I will return to Rachel later, there’s only so much tragedy that the curator wills upon oneself in a week.
I’ve been reading a Margaret Atwood book, Moral Disorder, and I’m not sure where it comes on her long lineage of literature, nor do I know much about her, except that my best friend loved her work and that The Handmaid’s Tale was an interesting read. Anyway, as we all know, it’s easy to find yourself in a book, sometimes in one character, sometimes bits and pieces of you strewn about the characters. This is one of those books, where Atwood is able to paint the thoughts of listless young/not-so-young women of a certain mind, at certain time and with a certain set of desires. It’s like all the things you read in a Cosmo or a Huffington Post article, but with brush strokes of literary brilliance that make it art instead of click bait (or self-indulgent blogging).
Set against the desire for fecklessness was an opposite more shameful desire…I couldn’t keep up my transient lifestyle forever. I would have to end up with someone, sometime, someplace. Wouldn’t I?
But What if I missed a turn somewhere – missed my own future? That would be frighteningly easy to do. I’d make one hesitation or departure too many and then I’d have run out of choices; I’d be standing all alone, like the cheese in the children’s song about the farmer taking a wife.
Yes, that is it. That is the feeling. But the strange thing about this feeling lately is not my own battle with or against it, but other people’s input about it. Parents, are one thing, and mine are not known to push, far from it – getting opinions out of them is like Jack tricking the giant into accidentally releasing his golden egg. It’s actually all the rest that have started to come around.
Yes, I brought this on myself. I’ve been asking for it. Because I want the love, I really do, and I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, really, or particularly controlling. Yet, aimed directly towards me, with no small amount of condescension, these words are slung:
“It’s about compromise, ” or “relationships are work,” or “nothing is going to be perfect,” or “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
Friends, exes, couples, adults, and it all seems to come at me in this refraction. Am I being lectured, admonished, chastised? Am I being warned? Am I taking the weight of someone else’s disappointment? Are they annoyed by my naïve expectations of men, of partnerships in general? Do they feel judged by me?
Perhaps they all instead mean to tell me to shutup, stop talking, stop whining already. But, you see, you have someone to whine to, someone to take the edge off so others can tolerate you. And all the medication in the world can’t keep my mouth shut. I try; I swear. And I promise, I am not dismissing you; I. am. Listening.
But there must have been a moment? Even if self-appointed. How did you get there? How did you know you had reached the apex of your compromise/satisfaction parabola? Was it a leap of faith?
Even I had made fun of the solitary cheese during the game. Now I was ashamed of myself. Why should being alone – in and of itself – be such a matter of derision?