I am interested to enroll in a gender studies course. The reason is that gender identity has come to significant light in my life. I am seeing myself in a different way. I am seeing myself not so much as a woman, but as a human being. I know that sounds strange, but there are a lot of limits put on each gender. I know more about those put on women than men, so that is where my main discussion will lay.
A beautiful friend recently got engaged and told me that she can’t believe someone wants to marry her. There is so much that I take issue with in that declaration. First of all, the idea of marriage does feel archaic to me. I see so many people enter into this contract with the concept that it won’t be their last. I guess the same is in jobs these days as well. In days of yore, you looked for one long-term job and stuck to it. The same went for relationships. That point aside, I see so many of my lady friends putting themselves on hold until someone wants to marry them. Why does life only begin once you snag a partner? I see these beautiful ladies treading the water of mediocrity rather than swimming across the ocean to their own happiness. Do we really need a partner to feel complete?
I don’t believe a partner is needed for completion. I don’t believe that life starts after marriage. I don’t believe that anyone should need another person to be happy in life. Those I see ending their marriages at this point in their life, I see them in shambles personally. They don’t know who they are anymore is a common declaration. Honestly, most of those people didn’t know who they were back then either. I see them in counseling, trying to find fulfillment in empty ways – acquisition of possessions, seeking attention in any way that they can get it – and becoming more empty as the days pass.
Why do women think they need someone? Maybe it isn’t someone. Maybe it is external validation that they seek in a traditional way that ends up in marriage. I suppose someone getting down on one knee and promising to love you forever could be validating that I am okay. Admittedly, that did happen at one point in my life where I was feeling like it was time for me to grow up. I got caught up in fulfilling societal desires rather than my own and promised myself to someone who was not good for me and who would have murdered me if I had stayed.
I don’t think it was such a matter of needing validation, but feeling societal pressure which is amazing to me when I look back since there is little in me that ever feels the need to fulfill someone else’s expectations. I have spent the last year and a half digging deep to figure out the essence of me. What I thought was the essence of me was stripped away unexpectedly and I had to learn a lot about myself to be okay. All the work I have had to do to figure out who I really am would be insulting to myself if I based my whole okayness on someone else.
I look back on my life and parts of it don’t even seem to belong to me. I morphed into a significantly different person when I got sick. I barely recognize who I was before this. I don’t know how I found happiness in the big things when the big things got stripped away from me so suddenly. These days, the little things are what make me feel good. Knowing that I have somewhere to sleep – yes, that was questionable a few times during this journey. I could never have imagined what not knowing if whether I would have somewhere warm and safe to sleep. I don’t think I judged others in the situation, but I am more empathetic now than ever.
Putting your reliance in another rather than yourself as a woman truly feels diminishing. We are in an enlightened age when women are realizing that they can do everything on their own. I think that we should do it all on our own at least for a time. this gives us strength. It gives us the insight that should a partnership fall apart, we will be okay because we were before we entered it. I think it allows us to put our foot down when we need to set boundaries because we know that should we have to leave the partnership, it will not be the end of the world to supporting our basic needs.