The Rules

I’m not sure at what point in my life it occurred to me that I don’t seem to process things the same way that most people (appear) to.
The end results, or mid-results as they may be, are shaping up pretty much the same as the socially accepted construct, but I honestly feel that I’ve gotten here on my own terms.
There are milestones and guidelines set out by the great ol’ American Dream, regarding everything from dating and sex, to marriage and family, and beyond. There are norms like monogamy, feminine nurturing, and all sorts of things that go along with settling down and being domesticated. Some of these are relics from the 1950’s but even with women aligning themselves under the Feminist Cause, much remains the same, except women spending more time in the workplace (and still fighting to get equal pay.)
And in a world where the most common advice I get for my upcoming wedding is “Don’t do it,” it’s no wonder I am still working on writing my own definitions of what my marriage can and will be.
A lot of people have told me over the years that I ‘date like a man,’ insomuch as I don’t have a natural gravitation between sex and love. I think as a teenager, I wanted to believe there was, and when I was very much in love with a very sweet guy, I said and did things that fell well outside the acceptable standards for even a teenager. I spent a lot of time being ashamed about the things in my head and what my body felt.
When I left for college, I took advantage of the opportunity to redefine myself. Plus in college, it seemed more acceptable to be a ‘sexually liberated female.’ On the surface at least. I still struggled a lot with depression and how to define my wants (a family and kids) with my needs (emotional and physical companionship). As I got myself out of the funk, I started to accept that one person might not be able to meet all my needs, and my wants would just have to work themselves out in time. It seemed logical that if I couldn’t sustain a monogamous relationship, who was I to think I deserved the chance to raise a child.
I feel like I’m being vague enough to give off the perception that I cheat, which, physically speaking, is untrue. I’ve lived, more or less, under pretty strict guidelines of ending things when they don’t seem to be working. The few exceptions were by far the worst circumstances I ever put myself in. And the day that I found myself breaking up with/moving out from said relationship and simultaneously hearing him scream at me that he had been planning to propose, I knew that I was not cut out for doing things in a normal fashion.
So I dated, mostly without emotional attachment. I had great friends whom I loved, and all those elements combined, I was started to feel whole.
Enter Brandon. From the first day we met, he has challenged me to re-evaluate opening myself to things I’d written off. He has become my favorite companion, and our wants follow a similar strain. He has helped me break down walls of self sufficiency and even a little hidden distrust for his gender. And so when he proposed to me almost a year ago, I wholly and gladly said yes.
Basically from then on, I’ve been in brand new and very scary territory. Even before our engagement I’d known how much I wanted to be with him, but I never cared much at all for the wedding day. I welcomed the idea of being married, but having witnessed many close friend and family members get married, I felt sick at the idea of planning a wedding. Months before he proposed I started trying to prepare myself to face the dragon. I knew as much as I wanted things to be quick and painless, Brandon has a wicked traditional streak that meant we were going for everything from the poufy white dress to dinner and dancing with all our friends and family in attendance.
So far, I’ve been working it out. I still feel sick thinking about all the money we’re doling out for this blip of a day on the grande radar. Especially when I think about how all that money could be spent getting us closer to being able to start a family.
I don’t even think that the term “baby crazy” fully encompasses how I’m feeling these days about this whole matter. Before Brandon, I had started to write off the possibility that such a blessed and monumental event would ever happen for me. And now, I look out at the next few years with utter dread over my 30th birthday and whether or not a healthy family is still in the cards.
Yes, I am fully aware that 30 isn’t that old. If you’re perfectly healthy and have been so your whole life. But I’m not; I’ve struggled with my weight for almost a decade to varying degrees. I’m back towards the healthier side of things, but still feel that I have a long way to go.
And I’m aware that babies and children have the capacity to fully exhaust a woman of only 20 years. I’m not so naive as to think I still have that same energy and vigor.
So all of this makes me cringe to think of waiting another day, let alone year, let alone 3-5 that Brandon speaks of, before starting to think about conceiving a child. It rattles me to the core, frankly. And when I try to focus my attention on more present things, the wedding financials seem to further irritate my already fried sensibilities.
All of this finally seemed to overflow last night on our way home from Josh & Madeline’s (beautiful!) wedding. Part of me feels like an ungrateful selfish bitch who should be content to have the true and unconditional love of such a great man, who is willing to take on my own past mistakes and messiness in order to have that family that I dream of, at a date to be determined, when it makes budgetary sense. And part of me wonders why we should spend a small fortune on this 30 second blip of a ceremony while my ovaries are already plotting their own demise?!?
Clearly I’m overwrought with my own emotions, but no matter how much I tell myself that fact, tears don’t stop welling up in the corners of my eyes. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not even convinced there is an answer to be had. For him, the wedding is pretty much as important as it gets, and for me, I’m clearly obsessed with having a family and being the best mother possible.
So now I’m utterly lost in my head, replaying every choice I’ve ever made, wondering which ones I could have made differently to avoid this grief. I wonder what is broken in my head to not be convinced that what has been offered to me is enough. And most of all I worry about hurting the one perfect thing I have going for me.

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One thought on “The Rules

  1. I'm not going to comment on how much you aren't allowed to comment. Brandon and I have also taken the past 4 years for ourselves & not been in a hurry to get married or deal with all the pressures to be promptly 'in the family way'. But we both agree that at this point in our lives, sooner is better than later, but those are our goals & clearly every marriage is different.I will admit you're completely right about how much he wants us to have a special day to celebrate us, and after we had a nice talk about how we can keep our wedding budget trim we decided how to best apply the surplus (if we come in where we think we can.)One thing is for sure: I'm absolutely certain that he and I are going to have an amazing marriage & life together, just from the way we compliment each other & work together to each feel like our needs and wants are being met. I adore him utterly!And yes, I knew I needed to chill out, but sometimes writing it all down is the best way to get it out of my system 😛

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