One of the most profound articles I read came from ordained minister, motivational speaker, author, spiritual guru, etcetera- Dr. Iyanla Vanzant. I read “Telling yourself the Truth” during my varsity years and it made such sense that I tore it out of the magazine and stacked it up along with my self-help stash.
A lot of Dr. Vanzant’s work got me through my darkest moments, and the knowledge that it came from an equally broken place provided a bit of familiarity and comfort. When she spoke about how unsettling it is to tell oneself the truth, I understood. Nobody ever wants to acknowledge that they are probably not the person they thought they were. Dr. Vanzant wrote that when she finally told herself the ugly truth about herself; that she was a damaged, needy and broken individual she experienced a sense of relief.
It is always intriguing to observe people’s individual reactions to my assertion that I am not ‘marriage material’. While others are interested in knowing why- probably because they assume it’s tied to my sexual disposition- others are quick to provide unnecessary assurance, “Of course you are!” they say, There is someone out there for you”. Others simply assume there is a lot of self-esteem lacking. All of these are rather patronizing, if you ask me.
Human beings are interesting creatures, aren’t they? I have observed that the preferred modus operandi would be for society to tell you what and who you are (and have you toe the line along that narrow-minded strip), instead of vice versa. When society has ultimately branded you “un-marriageable”, it is bound to have negative connotations.
Therefore, the assumption is that this revelation comes from a negative place as well. On the contrary, it comes from a positive and affirmed place; from a place of constant soul searching and huge doses of ugly truths. It is neither tied to any feminist rejection of the institution of marriage nor the role of men. Marriage has ample benefits, so does un-married life. It comes from the realization that not every breathing soul is engineered for marriage hence some get divorced.
One of the truths I had to tell myself relates to expectations: The more expectations I created in my mind about marriage, the more pressure I put on myself to be ‘marriageable’. Through shedding these expectations I learnt I could simply…live. A male friend simply laughed at me after I revealed my disappointment at not achieving the “Get married-have 2.5 kids at 26” goal. He said he would never understand why women tend to put so much pressure on themselves.
In wanting the best possible existence for ourselves, we must also strike a balance by being realistic lest we shoot ourselves in the foot. People so easily assume that loving and mutually fulfilling relationships begin with marriage. This couldn’t be further from the truth. They begin long before that legally binding expression of commitment. Therefore, I’m still open to the idea of marriage-it still on my bucket list, sure- however it would require that I confront my general impatient approach towards life, compulsion and lack of boundaries.