I want to get married and have my own family someday. I start this blog by saying that because the rest of this blog will be spent getting some things off my proverbial chest (*side eye to anyone who chuckled*).
There are so many mixed signals for someone in my particular stage in life. You’re not supposed to make a “god” out of your desire to be married but everyone becomes your biological alarm clock with those pesky reminders (“When are you going to get married?/Are you getting married soon?”). I remember when I was 22 one of my aunts told me she would give me 3 years to get married. SHE WOULD GIVE ME 3 YEARS TO GET MARRIED. Just one example.
You’re supposed to be in a position to be found (*force feeds you the Ruth-Boaz love story with a heaping helping of Proverbs 31 verses sprinkled on the side*) yet you’re supposed to enjoy your singleness. Now who can learn to consistently enjoy a season in life that everyone tells you to enjoy but everyone’s in a rush to leave?
(photo cred: modernreject.com)
Excuse my reductionistic approach to this subject. I do recognize that it is broader and more complex than I am presenting here and I may just do a series on it. But for now, y’all gotta hear me out about this because I’m trying to encourage myself but I have not been all that successful (read: I’m fed up.). So hear me when I say…
I am a 27 year old, African American Christian single young woman who is childless. This does not mean any of the following:
a) That I signed up for things to be this way.
b) That I need to be questioned about my singleness every week.
c) That I need to be dating anyone right now.
d) That I will be single for the rest of my life.
e) That I am worthless.
f) That I am crazy.
You may not believe this but I really did not sign up for things to be this way. – My life’s plans (and the multiple revised versions) up until about a year and a half ago included marriage by this point. I’m not afraid to admit it. But life happens and things you thought you would experience by a certain point don’t always happen by the timeframe you established and sometimes they don’t happen at all. It’s been crazy to realize how much I had put marriage up on a pedestal (more as something to be achieved) but it’s been crazier to realize how much the people and institutions around me have helped me perpetuate this attitude. So, maybe part of God’s providential plan for my life has been to slow down this particular trajectory because maybe – just maybe – if I received it prior to now, I would have completely missed the point. I don’t doubt this to be at least partially the case. The other part is rather obvious – I cannot marry myself. Namaste.
Saints, please do me a favor and stop asking dumb [and the “none of your business”] questions. – You would not believe (or maybe you would) the sharp increase in the “When are you getting married?” type questions in the past few months. I think the number of questions have actually surpassed the amount I got when I was actually in a serious, committed relationship. It has been hard for me to respectfully answer people’s prying questions about my singleness, my [imaginary] impending marriage, or even how I let my younger brother beat me to the punch on marriage and parenthood. I have tried to take it all with dignity but there’s about so much one can take. I used to think that it was cute to be reduced to just being someone’s wife and mother – until people started making my lack thereof into an actual identity (no shade to anyone who enjoys that – different strokes for different folks). But it has been annoying to have to constantly field questions that have little to actually do with me and more to do with what people project onto me.
Dating. – I am not a fan of casual dating and this season in my life is proving to me why I never was a fan of it. I don’t think it’s wrong; it just becomes a pain for me. So just because I’m single does not mean I need to meet all of the “eligible” young men you know between the ages of 25-35. I can’t tell you what it is or isn’t but I suppose brighter days on this front will come. Just…pray for me because…NOAP. And then there’s this guy I’m crushing on who’s not even giving me the time of day…(…like I was really gonna tell y’all about that…*insert smirk emoji*).
I may or may not be single for the rest of my life – but I promise that is really none of your concern. The Church (in general) does a great job at making singleness feel a lot like modern day leprosy (too harsh?)…ok, maybe like being left out of some exclusive club (better?). If you get to your late 20s and you’re not married, you’re doing life wrong. You need to do this or you need to do that. Don’t be afraid to ________ or ________. It all makes me tired.
My worth is not attached to my marital status. – Why do I even have to say this? Well…partially because I have to still remind myself of this from time to time. I’m at the age where I am seeing a majority of former boyfriends/love interests (because lezbehonest, there wasn’t but a very few of ’em to begin with) settling into [seemingly] happy relationships, getting engaged, and getting married. I’d be lying to you if I said that with every new notification, the questions don’t start to flow as I process (though I am truly happy for them). I ask the questions that point back to me, knowing I’ll never get a satisfactory answer. That’s just life. If you don’t struggle with this, God bless you. I’m on my way. But I am learnING still not to attach my self worth to anything or anyone except Jesus (who spared no expense on my behalf, by the way). My worth is my worth and nothing changes that (I’m saying that just as much to you as I’m saying it to me).
I am not crazy. – In fact, there is nothing wrong with me. After a certain age, people meet you, ask why you’re still single (because, you know, nobody as beautiful as you should still be single *Sheneneh eye roll*), and then, inevitably, there is the “you’re not crazy, are you?” line. I clinch my teeth every time. This goes back into making singleness into some sort of disease or illness. I’m single because I am and that’s how life has happened for me. I’m single perhaps because of missed opportunities or choices in my love life that turned out differently than planned. I’m single because I refuse to settle. But I’m not single because I’m “crazy”. If you ask me that, I’m asking you an equally insulting question so that I can guarantee that you won’t like me after. Someone’s marital status is not *necessarily* indicative of their mental status. Just ask some of these married folks out here…(where is Kermit to help me out?)
(photo cred: pinterest.com)
No worries – I’ll probably be more dignified in Part II. Keep hope alive and stop harassing a single person TUH-DAY.