A few words recently sparked a giant shit storm of thinking in the wee hours this morning (Dec 24). It had started before I went to sleep, I managed to quiet it down or just go to sleep from exhaustion. Then my brain decided it would be a good idea to snap out of whatever unrelated thing I was pleasantly dreaming about at 4:30 am and start thinking good and hard about those words. Whether I wanted to or not and kept me up the rest of the day. Ever try Christmas Eve on 4 hours of sleep or less? My advice is: don't.
I had a fantastic conversation last night (Sunday). It was intelligent, ideas and analogies were bandied about, a few more bits and bobs about personal experiences and getting to know each other just a little more. Two interesting topics came up. Child bearing and marriage. I saw the child bearing discussion as something I really didn't want to tackle two days before the holiday (my brain was going to do that anyway on its own). Marriage on the other hand had a good discussion.
I am super keen on marriage. I don't entirely get the whole notion of western wedding traditions like rings and bridal showers etc. I completely understand the idea of throwing a hell of a shindig afterward to celebrate. Love is something that should absolutely be celebrated since it seems to be so rare to me. Granted, I'm not really girly, but I love an excuse to dress to the nines, look fabulous and be the centre of attention for a day. I completely get that. It's everything that comes with it, all the external expectations. Like who to invite and of those who can you afford to feed? Showers, stag and doe parties, bachelor parties, all that excess. That's the part I don't get, but I heartily celebrate in anyway that a bride or groom I know wants to celebrate because they want me to share in their joy and dammit, I'm going to.
I'm super keen on marriage, but I could never picture myself actually doing it and it's not a fear of commitment, no it's just that it seems so unlikely, to happen again. I was proposed to exactly once. I said yes and then we just just kind of didn't get around to it. It became a bit of a joke, though in retrospect I'm glad that's how it worked out since he was a free-loading moron, but I digress. I was not the little girl that dreamed of a prince charming to sweep her off her feet and have a huge, romantic (there's that word again) ceremony. I don't claim to be able to see the future, but simply visualizing myself walking down the aisle... I just can't, it doesn't seem to fit.
And so I explained this during our conversation. Marriage is cool and all, I'm all for finding that one person I could spend the rest of or at least a significant portion of my life with. I just don't go in for all the pomp and circumstance around it. And this was not even the heaviest part of our conversation.
There's the heavy handed, down with the patriarchy feminism that proudly proclaims "I don't need a man" in the old traditional sense. I don't, I can take care of myself just fine thank you very much. And there's a place for that shade of feminism, but it clashes with my being a human being that seeks companionship with a man.
I've been asked by people - co-workers, new friends, extended family - whether or not I'm married, why not and whether I could ever consider it. I am the oldest, unmarried grandchild on both sides of my family. That just occurred to me right now. I've always outwardly eschewed the notion that I should have to get married and if I wasn't married after all this time, then there might be something wrong with me. Which is depressing so I threw on this persona of being the proud Black Sheep, different for the sake of being different. The young, intelligent, and independent woman. I don't need a man, I'm awesome just the way I am. Right?
Yes. That is right. Sometimes it's more of a persona than others. Humans are social creatures, we seek companionship. Even asexuals seek companionship (as I learned from the aforementioned documentary). Sometimes behind that Proud Black Sheep and the young independent modern woman persona is a person worried about becoming a spinster and dying alone.
What would I compromise to not die alone? Some of my independence? I do so enjoy having only my own space and mess to worry about, but who's going to pick up after me when I can't? Big scary joint financial ventures like buying and maintaining a home? Maybe, it's not like I haven't considered that all on my own (can't afford it, but I think about it). Personal values? Nearly life long convictions? Touchy subject that.
Stay tuned for Part II.