Recently a relative told me she envied me because I didn't seem to need a romantic relationship; I was self-sufficient.

It was hard not to laugh, thinking of all the romance novels I've read, all the love poems I've written for men and women who didn't want them or me, all the sappy movies I've watched over and over and all the torch songs I've listened to. Back when I was setting up playlists on my iPod I had one titled, "Loves Me," and another called, "Loves Me Not."

A couple of years ago, in a "getting to know you" chat with the hostess of a house I was staying in while taking a class, she asked me why I wasn't married and I replied, "No one ever asked me."

Is it truly self-sufficiency if being single isn't my choice but merely the result of not being chosen?

When I was in my twenties I had the revelation that maybe, just maybe, there might not be "someone to watch over me," as George Gershwin put it, and so I began living my life as if that were true. What else could I do? I didn't choose to be single; I chose to survive.

People who envy what they see as my "self-sufficiency" don't know there are times when I tell myself it's karma; that I must have done something really, really terrible in a past life to be unloved--romantically--in this one.

People who think I deliberately chose to live my life alone might be surprised to learn there are times when I see my lack of a romantic relationship as evidence that I've failed, miserably, at this business of being human.

But in the end, I'm not truly alone. Ever. There's always the Voice. The one that says I'm not worthy.