Please don't think of me

Layah Shagalow
7 min readFeb 8, 2021

The other day, I woke up to a text from an elementary school classmate I hadn't spoken to in 15 years. We went to different high schools and live in different states. Our paths rarely cross and haven't for a very, very long time. And yet there she was, in my inbox, with a question for me. Or rather, a question about me.

She apologized for the awkwardness of it all, she didn't quite know how to say it, but she wanted to know if I was still "in the market" or "looking for a husband". Because her husband has a friend our age. And she'd like to set me up. Sounds innocent and kind enough, right?

Well, buckle up, here comes some back story. I'm a 29 year old, observant, Jewish, single woman. I've been dating (which, by they way, is the word she was looking for) with the intention of finding a life partner for just over 8 years. I have a master's degree in social work and I’m a certified human centered designer. I've been working in the field of disability inclusion for over 10 years in a number of leadership roles. I'm outspoken, passionate and educated. All of this is to say, that I have been made aware numerous times by numerous "well meaning" individuals in my community that these things that I value about what I bring to my community, are the very reasons I find myself without a partner this late in my life. The things I do to add value to my community as a single person…