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30 and Single

29 Jul

Being in the 21st Century, you might think that marriage is no longer something that should hang over a woman’s head. There are too many other things that you should worry about other than finding a man who would marry you and have a family to raise with. But being in whatever century won’t matter if you are a Filipina, catholic, single, and in your 30s. It’s a taboo and you’re suddenly thrust back into the 90s, where this is suddenly such a big deal.

My mother would say, “How could you find a man who will marry you if you don’t come home early at night?”

My relatives would say, “You have to find a man who will marry you or else who would take care of you when you get old?”

I think to myself, “What if I really don’t want to marry anybody?

What if I’m so fed up with men and the way they make you settle for less than what I deserve, just so that I can fit into what other people think I should be doing with my life?

What if I just want to travel the world and meet a lot of people and be happy without having to depend on anybody, much less a man, to make me feel complete?”

Is this how it really is? Are we all destined to be married and have kids? Is this what really equates to happiness and success? Can’t a woman define what she really wants in life, without having to live someone else’s definition of her supposed future. Every day is a battle of telling people that I’m single because I’m tired of having to deal with men who are too immature to know what they want in life. And I get rebuts that maybe I just haven’t met the right one yet. Well, what if I never meet the right one? What if the right one got into an accident a long time ago and died? Am I to dedicate my whole life to finding that right one even if he’s already long gone? Can’t I just live my life and find my own path without having to go through the pressures of fitting my life into the timeline that everyone around me has set?

People make fun of women like me, and tell me, “You’re getting too old. You should get pregnant already and build a family at this age.” Or “What? You’re single? Time is ticking. You should focus on finding the right man.” I’m not going to lie and say that I live a lifestyle that could be deemed as “housewife material”. I don’t think I am. And I’m not sure if I can pretend to be one just so that the heavens will take pity on me and make me the wife of the first, decent man that comes my way. I am not a lost cause. I don’t’ get why not being married and not having a family at my age is a sign that I’m being punished by a higher being. Can’t it just be because this is how it’s supposed to be? If I reach my 40s and I’m still single, does that mean that I’ve been condemned to loneliness forever? Can’t it just be because being single is also a choice and I’d rather be that than settle for a men’s inability to stay loyal and treat me like the way I’m supposed to be treated? Will my value be lost just because I don’t tolerate mediocrity and lies? I really don’t get the convictions of my society. We pretend to be part of the modern age, but our beliefs about marriage and family is too backward that it condones settling for pain and averageness just to be normal.

We talk about success and happiness like it has an expiration date, it doesn’t really. We decide when and we decide how we define it. Being single can be fabulous. It has its down sides, but so does marriage. We all have our battles to face. I just want to be given the choice which one I want to deal with without having to explain myself to self-righteous people all the time.


The Wedding Drama

7 Jul

[From an unpublished draft that was written on the summer of 2015.]

Mr Purple,

The thing about weddings is that they make you fall in love, no matter the current state of your heart. It reignites your belief in happy endings. You find yourself hoping once again that yours might happen tonight. I think it was that for me. I thought again about the forgotten longing of finding the non-existent prince charming that would whisk me up off my feet and give me a grand fairy tale, just like what I witnessed earlier. You caught my eye with your friendly attempts of striking up a conversation, either about my jilted old love story, or an innocent offer of getting me a glass of drink because my aunties were too strict to allow us to get them ourselves. I enjoyed the attention. I liked you. Not that you made it hard for me though. You were good-looking and charming. And single. Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was the magical influence of the wedding, but I responded to your charm. Smiling my way through the night and laughing at all your jokes, riding in your car until the wee hours of the morning, and just talking. It was refreshing to hear you talk about your life. I always liked talking. You reminded me of that.

You knew I had someone in my life. Probably, you really didn’t see me that way, for you to be guilty about it. But I knew at the back of my head that I should have done otherwise. It wasn’t normal for me to respond to this kind of friendliness. As I said, weddings make you do that. And maybe the alcohol played a part too. I didn’t know too much of you but I understood attraction. And that was how I felt for you.

