My friend from college posted a link to her Facebook Wall yesterday.
It was a counter point article from CNN written in response to Tracy McMillan’s Huffington Post article “Why You’re Not Married.”
In the rebuttal, CNN columnist details her reasons for why she’s 40 and unmarried.
Maybe you spent your adolescence clashing with a stepfather who didn’t get you emotionally. And maybe the father who did get you had been relegated by the courts, when you were 2 and your parents divorced, to every-other-weekend access. Maybe your first love cheated on you, just around the time a second divorce rolled through your family. So maybe your faith in men and marriage was a little shaken before you teased your hair for the prom.
But that’s nothing some therapy and better hair sense can’t fix, right?
Maybe you were and still are a hopeful (I refuse to say hopeless) romantic who for years held a candle for the one you thought was The One.
And maybe he slipped and called you his soul mate at one point, a statement you caught and remembered. So even after you read the diary he’d left out, oops, learned about the Brazilian woman with amazing eyes, broke up and dated others, you still held out hope for him. You stupidly took the crumbs he tossed you from time to time and thought they had meaning. Finally, you got through your thick noggin that the guy just wasn’t that into you. Hell, he wasn’t even all that nice to you. You learned he wasn’t the one who got away. He was the one who got in the way.
Then, maybe you met the one who was that into you. He loved and respected you like no man had before. And the dog — how could you not fall for the man and his dog? ….maybe he pulled out a ring and asked you to marry him.
Maybe you said yes but then freaked out. … Maybe you were seized by fear. But everyone around you, including your therapist, said they expected nothing less, given your family history. They even said it would be weird if you didn’t freak out. So you were engaged to be married.
But maybe after you moved to a new state and settled into engaged life, you still worried. That fear, that inkling that something was missing or wrong, grew stronger….You didn’t want to quit the race, but at some point you knew with painful clarity there was a hurdle you two couldn’t clear. So maybe, out of your love for him and yourself, you handed back the ring and left.
Maybe, even as you licked those wounds in your pathetic little apartment, you began to appreciate your courage. You learned to trust yourself more. You realized your past didn’t define your future; you did.
Maybe you suddenly lost your father. Being emotionally available for someone else wasn’t something you could even entertain. Now you had an excuse not to date.
But maybe you knew that your dad — not to mention your amazing mom and stepmom, and your now-gentler ex-stepdad — wanted nothing more than for you to love and be loved. So when you were ready, with a fresh start in a new city, you were excited to put yourself out there again.
Maybe you were approaching 40 when you arrived in the South. Maybe you were slapped across the face with the reminder that most people your age are married with children. Maybe you went to a singles event and became convinced you were the oldest one there, so you ducked out early.
But maybe you held onto hope and optimism. You sucked up your pride and whipped up an online dating profile. You found out that men in Belgium, as well as men with odd fetishes and offensively bad grammar and spelling, have a thing for you. You received horrifying — yet hysterical — notes from suitors that made for great Facebook status updates.
Maybe you agreed to go on dates you dreaded because you were determined to have an open mind. Maybe you learned you had good reasons to dread those dates. You wolfed down a nice piece of salmon as one man told you, within the first hour of meeting, that he cheated on his wife, still loves his ex-girlfriend and didn’t go to his own father’s funeral. Maybe you thought you should charge him for therapy.
But maybe you still believe there’s someone great out there for you. You’re ready, you know you have so much to give, and you look forward to meeting him — wherever and whenever that might be.
Hmm. This sounds familiar. Too familiar. This appears to be the growing voice out there, and it’s really alarming to me.
Okay. I’m just gonna ask the question that has been bouncing around my brain since I read this article last night:
When did we become so proud of being broken?
All I hear in this woman’s article (and all over the internet) is a myriad of excuses and sob stories. “See, I was hurt once or twice. But instead of getting my shit together and addressing the issues and the reason why I perpetually dated assholes, I just forged onward and wore my scars like a badge of honor. See, I’m afraid of being vulnerable. I’m afraid of being hurt because I’ve been hurt. Do you need me to tell you the stories again? Because I will. I’ll tell the same story over and over again every time people start wondering what my deal is or starts questioning why nothing ever seems to work out for me. I’ll use these bad experiences as a shield so nobody will think it’s me. Because it’s not, okay? I’m choosing this life. Society has certain ideas about how I should behave. I’m a rebel! But I’m also quite fragile. So be careful with me. ”
Let me explain what you’re choosing. You’re choosing to be wounded and using it as an excuse. And you know what?
It’s an excuse. It’s a Lifetime movie of the week. Strong, single independent, no nonsense woman who is afraid to love. Attracted to the wrong guys. Never interested in the available ones. How original.
In one breath you proclaim your independence and self-sufficiency. In another you’re saying you have no control over why you do what you do, or why you date who you date. You’re just wired that way. Which is it. Either you’re strong and independent, or you’re this fragile little turtle afraid to poke your head outside of its shell, ruled by her neurosis.
What is the root of this thinking?? Where is it coming from??? I don’t know. Maybe I’m being insensitive here. Maybe I’m just projecting my own remorse for my past mistakes. I know, or at least I’m sure, that I thrived off of playing the victim. But doesn’t that get exhausting? How long can that last?? Who didn’t have a weird relationship with one or both of their parents? Who didn’t date a handful of jerks? Who hasn’t been afraid of being rejected? It just feels like people are holding on to these experiences and using them as both a way to get attention and sympathy as well as an excuse to never open up or give any decent guy a chance. What’s all this really about? What are we really afraid of..and why??
Is it that men fear commitment and women fear…intimacy?
We’re more resilient than this..aren’t we?
I know I’ve been harping on this issue lately. There have been a ton of article highlighting what’s going on with single women out there. Which is why I’ve been writing more of this type of stuff lately.