Not that normal

The holidays were always a stressor. With every reunion came the inevitable question of marriage and, when I got married, of children. Relatives often reminded me that most people my age now have a marriage certificate and at least two kids. Could this antipathy for convention qualify me as a deviant?

Melanie T. Lim speaks of being one who believes in love but one who doesn’t “need a significant other to find significance in life.” And I can’t help but agree with her.

In the feature, she talks about the cycle of their house help: they come to work in their late teens and roughly two years later, leave to get married – either forced into it because there’s a child on the way or otherwise.

It’s madness how marriage is mistaken as the magic pill that will cure loneliness and provide meaning to a woman’s existence. Melanie captures this brilliantly.

“I cannot help but wish these girls had better dreams for themselves in the first place. It seems to me that every girl from the province who comes to the city has only one goal in mind: to find a husband. I just don’t get it. What kind of dream is that? It is just so disappointing. It is at this point in my ranting and raving when my sister interjects to tell me that I’m a deviant.”

I, too, believe in love. I was in a committed relationship for close to a decade before marriage and it was a couple of years after that when we decided to have a child. Within that time, it was not my dream to find a prince who will rescue me and carry me into the sunset. Thanks – but I don’t need to be saved or carried. Marriage should not be the penultimate dream in one’s life. It can be a desire, a nice-to-have. It has, after all, made me a better version of myself. Love and invariably marriage, which by no means is easy, will reveal itself when one is ready.

Being comfortable in my skin, being my person, being independent, and being self-reliant was key to my being relaxed and open to a relationship’s intimacy. Love shouldn’t be a dream but a choice.

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