Monday, October 08, 2012

I was raised to believe the fairy tale, the idea that a girl grows up, falls in love with a nice guy who loves her, gets married, has kids and lives happily ever after. This was a major component of the blueprint of success for a woman's life in my mind. Any aberration from this was a failure. Except, the fairy tale never happened for me. And for years, I've felt like a failure because of this. I've spent most of my adult life trying to pick up the pieces of this broken fairy tale and patch them together...not very successfully, I might add.

It never occurred to me to ask whether this was something I would have wanted if it hadn't been forcefully imprinted on my young mind. I never asked whether this was a life I could actually enjoy and be happy with. I have frequently questioned whether it's a realistic goal for anyone, having concluded some time ago that it isn't going to work out for me. All the same, I felt worthless because unlike all the barbie dolls with their vacuous wasn't happening for me. It wasn't the fairy tale that was a crock of, it was me...I was the crock of shit.

And consequently, along the way, I've dismissed and bypassed opportunities that might have been fulfilling, that I could have found happiness in....because they weren't part of that magical blueprint. Now I find myself re-assessing all this:

  • Do I want to "grow up" into a housewife? No, I do not. That is not a role that works for me.
  • "Falling in love"? I have to honestly say that for me there appear to be two paths to love. There is the usually disastrous phenomenon of having love fall on my head, unexpected and uninvited, and then taking over my sanity for a rather expensive length of time. Oh, it's not all bad....the intensity is pretty intoxicating....but I generally end up putting all of myself on the line and then picking up the bloody pieces of the train wreck and feeling stupid. The other path would be growing into love, which isn't always exclusive, i.e. the falling in love sort of thing can turn into growing into love. At any rate, the growing into love seems to be much stabler, less fickle and certainly less stressful and more likely to result in a solid friendship if the romance end of things doesn't work out. Asking what is meant by that four letter word is another topic for another day.....and further highlights the difficulty with this aspect of the ideal.
  • The nice guy....who falls in love with me. Um. See above. People have very different ideas of love and it doesn't work as well as advertised for two people to assume that they're talking about the same thing!!
  • Marriage: Ah. This was a particularly troublesome aspect of that plan. I don't like to be owned. I like to think my own thoughts, to be my own person, to have my own ideas and preferences.....being subsumed by a man just doesn't work for me. Sadly, this wasn't always obvious at the outset, because men frequently assume that if I'm wild about them, then of course I don't need a life and identity of my own. Moreover, I am not an easy person to live with. I like my space. I like for things to be where I put be able to read while eating or to have solitude...and at times the need for solitude can be excessive. What I do like is to spend an awful lot of time with the person I'm bonded with....but on my terms, meaning, I want to be able to get away now and then without feeling guilty, so that I can be happy to come back! If I were to live with someone, I would need to work and for my partner to work, to have separate areas of life...and possibly separate spaces as well, even if were something like a studio or different building...without being made to feel guilty about it. There are people who have a business together and are together all day long running that business and then go home, only to get up the next day and spend yet another day together. I couldn't do that...would start to feel suffocated....would begin to lose appreciation for my partner.
  • Having kids....Oh lord. I love my kids...
  • Living happily ever after: why did I buy into the line that all those things had to happen first, exactly in that order, to be happy? Why do we buy into the line that happiness can be attained by achievement, or that someone can give it to you like a present? We have to make and find our own happiness.

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