My Nightmares Are Also My Reality

by jdeena

About a month ago, I was at my aunt’s house. She has three boys, ranging from age 13 to age 7, and a baby girl who is the love of my life who is just 8 months old. We were sitting around the kitchen table just talking when the youngest boy asked me how old I was. The oldest boy answered him and said “29.” The youngest one responds with, “You’re 29 and not married?!”

I was in shock.

How is it that a 7 year old CHILD sees my being single at 29 an oddity? It is so upsetting and needless to say depressing that in the eyes of my little cousin, who doesn’t even know what marriage is, I am a pariah. So, either his parents have groomed him to think that everyone needs to be married at a certain age (which I doubt), or he has his own preconceived notion of what an acceptable age is for marriage.

You may think that I have exhausted this topic, but I will only write about it as often as it is a topic of conversation in my daily life. So basically, get used to reading about it.

I think it’s so funny how everyone claims that getting married doesn’t matter. The front they put on is so comical. Whether it is my family, friends, or people I know, they have no problem telling me that I don’t need to be married to define myself, but as soon as I walk out the door they talk about how sorry they feel for me and they wonder what is wrong with me. Sometimes I just want to shout YES I’M ALMOST 30 AND SINGLE AND NO, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ME!

That maybe a bit overkill, but you have to understand my frustrations. Everyone tells me that getting married is not important, but isn’t that how we are judged in society? A woman can be a professional, have a great job, and live a perfectly happy life, but the moment we find out she is single the sympathy pours. Why? Single women should not have to apologize for not being married, and they should not have all their hard work in life go unnoticed. I find it more honorable for a woman to be single and successful in her career than married for compliance and out fear of ostracism.

I give myself pep talks everyday, about how I am smart, and funny, and beautiful. And not beautiful in the physical sense, but as a person. I am compassionate, and giving, and kind. I love to volunteer to help those less fortunate. I like to think I am a good friend, someone you can rely on if needed. I treat people with respect.

Yet as soon as I step out the door, no one sees any of that in me. I am a woman, without a man, and that is the role I play. That is what defines me in my society. Since when did we decide as a society that we were born as halves and that we must spend our whole lives looking for our “other half?” Why can’t a woman be seen for her qualities and attributes, rather than whether or not she can snag a man and marry him? ANYONE can get married, but it takes a strong woman to know when that marriage is no longer an aspiration but an occupation.

The roles we fill as women should always depend on who we are, not who we are with. Society is at fault for creating these roles and making us feel inferior if we don’t concede. The problem is, we can’t always control our fate. Maybe some of us aren’t meant to be married. That may seem like an extreme idea, but it is the truth.

Last night I awoke in a panic because I had a dream- nightmare, really- where I was trapped inside a home with my parents and grandmother as they brought in suitor after suitor and they were AWFUL. Scraping the bottom of the barrel awful. It was like everyone had given up on me and all that was left were the unmarried old men or the divorced creeps.

I was crying when I woke up from that dream.

And not because the dream was horrible.

I cried, because my reality could truly end up that very same way.