2003-10-30 - 3:01 p.m.
All day I've been thinking about marriage.
Women are always bitching about having low self-esteem; it's the entire reason that stupid mags like Cosmo exist, it's the reason that Jenny Craig and the inventor of Prozac are bazillionaires - but behind all the pseudo-psych Oprah crap, there's some truth. American women don't feel that good about themselves, especially as teenagers. I was no different, and my mom's suicide attempts and hospitalization selfishly* convinced me that my presence was only detrimental to other people. While a fat wet tonnage of therapy has helped throw off the idea that I'm emotional toxic waste, it's still hard to believe that someone would want to be with me, much less get married. There's this fundamental disconnect - if you want to love me, if you do love me, there's something wrong with you.
One of my last holdout girlfriends in the office, a 35 year-old woman who's been with her guy for ten years and has lived with him for seven, said yes to his marriage proposal last night. She came in all grins and flashing diamonds** this morning. I immediately remembered how much Scratcher hates the words fiance and fiancee because of the ownership implied, the "I've completed my ur-goal as a wo/man" connotation. That exact tone was in my co-worker's voice. Even though she knows her man loves her, though they've already built a life and a family (hey, dogs count!), this woman feels a sense of pride that he picked her to marry.
I would give up a full year of my life to see a happy, long-lasting marriage. Yes, damn it, I want a role model. All the happy marriages I know go to hell, largely due to the pressures of daily life and living with the same person year in, year out. All the long-lasting marriages I know are full of carping and recrimination. These people barely speak to each other. My parents are still married, but they're legally separated after years of bitter fighting. My maternal grandparents hated each other. My fraternal grandma was so afraid of my grandpa that she used to hide in corners and throw up. No wonder I think the people who want me are halfway to crazy. What the hell kind of role models are these? Show me people who signed their certificate years ago and still love each other. Please.
Since reading Helen's entry today, I've been wondering what it would take, both in me and in someone else, to make me want to be committed. (God, even writing that is difficult.) During that weird little month when I dated five different people (which must stand as some sort of family record, but we’ll discuss that later), some things came to mind. That’ll be the next post. But for now, I wanna know: what do y’all think about marriage? If you’re married, are you happy? Why did you get married? And if you’re not, do you want to be? What would it take?
*Yes, I said selfish. Believing that my mother's pain had anything to do with me was incredibly self-involved, and I'm ashamed of it.
**I fucking hate diamonds. Hate 'em with a passion that's worthy of an entire 'nother entry. DeBeers is owned by a family so corrupt, so limp-winkied and incest-bound, it makes me nauseous. Not to mention the thousands of Burmese and Ghanian children digging in mines to collect said shiny clear rocks. If you're gonna get married, buy something else. Like a car. Or the down payment on a house. If you absolutely must buy a diamond, buy one used. Old mine diamonds from the 1920s are available all the time on eBay. Grr.
Cue end of rant.
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