“I want to wear a princess dress when I get married!” the little girl exclaimed to her classmates and teacher. A boy to her right shouted, “I’m going to marry a super model!” The children laughed as the teacher giggled to herself and let the scene in front of her unfold. Another young girl said, “Boys are gross! I am going to marry my best friend and she’s a girl!” There were Ooohs and Ahhs, and that’s when the teacher spoke for the first time, “Well, let’s not get carried away. You’ll meet a nice boy some day.” At this utterance, the children were reminded that there was a grown-up in the room, so the line of questioning shifted to her. “Teacher, are you married?” the class inquisition began. “What did you wear?” “Who did you marry?” “Was there cake?!”
“Slow down. Slow down!” She spoke over the crescendo of questions. “Ok. Yes… I am married,” she began. “I married a lovely man whom I met in college. At first I wasn’t sure if he was the ONE for me, but then I realized, that I wasn’t getting any younger… so when he asked me to marry him, I thought about my options, and soon thereafter, I said yes.” The class listened intently. “I wore a beautiful white dress, it was not very fancy, but it was all I could afford at the time. It was a day I had been dreaming about my entire life. I watched television shows about weddings and it was all I ever wanted.” There was a brief pause as she beamed at the sky. She caught herself mid-thought and her smile grew wider, “And, of course, there was cake!” She laughed and all the children cheered! Well, all the children except one. She noticed him, sitting there, staring out the window. The teacher’s attention was now fully on the little boy, “What about you, Nayrotica? What do you want your wedding to be like?”
He turned his gaze to her, face blank as an un-cashable check,
“I am never getting married. Marriage is stupid!”
The class collectively gasped, and the teacher instructed Nayrotica to go directly to the principal’s office as “that kind of behavior and disruption is unnecessary and unacceptable!”
From a very young age, we are spoon-fed ideas of what we should aspire to be when we “grow up.” We are told that we can do everything and be anyone– AND that when we are of a certain age; when we meet that special person; the ONE, we are to marry them and lock that shit down before they can escape. But here’s the thing, as hard as you fight against that impulse, as difficult as it is to act outside the acceptable trajectory of a relationship, the desire to be “swept off your feet” and to find fulfillment in the form of another human being creeps in and tricks you into thinking that you have won the game of life– that you figured it out and from that moment on, it is all going to be easy and carefree. The thing is, there is no other person who can take away all the pain and remove all the security systems you have placed around your heart. Only you can do that, and that’s a radical act of kindness… to yourself.
I don’t want to get married. I don’t think social equity comes in the form of a marriage certificate. I don’t want to fit a mold that politicians and judges have told me that I am now ALLOWED to fit.
Sure, there was a time I had grand fantasies about what my wedding would look like– that was also a time when I thought I would marry Princess Diana or Iman. Time passed and all those ideas faded into darkness; no longer was I groom in celebrity weddings, but instead I became the outcast, the one who felt like he was acting every time someone asked whom he “liked” or if he had a girlfriend. Avoidance became a natural part of my life– questions of love, sex, dating; questions that I was rarely asked, and if I was, I evaded. The security system around my heart was fully operational.
Time passed. And with that passage of time, you get better at the game: “I am not the marrying kind,” you say. Or, “I’m a lone ranger.” These are phrases that I have actually used, indicating that I had removed myself from the game. And then you meet someone who seems pretty amazing, and you get reminded of the structure that is in place to normalize the romantic relationship– the trajectory. The problem is, I blindly bought into the trajectory every time and thought that I was supposed to be someone other than myself. I thought that all of those years of guarding myself would be easily shed, and I was able to give in to the comfort of someone else.
Alas, there’s a catch. You see, I have a shadow that follows me around. It’s one I did not recognize until I met someone with insurmountable patience and wisdom. I have managed to turn my life into a location where I play the victim, where everyone I choose as a partner is out to make my life miserable. Or that’s what I tell myself. Over time, I created the world where no one is allowed to relax around me because they can’t seem to pass the tests that I have placed in front of them. These tests are impossible to overcome and thereby create an asshole/victim construct. It’s a construct that places me in the role of the interpreter and turns everything that is said to me into an attack or an insult. To those men who have been on the receiving end of this very tempestuous role play, I am endlessly sorry. You never deserved that.
Recently, I spun a web for myself that was quite intricate and it was all because of old impulses and thought processes that creeped back in– I thought that I had to manage my life as if it were an event. I went into public relations mode. I forgot about the moment in which I found myself, and instead started thinking ahead, attempting to prepare the world for something that was not (and is not) theirs. By doing so, I stepped in my own way– I no longer allowed myself space to breathe and I was a brain in front of a welcoming and open vessel. There was someone there, who was not there, and that someone was open to whatever arrived at the moment. I, too, was momentarily not there, my ego out the door, but then it came rushing back. Whether that was for reasons A, B, or R, it doesn’t matter. History does not have the power to control our experiences now. And the future is nothing for which you can prepare. Look at what’s around you– observe and take it in– that’s all that matters right now. And your day will take you somewhere else, to your loved ones, to your work. When it does, exist at that moment. Be there. Next to them. They can’t breathe if they’re not allowed the space to do so.
So my web. It’s there– and I’m in it. And what does that mean? It means nothing. It means I exist in a state of nothingness– because, in that state, nothing is open to whatever comes its way. I am not going to worry about what I look like to the outside world. I am going to have fun. I am going to post on social media when I want to– and I am going to breathe. Breathe into every moment when uncertainty and doubt rear their fugly faces. And after breathing, I am moving on to the next moment, all the while knowing that I am nothing.
Something magical happened just over a week ago– something beyond magical. And yet, I am not going to tell you about it. Well, at least not here. You need to watch the movie in order to find out what really went down.
Oh yes, there will be a movie.