Among the greatest surprises of my adult life is that I would take my daughter’s breakups as hard (maybe harder) than they do. I could not be more surprised by this as I’m a person who, as a rule, does not get attached. There are few people in my life I can’t/haven’t/wouldn’t walk away from and be just fine.
I have always considered that a point of pride (I’m an independent woman…yeah, b****), but I’m learning now that it’s actually an attachment disorder. Um…I guess. Probably?
I don’t recall ever being all that upset about any of my own breakups over the years, with the exception of the first “real” boyfriend. That one hurt for years. But, I’m sitting here trying to even remember his last name right now. So….I mean…there you go. Proof that time heals all wounds. And, apparently, it steals your memory too, so it all kinda works out in the end.
But…yeah, it takes time.
In talking with a running girlfriend about it the other day, I said: “You know, all it’s going to take for her to forget he exists is another person to show interest.”
“See, but, that makes me so sad,” she said. “Why does she need anyone to like her, you know? She’s amazing and funny and smart and so cute. Why does she need a boyfriend?”
“Right? And, frankly, I can think of a hundred things more worthy of that time and energy for her.”
But my running girlfriend and I are old enough to know that now. To know that the great American Dream we are sold (big house, nice car, in-ground pool), the fulfillment to be found in a soulmate, and the absolute joy and sense of purpose to be found in parenting is mostly another fantastical fabrication of our culture. Say it enough and people start to think it’s true, even if it’s absurd and makes no sense and everyone knows it’s false (Trump 101).
There may be people who find all that in a spouse and kids and a McMansion in the ‘burbs, but it’s my experience that most middle age women are in some form of hell of their own making. Because it’s what is expected of us.
College degree. Car. Spouse. House. Career. Kids.
It’s a constant treadmill of accomplishments and acquisitions. Check. Next step. Check. Next step. Check. We’re so busy (busy, busy, busy) moving forward that we never stop (who has time?!) to think about where we are going or why or if it’s anything we actually even want. We just know that’s what we should want/do/be.
I love my husband, my kids, my home, my job…and yet, I can acknowledge that all of these things also drain the life out of me. They are a ton of work.
I tell my girls a lot: Think carefully about marriage and kids and if that’s something you really want because what it comes with is an entire lifetime of work. You will be taking care of others until the day you die. It never ends.
When you think about it, marriage is not a great deal for women who, today, can mostly provide for themselves. The husband gets someone to take care of them, bear and raise the children, bring in half the household income, keep track of everything, do the shopping, clean the house, have sex with, and cook them food. The wife gets um, let’s see….*checks notes*….financial security and his love. Maybe. As long as she doesn’t get fat. Or old. Or turn bitter and angry. Or let herself go.
I mean….have we really thought this through, ladies?
I suppose it’s just that kind of thinking that is scaring the ever-loving shit out of the far right/conservatives who are working every day—every damn day—to control women and silence anyone and anything that threatens the status quo. They have a lot to lose if we stop living for the attention and approval of men.
About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.