In the Arena: The Day “This Is Why I’m Single” Blew Up the Internet

Remember that one post I wrote? The one that was featured first on MillennialMormons.com, on LDSDaily.com, and most recently, DeseretNews.com? The one that, when I checked Wednesday morning, was at the top of the list of most popular posts across the Deseret News site?

Yeah, THAT post.

How, you may ask, did I react to all this exposure?

Well, on Tuesday, when my post first went up on Deseret News, I was pumped. (This is so cool!!”)

Then the feedback started rolling in. Comments on Facebook and the Deseret News site, other people tagging me in Facebook posts, friends and family texting to tell me about other people sharing and talking about my article, Facebook friend requests and messages from people I didn’t know…you get the idea.

At that point, I kind of panicked. (“What have I DONE??”) I couldn’t focus at work, and I may or may not have come home and hidden under the covers for a good 45 minutes. True story.

I couldn’t seem to quiet the voices in my head. What was I THINKING?? Did I really just broadcast to the ENTIRE MORMON WORLD that I’m single? How stupidly desperate do people think I am? How do I handle all of this attention? I’ve never experienced anything like this before! What do I do now?

I’ve listened to a couple of talks by Brené Brown on repeat since my post started blowing up my corner of the Internet. This one, called “Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count” particularly spoke to me at this point in time. Have a listen, and you’ll understand better what I’m talking about.

Brené talks about the quote by Theodore Roosevelt that she discovered after her first TED talk went viral. This is what it says:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena….[who] if he fails, he at least fails while daring greatly.

That quote changed Brené’s life, and it has begun to change mine.

Picture this: You’re standing in the middle of a massive arena. The stands are full, and the people are making lots of noise—some encouraging, others laughing and tearing you down.

You turn inward and close your eyes. The roar of the crowd fades away, and you can hear yourself breathing and feel your heart beating. You’re scared, because you’re so open and exposed. But at the core, you feel strong and real and brave, because you’re DOING what you are meant to do.

You open your eyes and feel the sun on your face. You smile, because this is what it feels like to be alive.

I had moments like that this week. And honestly, as scary as it is to let your voice be heard, it’s scarier (as Brené says) to live your whole life wondering what would have happened had you had the courage to show up. I have found that when I have the courage to do something I have felt inspired to do, good things always come of it, and my life and those of others are more rich and authentic and fulfilling.

By and large, the comments, at least the ones directed to me personally through Facebook and my blog, have been so positive and kind. Yes, there were people who were negative and critical (“Go and ask a guy out for a change,” “Get out of Utah and stop living your life under a rock”), but they are dealing with their own issues, and I wish them the best. But for all the people who said it touched them and renewed their hope that there are good things in store for them—that post was for you, and if it touched even one person, it was worth it. All the extra is just a bonus, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has reached out to show their appreciation over the past few weeks. Thank you.

So what now? Well, I’m going to keep writing, and the influence of that post continues to be felt. It has been translated into Portuguese (if you would like to translate it into another language, please comment below), I’m going to be interviewed by Mormon Channel on Wednesday, and I’ve been asked to speak in my stake conference in a couple of weeks. I still get scared sometimes, but I’m going to carry on.

And if I fail, at least I’ll fail daring greatly.

15 Comments

  1. Loved the article…. I was in a similar boat a long time ago. Not the gal who got all the dates or any…. I love to find out when other girls who probably had similar experiences have found a Prince Charming and ended up with their happy ever after cause they were true to the faith. A lot of the ones who got all the dates have been divorced and I’m happy that my hard (no dates) was easier than lots of options so I valued what I got when I got it. ( a great, handsome, imperfect husband) Trust me I’ve been in your shoes, but enjoy the now. Best of Luck!!

  2. There will always be haters 🙁 concentrate on the people, like me, that love reading your honest, from the heart posts. 🙂 (and I’m not even friend or family haha)

  3. I liked the article. I’m 34 and still single. It’s a unique experience being single in the Church that holds the family in such great regard. (As well it should.) I also served in NYRM, but from 04-06. If you want, you may email me. Let me know what areas you served in? Have a great rest of ’15 🙂

  4. This has a Rocky feeling to it. Go the distance, against all odds, follow your dreams, don’t listen to the voices (including your own) that may be saying you’re a bum. Ariel, you won’t be single forever, so enjoy it while it lasts. Utah is great. The Spirit always guides those who listen to Him. It’s hard not to worry sometimes. And since you’re the one in the spotlight, I don’t feel like I should be the one giving advice, but the one receiving it. Keep writing. You have big fans like me who read you articles. They are beautiful and uplifting. Love you!!! 🙂

  5. Dear friend,your post was great and refreshing. I Wil like to translate it into Spanish if you wish,it will be even more beneficial due to where I live now translate it into Norwegian but that can so be arranged 🙂 whether or not one is single we are ment to rise and live up to our potential, like ” great Aunt Rose” we can sing the song of self pity and painfully endure to the bitter end or we can du something meaningful wit our life. I will say that I’m not single but the message for me was ” you gotta get yourself in shape and get to work, go back to painting and drawing ,prepare yourself for the future ” I ponder about it and soon enough I had in mind exactly what I will paint for the first time in years,inspiraron was back thanks to tour post,not only about living as a single in the church but LIVING,and that applies to all of us.
    Sister TV

  6. I remember reading this and I felt it was for me. I am also a single convert ysa, and I could relate with most of what you wrote. I live in South Africa and I have already shared this with half of the YSA in my Stake and we all feel this was truly a beautiful and brave thing to share. Thank you for being who you are and yes, continue writing. You have me and a bunch of my friends, supporting you here in South Africa 🙂

  7. Thank you for your article. I felt like it was for me personally. I could relate with most of what you shared, being a convert single YSA. I took the time to share this with most of my friends in my Stake and they all loved it too. They felt that it truly was inspired. One friend suggested you should write a book. Thank you or your courage, keep writing. Haters gonna hate, “they have their own issues” haha but just remember that there is a girl here in South Africa who knows your’e awesome and changing lives for the better. 🙂

  8. Thank you for your article. I felt like it was for me personally. I could relate with most of what you shared, being a convert single YSA. I took the time to share this with most of my friends in my Stake and they all loved it too. They felt that it truly was inspired. One friend suggested you should write a book. Thank you or your courage, keep writing. Haters gonna hate, “they have their own issues” haha but just remember that there is a girl here in South Africa who knows your’e awesome and changing lives for the better. 🙂

  9. I have children and siblings walking in shoes similar to yours, and this is exactly the message we try to share with them all the time! Thanks for going ‘verbal’ and expressing what so MANY people, young and not -so-young, are going through. God bless you always. xxx

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *