Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Six Words I Loathe The Most

A few years ago when I was playing the part of bridesmaid to a few different friends at some point in between all the dancing, the bouquet tossing, the drinking copious amounts on wine I experienced what many single woman my age do. Sometimes it was by one of my friends family members while helping the bride make sure her veil was adjusted properly or helping to bustle the back of the dress. One time it was an old women while I was in the bathroom holding up layers and layers of tulle netting while my friend used the facilities.Often times it comes the same way--the inevitable pat on the arm followed by a reassuring, "Someday it will be your turn."

It happened to me not too long ago by my own grandmother. Recently my younger cousin proposed to his live-in girlfriend and they set the date for this January. Within hours the telephone rang, upon answering (which was completely against my better judgment) I heard my grandmother's voice on the other end asking me if I had heard the news. When I responded that I had, she started in on how I should I have been first, I'm the oldest grandchild, "in her day" people settled down and started having families right away. I can't tell you what else she may have said because unfortunately I hung up on her the line somehow disconnected. I've heard it from her many times since, each time causing me to get closer and closer to going completely ape shit crazy on her. Over the weekend I heard it again from her, "Don't worry Mandy, someday it will be your turn." At this point I think shes trying to convince herself instead of me that someday someone will want to marry her old maid of a granddaughter.

Honestly though, enough is enough. As well meaning as they may be, I'm officially tired of hearing "someday it will be your turn." I loathe those six words. "This is 2009 not 1909," I just want to tell my grandmother, "Get with it Granny, women can do lots of things besides get married and start popping out kids at the ripe old age of 19 like you did. We can go to college, vote, even have a career that doesn't involve teaching!" Of course that would all be wasted breath because my grandmother will go to her grave thinking (in addition to the fact that I should have married at 24 by the latest) that I should have been a teacher. The phenomenon that is a smart, successful happily single woman is completely lost on her.

The thing is, I'm not sure I ever want it to be my turn. I do really well on my own and the thought of spending the rest of my days with one. single. person. sort of makes me want to break out in hives. I've seen various friends over the year walk down the aisle, pledge their life to their significant other and while I do think its a beautiful thing; I've never once thought "Wow, I wish that was me." As a little girl I dont recall planning my wedding out detail by detail. As a grown woman, I don't have the brain or patience to know the difference between navy and midnight blue, the different sorts of favors, or the best songs for the first dance. I don't do well with RSVP cards or knowing why in Gods name there has to be a piece of tissue paper in with the invitations. Celebrating a ten or even twenty year anniversary with someone is unfathomable for me. At this point in my life, I don't envision a spouse, children and a house with a picket fence in my future. I'm not saying that I won't ever meet an amazing man, be completely swept off my feet and find myself saying "I do," but right now, thats not what I want.

I am 100% ok if marriage isn't in the cards for me. I enjoy my solitude and am quite selfish of my "me" time. To date, my relationships haven't really been what most would define as traditional relationships. I have fallen in love with a great man, been in a long term, long distance relationship, and still have never felt like I need it to be my turn. I am happy for my friends who have chosen marriage. I am happy for my friends who are in committed long term relationships. I am happy for my friends who are courageously raising children as single parents. I am happy for the friends who like myself, choose to go it alone. All are very personal choices. I just wish some people, my grandma included, would realize that not everyone wants it to be "their turn" and that its completely, entirely acceptable.

24 comments:

Katie said...

Just reading those words makes me go crazy too. I know, logically, the person who says it probably means well. But the part of my brain that doesn't like that logic (and the part that usually wins) is the one that forces me to ask if they think I'm holding back from living my life because I'm not married.

Truthfully, I'm just getting to the point in my life where I think I could make a happy, healthy relationship work. Rushing into marriage because everyone else is doing it has got a lot of my friends into trouble.

chickbug said...

