Have you ever woken up from the ‘daze’ and thought ‘What the f*ck am I doing here?’ in a relationship? It’s like waking up from the longest one night stand in the world and seeing your knickers hanging off the lampshade and the beer goggles have vanished.
Four years ago today, I went out to dinner with my then boyfriend to the Thai restaurant where we had our first date. After the meal he proposed and for the next fifteen months, I was a member of the fiance club. He made a complete production out of the proposal and being a typical man that thinks he needs to be rewarded for any slight exertion caused by making an effort and having to use a body part that doesn’t involve his penis, he had to be patted on the back for ages about how wonderful he was, and he kept telling me how grateful I should be because he got down on bended knee on Valentine’s day.
Suffice to say, it didn’t work out, fortunately, and I don’t say this with an ounce of bitterness or sarcasm. I’m saying it because if we had got married it would have been a major f up. I would have been shoehorned into my wifey club uniform and I probably wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do, because the relationship wouldn’t have coped with it. He was a perfectionist that got his willy in a knot when I didn’t close the blinds right or iron his shirts to perfection (Can you believe the mofo said I left more lines than a tube map in his shirt?) I’m quite head strong and even though he knocked my confidence for a while so that he could put me where he wanted me to be, I ultimately rose out of the ashes and it all went tits up. Strange thing is, the very reasons why we broke up, were the very reasons why I always thought we’d break up and I knew these when we got engaged.
I’m not one of those women who has spent most her life planning her wedding and practising being a bride in my imagination or with my dress up box. Churches used to make me nervous because the bro and I were traumatised as children when we’d be dragged to church on Sundays and nearly be trampled by a stampede of over excited, singing black women jumping up and down in white tights and white shoes, and big hats with flowers and fruit on them. Even now when I get married, there will be strict instructions that no-one, especially black folk are allowed to wear white tights and shoes.
There aren’t many examples of great lasting marriages in my family, in fact, there’s about three in total, on both sides. Of those three, one set is my grandparents and they’ve been together for over fifty years and they crack me up with their bickering like teenagers and my gran’s bossiness.
I used to be a bit concerned about my lack of commitment hissy fits. I never chased these things yet I have been proposed to two and a half times (one of the guys started and told him to shut the f up), been a fiance once, and it’s always been the guys trying to lock me down and make me ‘theirs’. Actually, it’s no wonder I’ve never had to apply pressure – my exes all pipped me to the post, ruining my chances!
Even though I didn’t chase commitment, I wasn’t exactly resisting and for a number of years I was the woman who couldn’t seem to stop committing. Act now, think later, realise that it’s all a crock of shite.
I was a passive committer -I went along with the flow even though there were multiple warnings whether they were so loud they can be heard in China (read: my mother and friends), or subtle enough to niggle at my tummy leaving me feeling vaguely ‘off’. Until a few years ago, there didn’t seem to be a definitive notion in my head of what constituted the type of relationship that you should work at, and the type you should wash your hands of. Naturally I was clever enough for the obvious stuff like potential wife beaters and other types of guy that abuse something or someone, but I was rubbish at the subtle stuff, the blurred lines.
The only thing that I seemed able to do was get caught up in the hype, the talk, the promises, the pressure, and the comforting feeling of being a passenger on Noah’s ark. With each guy, I’d wake up from the ‘daze’ where I was able to fit in with the illusion, and things would nosedive as I would become patently dissatisfied.
Naturally I had to go from one extreme to the other, and I went from the woman who couldn’t stop committing, to the woman who stopped committing by putting her attentions on unavailable men – I am the flame for these moths.
So where am I now? There will be no more waking up from the longest one night stand in the world as I’m making ‘sober’, conscious choices that I am an equal party to and desire just as much. There will be no more passive committing and every reader has my full permission to hunt me down and march me down the street with my pants around my ankles for all to see, should I fall off the wagon. My only obstacle to the committed life: besides the obvious lack of boyfriend (I am working on it though), it’s actually getting over my Selfish Single habits. Jaysus, it’s like one bleedin’ thing after another, but that’s a whole other story!
As for me being a bride in the future, maybe I’m getting more mature but I actually have an idea of the type of wedding I want, the dress etc. Now considering that I didn’t have a clue during fifteen months of engagement, that’s progress!