ar11937940270885

picket fences

when i was a little girl, my friends and i used to play “house” (not nate dog’s version. RIP), “wedding” (in which some little boy would begrudgingly walk down the sidewalk aisle and have his friends laugh at him only because he liked you — not much changes with that when they reach adulthood, eh? lol), “kitchen” and all those other games that socialize little girls to want to grow up, get married and be a good stepford wife.

only thing is, i never saw myself married, even as a young girl. it was just fun to see if i could really get a grubby little boy who clearly wanted to be anywhereelsebutthere, to stay still long enough to mimic the tired-from-work husband who came home to a dinner of mud pies, rock potatoes, plastic chicken, and grass salad, ready to eat.

as i got older, this really didn’t change. even when i started having crushes and daydreaming about some “knuckle-headed little n*gga” as my dad so nicely referred to them, i still didn’t see being married as something that i’d ever be okay with. they say every little girl/teenaged girl/woman dreams about her wedding, and this might be true, because i could definitely see some fabulous beach wedding with lightweight white fabric blowing in the wind as i walked towards some faceless man, but the actual marriage? i would nearly break out in hives at the thought of being someone’s wife.

i always dreamed of traveling the world with some handsome man that would also be my bestfriend. i dreamed of adopting two (twin) little boys. things one would associate with marriage, but never actually being married. lol

“forever never seems that long until you’re grown…” sorry andre, but i realized that at age 14. forever is a very long time.

funny thing is, i’ve spent most of my dating years in (long) serious relationships, and i actually think i’d be a pretty awesome wife. still, each time a boyfriend would start talking about baby bumps, forever, and what city we should live in to raise our kids in a serious manner, i’d panic. heart and thoughts would race, and before i knew it i was subtly and subconsciously self-sabotaging (that alliteration was not on purpose. lol). eventually, we’d break up. and while there are myriad reasons why the relationships didn’t work out, i can’t discard the probability that my “freak out” had a small (or big, depending) part in each one, eventually. i’ve heard it all: i’m not open enough to truly Love someone, i can’t accept a good thing (let me just say that the whole “good” part is VERY debatable though), i’m scared to lose, scared to fail … etc.

which brings me to present day. a couple months ago, i was watching some reality show about this married couple and i found myself smiling and admiring how happy they were. even when they argued, i appreciated the way in which they did so, the way in which he genuinely wanted to work out whatever was wrong. it was sweet.

in that moment i dared to look to the future and picture myself married. i did, and i didn’t panic. there was absolutely no fear. i must say, i was proud of myself. lol.

one of my favorite books ever is Raising Fences: A Black Man’s Love Story, by Michael Datcher. a memoir written like fiction, it bounces back and forth from his childhood to adulthood, slowly (and poetically) piecing together the journey he took in overcoming his psychological barriers to reach the point of being able to accept that he could indeed have the white picket fence and beautiful wife he’d always dreamed of, but never thought possible. (great book. read it, love it, and then tell me what you thought of it if you do.)

i’ve been a little of the opposite. i’ve always thought it possible, and maybe even unavoidable, but never had rosy dreams of cooking, cleaning and saying “hello dear” everyday for the rest of my life.

so while i know that any man whom is actually brave enough to marry me will be in for a adventure of a lifetime challenge (a [mostly] pleasant and exciting challenge, but a challenge nonetheless), i can now say i can look and see a picket fence in my future, and not break out in hives. and that, ladies and gentlemen, is progress.

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19 comments

  1. Girl you are telling my story and singing my song in this post.

    The thought of a wedding followed by blissful, though sometimes rocky, cohabitation are almost enough to make me want to get married. Then I think about that “forever” part and I stop dead in my tracks. Like forever? You mean after you’ve started to get on my last damn nerve? Or I stop wanting to have sex with you? Or I just wake up one day and realize I’m not who I was yesterday and now want a completely different life that doesn’t have to include you?

    So yeah. I need a picket fence with an “it’s okay if this doesn’t work” clause. lol.

    Beautiful post, Muze.

    1. Lol @ it’s okay if it doesn’t work.

      all those concerns, i’ve had them too. whew. forever? forever ever? lol. but i plan on marrying once. so whomever is just stuck with me. and better be happy about it. hahaha.

  2. Great post. Honest. Thanks also for the book recommendation, I will check it out. In closing I think it is amazing how we can see portions of ourselves in certain situations and truly desire that but other portions of ourselves cringe. Great post concerning human nature.

  3. I’m there already. The greatest thing ever. The hardest thing ever. No matter what, I would do it all again, but only with this one, never another. I learn to slow.

  4. Great, honest post Muze. As a guy I never get nervous about being with one person forever (I’ve been in love with the same woman for close to 10 years.) but I am afraid of the little intricacies of having papers on someone that scare me. It’s the little things (yes this is an overused term) that I don’t do well with because I’m very aloof sometimes. Not mundane things like taking out the garbage but it’s the things like always telling her how I feel about her. I’ve heard many people say this goes away after time and it hurts but I want to excell at it well past our wedding date. My failure to not do things like this is the only thing that scares me.

  5. I dig where you are coming from Shanae. I have spent most of dating years as a commitment-phobe with a sprinkling or random and serious relationships here and there. I have no problem being there and loving in the moment, but I do have issues with the long haul. I think any woman worth her salt wants to believe that she would be loyal, faithful, dedicated and strong enough to endure in a relationship, but my reality has been leave, before you fall in or stay until it all falls apart. Two very extreme opposites. I find that opposition does not necessarily always deepen love, sometimes it just makes me wish the inconvenience of a troubled man out my life. Selfish, but true. The men I have been willing to break apart for, and shove past my inherent commitment-phobia for did not appreciate those acts of selflessness. It was a wasted sacrifice.

    So where to from here?

    Mostly I have told myself I don’t want to be married, and that I only want a lifelong or long term companion, to travel, to be an uninhibited artist, lover and citizen of the world. Lately, I have been thinking maybe I might just want to be a wife, and the expectation of that happening one day is growing. I won’t say I am completely comfortable with the idea, but I think I definitely want a husband. The kid thing is up in the air.

    I know I won’t be any man’s traditional bride, but God Bless the man that can hold me as his own.

    1. i love this entire comment. you are so telling my life’s story within it.

      that last sentence just about sums it up.

      i think growth comes in cycles, and maybe we’re experiencing one. i’m completely okay with that. lol

  6. Hives. Yes. This is me all day about marriage now. lol

    Like you, I was never huge on marriage. I was able to see myself married while in one relationship I have had, but overwhelmingly when the talk turned to the future in the others, I just knew it wasn’t going to go that way. Call it fear or instinct or whatever, but maybe for you, you just know deep down that this isn’t the way these relationships are supposed to go, no matter how “good” they all seem to those who know you.

    The strength is in realizing that you can explore whatever it is, issue or not, at your leisure, and that you are objective and open enough to consider the possibilites. But really, your marriage (or not) can be whatever you want it to look like.

Say it loud, say it proud... just not in all caps.

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