I’ve been working on a version of this post for a few months. Little pieces here and there. Lots of drafts. I still don’t think I’ve fully articulated my point, but, here it is.
Something happened yesterday that pushed me to finally share this. I received a Facebook message from an old friend from high school and college. We haven’t seen one another in over 10 years, but he always sends me a “Happy Birthday” note. I had written back a simple “thank you, hope you’re doing well!” and expected it to end there. It did not. Today, I received this: “It’s about time for you to get hitched, isn’t it?”
There was no “tell me about the groundbreaking project you’re working on at your job!” Or “tell me about your blog!” It’s “shouldn’t you be hitched.” You old garbage lady.
I have two degrees. I’m an accomplished tech writer. I’ve had a good career and a good life and I’m proud of myself. But the only thing (some!) people seem to focus on is the lack of a ring on my finger. But I have NOT failed at life.
I am reminded of one of my favorite Sex and the City episodes (the title of this post) in which Carrie is judged for her lifestyle by a friend (and mother of three). I’ve always identified with that particular episode and feel it’s perfect commentary for women of a certain age who don’t follow the popular path. Have you seen it?
When women reach a certain age, others feel the need to share opinions on your life. And, at 31, I’ve had a lot of bullshit said to me over the years.
Some of my favorite comments:
“Dr. Phil said if your partner doesn’t marry you after 5 years, he’ll never marry you.”
“Aren’t you guys a common-law by now?” I live in Kentucky, so no.
“You should have frozen your eggs.” Cute.
“Aren’t you worried you’ll be too old?”
“What do you do with all of your free time?”
“Don’t worry, you will get your big day!” I don’t like attention, so I’m good.
“I can’t spend that much on lipstick. I have children.”
“You will understand love when you have children.” That one really stings.
Truthfully I let most of these comments roll off my back… usually while I’m enjoying all of my free time and rolling around drunk in all of my extra cash. I have to make myself believe that these comments come from a place of concern and not nastiness. Or pity. But sometimes I don’t know. It is hurtful to expect everyone to follow the path you chose.
One of the greatest things about modern women is that we’re able to make our own life choices. We don’t need someone to support us financially. We can have careers and own homes and vote and write a blog and take birth control. It’s freeing. Yet, even as far as we’ve come, there’s always someone waiting to judge you. As if the fact that my life does not look like your life makes it wrong. And, frankly, I don’t buy that I’m a failure if I never become a wife or a mother. That’s not the barometer by which I measure success.
Here’s the truth that we need to confront: some women will get married and have kids. Some won’t. Some don’t want that life. Some want it and don’t get it. Life is tough for us all. But whatever happens, it’s YOUR choice. Your path. No one is invited in to comment on every decision you make. As I said Monday, let’s spend more time showing one another grace. Happiness looks different for everyone.
Do you face this battle and unsolicited advice? What are your thoughts?A Woman's Right to Shoes. Click To Tweet