by: Heather Fawn
An independent soul deliberates the standard long term solution….
At some point, it’s just out of control.
When biology is screaming in my ear, and I just have to act natural. It kills me, and I can’t disentangle myself from it. I guess this started happening awhile. I don’t know the exact time-frame. It was totally unlike me, and I kind of hated myself for it.
Around the age of 25, I spontaneously began fantasizing about marrying people.
I know, I know. What the fuck is my problem? I swear to God that I don’t even know whether or not I want to get married. I’ve never been one of those girls who looked forward to the day like a hooker fairy princess.
That’s my insult—hooker fairy princess. The hooker part is just for fun.
I have not ever been invested in the idea of marriage. I’ve watched empires crumble, so to speak. I don’t want that. And there is so much of that in the world. The idea of signing onto something that can barely stay afloat on a good day is pretty dismal. Why would anyone want that? I’m really, really good at a breaststroke when push comes to shove, but the idea of clutching onto Styrofoam in the middle of the ocean terrifies me.
Nevertheless, since I hit my mid-20’s, being smitten with someone involves some crazy element of fantasy including marriage proposals, or coming home to someone, or even having babies. This pretty much makes my eye twitch, because I definitely do not want to have babies. I am the last person who will sign on for that adventure. And yet as I’m cuddling up to someone after realizing fantasies I can truly get behind, like crazy acrobatic sex, my mind goes somewhere stupid and I have to go chasing after it.
Obviously, if I were totally sane, and had my shit together in a neat little package with potpourri hanging off it to mask the stench, I might understand my basic urge to settle in, settle down, to settle. But I am in no position for a ring on my finger and a bun in the oven. I thought I wanted to own a house, even. But I’m too gun-shy for that. I like liquid assets. Like 2 suitcases and a laptop.
My presumption is that these thoughts have a biological basis, since I have been deliberately opposed to the idea of getting hitched for my entire adult life. I think that biology is telling me that locking arms with a penis-owner is a good long-term strategy. The flashes of baby bellies and romantic honeymoons taunt me. Infuriate me. I don’t want this bullshit infiltrating my brain. I want to be in control of my cognition. I vehemently shove away this Oxycontin-induced husband-shopping syndrome.
Perhaps the best illustration of biology messing with my brain is this: When I was 25, I saw a picture of my then-boyfriend holding his baby brother. The way his hands cradled the tiny body, and the idea of him being so into the experience that he scooped up the infant to snap a pic in the mirror did something really fucking weird to me. I even joked about it in my comment on the photo. I said, “I think I just ovulated.” And I meant it. That one photo made me want him more than I had previously, and in a way that was really confusing. Because that picture obviously said, “Good with children.” But so what? For half my life, I was terrible with children. I was a horrible older sister. I don’t want children of my own. I wasn’t even very good at fostering cats. Why would I give a fuck if he were good with children? I didn’t stop to analyze it at the time. I just went with it. And it was the worst relationship I ever had. Only the underlying natural urge to procreate could have created such a phenomenal error in judgement.
I am so transient and so bad at relationships that the impulse to nest seems absurd. I know that my lack of a loving family experience has destroyed some elemental things for me, but not being in control of the wheel when I am making choices in and about relationships is just terrible managerial practice. It also really fucks with my emotions and makes me question whether or not I can make a good call on a number of qualities when choosing someone to stick around for awhile. It doesn’t matter to my brain, however. Put someone I am into in front of me. Create some atmosphere – maybe we just had amazing sex, and now we’re at a 24-hour diner in the middle of the night. Maybe they just told me an awesome story. Maybe they’re baring their soul to me. And once that atmosphere is at a stellar level, a memorable level, cue the “family dinner” reel –I’m transported to an alternate universe where the word “husband” echoes, reverberates, and I violently smack it away.
As I write this, I am considering whether this unwanted thought pattern is part of a larger issue of mine, which is that I have obsessive unwanted thoughts about all kinds of feral and fucked up things. It’s a mental health issue that doesn’t classify me as unwell, but makes me fear that I may be. I am told that many people have these thoughts. However, I often wonder whether this is another manifestation of that pattern. Maybe my brain slapped some makeup on it and forced it into an ugly white dress.
Matrimonial fantasy is certainly not with me when I scroll through facebook on any given day and feel metaphorical vomit in the back of my throat while my vision is infiltrated by hundreds of hopeful happily-ever-afters. Weddings, babies, houses. A trifecta of a life I am not living, don’t care to live, and cannot imagine playing out in reality. Which is not to say that other people shouldn’t, or that this combination of love and optimism isn’t awesome.
In some ways, admittedly, it is kind of a bummer that I don’t see stability as a part of my existence. And I want that to not be my entire existence, absolutely. If I could find someone to help me hold down this fort, of course it would make sense to feel like this. But I know myself. I know how my life has played out thus far, my relationship choices and my experiences therein. I am not fervently hot for a six-figure father figure. All the cash in the world cannot buy my interest. You could offer me a million gifts, take me to exotic places, and even be a male version of me, but I am not interested in the comfort offered by the material world. I am not even necessarily attracted to someone who shares the exact same lofty ambitions. That would probably work against a potential romantic match.
