What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'single'? Is it a desperate woman in her thirties eating a whole box of cookies alone in her bedroom and proverbially sitting by the phone, waiting for Mr. Right to give her a ring? Do you think of someone who is "too picky," "unwilling to settle" or "impossible to please"? Mandy Hale, a.k.a The Single Woman, thinks not!
Even though I am married, the all-too-familiar "Why Are You Still Single?" questions are not exactly a distant memory to me. Women seem to be essentially looked down upon by society if they reach a certain age and aren't settled down. But when did settling down become synonymous with settling?
Mandy Hale has made a name for herself by proving these sentiments wrong. She is known around the world as The Single Woman, and in her new book Life, Love, And A Dash Of Sass, she discusses the importance of self-growth, living in the present and being in charge of your own future.
But the book is not just about dating, it's also about friendship. With certain chapters like "Seasonal Friendships" and "The Evolution of Friendship," Mandy opens up your eyes to the inevitable problems we run into with certain people. Such as, how to know if a friendship is past its prime.
In a recent interview, I got the opportunity to speak with The Single Woman about her new book and what's next for her.
When you were writing this book, who did you have in mind as your target audience?
TSW: I would say this book is for any single woman, from 19 to 90, who has ever found herself in a place where she felt like she had to apologize for or explain her singleness. One of my least favorite questions in the world that I get as a single woman is "Why are you still single?" I feel like this book is the answer to that question. It basically gives women permission to say "I'm still single because I have a few more dreams to catch and goals to pursue before I settle down. I'm still single because I'm finding myself before I look for love. I'm still single because I haven't met the person I'm meant to spend my life with and anything less than the best won't do. And I'm still single, quite simply, because I'm too fabulous to settle."
One of my favorite parts of your book is when you talk about living in the now. So many of us get caught up in the comfort of the past. What advice do you have for moving forward and leaving the past behind?
TSW: I think the main reason people cling to the past is because they fear that they will never find anything better than what they've already had, in life and in love. But that's not true at all! I had to go through a traumatic and life altering break-up of my own to be inspired to create The Single Woman. What if I had clung to the past and the relationship and refused to move forward with my life? I would have never realized my purpose, my destiny. I might have never written a book! The key to moving forward is realizing that you will never get to where you are meant to go in life by gazing in the rearview mirror. Or as one of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis says, "There are far, far better things ahead than any that we leave behind."
What is your overall message of this book?
TSW: This book basically wraps up single life in a neat little package and ties it up with a bow of truth and hilarity and realism. There are so many facets to single life that I wanted to cover because there are so many things that we face every day as a single women that our married counterparts will never experience. From letting go and moving on to following our hearts to living a better life to surviving a break-up to releasing a toxic friend from our lives to making a difference in the world, this book covers it all! My hope is that the book will encourage women to live their single lives with a little more freedom and confidence and sass; and inspire women to look the world in the eye and say: "Yes, I hope to one day find love, but my life is a great, big, magical, confusing, beautiful, funny, colorful book and love is simply one chapter of a bigger story... not the whole book!"
My other favorite part of the book is when you talk about having to let yourself grieve. A lot of women get some pretty bad advice after a break-up, such as being told to ignore their pain. How do you think is the best way to emotionally handle a break-up?
TSW: I definitely think you have to give yourself time to grieve. I always say you have to grieve it to leave it! Give yourself a few days to wallow and feel sad and cry and eat chocolate ice cream and watch sappy movies... and then pull yourself up by the boot straps (or stilettos!) and move on with it. As hard as it sometimes can be to accept, a break-up is actually a BIG, giant blessing from God. The pain you experience in the short run by letting go of the wrong person actually spares you the lifelong pain of missing out on the RIGHT one. Clearly if the relationship ended, it wasn't the one for you... and there is either someone out there better for you or something out there greater that you're meant to do with your life that doesn't involve a relationship. I had to be single to walk into my destiny, and though I truly believe I will one day be married... I'm going to live my life as big and as boldly and as bravely as I would whether I'm walking alone or I have someone to join me on my journey.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you have a muse?
TSW- You know what's funny? I've always been something of a "divine contradiction," and the answer to this is no different: I draw a lot of my inspiration from my faith, for one. I've always felt like God and I were in this thing together and He has opened doors for me over the past three years that I could have pounded on forever myself and never gotten an answer. I can't take credit for anything I've accomplished through The Single Woman, because I am simply the vessel. I regularly pray for my readers and followers and ask God what He would have me share with them that will most inspire and encourage and minister to them... and He never fails to deliver. On the flip side of that coin, I would say my "muse" is Carrie Bradshaw. I know, complete opposite end of the spectrum! I was such a huge Sex & the City fan and the writers did such a beautiful job of portraying single life (particularly in the early days of the show) that I rarely watch an episode to this day without shedding a few tears. The truth is, single life is a little bit fabulous and a little bit sad and a little bit messy and a little bit glamorous, all rolled into one; and Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw was really sort of the living, breathing portrayal of all of those things.
What is your favorite part about being single?
TSW: I have a lot of favorite things about being single... but I would say the #1 thing is just getting to walk every day in the unexpected. Once you're married and settled with children, I would venture a guess that life is somewhat predictable. You kind of know what every day is going to look like and even what the next 10, 20, 30 years are going to look like. Being single, I rarely know what tomorrow is going to bring! At any moment, love could walk into my life. At any moment, a new career opportunity could walk into my life. And I have the freedom to seize whatever may come my way. The not knowing what's next is the most exciting part of single life for me.
You have a huge following on Twitter, your website is a hit, and now you have written two books. What's next for The Single Woman?
TSW: This goes perfectly with the previous question -- I have absolutely no idea! And that's a really beautiful thing. I definitely see more books in my future. I could see speaking engagements or even hosting a talk show in my future. I'd love to have a radio show. I feel like there's a real need for it. Somewhere down the line... I see marriage and kids. But most of all, no matter where my life takes me and who might join me in it, I hope to always, always speak into the lives of single women. It has been the greatest privilege and most unexpected surprise of my life to have a platform that infuses a little hope and healing and hilarity into the lives of single women across the world. And I hope it never ends!