Dismantle the Bullshit, Find the Human Beneath
I want to strip myself down completely.
I don't understand who I am or what it truly means to be human at all.
The thought of peeling everything away to enigmatic bareness to build a new life has begun to thrill me.
So many people follow their culture blindly for so long they never realize there are different lifestyles available to them. They reckon what they've been told is what there is, and nothing more. Now that I've started paying attention, I feel like I've been fed feasts of lies my whole life.
In particular what's been pecking away at me is discouragement from misunderstanding, and being misled, about the commitment of marriage.
By age 16 the care of babies entranced me. I was also so surrounded by peers who were genitals-deep in the dating scene that I relished in my own awaited fairy-tale ending as well, despite discomfort with so many of my relationships.
Now, I can't imagine settling down and having children...yet. No part of me wants to blindly succumb to the cultural push of finding a mate and popping out babies just because. We're pressured into thinking that picking a life partner is all about finding someone attractive, having a magnificent party where all of our dreams come true, and then basking in the joys, and the messes, of parenthood. I'm 27 years old, and I already feel like a spinster cat-lady for still being single.
I feel society warning me every day that my eggs are starting to shrivel up.
I've spent so much time, time I thought was productive, daydreaming about married life and googling cheesy quotes and opinions about finding your "soulmate." But the more contrasting points of view I found, the more frustrated I became.
I got up the nerve to ask a lot of friends, too...
But how did you know he was the one?! I would ask.
I just knew! they would say.
My frustration mounted as everyone seemed to have all of the answers but me. Even though I am finally starting to unfold my own opinions about my future, I am still horrified by the notion that everyone around me will successfully pair up, and I will be left on the sidelines like grade school kickball.
Still, as soon as I find myself in the unfolding butterfly stage of a relationship, my daydreams wander to the isle, the wedding party, the guest list, the first home as a married couple, the late nights with babies.
And then I proceed to scream at my thoughts for even going there at the first sign of infatuation. My reflections have all been fantasy, a neglect of the reality between the magic, and yet I've marinated in them as if they were the whole lot of what being an adult is like.
But there is SO much shit in between. There are flat tires, missed birthdays, shameful arguments, painful deaths, sleepless nights, in-laws, furious mistakes, and exposed hearts and bodies.
When you pick someone to say your vows to, you're not just choosing a partner who would be a good spouse and parent and traveling buddy. You're choosing another human being to share your entire one and only life with, and you're allowing that person to share their whole life with you too.
This other being will be there through every emotional high and low, every single experience that you will ever have, and yet we chalk it all up to picking out the perfect reception venue and finding the cutest house for sale in the suburbs.
I think it's bullshit we're even pressured to pick someone at all, as if it's inevitably the only future available to us.
Truthfully, I don't even know if I ever want to be married.
I've been too ashamed and terrified of this notion to accept it thus far. I've spent forever planning for something I'm not even sure I want, I feel like a half-ass member of society, an immature child, and I know having babies "out-of-wedlock" would still turn a lot of heads in my family.
What I have to remember is that I do not share in these beliefs. I'm disgusted with myself for acting outside of my own values for so long. Had I not been shocked awake by loss and the inevitability of heartache, I may never have seen the armour I've been hiding behind in fear of exposing my true character.
I feel incredibly cynical and spiteful the more I hear these words, but this has been my thought pattern for quite some time now, and I doubt these bitter views would ever change without exploring them.
I've always struggled to figure out what I truly desired enough to build a future around. I don't care about having some high-paying successful career, but I know I want to be comfortable enough to have a small, even tiny home, and to travel while maintaining my freedom to write.
That's it, that's all I know. And that may not last more than the next ten minutes either.
The future suddenly feels so unwritten. Where I want to live, who I want to spend the rest of my life with, or if I just want to burst into a solo nomadic lifestyle, are all up in the air completely.
These grey areas, they really know how to push my vomit button.
So many life events that I've always accepted as default responsibilities are finally boiling to the surface as mere options. I've developed a cold impatience for my thoughts that immediately relate everything to the goal of settling down. This be-all end-all has governed so many of the choices I've made. I'm furious having wasted so much of my time living for expectations I didn't even choose.
I want to rip every layer of myself away.
I need to find out what I actually want, instead of what I know others have always wanted for me. I have been raised in just one corner of one country on this whole planet with billions of people and hundreds of thousands of cultures, and the way I have been told is not the only way...
I think all these blameful and resentful thoughts in my head, but I feel more enlightened mindsets revealing themselves every day. I realize how much of the shit I let dig into me has actually always been my choice, 100%. I accept more and more that I let myself be so wired by the ideas I've heard around me.
Now, the more enthralled I get by learning new information, the less fucks I give that everyone else around me thinks I'm ass-backwards. As a dear friend and I concluded earlier today...
Just because you are the minority, does not mean you are wrong.
And with this idea in mind, I feel like I want to redefine everything. I want to find out what I believe love means, what I think being human means, and what my own dreams are made of. It may be completely different from what you and everyone else in my life desires for me, but at the end of the day, I am the only person that has to live with myself.
This body is the only one I have in every single moment. When I'm in the bathroom, when I'm the only one left awake at night, when I'm surrounded by strangers, or when no one seems to be there right when I need them, I still have to be okay with who I am and the choices I'm making.
There is no escape. And rather than feeling completely claustrophobic in my own skin forever, I have to embrace every piece, whether smooth or flawed.
Learning how to love starts within. If we don't cherish our real selves, we won't ever meet the expanding walls of our hearts. We won't ever know how much we could have loved, if we could have only learned to love ourselves first.