A lot of us have been the victim of the once-over. Recently, that happened to me, with my friends and it wasn’t just one aunty but a bunch of aunties. Aunties who were looking for wedding rings. Not all of my friends wear wedding rings myself included.
I’m at the stage in my life stage where a lot of my friends and classmates are getting married or having children, which is exciting. At the same time, that’s terrifying, because now you’re entirely responsible for a person. I know I’m not ready for that responsibility at all – but I don’t think that’s a problem.
As the married group gets bigger, the single AF numbers are dwindling.
The question, “So, are you married yet?” is always the top question for an aunty to ask either when you first meet or they’ve seen you after a long time. It’s practically a given in certain cultural and religious communities. Why? Because women are supposed to be married.
[bctt tweet=” A lot of us have been the victim of the once-over. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
When I’m asked this question, I usually respond with a courteous smile and a “no, I’m not,” to which there is a tight lipped “oh,” or unnecessary advice around how the time was past due for me to get married or suggestions for who I should marry. My favorite aunty response: “Your biological clock is ticking.”
I don’t need the reminder. It’s my own clock, of course I can hear it ticking.
[bctt tweet=”I can hear my own biological clock ticking aunty, I know I’m getting older.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I can’t stop aunties from asking me the marriage questions, but what I can do is respond differently. I’ve noticed that when I respond with a no to the marriage question, there’s an apologetic tinge to my voice, as well as mixed feelings of shame and regret that I’m not living up to what many people my age are doing. That what I am now – single – is antithetical to what people perceive as normal in this stage of life. It’s as though I’m stuck, when everyone else is moving on to the next stage of life.
[bctt tweet=”I feel like I’m stuck when everyone else is moving on in life.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Sometimes, I shrug off the conversation, but there are many more times where I’m deeply affected by it. It’s a realization too close to me knowing how old I’m getting, and I am abundantly aware that so many people are getting married while I’m still single. Yet the reality is that an aunty hovering doesn’t help the situation at all. There are other questions that can be asked to show concern about me. My life doesn’t revolve around a man.
My existence isn’t solely to be someone’s wife. I have other things to do in this world.
I’ve heard that marriage can be a selfless act: putting your spouse’s happiness before your own. It’s not something I entirely agree with, but seeing people you love happy makes you happy. With that in mind, though, shouldn’t it be your prerogative to be happy and content before you get married, so your spouse will know just what makes you happy? That sort of self-realization takes time – and questioning.
[bctt tweet=”Put your hands up if you’re single AF.” username=”wearethetempest”]
What issues really matter to me? What am I passionate about? How do I learn, grow and challenge myself to be better? What impact do I want to have on the world, can I? Those questions rarely get asked but they should. Those are bigger burdens than finding a husband.
There’s a ridiculous pressure on women to find a husband by a certain age, an incredibly unfair pressure given that it is missing when it comes to men. We’re socialized instead to forgive men, to allow them the excuse of how “he’s not ready yet.”
Guess what: women take time to get ready, too. Marriage is a big commitment, and pushing people into it will work against them, especially if they end up bitter and unfulfilled, their self-actualization put on hold. Being forced into something that society tells us it’s time never ends up positively.
[bctt tweet=”The world revolves around you girl, not a man, YOU.” username=”wearethetempest”]
We need to stop inculcating in our girls that the order of life is not school, work, marriage, children. Life is so much bigger than that. From too tender an age we drill into our girls that their life will be revolving around a man.
The pressure to be married gets to us and can be overwhelming, I know. Trust me, I know. But there is nothing wrong with being unmarried. It is fine to be an unmarried woman.
Granted, my opinion when it comes to this matter is a work in progress, because it’s really difficult not to be affected by what people tell you, no matter how strong you are. What has helped me are articles like this and this, written by women who are unapologetic for the decisions they make about their life.
Hearing from other unapologetically single women has helped me to not give a damn about what anyone else thinks about my life. I’m not going to be made to feel like anything is wrong with that when it’s not. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this stage, but I’m not going to be forced to fit into society’s expectation of what ‘good single women do’. Nah.
I strongly believe that it’ll happen when it’s supposed to.
I won’t feel sorry for myself because I don’t have a man. Pfft.
My existence is not hinged on having a man. Not now. Not ever.
So if you’re here to give me a once-over, looking for a wedding ring, know this: I’m committed to me.