Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Only in Dreams: A Showcase of Subconscious Fears

It was a gathering of my college roommates, and all had husbands and kids except me.

It was a trip back to my old office, and all my colleagues worked there except me.

It was a race and all my family had finished except me.

I've been having some vivid dreams lately, and in each scenario I have this all except me phenomenon. I wake up, remembering every detail, then I sit with that feeling of being left behind, out of it and alone.

There are some special fears that are saved only for 30s and 40s-year-old women. Society has banged it into our heads that without families and careers, we are not enough. I know this to be true not only because I feel it, but because my friends feel it, and they confide in me.

It's a modern-day oddity, where otherwise accomplished young/middle aged women fret over whether or not to "try it again on Tinder" or post pictures of themselves with their nieces and nephews on social media to secretly bask in the glow of "Likes" numbers that only come with the images of young children. 

And, honestly, I have to believe that if we were not in a realm where we could post the wine and Mac n' Cheese we ate for lunch (me, guilty of that yesterday), we would not feel the level of shame or inadequacy that creeps in when we find ourselves without what others have. Now, I'm not dumb; I know this phenomenon doesn't stop once women achieve society's silent expectations for us to have families and careers (and perhaps beach bodies that persevere through decades of living). I know that it must be tough to inadvertently draw comparisons between your child's Happy Meal to Her child's organic lunchbox. 

But, I know this to be true, there is a special, stinging space in the deep subconsciousness of single, career-less, childfree women. I know this because I am one of those gals.

But you can be whatever and whomever you want to be!

This is an opportunity for you out there; you're still young!

There is always the Peace Corps! (I say that last one to myself, mostly)

One of the mistakes I know that I am making here is that I am looking at time in a linear fashion. I know that women achieve their dreams of starting families, only to be hit with the heaviness of Life and Death, forcing them to redefine themselves within the constructs of social expectations.

I also know that others must feel the same sense of longing to belong, of uneasiness over being a human being. Of feeling like we are never enough.

I like to blame things like this on being a Millennial, because I half wish that I weren't one. I sometimes wish I were from the Silent Generation. You'd really want to live through World Wars!? No, and I'd be ignorant to even suggest that. What I am suggesting is that, sometimes I feel like I am without a net, without an outline, without a defined target of who I am supposed to be. If I were born a century ago, there would be NO QUESTION that I had fucked up by now, so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. I could just enjoy spinsterhood and play cards at the local watering hole (maybe I should be doing that anyway?)

I suppose some might find that whole thought offensive, because perhaps their parents were a part of the Silent Generation, and perhaps they suffered unspeakable things, like running out of food and fearing for their lives. The point I am trying to make about the Millennial bit is that 

It's confusing. Living on the edge of societal expectations (without a family or a career). Coming out about Mental Illness and having a platform (the Internets) to do so. Sharing my feelings of inadequacy with strangers (you). 

Old time ladies would never do that and they would suffer alone. Perhaps if I weren't a Millennial, I'd just keep all these thoughts locked up in a leather diary (I still do that, too). 

HOWEVER, here's the up side. Here's why I chose to write about Bipolar. Here's why I take the risk of blogging at all. Maybe, perhaps, you get it. Maybe you read this and you say to your self, Thank GOD someone else wants to go be from the Silent Generation! No, but maybe it's like, Thank god some other woman other there gets it; that it's hard to be single and approaching middle age and not sure about what's next in this life. 

Yea, I get it, gurl. And don't you worry about them nightmares, I have them too. 

Feeling Spinsterly,

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