If you’d have told me when I was 18 that I would be married in my early 20’s, I would have laughed in your face. After two abusive relationships and several bad breakups, I swore off dating seriously for the longest time. For me, at that point, I wasn’t ready to commit myself to anyone who would be anything less than Mr. Darcy himself. (lol!)
Eventually, I became the perpetually single friend, and actually- I came to terms with the idea that perhaps “true love” wasn’t on the cards for me. At the end of the day, it was never my ultimate goal in life. I have always been strong, independent and ambitious. From what I had seen from members of my generation, I wasn’t even sure a man could fit into that sphere, especially not one that was supportive, stable and not deterred by my intelligence and drive. The men I had dated casually had always told me how they loved that I was fierce and strong, and how they’d always dreamed of having a strong woman- but when it boiled down to it my success and independence made each and every single one feel insecure- and they would wind up with someone less driven. Honestly, I was ok with that. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t about to commit myself to someone who couldn’t at least support me and my big dreams.
The fact is, I don’t need a man, and in my opinion, nor should anyone. I think if it gets to the stage where you become obsessed with having someone in your life, you need to do the exact opposite, and take some time to fall in love with yourself and access the void you’re trying to fill in your own life.
>>>You should not rely on anyone else to fill in the holes in your own life and soul!<<<
Once at university during a drinking game, the group was asked to point to the person most likely to get divorced, and all but one pointed at me. The friend who I was closest to, who actually knew and understood me stood up and said how stupid that was, because he knew I would be the last
for anything less than a soulmate. He knew I would never marry someone who didn’t adore and support me, and vice versa. On another occasion, I was actually quite hurt by someone who told me they couldn’t imagine me being a mother. It was only on deeper reflection, I took it as a compliment, as it meant that it was apparent to others that there was more to me than just the immediate desire to breed. When I was feeling a bit down one day, I came across this article
. This was something that stayed with me for a very long time, as it reiterated many points that I had always believed in.
In the 1950s, women were primarily housewives and getting married was typically the end goal. Back then, being a wife is what defined a woman, so I can understand why finding your special someone was considered an accomplishment. This is no longer the case, though. In today’s society, ladies are balancing much more than just finding a man.
Since getting married myself, especially considering I was only 21 at the time, people have assumed that my views have changed. I frequently get asked if I am pregnant, or when I plan to be, as though that is the only logical option for a married woman- As though I have already achieved my ‘end goal’.
Although marriage/engagement/childbirth are happy times to be sure, anyone can get married to anyone, and that doesn’t mean to say it will last. Anyone with a working set of reproductive organs can get pregnant. Literal animals do that every day. The whole institution should be celebrated 100%, but what I’m saying is, no one would go up to my husband and start a conversation by asking about what he’s done/is planning to do with his genitals.
Before I go any further, I just want to make that point perfectly clear. If that’s all you want from your life, then great!! It’s exciting and its tough! Please please please don’t think I’m trying to undermine or devalue what it is to be a parent. My feminism is broad and all-encompassing enough to accept and applaud you for that. I know that when I have children, I too will probably want to stay home because I hate the thought of anyone else looking after my future cubs. But for me personally, I want to have achieved in my own life so that I can inspire and teach my offspring to achieve. It’s just that I see so many young girls who get pregnant at 16 and suddenly think they are the Virgin Mary because they brought life into the world- and that’s what I am aiming to combat with this post. I want to open up a dialogue where women from all walks of life are celebrated, but it should never be assumed that basic biology is the “ultimate achievement” for women, because we are so much more than that. It is no longer the 1950’s, and women have fought tirelessly all throughout their lives to create a world in which we have much more equal opportunity. Life is short, but it can be so rich if you work hard and just give it a chance. So why then, are people still more interested in the fact that I am married, than my academic/career/other achievements or goals? When I meet women, if they have babies then great. If they’re pregnant then great- congratulations! But I’m not going to degrade them by talking about parenthood as though It’s the only interesting thing about her. A mum has interests, hobbies, opinions and things that make her who she is outside of the realm of babies- and without that I think she’d go insane!
The main reason I am even writing this blog is to forward it to people every. time. I get asked when I’m going to get pregnant. For the record, I do want children. I want 3. I love the idea of being 80, hosing dinner parties and BBQ’s and sitting outside in the sunshine surrounded by my kids and their kids and so forth. I think about it often, and can’t wait to become a mother because it is exciting. But even when I give birth myself, until I’ve raised a good human being I won’t classify basic biology as an achievement. I know that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today had I not had a mother who had experienced the world, achieved things of her own and had thousands of stories to tell me, wisdom gained outside the realm of relationships and childbirth.
The real tea is, my sister is 10 years my Junior, so I have already seen/done enough ‘parenting’ to know the reality. Children are not just a cute hobby that you take on for a couple of years while they are cute and still cuddly. They are not a vessel to save a failing relationship. They are a 20+ year commitment of blood, sweat and tears and wanting to kill the rude spotty teenager you once held in your arms. It means stopping in your tracks and turning your whole life upside down in order to raise a (hopefully!) decent human being. Again, if your children get to 18 and they are healthy, kind, respectful individuals I do think that is an achievement, but finding love and getting pregnant is not. For me, to do this, I will need to have seen enough of the world to know myself, to have achieved enough on my own and to have enjoyed life, travelled and fallen even deeper in love with my life partner to even consider children. Some women aren’t that way, they are different and motherhood is their ultimate dream. That’s ok too! But don’t assume that parenthood is all there is to life for a woman, and don’t assume that a childless woman’s life is empty or less than your own. I hate it when people say to great women who have worked hard and achieved, CEO’s, Dr’s, PhD graduates, charity workers and politicians- “but when are you going to have babies?”, as though their lives are nothing without them, and that is the only thing a woman has to look forward to.
