I woke up feeling pissed today. There is no other word to describe it properly– angry, annoyed, affronted, indignant, irate, resentful– I felt all the ugly rawness of being pissed.
Last night, I had attended a cocktail hosted by my workplace, and towards the end of the night, one of my fellow coworkers drawled out his advice to me. I honestly appreciated his pointers, and thanked him sincerely for it. I thought that was the end of the conversation.
Somehow, he started to ramble on how about at age 32 is your peak earning period and how when “When you’re 32 making $100,000 and have a husband and children..” at which point I could not contain my irritation and butted in, saying, “Who says I will have a husband? Who says I will have children?” He then immediately replied, “Michelle, you just have no confidence in yourself!”
If I was drinking something, I would have spluttered all over the place. I was outraged. He had assumed that my very obvious irritation was my fear at an inability to attract a husband. He implied that women fear the life without the husband; that having a husband is one of our end goals. That is, the pinnacle of a woman who “has it all” must include the career, husband and children in tow, and of course, if I had the ‘confidence’, my reward would be a family life. This, coming from a person that is only four years older than me. The ugliness of gender typing reared its head even in a ‘young’ person, in a generation that is supposed to be for progressive equality.
Plenty of women with low self-esteem get married and have children every day, but I am not one of those women who will demean my self-respect and do something that I do not truly want. Perhaps I am gay. Perhaps I am asexual. Perhaps I do not like children. Perhaps I am a sociopath. Perhaps I just have no time. The bottom line is– if I do not want or have a husband or children– others should shut up and march on. Life is a series of priorities, I’ve ordered mine, and you focus on yours.
Confidence or a lack thereof has nothing to do with it. At the end of the day, you die alone, and you feel your own happiness alone. Betting your happiness on a set of antiquated social standards can only be self-defeating.