Tag Archives: community

There’s no expiration date, right?

23 Oct

I called my dear, sweet grandmother in Alabama on the phone the other day to see how she’s been doing. We always have the same conversation: an overview of her current health status, how school is going, how my sisters are doing (which always starts with their schooling and jobs and ends with their relationship statuses), and then we discuss why I’m not married and have no current prospects.

“Well damn girl, when you gonna be able to start havin’ babies then? You’re runnin’ out of time!”

Oh, how I love the obvious markers in the differences between generations. It probably wouldn’t be as bad if my 20-year old younger sister who, when we were in high school, brought home — on separate occasions — a homeless looking stoner, a guy who played in a metal band (in all fairness, so did I — long story), and a guy who ended up being sent to reform school, is now planning a wedding.

Her boyfriend is terrific. He recently took her away to a cabin in the mountains for the weekend to celebrate her birthday. He has or is about to purchase an engagement ring, and is working up his whole “can I have your permission to marry your daughter” speech to give to my dad. This past weekend, we got together to have a birthday dinner for her combined with an anniversary celebration for my parents (34 years — holy shit). She detailed us about this church they saw on their trip where they want to get married in fall 2014, how his dad’s girlfriend will make their cake, the dress she looked at. They routinely make it a habit of triggering my gag reflex. I feel like if I spend any more time with them, I’d become bulimic.

Although my older sister, at 28, isn’t married, she at least has a 3-year long relationship to fall back on to ease the minds of our grandparents.

I have degrees and cats.

My other grandmother who lives a short drive away once told me she doesn’t want me to be bitter because I’m so alone. She’s German, so I appreciate and understand the honesty. They’re not ones to mince words. (She’s incredibly useful to take shopping. “How does this dress look?” “Oh, no, you look pregnant. Do you want people to think you’re pregnant? Take that off.”) I’ve insisted that despite all reasons to be miserable — which, really, is simply just the absence of love and all that shit that goes along with it — I’m actually happy and loving being alone. Half-truths are fun like that. Sure, I’ll go through bouts of self-loathing, fueled by a bottle of wine and Nickelback songs (if you choose to leave this blog now, I probably don’t blame you. It’s been fun), but I get over it and realize I’m kind of awesome.

So every once in awhile, I’ll start talking to someone new and give the family just enough information to know that I’m not bitter or alone or unloved or a leper. Then when it doesn’t work out for a whole slew of reasons, they’re mildly disappointed, but proud I gave it the ol’ college try.

I’ve been single now for two years. Before that, I was in a five-year long relationship, and before that, I was with a guy for a year (the one in the metal band), and before that I was fourteen. So me being single is strange, not only for me, but for the family who was sure I would be the first to get married and pop out a screaming chunk of flesh that owned half my genes and twice my time.

After that last break-up, I was pretty low and had zero confidence or self-esteem. If I’m really being honest with myself, there wasn’t much of that while I was with him, but I had the whole “look, world! Someone loves me (kinda)! I’m not horrendous!” thing going for me, so it wasn’t as obvious as it was when I was suddenly alone. I’ve made considerable leaps and bounds since then (which I’m sure I’ll cover in later blogs — it’s been entertaining), and have never felt more sure of myself. So the other day when I was out shopping with my mother, our conversation turned to my semi-non-existent love life.

There’s a guy I’m sort of talking to (see brief mention of “Barista boy” in the previous post that had something about Tums in the title), and I’m in no hurry to see where things lead. I’m leaving to start my PhD in a year, so I’m not trying to get serious any time soon. No one in my family is pursuing academia, so there’s very little actual understanding; mostly just sympathizing, which I kinda hate.

I posted something on Facebook about a conversation I was having with BFF (mentioned in first post) and how I’m somehow a beacon to emotional fuckwits (only I didn’t say “fuckwits” on Facebook — and I’m pretty sure I stole that from Bridget Jones’ Diary) and socially awkward jackasses (I did say “jackasses”), then a quick note about my cat’s bathing habits and that it wasn’t a euphemism. My mother is my friend on Facebook, and called me earlier that morning before we shopped to see if everything was okay (and to remind me my grandmother is on Facebook — something about appropriateness). I said “I’m fine. I’m not worried. I’m fucking awesome. I mean, you’ve met me, right?”

The conversation then continued in the car, her reassuring me that I’m great and someone someday will realize that and he’ll be awesome and perfect and she’ll remind me how worried I was about finding love and she’ll say “I told you!” and I’ll say “I know, mom, you’re the greatest” and then the camera will freeze on that image of the family gathered around the dinner table as the credits flash on the screen to the sound of an upbeat, feel-good hit from the 80s.

Maybe I’ll even get my own spin-off series.

–AM.

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