Aside from the worlds obsession with pregnancy, I’ve lost a lot of friends through getting married. Oddly, the fact that I live with someone I love seems to have changed my relationships with many people. When I lived with 5 others at university, no one assumed I had become an entirely different person and avoided seeing me, so the fact that that’s happening now is bizarre to me. On the other hand, It’s shown me who my real friends are, because it’s shown that they are willing to grow with me, and just accept that I met my ‘forever friend’ a little bit earlier. No, I don’t really want to go out clubbing with you and doing all the stuff I used to do when I was single, because I just don’t find that appealing anymore. Honestly, I never really did, I was only doing it to be social. Since getting married i’ve realised the importance of actual meaningful conversations and transactions as a pose to that. I think some of my friends found this hard to comprehend. I can’t just tell my husband to f*ck off at the end of a 12 hour night shift because you want to hang out. Moreover, I won’t, because he’s more important than you. He’s not just some boyfriend I can pick up and drop whenever I feel like it, and I guess this offends some people, and if thats the case, then honestly, thats ok.
Another thing I also get is people looking quizzically when I talk about being strongly feminist, then also talking about my husband when I am ‘only’ 22 years old. I am a girl, who never aspired to get married, let alone at 21 years of age (now 22). However, when I met Austin, there was never a moment wherein he did not want to be on my team. He is not
my ‘other half’, he is his own whole, and falling in love with him was not hard, stressful or full of nervous excitement. He never left me wondering where I stood, supported and vehemently encouraged
all of my achievements. For those still confused, the definition of feminism is: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes
“. In other words, equality for both/all
sexes. My husband too, is a feminist. He loves the parts of me that I refused to give up, despite many a moron before him deeming them unattractive. While circumstances (military) meant we moved faster than I would have ever imagined, I realised it was never marriage that I was afraid of- I already knew he was going to be my teammate for life. I was afraid of the wedding,
and the judgement and drama that it always undoubtedly brings.
|31.9.16 // Elopement
The only part of this I have struggled with so far, has been changing my name. Through getting married, for whatever reason I have lost several ‘friends’ who are seemingly intimidated by my circumstance. Also, by struggling in an abysmal graduate job market (Norfolk) that I can’t move away from, and being exceedingly proud of my lineage which could end with me- (my sister is Matthews-Allen), I felt for a short time as though I had left part of me behind. I felt hopeless, and depressed, as though I had “lost” Francesca Matthews. However, I understand now that this is natural, and was accelerated by my other struggles. Since then, this has become something that my incredible feminist husband!!! and I may review in the future, and perhaps we will become a “Matthews-Denney” household. While one day I would love to have a ‘party’, or a ‘vow renewal’ where I walk down an aisle wearing a white dress, for now, we eloped.
Because falling in love with Austin was natural, and right, like coming home in the winter to a fire roaring in the hearth.
On a less intense note, I’ve found myself suddenly interested in thing’s I thought I wouldn’t care about until I was a grandma. Gardening, HOMEWARE etc. I’ve always loved cooking, but cooking for someone who has different tastes in food is a challenge. In all, a lot of my interests have changed, but not the fundamentals of my personality. I’m still Frankii, I’ve just grown a bit, and will continue to grow alongside another person. I hate the term other half, because it infers that I would be a half without him, but i’m excited to build and grow together.
Another thing: You will argue about stupid stuff that you never thought possible to argue about. Dishes, housework, lack of attention. Living with someone is challenging enough, let alone when love/passion is involved. Prepare to have full scale arguments about toothbrushes not been left in the toothbrush cup! However, making up is also one of the best parts. You can argue about trivial stuff because you don’t have to worry that you are going to wind up single for doing so. Its surprisingly empowering!
So yes, I married young. No, that does not make me anti-feminist. No, I am not pregnant. No, I do not plan to be any time soon. Yes, I have my own goals and life ambitions. No, that does not mean that I don’t love or support my husband, because he is not fragile and insecure enough for his value as a man to feel depleted by my success. In short, let’s stop starting conversations with women, by asking them about their relationships and babies. If I am pregnant (assuming I actually like you?) I will let you know. For now, I’ll be over here arguing over dirty dishes or planning my next holiday!
As always please feel free to leave a comment, share your opinions, struggles and experiences with me regarding similar or different misogynistic/sexist assumptions, I love hearing from you, and I truly believe in the power of education through discussion and debate!
Love and Light,
disclaimer/TLDR: AGAIN If you are a young housewife/stay at home mummy reading this please know I am in no way seeking to undermine you or offend what it is that you do. I have the utmost respect for full time mums and/or women who don’t have the same desires and ambitions I do. It takes a lot of hard work and true grit to run a home/raise good, pleasant children and I know that. I am just talking about my personal experiences, and seeking to educate others not to assume that this is the only/end goal for all women because we are not all the same. When it comes to the time I do have children of my own I will probably not work either as I think I will be one of those mothers who couldn’t bare the idea of anyone else looking after my precious ones. This is why I am so adamant on achieving my own goals beforehand! But, from my past year of being unemployed post-university I found myself depressed and under-stimulated, though I know this is not true of ALL women, and that is OK. But I definitely think not all dialogue with women should begin with discussing these topics, as this would never happen when talking to a man. There is, (and should be) so much more to a woman than just her marriage and childbearing. xxxx