actuality, I fear I am one of those people.


I think I’m complicated. I also think that puts people off. That’s not too say that we’re not all complicated in our own way, it’s more that some complications are easier than others.

Complications that could be potentially a problem when dating, but don’t apply to me (yay!)

  • having kids
  • messy divorces
  • angry ex-significant others
  • being a dick
  • bad personal hygiene
  • terrible social skills
  • a universal hatred of other people
  • off-putting pets
  • Jealousy of everything

Complications that could be potentially a problem when dating, and do apply to me (boo!)

  • being trans

Okay, so, I’m over simplifying to make a point here, there are other complications as well, but this one does seem to be kinda the big one. It seems, and this is just me going on experience here, that I’m too well, complicated, for most people.

 (Again, this is based on my experiences, so put down your torches/pitchforks and stop that well orchestrated leaflet campaign, it may well not be the case for everyone.)

Thing is, I do get why it’s complicated for some people. We live in a world that’s very binary. Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Penis, Vagina. It’s all very straightforward, and this is what most people know.

When that gets challenged it can be unsettling, it can be confusing, it can make us think about our own personal identities. Any challenge, or change, to our world view creates a degree of resistance, and forces us to make a choice to accept and explore this new thinking, or to ignore or fight against it.
I know this because, every time my world view is challenged this is how I feel.

I have a friend, and she has a rule. She won’t sleep with anyone till the fifth date. She does this because she wants a relationship, and she says it weeds out the people that are only looking for one night stands, or something less committed, among other things.
I’m going to be honest here, this challenged me. I’ve always been of the mind that if you want to sleep with someone you should just do it, first date, third date, whatever date. If there’s spark and desire to do it, then go for it. Abstaining for a set amount of time is not something I’ve ever considered.
And yet, it made sense, in relation to the reasons she gave. It made me think about why I have a tendency to sleep with people on the first or second date. It made me explore this new thinking.

What I discovered is a post for another time, but the point I’m trying to make is that by considering something new, I discovered something good about myself, and changed how I perceive things for the better.

If going on a date with a trans person freaks you out, maybe you should just stop, just for a minute, and think about why that is. Maybe you have reasons that feel valid, and maybe they are, but isn’t it worth challenging?

I know, from experience, that it’s easy to tread the paths we always tread, but have you seen what’s off the beaten track?

You really should come take a look, it could be the best thing you’ll ever do.

Its not that I’m afraid of being single, more that I’m afraid of how long it goes on for. So far we’re talking a year and a bit, which seems like a short amount of time, and in the grand scheme of things, quite possibly is.

However, to me, it seems like a long time.

Thing is though, if I’m completely honest with myself, I’m not even sure if its being single that’s the problem. Maybe I should  break it down a little….

Things I fear that are a consequence of singleness….

  1. Loneliness – I’m not lonely, but I know that it is a possibility, and that possibility is a real fear. Knowing that I might never live with someone again, however unlikely that may be, is quite a thing to put right in your head.
  2. No Intimacy –  This is a big one. In the time I’ve been single I’ve realised that Intimacy is something I need. If too much time goes by between encounters then I start to feel pretty shit, which in turn leads to….
  3. Lowered Self Confidence – Most of the time I feel pretty good about myself. Sometimes it’s hard to do this though, and a particularly long dry spell really doesn’t help. The trouble is, the dark bit of my head can be pretty vocal during these times, and funnily enough it knows exactly which buttons to push.

So, it’s more the negative things that can come from being single that are the problem I guess, rather than the actual singleness as such.

If I was to confront these fears I guess that they’d be less of a thing, and I suppose by writing about them in a way I’m doing exactly that, I’m looking them in the eye and trying to see what’s behind their scary masks.

I think that once I do see what’s there, once the masks finally slip, that there’ll only be empty air behind them, and then maybe I won’t be so afraid after all.

So I decided, the other day, to put a profile up on a dating site again. So i’m busy filling in the various easy answer questions, where you click on the drop down menus and pick a choice, updating as I went along, and I get a message saying someone ‘likes’ me.

Erm……. right, you like me, even though the only things you know about me are that I like cooking and that I don’t have any pets. Honestly reader(s) I hadn’t even done the difficult about me bit where I actually have to write stuff.  Liking might be a bit preemptive I think.

I suppose this is the world of online dating, my like-ie might be a perfectly lovely person, but it just seemed a little desperate/creepy to me.

Anyhow, we’re going on a date next week, so that’s nice. ( kidding! obvs )



Ah, New Years Eve, how quickly you come round again. I’ve never been sure about it really. The expectation, the hype, the absolute necessity to have an excellent time, it’s all, well, a bit too much sometimes.

What if I don’t have a good time? What if i fall asleep before midnight? What if I drink way to much and can’t remember anything?

What if it comes to midnight, and everyone is Happy New Year! and having a great time, and i’m like the singleton in the corner?

So many what ifs to potentially screw things up. But then again, they are just what ifs, not actual reality. NYE is loaded, loaded with disaster, anticipation and disappointment, but it’s also loaded with hope, excitement and optimism.

So I might not hook up with anyone, but that’s cool, they’ll be other times. I might just have a shit time, but hey, it’s only one  night, I can just go home if it’s that bad. I might have too much to drink, but hey, that’s entirely my own choice, and I can live with that.

I’m going out tonight, on New Years Eve. I may see New Years day in having a drink in a pub or dancing my ass off to some obscure indie tunes or maybe even in bed. I don’t know, but whatever happens, i’m seeing it in with hope, optimism and excitement. Twenty-Thirteen, i’m coming to get you………

I’m going out tonight. which should be fun. And yet, I feel  a little nervous about it. I can’t quite give a reason, it could be that I’m going to a part of London I don’t normally go to, or that where I’m going I only know a few of the people there. Maybe it’s because its new, maybe it’s because I’ve been in a relationship so long I’ve forgotten about how to do this. Maybe it’s because deep down, i sometimes feel a little old to be doing this.

By this, of course I mean going out on the town, dancing, flirting, hooking up, being wild. Maybe I need to re-learn, things can’t of changed that much, I’m confident, attractive, funny and ridiculously clever, what’s not to love? ( apart from the arrogance obvs )

I guess I need to embrace this, and enjoy the ride, live like there’s no tomorrow, even if it’s just for one night. The ‘fear’ is only temporary because it’s different, once I get out then everything will fall into place, or at least that’s what I need to keep telling myself in order not to just stay home and procrastinate on the internet.

I can do this. I can start again.

Freiya Benson

Writer & Photographer.

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