When I was a kid, I used to watch this old VHS tape. It was your standard motivational-child sing-a-long. I don’t remember much about it. It’s all half-formed fuzzy childhood memories.
But I do remember that the last song said something along the lines of “you can be whoever you want to be.”
Then I got older.
Everything was fine until middle school when I suddenly didn’t fit in well anywhere. I was too awkward to hang out with the girls (who discovered makeup, fashion, and hair-styling ages before I did), and the boys would never do more than tolerate me because I was a girl. I was not one of them, no matter my interest in video games, sports, and Pokemon cards.
This awkwardness persisted well into high school, where suddenly there were couples. Everywhere.
Around this time, I discovered the concept of Feminism.
I clung to only one tenet: That I was a strong, independent woman who didn’t need a man to complete me.
I believed this not because it was true, but because it gave me a shield against the hurt I felt because I was alone.
Today, one of my coworkers asked me if my husband was coming on a business trip with me.
I don’t have a husband.
I try to be the fun, creative person I know I am. I try to live life to the fullest and not worry about relationships. I know I can have just as much fun as a single adult as I could if I were dating someone.
But when she said that, when she asked about a nonexistent figure in my life, a deep-set sadness pierced through me. I realized that I still cling to that tenet of Feminism, for the same reasons I had in high school.
I’ve said I’m happier alone. I’ve said I want to be alone. I’ve said that I don’t think I ever want a relationship. I’ve said these things recently. Like, less than a week ago.
All of it, lies.
I would argue that my self-deception isn’t all bad. It’s allowed me to stay single during most of my academic years–allowing me to focus on my grades and not a boyfriend. It’s allowed me to make decisions without taking into account someone else’s opinion/desires. It’s made me learn how to take care of myself in the real world.
But now that I’ve graduated, now that I can allow distractions…
My self-deception is preventing me from pursuing something that I undeniably want.
But now that I perceive my deception, will that awareness stem the tide of its reach?