On Singleness, Anxiety and Tomato Sauce Jars

Written by an anonymous guest blogger. 

The first time I cried about being single was a cold Thursday night the fall of my senior year of college. I was in a house I shared with three roommates, all of whom were out for the evening. I was making pasta in the kitchen. I cried because I couldn’t open the jar of tomato sauce.

I tried really hard to open that jar. I wrapped the lid in a dish towel. I ran it under hot water. Eventually I beat it against the countertop in frustration.

And then I cried.

I cried because in that jar of tomato sauce I saw a lifetime of singleness stretching before me. I was 21 years old and had never had a boyfriend. I’d never made out with a boy. I’d never even kissed one. I would graduate from college in a few months and after that, what were my chances of meeting anyone? Surely, I was doomed to a lifetime of loneliness; a lifetime of having no one to open stubborn tomato sauce jars for me.

Was I being overdramatic? Sure. But in every melodramatic breakdown there is a kernel of truth.

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“You panicked a little”

“You panicked a little right before I kissed you.”

I was 18 and I was in my mom’s car. We were parked outside his apartment. He lived in an apartment that said ‘New York’ above the door on the outside of the building. He was in the passenger’s seat, but I felt like I was along for the ride – an early example of what would become my constant struggle with him. It was his world, and I was never sure where I belonged in it. Still, I rode along for years, hoping to find out. I stared straight ahead at the Subaru parked in front of us. I felt the air spill out of the space between us as he pushed it, leaning closer, his face inches, centimeters from mine. I winced. Out of fear, yes. Out of excitement, maybe. Certainly out of ignorance. He was the one who had all the answers, he was the one who knew. I turned my head to the right and he kissed me. He kissed me and my eyes stayed open. I went sort of cross-eyed, trying to remain focused on his face, trying to keep my bearings. Funny how I thought I still had them. He pulled away and said, “Perfect red lips.”