By Chanda Alicea
I recently shared a post on my Instagram page, and decided that over the next few weeks, I’d dive deeper into my thoughts on it. I wanted to address some life issues that have been weighing heavy on my heart. I’m sharing the pic and giving credit where it’s due. It really spoke to my soul.
Here we go…my take on the quote correlated with this post is…throw all the societal expectations of your life away. I wish that someone would have told me this years ago. I probably would have not gone through a mid-life crisis in my early 30’s when I thought my life was garbage and was falling apart due to the failure that I was quickly becoming because I had a kid and was not married. Here I am coming close to 40 and I’m still not married, and the truth is that I don’t care that I’m failing in the eyes of society. I’m happy with where I am at this point in my life! I remember a time I shared an anniversary post on social media, and in the same breath that a person congratulated me, they also asked me when we were getting married. I was quickly offended. I know this person didn’t mean anything by it, but I felt enraged. Why is that a question that needs to be asked? Why does someone else feel that I need to be married? The truth is, that people feel that way because it has been engrained into our brains by societal norms, standards and other beliefs that if you are in a relationship with a child, then you should very well be married. To this I say…pish, posh, hogwash!
Please don’t misunderstand, I am by no means against the sanctity of marriage. I support ALL marriage wholeheartedly. I believe that when two people are in love and they have decided to make the commitment to pledge their lives to each other legally as well as whatever religion they might believe in, they should. I support it. I love seeing when my friends or people I know get engaged and married. I AM HERE FOR IT!! I am genuinely excited for them. On the flipside of that, I also respect and believe that marriage isn’t for everyone. I am going to repeat that for the people in the back. Marriage isn’t for everyone. It’s totally okay to be in a long-term relationship (one with or without kids, that too is a choice that’s up to you) and not be married. It doesn’t take anything away from your relationship. It doesn’t make your relationship less. It’s not up to society to decide how you should live your life.
Wait what??? Yes, you get to decide how you live your life. You get to ignore the outside pressures of what people think you should do. Quite frankly, it’s nobody’s business what you do in YOUR relationship. They aren’t living your life for you!
Did anyone else catch that during Mother’s Day, a specific jewelry company jumped on making Mother’s Day another chance to market engagement rings? This drove me crazy. The commercials focused on talking about how “This Mother’s Day, get her what she really wants.” It was all these women going crazy because their kids got engaged. I had quite a few in-depth conversations about these commercials with my own mother. Mainly, we talked about how awful it was that a retailer was using a special day to market engagements and add unnecessary pressure by planting ideas in people’s minds that their mother’s aren’t going to be happy with anything they get for them other than a future son or daughter in law in order to make some money. It was disgusting and shameless in my opinion. I wish society would stop trying to tell us what we need to do and accomplish in our lives in order to feel like we aren’t failing.
My wish with this and the posts in the following weeks is for people to not only realize, but also accept that there is no one right or wrong way to live your life. It’s your life! You get to decide how you want to live it and what you want to make of it. I want people to know that I don’t feel less than because I’m not married. I don’t feel like I am missing out because my last name isn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, it does feel weird to still use the word boyfriend, sometimes I catch myself and use the word husband or partner, because it’s easier. And often times I don’t even correct people, when they call him my husband because that’s weird too. I’ve had plenty of friends tell me that they consider us married because we’ve been together for so long. We’ve been together for 9 years and have a kid together. We have our ups and downs like I imagine any married couple does. We’ve weathered tough times. We’ve seen our fair share of fights, stupid arguments, days of silence, the awkward energy that comes when you’re in the thick of it and barely maintaining civility because you’re so mad while you battle through the dark times to come out better on the other side. I don’t in any way feel that it’s easier to walk away because we aren’t bonded legally. We stay committed to making OUR relationship work because we love hard and want the best for our family, and we don’t feel that we need a certificate saying that we obligated ourselves to that legally in order to feel successful and fulfilled in our lives, and neither should anyone else if that is the path they choose. Who cares what society says you should do? Times are different now than they were 50 years ago, and how we choose to thrive in our relationships shouldn’t be influenced by anyone else.
XOXO – Chanda