So as per usual I find myself inspired to write when I watch a sitcom and then find myself relating it back to my own life. I also find the typing of keys to be theraputic *for the record, I hate the sound of keys typing on an iphone. I’m talking about the sound of a keyboard or a typewriter.* Anyway nonetheless here I am.
I was watching Being Mary Jane on Netflix. For those that are unfamiliar with the show it is basically about a strong independent black woman trying to have it all: love, marriage, kids and a career. Though this sounds like the struggle of most women, what makes her struggle stand out is the fact that she is black. Is she too strong minded for her own good? Is she so stubborn that she is getting in the way of herself achieving all she dreams for? Well to be honest I too struggle with these very questions. But that is a topic for another post. This post is focused on what one man said to Mary Jane asking her, “Why is settling down such an accomplishment?”.
Recently I have found myself playing around with a similar question. I recently asked my boyfriend this question: “Do you want to get married and have kids because you want to or because that’s what you are expected to do?”. *Note to self and to all the readers out there: don’t ask questions unless you’re prepared to hear the answer you don’t want to hear. Often we ask a question preparing ourselves for what we want to hear or what we think the person will say rather than coming in blankly and appreciating there answer for what it is in the moment. It’s a difficult mindset to change especially in a world where we liked to be prepared for anything from carrying a battery pack for when your phone dies to preparing for the world to end with a fully stocked underground bunker* Anyway his answer?: “I don’t know”. So I got to thinking about it because I should be able to answer a self-reflective question like that if I expect others to do the same.
My answer?: At first was the same as my boyfriend’s, but then I thought deeper about it. It’s a milestone and seen as a rite of passage. You walk, you talk, go to school, graduation, builld a career, meanwhile date and get hitched and then reproduce to guide your offspring to do the same thing that you have just done. And not just you, but generations before you. So my answer?: It’s a little bit of both. I want to make my parents happy grandparents, but the other reason is completely selfish and I am totally aware of it. Truly it is because I want to be a mother, a really good mother. I want the privilege and the feeling of carrying a human being and bringing it into the world. *For the record I would like to state that I wouldn’t bring a child into the world, if I couldn’t care of it. I am not that selfish.* But this sense of accomplishment is really because it has become a part of the life cycle and an expectation. Though one may think this derives from capitalism and societies expectations it really goes back farther than that, to Biblical times. Adam and Eve were tasked with creating God’s children as seen in the book of Genesis, from them originates the tribes of Israel.
Settling down has since been commercialized and glorified. It’s an accomplishment that many don’t believe can be achieved later on in life. There is such a fear that it won’t happen that pressure is applied to relationships, which sucks out all the fun and romanticism of it all. Because let’s face it settling down later on in life is like waiting for your favorite store to restock your favorite item; it’s hard! It’s even harder to watch everyone around you do it while you have to wait for your person. It gets exhausting having to hold up your own crown all of the time. In reality even if those who settled down earlier on in life break up, for those that waited their thoughts continue to be, “Well at least they had it once”.
So accomplishment? I’m not sure I would use that word, but it’s a box that is constantly there haunting those who have yet to tick it off. But let us remember, for those who have ticked it off they don’t all end in happily ever after, some have to go back erase it and redo it just like the bubble answers on the SATs while others rushed into it too soon.