With a relationship ended. I fall back into that aching comfortability. I’ve been single roughly 80% of my life from age 18 until now. That’s a lot of alone time to think about why. And many have asked through the years, Why are you single? Perhaps it’s time I explored that.

I’ve spent a great deal of time on myself. Understanding my goals, priorities, expectations, and desires; deciphering what in my life was talent, energy, opportunity, luck, culture, cultural norms, and intuitions.

I’ve been on many first dates. I’ve chatted with thousands of people. I’ve lived with close to forty strangers who have drifting in and out of my life, some even becoming close friends. I’ve encountered many diverse people as I’ve floated through a slew of different groups of friends, always open, curiously listening, occasionally challenging, and morphing along the way. I have gotten to know so many people—the good, the bad, the strange, and the really fucking weird. I listened to them, judgments subdued, engaging, seeing through their eyes as much as I could. All have awakened me in some way. Shifted my paradigm. I love them for that, and treasure every single experience.

Even though I’ve explored it many times, I’ve never had a strong concept of identity. In a way, I still don’t. I dislike labels and I love being in flux, having intentions, but not quite knowing who future Dean will become. Knowing that the next interaction I have, whether it be with a long-time friend or a new stranger, will alter my path in ways I could never perceive. Once a friend called me enigmatic, I beamed. Looking back, not sure they meant that as a compliment. So, let me try to pull back the curtain a bit.

We phase between different worlds, different selves. There is the person you believe you are, internally. This is your trapped truth, no one can ever have full access to this, for it exists solely within. Then there is the external world, here a shadow of who you truly are, a presentation limited by your capability to express yourself, to perform, whether alone or surrounded by others. And beyond our mind lives a construct that will outlive us, the you separated from the us, the one that exists in other’s memories. Your best and worst presentations tainted by other’s perspectives and prior experiences.

I write here to externally express my internal me to a future me, and I struggle. Yet when it comes to others, I find my presentations, my expressions of self, severely lacking—my truth bound and gagged by my own ineptitude. So, historically, I am careful and deliberate in my presentations to friends and others, yet still, I feel I have failed more often than not to project the me I believe I am. Or at my very worst, wish to be. And people I know carry with them these flawed constructs. Perhaps this is why I sit here, single again.

Being single, alone, is something I’m no stranger to. Something happens when you spend that much time with only yourself. You talk to yourself. Bond with yourself. And fall in love. You see all your faults as far down as they go. And accept them. You are overly harsh and deeply caring. Sometimes you dance joyfully for no reason other than the desire overtakes you. Other times you curse your future self for knowing the better path and not being here to whisper the right words. And then there are darker days where you feel like you’ve been lost at sea for so long, memories of land begin to fade. So, you write journals to yourself, to remember, to peer inward, and unload everything without judgment. You weep knowing how no one will ever know this fleeting you as much as you do in that moment. And then your heart breaks a thousand times over knowing everyone—everyone that has ever existed—has suffered this same fate. We are all swimming in our own isolation and loneliness. I guess there is comfort in that. You dwell on past, bittersweet memories, accepting life is never static and is finite. And in the end, I have come out the other side only with the deepest love and respect for myself.

I believe the closer we get to understanding our true self the kinder we become, the more compassionate and loving we become. And the wiser we become on whom we wish to share it all with. That special person to share this crazy path called life together, to share our tears and our happiness, our pain, and our joy. To be selfless for. To, hand-in-hand, leave the bullshit behind and step into the magic together with.

Why am I single?
Because I value and love myself.
Because I learned that what I seek in a person is rare.
Because life is too short for it not to be fucking amazing.