I'm emailing you an article you have to read. Please hold...=)

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I think it can be the same thing for people who are IN long-term relationships. Eric and I have been together almost 5 years and even though we are still SO young (21 and 23) people are constantly asking us, "so when are you going to get engaged?" I HATE IT!

Yes - we've been together a long time and we lived together for a year (he's currently away working) but that doesn't mean we have to get married anytime soon, or at all! Sure, there are times when I daydream about my wedding, but when it comes right down to it the idea of being a "Mrs." terrifies me. So lay off, people!! Haha

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

ROCK ON MANDY!

im proud of you for writing this and for saying that it's ok NOT to get married.

it's very timely that you posted this as i spoke with my grandma this very afternoon - telling her about the best blog stuff i'm so excited about and she's like - well we are still praying for you to settle down.

um, buzzkill.

siiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggh.

Kyla Roma said...

Blah, those are six words that no one needs to hear- as if she thinks she actually providing comfort to you, especially with your reaction to her. I'm so sorry miss, that's decidedly lame.

We all need to find our own paths, and to find our own comfort zones. And to grow up from the idea that there is only one Happily Ever After narrative that exists!! How claustrophobic! But it sells the tissue that goes into those wedding invitations, I guess, and that makes some people happy.

And it gives people like you and I hives lol

While I never in a hundred years would have imagined where I am now when I was 18 (I was planning to be living alone, single, and working on my masters) I'm glad that I was able to open myself up to Mister when he came into my life. Marriage has been wonderful for us, but as I was saying to a friend at dinner last night - with so many people doing it, it's kind of destined to be the wrong choice for most of us, isn't it?

But being steady in yourself means you'll be able to handle whatever comes your way, no matter if Mr. Right turns up or not.

Kyla Roma said...

And it also means I adore you, which is implied but I totally feel compelled to state =)

Pam said...

I so get what you are talking about. I've heard those words a time or two. I didn't meet my husband until I was 27 and we married when I was 31.

I have to say though, my life is so much better now that I met my guy. When you meet the right one, marriage won't make you break out in hives - it will melt your heart.

Auburn Kat said...

What did Chickbug send you? I might need to read it too!

Thankfully people don't ask me anymore when I'm going to get married. Granted, when I was with my ex people at work ALWAYS asked me when I was getting married...although that was the bible belt! =)

SoMi's Nilsa said...

First of all, I love your very own courage to know that being without a lifetime partner is ok. And that inside, you want that. Maybe it's time to start sharing that with your family. Maybe not your grandmother at first, because she might be a tough case to win. But, your parents. And cousins. And others with whom you're close. If others come to accept your happiness for what it is, maybe they'll allow you the freedom to be happy. By yourself. You know?!

Katie said...

Mandy. This. Was. Awesome.

I hate that society's view of happiness is when you're dating someone or married. My cousin is also getting married and I've gotten the "I wonder why you can't find a good guy!" comment.

...as if its MY fault. There are plenty of wit driven comments that I could snap back with, but I don't. I got tired of justifying myself as I'm sure a little bit of anger comes across and it seems like I'm being defensive.

The reality is that I'm finally happy alone. I don't need a man to justify who I am or my happiness. I'm more content having a night out drinking with the girls and one=night flirting games with guys than I am being in a relationship with one person where I feel suffocated.

Love that you're single and loving it just as I am. Why the hell can't you live near me?! :)

Jenn said...

A-FREAKING-MEN! There's very few phrases that make my skin crawl like that. Ltely - people have been using this one on me "You were a beautiful bride, and you'll get another chance someday" Really?? Really??? Maybe I don't want to get married again...and if I do, I'll be sure to remove your name from the invite list!

nory said...

So we've alrelady talked about this a bit, but for even those of us in committed relationships the question "when are you going to get engaged/married?" is SO annoying. There is just no reason to rush down the aisle, no matter how sure you might be about the person. And when I have been single? That statement made me want to bite people's heads off.

Elle Bee... said...