But at some point, in the middle of our long conversation, you made me realize just how much I loved my boyfriend. It wasn’t anything particular that you did. You just sat there talking and you suddenly made me miss him. You were charming and sweet and attentive, but I still found myself remembering my man back home. Having him in my life for quite some time now, has made me grow comfortable, and my heart has gotten used to this familiarity that has made me forget just how much I love him. You unknowingly gave me a gift. You made my heart remember, more than I could ever do by myself.

Looking back, the wedding was beautiful and it was everything I hoped for. Meeting you was a bonus and an amazing learning experience. That night, in my heart, I was given the option to choose between love and attraction, and I chose love. I chose my man because love would always outweigh everything in my life. You made me learn something about myself.  And that’s not something every guy I meet for less than 24 hours could do.

I hope that one day, you too, would find that one girl, who would make you understand love, just the way you did for me. 🙂

Love, Black

My Little Beating Muscle

20 Jun

I take a sip of my black coffee and stared at the people walking past by my favorite cafe. I’m trying to collect the thoughts that have been building up inside me these past few months. The last time I wrote down a piece, my heart was in turmoil and I was all over the place. Not that I’m all better and collected now, but I’ve been magically hanging on by a thread since then. Getting broken made it easier to write, recovering isn’t as inspiring. But writing down my feelings have always been my way of comforting myself. Reading my emotions always made everything solid and real. It keeps me sane, knowing that by chance, maybe some people feel the same way I do. And I would feel normal.

What amazed me these past few months is my heart’s resilience to embrace loss. Like an elastic band that can be stretched and stretched by circumstances, it somehow snaps back to its original form after some time. No matter how brutal, no matter how impossible it felt like, it somehow found ways to survive.

The past was the first to toy with me. Romping up and down, parading what I lost. Pressing on the bruises that felt like they were never going to heal. And like every other human being, my initial reaction was to back down, hide, and let myself wallow in self-pity. But slowly, I was able to convince myself that the past wasn’t going anywhere — until I let it.
And so I did.
I couldnt make people disappear, so I taught myself to get used to the pain, until it becomes numb and it can finally move past what used to be very defining.
My heart adapted.
And it decided to stay whole.

Then the present decided to take its shot by challenging me with the crippling fear of seeing someone I love go through pain I was helpless to control. I mentally held my breath as I willed myself to depend on other people’s ability to do what I cannot. I’ve never felt as powerless as I did that day. That was the first time in my life that the only comfort I could find was when I was on my knees, praying the hardest I’ve prayed in a long, long time. But then I looked around me, and I realized my heart was being selfish. I was too focused on what I felt, I almost forgot that I was not the only one who was suffering. The fear I had was not mine alone, everyone else around me felt the same way.
So, I decided to share a bit of the pain to ease theirs — and mine.
My heart expanded.
And it decided to stay whole.

The future wasn’t going to let this pass. With the picture of what I wanted started materializing, the uncertainty started haunting me. The realization of the enormity of the change I was about to subject myself into started weighing me down. And like anyone, I felt my heart getting convinced to give up on a dream I haven’t even started yet. I fooled myself into believing that a life lived within my comfort zone was better than a life lived in question. But day by day, I realized that I was actually screaming for change. Seeing the same people in the same places was becoming too much of a routine, my heart was scared but everything else was ready.
So, I’ve decided to just take the leap.
My heart fought to breathe.
But it stayed whole.

Three defining circumstances that shaped me in a span of months. It subjected my unwilling heart to a rollercoaster ride, scarier than anything it has ever been in before. But as I said, resilience. It fought to adapt, expand and breathe all along. Somehow, this little beating muscle stayed strong. 

I packed my things and started to get up from the cafe stool. I smiled to myself and thought about what I lost and gained. Not everything is in place yet, but for the first time in months, I can see myself moving forward, peeking backward, but always moving forward.