It has in the past, anyway.
I like dirty and gritty way too much. I prefer messy living spaces. I like someone who is struggling to figure out their way in life. I like someone who sees life as a jungle that they have to chop through—they have an arsenal of survival tactics and amazing tree-climbing skills. I like artistic, dark, and imperfect. I like people who can overcome. People who can be bad, and then be better. I like people who have uncanny self-reflections, who feel things too much and too hard and too fast. I like people with talent and exceptional articulation. I like people who have tried things that did not work out at all, and weren’t permanently flattened by it. I like people who fight stagnation like it’s a disease.
Watch me fall all over myself for someone with killer penmanship, a commitment phobia, and a chronic case of wanderlust. That’s my kind of trifecta. Just the mere mention by someone my age or older that they are unsure about marriage or children gets me going. Nothing like a well-developed pair of scissors to keep those strings at bay.
A few questions remain. On the top of the list is, “Why?” Why would biology torture me with visions I find upsetting? It is a threat to my laid-back personality. It makes me question my path. It makes me say and do things I probably, without the hormonal influence, would not say or do. That is not to say that I regret the relationships I have had in the past, but perhaps I stuck around a little too long because my biological mind-control was set to “high”.
Does a part of me secretly want to dive into something with another human being that involves paperwork and possible name changes? Is that really in me? Is that really ever possible, considering the life I have lived, and will continue to live? I have impulsively lived with a few partners in the past, and the results were pretty insipid. I have since decided that insipid should not be a part of my existence. At least in arenas over which I have a good degree of control.
Lastly, am I just running in the opposite direction because I’m scared? That’s a good question. Anyone who knows me knows how much I like to uproot myself from time to time. I certainly have seen some amazing people whom I love and respect make marriage work while flitting around the globe like moths attracted to points of light, so that makes the idea hold less water if it’s just a matter of liking to be on the move. However, as I get older, I know my chances of finding a wayward vagabond who wants a girl with her bags perpetually half-packed are kind of slim. If I stayed in one spot for long enough, maybe someone like that would actually have a chance to track me down. That would be something to give me pause. But it would probably turn my world upside down.
I don’t feel like these are self-limiting thoughts. I think they are realistic. I’ve made peace with the idea of solitaire. Not because I haven’t found people. I’ve been in back-to-back relationships for so long that it’s second-nature. But these relationships have always contained a great deal of space. Not always to my liking – sometimes I wanted less space. Sometimes I have been engrossed in the process of chasing someone who would prefer to do the chasing. For better or worse, I have been attracted to people who have well-developed push skills in the push-pull relationship combo, and I am pretty sure I am into it.
Maybe it’s not working for me anymore. Maybe it never worked. Maybe all I want is for someone to claim me without even thinking twice about it. But the idea of that makes me feel trapped, and feeling trapped makes me want to punch someone. So I am pretty sure that’s not what I want.
There is definitely a hidden element of humor in my forced fantasy. Aside from the fact that no one I have been with has ever tried to put a ring in a cupcake or some shit, it is kind of funny to imagine what I would do if they did. Maybe I have been so blasé about marriage that no one even considers it as an option with me. In that case, they would have been right to assume that if I saw them going down on one knee in a crowded place I would have hurriedly jerked them upright while simultaneously fighting a full-blown panic attack. I am so used to living in the here and now with significant others that I have not been able to see things any other way.
I tried to write a sentence about how I might be more interested in marriage someday, but it felt false. Someone is going to have to do ultimate cage fighting with me to get a ring on this finger. Live-in lover? Great. If you steadfastly maintain the lover part, I’m in. Same bank account? I’ve done it. I’ve even committed to living on a different continent for someone. I can make grand, outlandish gestures to celebrate my love for someone, no problem. I am selfless in my actions when it comes to love. I can understand how that might come as a surprise, considering the topic at hand. I have, as I said, been part of a duo for the entirety of my adulthood. However, to this day, my only voluntary marriage fantasy is the wedding reception. Because I love parties. But I just had to google it to make sure I was using the proper terminology.
I believe that, in a world where nothing is certain, nothing is forever, my biological urge to become a conjoined twin in holy matrimony is fucked up. When things are going well with someone, I just want to be in the moment and not drop-kicking and nun-chucking white picket fence thoughts away. I am great at bobbing and weaving around what is considered the norm. I’m not about to change that.
I am extremely fortunate that I can differentiate between random images infiltrating my brain, and where my heart really is. My heart is on my sleeve, no question about it. But it isn’t trying to be put in a vice. Love is already hard enough. Biology muddles things. I can’t even commit to an exercise plan. Let’s be realistic here— my own hormones are wrong about me. Knowing this is probably saving me and at least one other person a lot of head-scratching. It appears as though I am destined to change dance partners every now and then, so cue the music.