A week ago, I had a birthday. It's been a pretty devastating year for me in all areas of my life, so I am both blessed and grateful that I was able to celebrate another one. I got to turn 48 and I'm so happy. Birthdays after the age of 39 have usually made me feel sad. It's always a reminder of what I haven't accomplished in my life yet. Well, not this year. This year, I managed to face a lot of my fears, fight for myself and stay alive. So, that in itself, HUGE WIN!
As I was happily receiving an abundance of good wishes that day, there were a few from family members that weren't so gracious. It was brought to my attention that some people think I'm cursed and unfortunate in this life. There was no mention as to what it meant or why they thought this way but, there it was. Spoken aloud and now in my brain forever!
Needless to say, it really bothered me. Sensing my displeasure, I had a conversation about it with my parents, who responded with: "Oh it's nothing. They just meant that they feel bad for you because you're not married or had any children as women should by your age." Well, as long as that's all it is. It made me absolutely furious; and just like that my happy birthday was ruined.
Born a woman has been seen as an unfortunate circumstance or curse by many past generations, in many races and ethnicities. But the plague that we as women carry around with respect to marriage and children is astounding. By definition, a generational curse describes "the cumulative effect on a person of things that their ancestors did, believed, or practiced in the past, and a consequence of an ancestor's actions, beliefs, and sins being passed down." Whether we like to believe it or not, our families' history or baggage impact who we are in our lives. I most definitely relate!
In my culture, religion, and ancestry, things like having sex before marriage, divorce, and having children out of wedlock have always been considered a curse. You were ridiculed, considered less worthy of respect, and a sinner. I have no children, so you can figure out for yourself what my curses are. My biggest one was my divorce. I was the first in my family to leave my husband and get a divorce. My immediate family found it very difficult to accept and cope with in the beginning but knew who I was as a person and didn't question my decision. There were many reasons why I did what I did and at the time, I was too busy trying to save my life than being immediately concerned with what the rest of my family thought. Yet, it has followed me the rest of my days. Whenever they look at me, they see the poor divorced woman, who was never able to remarry or have children. I'm surprised they haven't given me a Scarlett letter across my chest to bear for all eternity. Even though I was not the last of us to leave our marriage and get a divorce, mine always seems to be their favorite because they still talk about it (and take votes among them as to why I haven't remarried yet) some 20 years later.
Now before I say what's coming next, let me make clear that I do understand that most generational parents in my era want the very best for their children. They were brought up to find someone and share a family with them - and simply want nothing more than for us to experience this same kind of joy. They want to know that we are loved, cared for, and don't have to walk through this life all alone. I get that and completely respect it. But, it may not be everyone's path, and that really should be ok.
That being said, I'd like to say very loudly and clearly for all the noisy people in my life, that I will get remarried (or not) when (and if) I damn well want to. My offspring, also being taken off the table for discussion. How can people not know how damaging and just downright cruel all this talk can be for a woman? This, I will never understand. I don't (nor have/or will I ever) judge people on who they marry or divorce. Those things are private and hard enough to go through on their own - much less be ridiculed for making a decision for themselves. We are all individuals, trying to live this life for ourselves, and I have no time for those who have nothing better to do than gossip or belittle people for decisions that they have made. Especially without walking in their shoes, or truly knowing their circumstances. Even then, it's despicable because everyone's journey is different.
Someday, I truly hope that this discussion comes about with me present, rather than how it's always happened in the past - cowardly and shamelessly addressed to my parents instead. It will be the last one we have, I'll tell you that. That is really the only sadness I feel - that my parents had to listen to and endure endless decades of ridicule from their family about my choices. It's just not fair.
Those who know me understand just how much I have always believed in love. I'd love nothing more than to have it present in my life with a partner. But, I'd rather be single than stupid. I have learned from my past and will not live my life with or for any man who isn't worthy of me, who treats me like a queen, and loves God as I do. On this I have never, nor will I ever compromise. There are too many women out there doing so right now. Hell, there are too many men doing it also. Until I find what I am looking for, my cup runneth over from the abundance of love that I receive from all my loved ones, currently in my circle (and you all know who you are). Right now, that is more than enough for me. I am truly blessed. So don't be sad for me, deem me unfortunate, or count me out - cuz you ain't seen nothin' yet!
For those of you who have young men or women in your life, teach them to grow up knowing that they are incredible human beings - just as they are. The only way that we can stop these horrid generational curses is to end them now, once and for all. The world that young people are growing up in nowadays is hard enough to maneuver as it is, they don't need all this extra stuff added in. Teach them to respect and love themselves, their bodies, and other people with all their hearts. That their worth is not determined or based on whether they get married, or have children or make a 300K yearly income. They aren't better people because they buy designer clothes, drive fancy cars, or live in a big house. Most importantly, don't ever let them grow up thinking that someone else's opinion of them matters. Instead, instill self-love and that the only opinion that is worth anything is the picture they carry around in their heads about themselves. If we succeed with all of this, I think we will be raising some pretty incredible human beings, who will go on loving other human beings and treating them with dignity.
For those always sitting in the back, heckling you, who have always made you feel less than, always feeling the need to have a say in your life: It is not enough anymore to just simply ignore them - GET RID OF THEM! But, if you can't then just know this: God sometimes keeps your enemies around, so that one day, they will get a front-row seat to all your successes. No matter what others say, you just keep your head down and work at building a wonderful life for yourself. Work in silence and let success be your noise.
To all those of you out there continuously breaking someone's spirit by being unkind assholes in this world, keep it comin'. For you are the fuel that lights are fire, each and every day.