Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I am

I am sitting--curled up, really--on my bed, writing.  My apartment is quiet.  I seem quiet.  But I'm not.

Inside, I'm seething boiling raging shaking my fists.  On the outside, I try to keep it down on account of the neighbors.  They have a baby.  I'm not a monster, you know.

But some people look at me like I am.  At the very least, as if I'm some sort of unclassifiable entity that makes them uncomfortable, and so they plaster this rictus of a smile on their faces and scurry away.  I should go all in and cover myself head to foot and cry out "Leprosy!  Leprosy!" whenever they approach.

Except I'm not a leper.  I'm single.

That's something people seem to think is terrifying, or pitiable, or maybe some weird combination of both.  They assume that I'm a lesbian (I'm not) or that I'm afraid of marriage (also not) or that I'm a "cat lady" (also also not ... I'm a dog person but my current apartment tragically doesn't allow pets).  I'm just ... picky.  I'd much rather be picky, sitting here in solitude, with complete freedom to cook what I want and eat when I want and go where I want and do what I want than to look back at my life and feel like I gave in and gave up.

That sort of narrative isn't popular in society.  Everyone likes to pretend that humanity is so advanced compared to, say, Victorian times, when people took nitrous oxide for funsies and used bits of dead whales to make their waists as teeny as possible and also posed with dead people for photographs because memories!  And we cluck our tongues and shake our heads at the loveless marriages made to tie families together, or to produce children, or to give a woman a safe place to sleep.  "I can't believe they didn't marry for love!" we screech, recoiling a bit from the idea.  "At least, today, we have a choice."  Um, hi, yeah, part of making that choice is realizing that if you are not in love with someone, you don't get married.

I'm not saying I'll never get married.  When I was little I used to dream about it.  Would I like to find a guy?  Yeah!  Do I trust in myself enough now to know that I am complete as I am, and don't need any of that Jerry Maguire crap in my life?  Heck yeah!  If some nerdy, charming, bookish fellow strolled into my life, would I like that?  Do you really need to ask?

To sum up: I am not anti-love or anti-relationship or any of that.  I just want the freedom to be as I am and as I choose without being judged by other people and without having the romance-completes-a-person narrative rammed down my gullet for it to sit in my soul, giving me indigestion.

This musing brought to you by my disastrous reading of The Diabolic, reviewed here.  This is basically part two of that post, so you can read them together if you so wish.

2 comments:

  1. Pan, I'm a lot older than you and I'm single. So are most of my friends. We are here to show that, while there's nothing wrong with having a lovely, funny, gentle guy in your life, you can live quite happily without them. I don't think I could even take a flatmate at this point in my life. I'd be too grumpy to live with. And it would mean giving up my study, dammit!

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    1. Oh, I'm very happy with how I am right now---I just wish more YA writers would consider that some people are totally okay with being single when they write their characters. There was also a good piece on Bookriot yesterday (I think) about the dearth of single characters in general adult lit, even though the majority of American women are now single and not married.

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