It started with a Christmas present from a leaving student; a note book with a personal message handwritten on the first page. I thought, how sweet it was as I started reading. The simple, single-lined wish. “I hope this time next year you will have got married.”
I laughed and looked up at said-student. His big eyes were filled with genuine concern… Oh… I see… It wasn’t a joke…
Not too long after this my brother in law, who at every family occasion asks me the same question. “Where’s your ‘pomp’?” (the guy I’m supposedly banging) and like every other time I have some smartass comeback like “Which one?” or “Oh? Do you need to feed them too?”
For some reason this time, it didn’t stop there.“Don’t you want children?”
To cut the conversation short I simply said “Eeeeh, I don’t know hey” and I shityounot, he tapped his watch.
Next, I received a message from a guy who I met at a fireworks evening in primary school and never seen since. We somehow befriended eachother on Facebook a year or so ago ~ he being currently and recently single, of course is on the prowl ~ and pipes up with, “I’m still perplexed as to why you’re not married.”
PERPLEXED. Seriously? What, do people actually think something’s wrong with 30-something single girls? But single guys are just like “living the dream”?
My singleness has a virtual stranger PERPLEXED.
Shame… I guess that may have been meant with utmost affection but still left me scratching my head, and without hesitation I defended myself to a guy I hardly know.
I was surprised by how strong I felt in my justification and how rebellious my words could have come across. But he didn’t seem convinced or at least wasn’t satisfied with leaving it at that.
“You don’t want kids?”
“Very much” I responded, (and this is where I felt my truth come through, undiluted, as it sometimes can do to a complete stranger through the lonely connections of social media), “I’ve wanted 3 all my life – but you don’t just HAVE kids! Children need amazing parents. I know I’ll be a great mom. My obligation is to find a great dad for them. Something SO important & what I missed… And I’m not there yet… I’m just not. And it’s ok. I’m at peace with those life expectations transforming. It’s social expectations that programmed what life should look like. And I’ve gone against the norm since I can remember. I’m just one of those people who want more. Deeper growth. Exploration. Adventure. Body, mind & soul. That’s my path. I’m following it. And what comes will come, being true to where I am and who I am becoming.”
My soul rested with a quiet confidence and stillness. He responded with amazement too. But a week later, I feel a niggling in me.
Have I really reached that stage where people are getting genuinely concerned about me going on 32 unmarried and unchilded (and making up my own vocabulary)?
As I write this one of my oldest friends just messaged me to meet up next week, saying she wants to hear about my adventures, and with a sense of urgency – that she has news to share too.
‘Pregnant or getting divorced?’ was my immediate thought. It turns out she is indeed pregnant. Adding just the right amount of irony to this string of events. And tears came to my eyes.
I wish I could say they were happy unselfish tears, although I AM really happy for her, without a doubt! But my tears come from the inner-acknowledgement setting in that I’m so so far from that reality & yes, somedays that really does scare me.
This kind of news; engagements, marriages, babies is the news I’m getting used to now. And the terrified conflicted happiness I feel is becoming the usual response ~ a response which doesn’t sit well with me.
Have I reached the age when I start to worry about myself? When will my undiluted truth remain undiluted by tears? When will I stop comparing, even subconsciously?
I guess the answer lies in gratitude. Gratitude for the beauty of my own life and the uniqueness of the individual journey. Gratitude for the fire in me that refuses to go out ~ Despite others questioning and doubt. Despite unscheduled bursts of tears.
Where some would become consumed and grow bitter, I’m able to show up everyday in my life 100% & inspire others to be better too ~ even though my life at almost-32 isn’t what I may have painted at 16 or 21 or 28.
No matter where you are. I hope you show up fully in your own life with gratitude for the beauty in the madness, whatever form it comes in.
You! Yes, you!
Keep expanding ~ And if all else fails, I hope you can sit in your office or classroom when everyone else has gone home and look at your life, your stories and experiences and – like me – laugh at yourself and at the bizarre, dark comedic genius in it all.
And if all else continues to fail, I hope ~at least~ it makes for good story telling or entertaining reading 😉