Blessed..From the womb to womanhood, somehow I have managed to land right side up with an independent streak a mile wide.
It may have started with an mother who did things HER way –
including upping stakes from middle-class suburban Melbourne to go live in the serious sticks: 3 children under 12, no electricity, no running water, no flushing toilet, no fucking HOUSE…
Or it may have been starting my education in a school that celebrated, instead of squashed, independence.And I mean it didn’t just pay lip service to it – it was balls to the wall LIVING it – following the philosophy of A. S. NEAL where there was no pressure to conform and freedom, above all else, was celebrated.
The rambling school grounds were dotted with 100% kid-built cubby houses… up in trees, underground – you name it (this was the free-rolling seventies, before the occupational health and safety brigade killed off that particular branch of self-expression).
I’m sure there were a few splinters and bruised knees…
But no one ever got seriously hurt or harmed…
But the real precious thing that never got maimed, mutilated, or murdered? Was our newly-burgeoning creativity.
So all this came together to build my strong sense of: “Fuck it – I’ll do it MY way…”
Even if my way is weird and wonky or whatever…
BECAUSE my way is weird and wonky and whatever…
And here is another one…
I never married.
That doesn’t SOUND controversial in this day and age… but let me tell you – being a never married woman in our culture is a test of your resolve…
You get grilled condescendingly and continually: “But why? You’re attractive enough!” (as though looks, or the lack of them, were a woman’s only possible barrier to marriage).
You get side-eyed by other (married) women who think you must be desperate to get your hands on their boring as fuck spouses… (or their brilliant as fuck – either way why would I bother?)
You have the status of ‘unclassifiable’.
(No, I am NOT divorced, I evaded the convention altogether – is there a box to tick for that?)
And maybe I’m not single either…
Maybe I just AM.
The truth is, I love being unmarried… and all the freedoms that it brings…
Of course, I allow a boyfriend in from time to time.
I love the passion of a man who doesn’t own me. The clothes-ripping urgency of our meetings, with no talk of dishes, drainpipes or diapers.
He comes to me as my friend, my equal, my paramour.
Not my protector, provider or patriarch.
I’m also a little more than a little relieved when he leaves.
I get to stretch out diagonally in bed and sleep like an unmoving stone…
I don’t judge those who choose marriage.
But it surprises me how much I am judged…
It makes me think that some only married because society conditions, and expects, and pressures it… rather than because they really wanted it.
The gilt has long worn off to reveal a rusty imitation of the Disney promise they bought into.
They look at me with a wistful eyes, which they then roll dramatically at their husband’s annoying antics.
Antics they are destined to deal with FOR ETERNITY.
Either that or they must enter into a legal battle of epic and epicurean proportions.
Divorce being the cornerstone of the legal system and the natural result of societal pressure to wed.
A lawyers wet dream…
When did that become a ‘thing’?
What I have found is after time, I am different than I used to be. With the continual renewing, rebirthing, rebuilding, of every cell in my body, I change.
And maybe he doesn’t.
Or he DOES, but in a different way to me.
And that’s ok.
We try each other on.
Then we take each other off.
Maybe I’ve been unlucky.
Maybe I’ve been lucky.
One thing is for sure, I have been me.