Ever feel like you are the odd woman out?
It can be hard, sometimes, to be on a path that is different from many of your peers. I am a thirty-something who isn’t married and doesn’t have kids; for a woman, that seems like an abnormality. You feel the pressure everywhere to be different than you are, and that being yourself is wrong. I am not anti-marriage or anti-children; it’s just that I haven’t found ‘that person’ yet. Believe me, though, being in your thirties, you can really feel isolated from some of your peers, and you are constantly feeling the pressure to be married and have kids by a certain age. Some of your friends will stop connecting with you when they get married and have kids, because their lives are different from yours.
Picture this. A couple years ago, I went to an engagement brunch for a friend who was in town visiting; when I went to sit down, I realized I was the only non-married, no-kids individual in the room! My friend had invited someone else who was ‘single’ too, but that person couldn’t make it. So, everyone else was partnered up and talking up about their wedding/kids/engagement/etc. I couldn’t chime in as I had no experience in any of this. I’d never been married and didn’t have kids, so I didn’t have any stories to share. I felt so left out. That brunch was tough!
Tough because as a woman in her thirties, there is a societal pressure that I am inadequate: because I am not married and don’t have kids. Being at the brunch, I stood out. I stayed for the whole gathering as I wanted to support my friend but, “oh, my goodness!”, I was made painfully aware of how different my situation was from those of peers even though there are so many people out there who aren’t married and don’t have kids. It was hard to sit through because my difference stood out big-time. Shame came up. Self-worth came up. Yes, I had grown a business, but in many circles, success for a woman means being a wife and a mother. Personally, I wish there were “women opening business parties” in addition to weddings and baby showers so we could be celebrated too!
Recently, I decided that instead of staying silent (like I did at the brunch), I am taking up my space and sharing my stories. I’ve had enough. I’m tired of feeling like I have to prove my worth. I’m changing the narrative. There are so many people out there who aren’t married and don’t have kids. Single people are valuable, and our stories and our lives are equally as important as those who are married/have kids. Our timing is just different and that is so okay.
My journey, even though I am not a mother or a wife, is so rich. I am happy. As I said to my sister the other day, the world wants to make women like me seem like we shouldn’t be happy UNTIL we get married/have kids. However, I am happy along the way and enjoying the process (even through the lows). I am not inadequate as a woman because I am not married and don’t have kids. I am so proud of the woman I am. The lows make interesting stories to tell friends.
Society has so many stereotypes for ‘non-married, no-kids women.’ We get told that we are selfish or are sad/lonely all the time, and life will begin when we meet our partner. But ‘different’ is not a bad word. Differences are beautiful. There is no one in the world exactly like you. I want to use my platform and my voice to show you that if you are feeling inadequate or frustrated, you are not alone; you are seen. Most of all, I want you to know that you are valuable, just as you are.
I want you to take up your space. Share your story.
You matter. Your story matters. Regardless if you are in a relationship or not.
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