Thursday, April 03, 2008

I looked really chic in the coffee shop --

-- until I pulled my computer out of a plastic Old Navy bag. My friend once called me a rich hobo, because I carry my really nice computer around in a plastic bag. I swear, I'm going to go buy a proper carrying case tomorrow.

I wanted to post "Swallowed in the Sea" lyrics, but I just posted them in the past few months. So why don't you just go listen to that song for a couple of minutes and then come back?

In feminist film theory class today, we talked a lot about how the "happy ending" for women in films most often comes in the form of a stable heterosexual relationship, even for women who are portrayed as independent and anti-patriarchal. We used the example of Sex and the City, about how the entire show is supposedly about these four women with fabulous girl friendships, fabulous shoes, and fabulous independence from men. But at the end, they all end up in some sort of "satisfying" heterosexual relationship. It started to worry me at first, because, not being in a relationship right now and not having marriage on my list of immediate post-graduation plans like my best friends (I really am *so* excited for their weddings - they're almost too far away), I've had to think about my life plans in a slightly different way than I used to. I want to make sure that what I do after college is something that I'm passionate about, something that I feel is in God's will, something that makes a difference. Just because I'm not in a relationship doesn't mean that I need to feel like I'm missing anything - but I think many girls fall into the trap of thinking about their lives as what they do - until they get married. As if post-graduate life is a happy, eventful, but empty Act II until they finally meet Prince Charming, have their fairy tale wedding, and live in their happy ending.

So we're talking about this in class, and even though we talk quite a lot about how women are defined as "the other" in relation to men and how we're the dependent in this patriarchal society, for some reason today more than other days I was seized by this sudden fear that I would define my life by the waiting for and hopefully marriage to some amazing man (he will be amazing, just in case you were wondering). And my defensiveness kicked in - I don't want my life's happiness or importance or fulfillment to be defined by anyone, not a man especially, even he will be my husband. I don't want to feel like my pre-marriage years were any less fulfilled because of the lack of a man. And my independent nature started to question whether I want to be held back at all by any relationships, so as not to define a life well lived by the influence of anybody else -

And this is where something else kicked in. It isn't having a man, really, that makes life worth living - but it is the relationships. Yeah, they're scary and they mean being vulnerable and I can try to get defensive about needing them, but I do. I can't even imagine a life where I didn't have the close relationships I have now. One of the main reasons my life is so different than it was a year and a half ago is because of the openness and intimacy I've had with my friends. Everywhere I look and everything I've learned has reinforced that loving others is a secret key to life. More than my career. More than my comfort. More than my independence.

So yes, I do want my life to be defined by others. By their needs, by their love, by their friendships, by their lives.

Still, until that last love story is written, I'm not living any less.

Why are there strawberries on the Equal sweetner packs?

1 comment:

catherine said...

amen my dear! i loved every word :)