(and rant city is a-comin' in) Nightmare central.
Let me list the nightmarish aspects on it:
1. Living in a place that she doesn't think much of, with the ever-repeating, "Gee, I always thought I'd do ______" mantra in her brain.
2. Constrained by a husband's career choices.
3. Constrained by presence of children.
4. Trading dreams for love.
I'm absolutely not saying that she should be unhappy -- I'm saying that this is exactly what I am afraid of happening to me. Unintentionally ending up far away from where I want to go, with no possible ethical way of escaping. (Sure, one could take the Elizabeth Gilbert way out of things, but that is a bloody exit for everyone, and probably a million times more so when kids are involved.)
Also, I'm frankly disturbed by the fact that her husband's desire not to travel was automatically given precedence over her desire to travel. (And yes, from reading other entries in her blog, I realize her husband has medical problems that probably preclude travel at this point. But she is talking about a period before they knew such problems would arise.)
I don't even want to qualify this. Of course one has to change. Of course one has to compromise. Of course one has to be flexible.
But why oh why does it always fall to the woman to crush down dreams into a little place where no one has to see that she always wanted something different?
This is, I suppose, the modern age. We don't necessarily need to farm our souls out to strangers to survive. Hell, there's no reason that a woman and her husband have to even live in the same house -- I've read about still-in-love couples who choose to live apart because they don't want to stifle each other's lives. I like the daily contact, but I don't exactly want to threaten my livelihood in order to get it. Getting in a relationship, from the statistics I have looked at, is probably one of the most dangerous things one can do -- not only emotionally but also physically.
It's tempting to say, "File this one away under 'another reason I'll never be married,'" but that isn't even enough. The reason I will never be married is because I embrace being alone. Because I am an alone-person. Of course I need my friends and my family. I rejoice in them. I would like more of them.
But I sure as fuck don't need someone to complete me at any given moment of the day. Being alone is not this great big boogie-monster in the closet. It is not like cancer. It is not this poisonous condition to be avoided at all costs -- nor is it a difficulty to be embraced! Being alone is like eating cheese. Or having blue eyes. Why? BECAUSE THERE'S NOTHING SIGNIFICANT ABOUT IT. The majority of the world's population is lactose intolerant; a significant portion is lactose tolerant. The majority of the world's population has dark eyes; a significant portion have blue. It's not just that none of those options are bad; they are not even deserving of comment, they are so unremarkable.
I don't really give a shit about the sociology and psychology behind this stuff, or what thousand legitimate reasons we have to fear being alone. What I care about is preserving my sanity and my person.
Being alone is a choice and not-a-choice. Like having blue eyes (I could wear dark contacts) and eating cheese (one can get around either condition, generally.) I choose not to go out on weeknights, because I am tired. But we do not choose our fears so much as they are grafted onto us: And I don't believe it is my choice that the idea of waiting for someone, waiting for anyone, so that I may do the things I desperately dream of, is sickening. (Any more than a certain friend chose to fear snakes, or another chose to fear heights.) One might make a case for facing one's fears, of course -- but I suspect this will come down to someone else trying to convince me that their personal fear of dying alone is more legitimate than my personal fear of being subsumed into another human being (or several human beings) -- and that I ought to fear it as much as said someone, and change my own internal wiring accordingly. We would both lose such an argument, because such an argument would be utter bullshit.
I am a little sad that I don't make friends more easily, but I feel confident that this is partially because I don't need to make friends compulsively to survive. And frankly? I am twenty-two. I will learn to make friends more easily as time goes on, as I gradually become less self-conscious. The path to self-widening is a long one. (And, as I have learned from Eat Pray Love and various college experiences, making friends easily does not preclude one from being totally self-centered.)
Sometimes I think wistfully about being in a relationship, the in-love kind. And just as often I think, God, preserve me from being in love. Let me not disappear into a caricature of myself as I think another person would like to see me. Let me delve into friendships, because that is a kind of loving-but-not-in-love that I can sustain, and which will sustain me instead of warping me.
The case for Sharon remaining Sharon, closed.