Part 1: On love and lepers.

I used to hate love.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved family love and friend love...but I mean romantic love.

Of course, I had an obsession with it, even during my season of love disdain, because hellooooooo, sometimes a girl just wants to wear sweatpants and watch Mr. Darcy sweep a girl off her feet and believe that someday, I too would be so pursued by a dashing young gentleman (preferable not quite as brooding, but I tried to keep an open mind).

But when the movie credits would roll, I would be reminded yet again that I had no Mr. Darcy. (And also that I also spilled ice cream all over said sweatpants. Again.)

Thus the love hatred.

Sometimes, when I was feeling extra Bridget-Jones-esque, I would escape with my journal and scribble pages upon pages of angst. What am I doing wrong? Why not me? and sometimes the obligatory Boys suck.

And I would convince myself that I had better start loving cats and collecting needlepoint phrases and doilies and learn to say, "Oh, my ticket is separate, thank you!" without noticing the pitying smiles.

And I would hear my friends complain when their boyfriend did this or their husband did that, and sometimes I would want to scream, "DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?!" And would truly (unfairly) believe that their problems weren't nearly as big as mine as a single person because they had someone to share their journey.

I realize this makes me sound like a total narcissistic jerk with a complex (and unhealthy eating habits), and that is probably a fair assessment. But neither is it the whole story.

The thing is, it's not like I wasn't happy for my friends. I wanted exactly what they had, after all. It's just that they were entering a new phase of life that somehow made me feel immature. Or behind. Partly because I was even told flat-out, "Yeah...you just really couldn't understand my problem right now. Maybe one day, after you're married YOU LEPER."

(Okay, she didn't say the leper part, but might as well.)

Everywhere I looked in my ever-shrinking Midwestern Christian bubble, I felt more and more certain that my life was missing something--the something--that would make me complete.

And that something was marriage.

"Hey," my friend's Dad winked at his daughter's wedding reception, "when we gonna see you walk down that aisle, kid? Time's a'wastin!"

And the standard holiday family gathering, "Soooo, why aren't you bringing any boys around?" Yuk yuk yuk...

And the well-intentioned-yet-demeaning, "Ohhh, you're single?! That's o-kay!" (Yes, thank you, I know that's o-kay...or at least I did until you said o-kay like it's not o-kay, OOOOOKAAAAAAY?!)

Or the perpetual--"...have you met my friend, so and so?! You guys would be PERFECT!" which would instantly cause my stomach to turn into a thousand knots as my cheeks immediately inflamed.

I was an honors grad. A ball of social energy. A school ambassador. A bookworm. A leader. A traveler.

A sister, a friend, a daughter, a maid of honor, a volunteer, a writer, a planner, a worrier, a student, a full-time worker.

I was a lot of things, but all that really seemed to matter to most people was that I was young. A Midwesterner. A Christian. A female. And single as single could be.

And there was no Mr. Darcy in sight.

Note: If you think this is heading towards "and then I got married and life is perfect"...please gag and then keep reading next week.


Katie said...

Sara this post reminded me of the days when we would dance around our dorm room to boy hating songs! I think there was one with the lyric "I think I'm giving up on love...cause it really kind of SUCKS!"

I totally appreciate your reference to the Midwestern Christian bubble...and now experience the opposite as a 25 year old in Arizona who has been married three years! (And I totally can appreciate that this is not normal outside of that bubble, but don't think it makes me a freak either.) And I really hope that I never said any of those things to you because I certainly did not think that way.

And now I might have to youtube that song...

kimberly said...

I might be crying right now because this is EXACTLY how I feel much of the time. please tell me it gets better!

lauren said...

thank you. thank you. thank you.
You're so good at putting it into words. Single is a different thing in the Midwestern Christian circle than it is other places. But even other places, it's easy to feel left behind. Ha-- Love the leper reference.

The Delimonts said...

So it's called Part 1! I am waiting for Part 2!! Love you friend. Love your writing.

Sara said...

Katie--hahahaha yes!!! Yeah that would be crazy to be in a cultural reversal of such norms! And um, you absolutely did not friend! That is why we were RFL. Duh.
Kim--girl, I feel you. It can be so frustrating! Especially (this may get me in trouble...) ...as a GIRL in the Midwest Christian bubble. Boys correct me if I'm wrong, but for me, I felt the pressure of wanting something and also the strange roadblock of feeling like it was still largely up to the guys to do something. Anyway, the point is, you are awesome and I love you and I wish I saw your pretty face more.
Lauren--seriously! Isn't it strange? Instead of ever thinking my friends were way too "ahead" it was ALWAYS my instinctive response to feel "behind"...but yeah, even friends on the coasts are experiencing a similar pressure (albeit not as strong from what they say) so at least there is comfort in us all feeling crazy? haha. Maybe we should all do mandatory time in Europe or something...:)
Terri--thanks friend! Sorry for the delay. It's been a nutty week. (who says nutty?! MY MOTHER THAT'S WHO! Oh boy....) :)