*shudder*

What bugs me about that is the "Don't worry" part... like they automatically assume that you're all torn up inside because it isn't you. As much as you may not want it to be you ever, it's easier to brush off when it's just a lame statement as opposed to knowing that they pity you.

Immediately after reading this, my grandma popped into my mind. When I went off to university she was all, "What are you going to be? A teacher? A nurse? A secretary?" No grandma, no I am not.

I never imagined my dream wedding, I don't have any secret pink book that I'll pull out if and when I get engaged. It's never been something that was a big driver for me. Happiness, and being happy with yourself and by yourself, is far more important.

You're pretty awesome, you know.

Jen said...

I have never agreed with you more! It just seems that society can't accept it that women don't mind NOT sharing their life with someone else, that they are happy with the life they have made for themselves, all on their OWN! It's nice to know there is someone else out there like me! :)

MeLaNiE said...

I get nervous thinking about spending everyday with one person too. I do want to get married, but I honestly wonder if I'll ever let someone into my life that much. I probably will, but who knows when!

thegirlin3k said...

Thanks for writing this! I, too, struggle with this. My family is actually really great about the fact that as the oldest grandchild, I am the only single one. However, when I was back visiting my parents a few weeks ago, three people (all my grandparents age), asked if I was married. When I said no, they said, "Oh, really." Yes, really! Geez. Never-ending battle, but someday, we're going to win! Thanks for writing this, Mandy.

Bayjb said...

I f*cking hate that phrase. Don't coddle me by telling me that. I know people mean well but personally, I find that just a little insulting. Support my choice to be single for now rather than tell me what you think you I want to hear.

Ashley said...

Grad school has done wonders for me, because family will ask me why I'm not seeing anyone seriously and then without me saying anything, they launch straight into, "I know you're focused on school right now. You probably don't have time." I never have to say a word.

It sucks that there are some people in your life you just can't change or make understand. But, you've got a lot of people here who understand, so I hope that makes you feel better.

RebeccaC said...

Despite being happily married now and in full pursuit of that picket fence, I can remember very clearly being single and happy about it and HATING that awful look of pity/confusion that people gave when uttering those words.

Ignore them and enjoy the time for yourself. You may not always have the luxury.

laurenfromtexas said...

My dear, you have the right idea. People are ridiculous - as if marriage is the one thing that matters and everything else falls by the wayside when it happens. I love being married, but it is not always a cake walk. Um, never a cake walk. It's worth the hard work, but 2 of my best girlfriends are single and I keep telling them, "ENJOY this time." I feel like people put so much pressure on single girls that they don't enjoy their single time to its full potential (not sure I did), and then when they get married, they feel smothered. it's something that will happen, or it won't, but either way, you're going to have a beautiful life.

xo

Andy said...

In my case, it's not about marriage. I'm still too young to think of marriage. But the fact I've never had a SERIOUS boyfriend and I have never introduced a guy to them. Whereas my cousin (one year younger) has had like 4 "serious" boyfriends, has introduced them all.

So, my grandpa quickly concluded I am a lesbian.

WIN.

LiLu said...

I love this. Just look those ladies straight in the eye and say "God, I hope not!" Then turn on your heel and walk away. I know it's often a generational gap, but that doesn't give you the right to talk to me condescendingly, implying that I'm half a person just because I don't have a ring on my finger.

looking4#3 said...

It is so frustrating. Especially from the older generations in our life. I don' think they can comprehend the idea that maybe, just maybe you really are FINE, HAPPY, and totally FULFILLED living your life. I think it was ingrained in their heads that they needed a man to be "complete".
I know I don't know you IRL, but hell you seem like the most well rounded, happy, well adjusted, fun loving person I'd ever met (even though we've never met--but you know what I mean)

Katie said...

Ah, yes. I can relate all too well. I could go on and on, but I'll just simply say "AMEN MANDY." :) Yay for strong, single women!