The author, Valerie Alexander, talks about the ridiculous pressure young women are put under to have successful jobs, marriages and babies.
Alexander asks her friends (many of them now divorced), "Hey, can I have back the thousands of dollars I spent being in your weddings? Because the wedding really is the problem, or more precisely, the desire for a wedding."
|Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.|
Weddings are expensive and full of (ridiculous) fanfare. And, coincidentally every girl dreams about their wedding, starting in preschool. Now thanks to Pinterest ... every little girl's "dream" is turned into a full-on circus with matching DIY chair signs, enormous centerpieces filled with flowers imported from Thailand and lace aisle runners hand-tatted by nuns in France.
And for some reason, I still want to get married. I haven't started the planning process yet, but I don't think I'll need imported flowers or out of control extras. I want to have a simple ceremony and a fun reception, where we can celebrate with all of our friends and family. But in the mean time, what if I just want to enjoy being Homeboy's girlfriend for a little while longer? Let us decide when we should get married. Graduating college came first, and luckily I have the diploma to prove it.
Earning that said diploma hanging on my wall was the hardest thing I've done to date. After graduation, I got a job and am using my degree working for a company I really believe in. Shouldn't that act be celebrated rather than minimized by you looking at my bare left hand and shaking your head or clucking your tongue?
Alexander brings up a good point, "And what if, as a society, we celebrated other milestones instead? Wouldn't it be amazing if college graduations were given the wedding treatment? If the commencement ceremony included a $3,000 dress and a $70-a-plate dinner for friends and family who came in from all over the country? Photographers, flowers, dancing, a band? "You've got to see my graduation video. It was so beautiful!" What would be the outcome if little girls had 32 television shows to watch about that? Would that give them something else to aspire to? To dream about?"
|Homeboy and me on our recent trip to Maine.|
I've had people ask me on Facebook, in person, on the phone and in the grocery store when I'm getting engaged. The answer is ... I don't know and I don't want to know! I am a planner through and through, but for this one (big, huge, important, monumental) moment, I'm going to trust my boyfriend to handle it. Call me old fashioned, but I want to be surprised and I want the moment to be special.
Here is what I'm asking --- censor yourself. In a recent article, "Think Before You Post? 5 Reasons People Self-Censor on Facebook," NBC News shares results from a recent Facebook survey.
According to the survey, people censored their posts for 5 reasons -
Now, I have conflicting views about Facebook in general. Homeboy thinks people share too much, and on most levels, I agree. But, I still post something on my wall - usually daily.
- People didn't want to "instigate or continue an argument," because fighting on Facebook isn't fun for anybody.
- Users also didn't want to "offend others," which is why people are always sharing cat videos, not their political manifestos. That, the study said, usually results in users sharing "content for the 'lowest common denominator' — content that would be appropriate for any of the user's distinct social circles."
- People didn't want to "bore" their friends.
- Also, they were hesistant to "post content that they believed might be inconsistent with their self-representations." Yes, we're talking to you, PhD student who secretly wants to post about "Duck Dynasty."
- Users neglected to post "due to technological constraints," for example, getting frustrated when trying to post with the mobile app.
I have censored my posts based on all of the above reasons. I'm sure all of my "cow" posts and Cougar Fleming pictures bore some people, but I have friends all over the country and I enjoy sharing a little part of my day with them, but not everything.
Here's the kicker people - what if we censored our live, human conversations with the same integrity? According to the article, "Overall, 33 percent of all posts written during the 17-day study were self-censored." Imagine, if you didn't say 33% of the things you've started to say.
You might not realize - but when you're asking me when I'm getting engaged, you're making me terribly self-conscious. What is wrong with me that I'm not engaged yet? When you ask someone when they're going to have a baby, maybe they've been trying for months to no avail. Why can't we get pregnant? They're asking themselves that everyday. When you ask someone how the job searching is going, you're really just rubbing salt in the wound. Finding a job is hard, and sometimes even with a great resume and people skills - it takes a while, trust me.
I'm not asking you to not get married or have a baby or ask about your friends' lives, but maybe just put yourself in their shoes when you ask really personal questions?
Not everyone gets to go to a job they enjoy, be in a loving relationship and have an awesome pet dog like I do. And I get that! For right now, that's enough. That's all I need in my life. One day, I will get married. One day, I'll have a kid that's not covered in golden fur. But for now, I've got a job I enjoy, a boyfriend I love, and a cute house in the country that is warm and functional.
And for some reason, I still want to get married - SOMEDAY. But please don't snub your nose at me (or anyone else) who hasn't done those things in a particular order based on your imaginary time schedule.