Our Barriers Are All Self-Made
“There are times when I feel the way we’re about to break…”
Sometimes I think my life is royally fucking fucked. I’m a simple person with complex problems. I don’t know how I get into these situations. Is the answer to do that one thing I’ve imagined doing all my life? Is the answer packing a duffle bag and running away? To just get away from everything I know, everything I’ve done, everyone I’ve ever met, and starting over?
I was raised to believe that I could be someone great when I grew up. And I still believe it. If I truly wanted, I could make the hard decisions that come with reaching out and taking the successful life I imagine for myself. The people I tied my life to are not and would not be willing to make the kind of sacrifice it would require. I don’t think they realize that. It would require being desperately broke sometimes, going without, following me all over and in comparison, being on the sidelines. It’s a hard life. It would require being second choice, and being okay with that. But I chose not to put my spouse on the sidelines. For that matter, a spouse didn’t really jive with my level of ambition in music. Being dragged through someone else’s life isn’t my idea of fun. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself draggging someone else through mine.
So when I fell in love with someone and decided it was time to make the big decision about what direction my life should take, I decided that I was okay, to be nobody, to just settle down like normal people do, be married, be a wife and have babies. I decided that was a life I could be happy with, with this person, with these conditions. There were always two distinct paths that I could take. When I chose, I thought I would be respected for being realistic, for being grateful for what I have instead of constantly unhappy and always aspiring to more; always reaching for the unachievable. But everyone in my life seems to have a different plan for me than I do.
I was pulled aside this evening. It was hard when my Mom begged me not to breed. It was hard because I knew if I promised I wouldn’t, it could be a lie. It was hard because I did not want to agree, and resent her for asking me not to do what I want to, so much that it is all I think about. It was hard to stand up for my dream of being a parent. But I did. I never made a promise that I would abstain- I simply promised that I would not if it would be fatal. Seems like a fair agreement to me. If I have a baby and having a baby will kill me then I still never get to be a parent. I don’t want that, either.
Well, tonight I was pulled aside in a similar capacity, by someone else. I was the only one in my household this evening who worked, and so everyone else had an impromptu house meeting without me. My husband, being the tactless git he can be sometimes, broke our secrecy about having a baby to the very people I didn’t want to know about it. We were joking about getting a new cat, and I made the mistake of joking “Either a kitty or a baby.” I meant it in a moment of levity. I want a baby and by no means to I compare it to owning a pet- I am ready for parenthood. But then everyone became solemn. “It is a big decision- a big thing. You having a baby effects everyone in the house. And we don’t think you should.” Shortly thereafter I recieved commentary on how much better it would be if I waited. They don’t want the crying baby waking them up at night.
They don’t know that a year from now I could be sterile. I could be dead. I could be unemployed or homeless or divorced. They don’t know that it could be better or worse. All they know is it won’t be their problem. I, once again, walked into an ambush wherein I got sat down and told how my life is going to be run and what I can and cannot do. My roommate acts so much like he thinks he’s my father, or my boss. He doesn’t ask me, he tells me. And for that matter, he wants to be a father himself. He’s 46. If he met a woman who wanted to make him a father, would he wait if I asked him to? I doubt it. And I wouldn’t ask him to. Not a decision that huge. And once again, my husband, being the great articulator of silence that he is, said nothing. I just sat there, humiliated and chastised, and all I could do was shut off.
The moment I was alone, I fell apart.
How many times to do I have to hear excuses why we can’t? Why it’s too hard? Why we need to wait? When my niece was born, 7 years ago, I held her for the first time. And for the first time, my biological imperative made sense. It didn’t seem simple or stupid, or worthless. I didn’t feel like I was crushing my potential by wanting to hold my own child. For the first time I knew without deviation that I wanted that in my future, and that it was time to start aiming myself in a life direction that would allow for it. My life fell apart after that and I started over knowing that I wanted to meet someone, fall in love, marry and start a family. I had an endgame in all of this. I was assured that was in the cards, and now? Now all I get are reasons why that card will not be in my hand in the future. I’ve waited patiently for 7 years. In that time, my sister has had two more children. In that time, friends I’ve known have been married and started families. Most of them. Except me.
All I have are handfuls of reasons why I am not allowed to smile, or be free.