Friday, one of my best friends married the love of his life. Seeing them celebrate their step into holy matrimony made me think, Where is my happily ever after?
In 2013 I met my significant other while taking classes at a local community college. Five years late, we’re parents and simply stuck into a routine. As working parents know, it’s very easy to fall into a pattern as the days go by in the blink of an eye but I had goals. I wanted to have my bachelors degree by 25, Married by 28, and children around 30. Life doesn’t always go as planned so it went more like college dropout by 21, child by 24 and no direction in life. Usually, it takes no more than a good episode of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ for me to begin planning my perfect wedding. But this time was different. I asked myself “Is marriage really for you?”.
My parents, though highly disfunctional, have been married for over 40 years. Growing up, I was apart of a close knit family so all I know is the strong marriage dynamic. My significant other, on the opposite end of the spectrum, lived in a home where his parents were never together, though they are married. His father is Mexican, believing that a man can do as he pleases, with whom he pleases while his wife raises the children and struggles with mental health problems among other things; the typical machismo. Until we started seeing each other, he’d never thought about getting married; marriage does not work!
I love my significant other but when it comes to making me a priority, he falls short. I’m not one to make excuses so I won’t start now. He takes care of his mom who suffers from a number of mental health issues in addition to ulcerative colitis and osteoporosis. She also speaks very limited English, doesn’t know how to drive, and is separated from his father. When we first got together I knew this was the situation. It wasn’t so bad because I had my own apartment while he held a place for him and his mom, though he was at my place majority of the time. Life got rough and I ended up losing my apartment and was forced to move in with them. It wasn’t until then I began to see the true hierarchy in our new family.
My mother in law is Queen Elizabeth on steroids. When she says jump, he asks how high. At first, I felt bad for her. Then I realized, she is a demanding B-I-T-C-H sometimes. It’s not her that’s the problem ultimately, it’s her son. He forgets everyone and everything when his mom calls upon him, which is more often than not. Even after we had our baby, it turned into having two babies.
GOD! WHEN DOES IT STOP!
I reached a breaking point when I lost a much-needed job because he wanted me to choose to help take her to her doctor appointments. Major bummer especially with a preemie infant. I bit the bullet. I declined the job offer. Did that get me any recognition or brownie points? No sir. It was the beginning of my depression; depression that lasted for two years, on and off.
My moment of liberation was re-enrolling into college. I’ve been taking college classes since I was 15 years old but I have NEVER declared a major. I boasted to my family over Thanksgiving dinner 2009 about how I was a pre-med biology student, I was going to be a neurologist. STRAIGHT PAID! BIG BILLS ONLY! Little did I know, three semester later I would receive a certified letter from the Dean of my college informing me that due to subpar grades I’d lost my financial aid and I was being put on academic suspension aka getting kicked out of college. I had failed.
Six years later, I find myself at the precipice of nursing school. I met with a counselor at my local community college who informed me that I only need to take four classes before applying to the nursing program. Taking all of those classes in high school really paid off for me in the end, especially since my math requirement was met by a class that I took in 10th grade. Before applying to the program, I must complete Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, and English; the mountain in the distance was a hill.
My focus since has been on self-growth, which is hard when you are in a serious relationship. I am important. How will my daughter ever understand the importance of being an independent strong woman if I can’t do it myself? With this came with many thoughts, including property ownership. I’m not currently married, my career is about to take front seat next to my daughter, of course.
Does that leave room for marriage? The horse and carriage? Am I becoming one of those progressive, feminist that neglects the home for the advancement of her career, or so the story goes? No. I’m improving myself for my childs future.