"Every little girl dreams of her wedding day!"
I hear this phrase -- or some variation of it -- all the time. I grew up hearing it. And I gotta tell ya, it's a bit unsettling to hear that phrase ad nauseam for your entire life when you're in fact a girl who did not dream of this. And still doesn't.
I wasn't the little girl who played dress-up or had an adorable fake wedding with her dad or the little boy from down the street. I think I used to joke about marrying Billy Joel as a kid, but that was strictly out of respect for his immense musical talents. When I played Barbies, none of those chicks were ever getting married. Instead, I had real-life scenarios up in the Dreamhouse: Ken was caught cheating, my brother's GI Joe doll played the role of a sexual predator who recently moved into town, Barbie's bestie almost had a drug overdose, YOU KNOW, ALL NORMAL KID STUFF. No cutesy weddings over here.
All joking aside (I wasn't joking), I just was never that girl. Not as a child, not as a teenager, and yeah -- you guessed it -- certainly not now.
We all know what everyone's version of the "American Dream" is: the wife/husband, the 2.5 kids, the golden retriever running behind the white picket fence that's surrounding a big gorgeous home. Well, shit. What if that's not your dream? What if you literally cannot picture those things for yourself, no matter how hard you try? What if there's a voice lingering in the back of your mind telling you that's just never going to be your life?
It's enough to make you often feel like a huge outcast; like you're faulty. As if whoever put you together left a few key "girl" things out and majorly screwed up.
Why don't I want what everyone else wants?
Two winters ago, I took the train home with a friend and we started discussing my newly single status. He knew about my past dating experiences; how I'd been in several long-term and back-to-back relationships. How I was seemingly never satisfied.
"Don't be offended by this, but honestly? I don't think you're the marrying kind," he told me as we stood in the parking garage in the biting cold, dusty snow beneath our feet.
I don't remember my reaction. My guess is that it was something like, "Ouch." Or, "Screw you."
He then explained that it wasn't meant as an insult and also not how he believed men perceived ME but rather the other way around; how I perceived the act of settling down with someone. I saw that same friend this past weekend, and he brought it up again when I told him about my current relationship status, or lack thereof.
"I said this to you two years ago; you're not the marrying kind."
I told him that I never forgot that comment, and it was actually written in my iPhone notepad since the day he told me. I put it in there for a reason that should be very obvious now: because it was something I wanted to incorporate in my writing. Because I often do think about that statement and wonder if it's true.
As we talked about it again Friday night, he added some new insight to the conversation. "You're too unique," he told me, "And every guy you meet is going to eventually bore you."
The truth is, I really don't know what's in the cards for me. I know that most days I'm happier being single and truthfully, in a lot of ways this is the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. Some of the unhappiest moments in my almost-34-years on Earth have been spent in unhealthy and/or failing relationships, and I know I don't ever want to feel that way again.
And while, yes, all of this is coming from a girl who's been a serial dater the past decade, no relationship -- big or small -- has ever felt 100 percent right to me. People love to say, "When you know, you know." Well, the only thing I know... is that I've never known.
And I may never.
The thing is, I do date. I haven't thrown in the towel and given up on the idea of being with someone again, but something's different now. I'm different. Dating is different. It's insanely frustrating and filled with setbacks and disappointments. I often wonder lately if the universe is trying to tell me this stuff just isn't for me. And who am I doing this for, anyway? For me... or because I feel like I have to? Sometimes I'm not sure.
I won't lie, there are times when I wish I could just be like everyone else and join the likes of my friends who are living that "American Dream." My God, life would be so much easier. And while I'm generally open-minded about dating and meeting people, I just don't know if it's gonna happen for me. And that's OK; I may not be the marrying kind.
This isn't the easiest post to write. It's not always easy being different, and the older I get the more and more separated and segregated I get from a lot of my friends, which sucks. But what matters to me (and has ALWAYS mattered) is my happiness. And if I'm happy, then I gotta be doing something right.