Updated: Jul 29
The disappointments. The pressure. The need to fulfill other people's ideas of where I should be right now in life. I am a lot of what my family did not expect me to be when I came into this world 36 years ago. I rent, I do not own, my home. I married a woman. I am childless. After seven years of marriage, I expected to have kids by now but that was an old life plan that was simple and basic. The goal was to lose the massive amount of weight I was carrying around for years, be a fit, pretty pregnant lady and have a baby that looked just like me. Or at least had all my hair and olive skin. And maybe two at once (because twins run in my family)! Own a home. Have a backyard. Have a good paying job. That was the goal, that was the plan. What I didn't realize is that reaching the goal of losing the weight opened my eyes to see so many opportunities that I had yet to seize. It gave me a new confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to and so I had the urge to pursue dreams I put aside, and so did my wife, the queen of 'dreams come true.' And so there's the the age old philosophy of "the time is now [because you won't be able to do this once you start having kids]." But like an old car with "JUST MARRIED" painted on the back of it, as we drove away down "Dream Street" I felt my family waving goodbye, staring in judgment for my choice, and that society had tied on strings of cans to the back that rattled and echoed these lovely sentiments: "But aren't you going to have kids?" "Don't forget you're getting older!" "Your time is running out to have a child!" And now, a short story about conformity: In my first 18 years on this earth I followed my parents guidance and did what was "best." But conforming to norms always made me feel uneasy, made my gut queasy. The first time I tried to conform was when I pretended an emotional relationship with a female teacher was just because we were "close" and I made up a fake crush on one of the most popular boys in school, because it's what I should've been doing like all the other girls. I didn't give a shit about that boy. I gave all the shits about that teacher. Alone in the year 2000, at 18, I had to struggle and ultimately decide to be brave enough to say my happiness was overall more important than what other people were going to think about me loving unconventionally and labeling myself as a lesbian. And if I was rejected by my family it wasn't going to kill me. I'd find a way to survive. They wouldn’t find out for another year and a half. I did, however, during that same time, take their advice and go conventional on what to study in college. I submitted to the safe route of studying business marketing convincing myself I'd go into advertising and BE CREATIVE in a business setting. And I had in the back of my mind what my father said, that my stepmother had a stable, good paying job as a legal secretary and I might want to considering "just doing that" and "just keep it simple" yet it never made any sense to me that he always said "make sure you do what you love because you'll be doing it for the rest of your life." What I loved doing was unconventional - art and music - unstable and unsafe. I worked as a file clerk in a small law office all through college and I obtained a massive amount of experience. I graduated with my Business Marketing degree and entry level pay in that industry was pennies and now, 18 years later, I have a very good, well paying job at the worlds richest law firm, as a Practice Assistant. That is what I am now: I am paper, I am black and white. I am e-mails. I am phone messages. I am a travel coordinator for 40 hours a week. I conformed instead of going with my gut. I am very happy that I take home a good paycheck and I have an incredible set of bosses and wonderfully supportive coworkers. I take none of it for granted. But now I am making up for lost time. Now, I am going with my gut and finally pursuing dreams that could've been built on for years at this point. And frankly, it’s now, or probably never (maybe in retirement). But what it does mean is that I'm not conforming anymore. I gave that a good ol' college try. I am in the business of trying not to look back and regret what I have not yet done. And I have to stay the course. I won’t just toss this all aside because my time is running out to give birth to a child. That doesn't mean I won't own a home, and if I don’t it won’t make me a failure. It doesn't mean I won't have kids, and if I don’t it won’t be the end of the world. It doesn't mean I won't have a good paying job, well, because I’m not about that life. And just as I did way back at the age of 18, I struggle with knowing I am living very unconventionally than what my family has done for generations. And I have to release myself from thinking they're judging me. In a strange twist, I was on the phone with my 85 year old great aunt yesterday. She is the last of the old generation in my family. I was very consciously anticipating her asking me when we were going to slow down in response to me telling her all the activities we had done this summer. And so I made sure to say, "I know, we should probably settle down soon." She responded, "You'll know when its time, honey. You have to do these things now. You have to make sure you do it all. Because once the kids come, you don't want to feel like you missed out on something before they were around. When the time is right, that's when it matters." Jesus, Mary and Joseph. To my surprise, the universe chose the person I expected the least to give me the support I'd been looking for.