Monday, March 17, 2008
You know that your family is desperate for you to get off the road to spinsterhood (a.k.a. matandang dalaga in Filipino) when you're told the following in the same mortifying conversation -
"Dapat naman kasi mag-ayos-ayos ka na, para naman mapansin ka. Papayat ka na kasi!" (You really should fix yourself up so that men will notice you. Lose weight!) - my mother.
"Pinagdadasal ko na nga sana naman makahanap na ng boyfriend." (I've been praying that you would finally find a boyfriend.) - a meddling aunt.
"Wag ka mag-alala, pag pumunta ka doon amin yung pinsan mo madami mga kaibigang lalaki, sasabihan na namin ipakilala na sa iyo." (Don't worry, if you come to visit us, your cousin has a lot of male friends, we'll tell her to introduce you.) - a sympathetic, if tactless, uncle.
All this is punctuated by an exchange of worried glances, the meaning of which they might as well have screamed, Poor child. What the heck is WRONG with her? There must be something we can do!
It's bad enough that I know they talk about the barren wasteland that is my love life behind my back. That they have now begun expressing their unsolicited opinion about my singlehood to my face underscores the depth of their concern. And the fact that my mother is encouraging any and all of her relatives to please find her eldest, aging daughter a date is enough to make me want to sink through the floor.
It doesn't seem that long ago when my well-meaning relatives - most specially my mother - were telling me to put any thoughts of a love life in the backseat. Be a good girl and concentrate on my studies first, they said. You'll have time for romantic pursuits when you're older, they said. Concentrate on the more important things first. Yeah, right.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming them for my state of singleness - the reasons for this particular state of my life is multi-factorial. I just find it painfully funny that they are now desperately seeking my Mr. Right after all those years of praying I wouldn't find him just yet. You know, because of all the things I had to take care of first (i.e. getting my medical degree, finishing residency).
Now they think that just because I've finally gotten everything else out of the way, it's high time I started looking for a - you guessed it! - potential husband. News flash, folks - most of the men in my age group are already married, are soon-to-be-married, or are wonderful and gay. Men do not grow on trees, and, even if they did, I am not the kind of woman who could happily pick them up and go my merry way. If only it were that easy...
Apparently, my family has never heard of the saying, "Be careful what you wish for."
Remember when I said that my degree of optimism about being a quirkyalone waxes and wanes? Well, today it's definitely on the wane. I can't lie and say I've never wanted all those things they want for me for myself - because I have. And, believe me, I've whipped myself about it and guessed and second-guessed some more about what I did or what I didn't do to end up alone like this. I guess love just comes hard for some people. Or it just doesn't come at all.
It's hard enough to battle with the demons of self-doubt and the fear of never finding anyone to share my life with without having to add their voices to the mix. I love them and I know they mean well, but sometimes I really wish they would just leave me alone.
Looks like I'm sleeping in the bitter barn tonight. Someone please throw me a rope and help me get out of here.
* * * *
"Oh the fear I've known -
That I might reap the praise of strangers
And end up on my own
All I've sown was a song
But maybe I was wrong...
... I'm working through the grammar of my fears
oh mercy,to have the things that mean the most
Not to mean the things I miss..."
- Language or the Kiss - Indigo Girls