I am an odd duck.
Yes, it's very true and I'm really okay with it actually. But I recently had that thought, I shared it with a dear friend, and she looked at me all worried that I may have been saying "I'm weird, nobody likes me, guess I'll go eat worms" or somesuch. Which is SO not the case! Although I am weird. I completely own that I'm odd, especially when it comes to the molds that I so clearly do not fit into.
Let me explain...
I am in my mid 30s (ugh, that's still so strange to say!), I'm single, and I belong to a fairly conservative fellowship. A fellowship filled with people I love dearly! But one thing that comes with conservative traditional types are these little things that I call molds or ideals. For instance, the ideal which says that I should be married by now; I should be an amazing homemaker and cook; I should love children and be heartbroken that I don't have any nor any chance of having any in my near future; I should know how to garden perfectly, and can veggies for the winter, and any number of domestic things that I'm either terrible at or know nothing about. I fit none of those, in case you wondered. And that's okay. It really is.
I think the fact that I'm even aware of these differences, between me and others of similar age and situation, may be a product of people that have no idea what to do with someone like me. No one makes me feel less than, for the record. At least not on purpose. I simply think that those of us like myself (yes, I'm assuming there could be more like me out there somewhere) don't fit very many places. The church doesn't really know how to prepare a young girl for my situation. Nor what to do with me now.
When I was younger, I had dreams of what my 20s and 30s would be like and those dreams definitely had marriage and children in them. Which is a good thing! I don't want to sound like those dreams are bad because they're not. Far from it! But I simply wish there had been someone in my life that would've told me things like:
- You may not get married and you need to prepare for that. Because that desire to be married won't just go away simply because you tell it to or you ask God to take it. He breathed it into you, it's actually a beautiful thing. But don't let it be the ultimate dream.
- If you never get married, don't stress! Hang in there. There's so many things you can do with your life, so many adventures you can go on, so many new friends you may make, so much that you wouldn't try otherwise. Look forward to those parts!
- If you don't marry, it's okay to be sad about that. It's even okay to be happy about that!
- You might need a career to support yourself, whether you get married or not. You should be prepared just in case.
- It's okay not to want to teach at a church private school or whatever your "norm" is for older singles.
- Some days it really stinks to be single! Be honest about that.
- But don't become desperate. Yes, you want to be married, but learn to be okay that you're not. Strive to be content with where you're at. Be happy!
- Surround yourself with friends who will let you be yourself. And love you no matter what.
- Somehow figure out a way to respectfully respond to those who comment about your singleness. Even when they've hurt you.
- Do not become bitter!
I loved Rachel's article because I knew she somehow saw into my heart. There are a lot of articles out there about singleness and I've read some of them. But so many say the exact same things. I just want more older singles who feel more like me to be writing! Because the honest truth is I may never get married. And while that may hurt extra hard some days and not at all on others, I want to be able to acknowledge that. I want to know I'm not alone in that. I want to know that on the days I'm happy I'm not married, I'm not too bizarre. I want to know that finding things I love (like books and reading, and blogging, and getting the chance to travel and meet other blogger, readers, and authors) is a good thing! That I can do those things without worrying what you may think of me.
Really, I think I just want to know I'm not the only one who feels odd. To have the knowledge that I'm not alone in my feelings. That someone understands me. I think if someone had told me some of these things when I was a teen, I may have dealt with a few things differently over the years. Maybe I'd be a little less odd now? Or maybe not. But it would've certainly made a difference to my heart.