Time flies whether you are having fun or not. My childhood seemed to linger like thick molasses while my twenties flew by like short school days. Before I knew it I was post-30, highly educated, minimally motivated, hundreds of miles away from home but finally at home with myself. When I turned thirty I had all kinds of epiphanies. I woke up loving myself some myself, and intentionally purging negativity (thoughts, people, pain) out of my life. For the first time in what seemed like forever I wasn’t afraid of what that might mean. Affiliations be damned. So-called friends be damned. Popularity be damned. I was going to speak my mind, tell my truths, and let the chips fall where they may. They fell, but there was no destruction. Coming into myself was a beautiful process that I am still walking in unapologetically.
On the brink of another year it seems like just yesterday that I was ringing in 2012 in my mother’s living room. There was no wine, no fireworks, no benediction , no kiss on the lips at midnight, just me and my family staying up long enough to say we did, and greeting each other and the new year with hopeful anticipation of realized dreams…finally! This would be THE YEAR (just like 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, you get the picture), which was the echoed mantra I internalized year after year at New Year’s Eve church services and sermons that promised me a renewal of my dreams if I just believed…and waited. So I have believed and waited, but I am shifting my expectations because the process of waiting is exhausting. And sometimes when you have been waiting what has been years and feels like lifetimes you think that perhaps you have been doing it wrong. Maybe I didn’t believe good enough. Maybe my waiting was not good enough. But in reality it was. I have had several accomplishments this year, but they are not necessarily the ones that “count” in the eyes of others.
I have been struggling lately with not knowing what to hope for when throwing borrowed pennies in wishing wells and laying on bended knees begging for something I don’t know I really want or need. The world tells me I am supposed to want what they say I should want as a woman (i.e., marriage, children, etc.). Society prescribes the things we are supposed to hope for, pray for, wish for, and wait for. But what happens when the hoping and the praying and the wishing and the waiting never yields results, or is different from people’s expectations?
Despite my successes, a lot of times people feel sorry for me when they realize I am single with no babies. When I say I am happy, they don’t believe me. They feel sorry for me. They assume that my extended singleness must have me tripping ‘cause they don’t know of any blackgirls who aren’t checking for marriage or being somebody’s mama. I guess I’m different. I didn’t grow up fantasizing about weddings or picking out baby names. But then again, I was a morbid child, and marriage and pregnancy was too ubiquitous to mean anything significant then.
I am at the age that when I go home and see folk I haven’t seen in a while they ask if I am married. No. Engaged? No. Seeing somebody special? Not really. Well, what am I waiting for? I’m not waiting for anything. Don’t I want children? Maybe, not necessarily. Don’t I know time is running out? All the time. My biological clock ticks like a time bomb. So, can I introduce you to somebody? Hell no. I’m good. Folk don’t know what to do with me and my progressive ideas. My answers don’t sound quite right, they say with expressions, not words. Well, what does your Mama say? Nothing, I’m grown. I can’t help but look down at myself when I remind them that I am not a child, to make sure the grownasswoman body I walked in with was still the one that was visible. I love the way countryfolk think children, regardless of their age, can be admonished into submission and/or compliance by a parent.
As we near the end of another year, and I brace myself for the curious questions and inevitable disappointment in my responses, I am reminded that the things that make me feel most significant and/or uncomfortable are part of the process of growth. I don’t have to feel like something is wrong (with me), or that my life doesn’t measure up because it is different. This year, like last year and next year, I am going to be fully myself and see what happens. A lot can change in a year’s time. Love, marriage, and having babies doesn’t take a lifetime, but self-love, inner peace, and stability has taken me every year of my life until now. I am going to focus on the latter.