"Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me!
Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible --
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so I wait -- bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life."
~ excerpt from Gregory Corso, "Marriage" (one of my all-time favorite poems)
Ready or not, one month is all that separates us from the legal status we call marriage.
Growing up, I never considered myself the marrying "type." At worst, I figured I would become obsolete by the age of 30 and, if not, that "marriage is death." I'm not exactly sure where all this negativity came from -- although far from perfect, I had many stable marriages serving as my benchmarks of sorts.
My past luck was relationships was pretty unfavorable. Like most, I had a few crushes/obsessions, none reciprocated, and was also the reluctant "recipient" of such feelings from others. I had only had one "boyfriend," however nominal, whimsical, and short-term that was, and it was enough to keep me from making that same "mistake" again. [We've since lost touch, so if you're out there reading, I don't mean to be offensive... I just wasn't mentally mature enough to understand, well, pretty much anything.]
I've always been insecure about my appearance, so after a while, I didn't even consider myself a worthy candidate for the "meat market." I pretty much decided that I'd just stay single and hang out with my few friends... and then work myself to death in order to replace the void of having a companion. (I promise it sounded more appealing to me back then than it does written out here!!) Looking back, I will admit that this mentality did keep me really focused in school and such, but I would be inexplicably down a lot. After enough episodes of me being the "third wheel," I started feeling pathetic and ashamed.
In my early twenties, I felt the twinge of rebellion, deciding that even if I found nothing serious, I just had to get myself out there. I almost created an online dating profile but clicked "X" after nearly an hour of surveys when I decided that $59.95 was worth more than a chance at a lifetime of happiness (hah!). Later, I agreed to come along for speed-dating with a group of classmates. Before the details solidified, though, "The Ukrainian" came into my life.
If you crack open my high school yearbook, you will see that I used a Yu-Gi-Oh! quote below my senior portrait. So embarrassing to admit that I had a thing for that animé and also used a dubbed quote, but oh well. The quote was, "If you truly want to know, open your mind!"
I will never know how or why this guy caught my attention (or how I kept his long enough for him to persist even in my early reluctant-to-commit stage). After all, I grew up fairly sheltered, and he was just so different than me. But I am glad that I kept my mind open just long enough to see where this could go, or at least long enough to have some "funny" stories to share with my classmates.
As for marriage, well, even though I never believed it to be necessary or beneficial, it kind of just feels like one of the most natural things in the world right now. It was almost as though there was no decision to make besides whether or not we wanted to have an actual wedding. Sure, it's going to involve a lot of maturity/growth (still!) and work to maintain a successful marriage, but we both know that we will be fine because, well, we are with the right person.
Oddly, I am one of the first in my closer cohorts to be getting married. It does feel a bit strange, and sometimes I still feel "too young," but all that is relative to comparisons to the past and other people. To heck with that.
If my teenage self was correct and "marriage is death," then I'm kind of glad to be putting my past mentality to rest and embracing my present fortune.