They all do it.

I wrote this, drunk, on a subway back from a fancy restaurant in SoHo one night. I was on my way home after following a saddening conversation with my dearest and closest sister. I hope it sheds some sort of insight into the perils of marital distress and the anxiety that relational rifts can truly have on those close to you.

” I once foolishly believed that marriages could work out. That they could be happy and joy-filled, and I don’t know… purposeful.

I’m not sure where my belief sprouted from. I certainly never got a healthy picture of marriage from my parents. They stayed together, God knows why. My emotionally abusive alcoholic father controlled the dynamic of the household. If he was angry, it was like walking on eggshells. His temper flared at the slightest thing – talking about college, for instance. Or anything, really – even down to the milk he put on his morning cereal.

None of my siblings ended up in happy marriages, either. My oldest sister married an abusive alcoholic as well, my brother ended up divorced at the ripe age of 35, and my three other sisters carried their own share of grievances – from affairs and infidelity to heartbreak in vast religious and philosophical differences.

But when my sister, my beautiful sister, sat on the floor of my college dorm room and started crying, I’ll never forget the feeling of panic that washed over me. Sobbing she cried claims of having never loved her husband, of not knowing why she married him, and feeling trapped now that they had a child together.

“I always wanted to have a way out” she said, “because Mom never left.”

And then because I didn’t know what to say – couldn’t know, really, I didn’t have the experience to give advice to a married woman – she blew her nose, wiped her tears and said “I’m fine.” and got into a cab.

Her marriage had been so much stronger than the others. Little did I know, as the youngest sibling, that they had their own share of heartache. And when I looked into her eyes, I saw such grief and disparity. It was one of many times I swore to myself I’d never get married.

She promised me that not all marriages were like that. That there were lasting, good, and strong marriages out there. But somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to believe her. How could I? There wasn’t a single one I had witnessed. “

Suck it.

Dear M-,

I’m not “worth more than that”.

I’m not cheapened because I express my sexuality in a way that does not live up to your standards. Which is funny, because I express myself in the same way as you and your partner, just outside of a marriage. That makes me worthless?

This isn’t a question of sexual orientation, really, but rather one of sexual exploration. I have spent countless years of my life being convinced that I was only worth how pure I was on my wedding night. They told me that I would be the perfect blushing bride when that “one” man decided to love me enough to make me his bride. That blushing bride would be pure, virginal, and clean.

Those years had me convinced that I was only worth how each man viewed me. The countless groups, studies, and sermons had me convinced that any side-step from the purity track would have me thrown in Hell and worse – a trampled rose that no man would deem as “worthy” of his possession.

That was wrong.

That IS wrong.

This is why:

Human beings are not, nor should they ever be property. Human nature may be propagating horrendous, demeaning and dehumanizing acts such as the sex slave trade, and in a terrifying way, propaganda and doctrine are furthering similar principles. That means, that my identity as a female should not subject me to a lifestyle in which I’m immediately considered to be less than equal with my sexual partner.

When I choose to express my sexuality, I choose to do so under a construct that should not ever live up to the expectations of society or organized groups of homogenous beliefs.

I am a woman. That makes me wrong about 70% of the time according to a lot of the male populace, who believe that we’re irrational, emotionally unstable beings who make rash decisions based off our menstrual cycles.

I am a woman. That makes me wrong about 40% of the time according to the “anti-feminist” woman populace who believe that we’ve already achieved equal rights, equal pay, and equal standing with men. When I earn the right to express my honest opinions within my career field without being called a “bitch” because I’m merely outspoken, come talk to me.

So no, M-. I’m not “worth more” than giving head, having sex, or anything that lies on the sexual spectrum that both my partner and I enjoy, together, regardless of our “relationship status”. I’m worth every single second of it. Because my inherent value does not lie within the precious (dare I say “white, American, middle-class POST MODERN”) constructs of traditionalism and Christian purity. My value lies within myself, and living truthfully as best as humanly possible.

That’s why I like giving head. Suck one. But really.

The millennials’ obsession with commitment.

I need to preface this post by stating that I am a millennial.

There are multiple posts out there about the millennial generation. They range from positive to negative and cover a broad range of topics, about how special we think we are, how entitled we are, and even how wrong our parents were. Call us what you will, albeit it GYPSY, Yuppie or narcisisstic, we may in fact be all three, because there’s nothing we do better than… well, everything.

But what I’ve recently been drawn to, is merely an observation that I’ve made for which I’m seeking more conversation. I have no studies to back my theory, and I certainly don’t have the time to research it, I’m too busy becoming successful and saving the world. No, what seems to be trending in my generation today is a prevalent obsession with commitment.

What I mean to say is that the idea of commitment captivates our thoughts. Because when we’re not thinking about what our next successful career or thrilling adventure is going to be, we’re usually committing our lives to our multiple jobs, internships, and full course loads at schools that we can’t afford. Everyone I talk to now has at least one job, an internship, and is a full-time student. (And I can’t claim exemption, because I work three part-time jobs and take 18 credits.) My time is so precious, I rejoice when I have an hourly interval free for lunch and a coffee, because it certainly doesn’t happen every day.

Because a lot of us are students or fresh to the career world, the overwhelming majority of us view this stage of our life as a “necessary but inconvenient step” toward success. School is necessary, but only because it will get us where we need to go. And that part-time job is so we can afford to live the lavish-esque lifestyle we were expected to have handed down to us from society while they were praising our skills and talents. And that internship? Networking opportunities, of course. Because we simply have to make those connections now if we want to be successful. It’s like taking off one hat to put on another.

The implications of these roles? To put it simply, we’re overcommitted, but not to things that we consider really important, because as Mark Edmundson so poignantly claims in his essay, “Dwelling in Possibilities“, we, as a generation, are deathly afraid of closure. We find happiness when we can see all our possibilities in front of us, not necessarily when we achieve them. Because we were taught to dream, to aspire, and to be the best we could be.

We were told that the world was at our disposal. So it’s not surprising to find a lack of commitment when you consider our approach to personal relationships. We’re quick to over commit to the professional world, but we like our friendships like we like our coffee. Quick, accessible when we need it, and a way to boost ourselves. And this is largely in part to the fact that we live in a fast-paced, technology driven culture that has radically changed the way we communicate.

This practice has carried over quite seamlessly into our views and practices of romantic relationships. Most interaction is done electronically – online and through each and every smart phone social media app that exists. Sociologists theorize that this is the phenomenon that has led to a prominent hookup culture. One that prizes the idea of a quick, non-committal physical encounter that doesn’t require the time or effort that a committed relationship demands.  Take Tinder for example – the wildly popular dating app. Time magazine claims, “Tinder gamifies it all—dating and mating as a portable match game, with an unending succession of faces appearing on your screen, all dispatched with a swipe one way to pick the winners and a swipe the other to designate losers—and somewhere out there, your face is being swiped too.” In a way, we see dating as one big game. We’re afraid of committing to someone because that means closure, it means we have sealed off other possibilities, and we do, after all, dwell in possibilities.

While it may be technology, social trends, our upbringing, or a myriad of other reasons, it’s undeniable that the majority of all millennials are over committed, yet paradoxically remain deathly afraid of commitment. And it’s startling because I can’t explain it. I feel it, too. I am a product of this generation, and there’s very little I can do about it. And I too, am trapped between a career and a love interest that’s not a true “relationship” but also a bit more than a “one night stand”. I’m not certain how I’m supposed to feel, or how I’m supposed to act. But it’s deathly frightening. And in this I know I’m not alone.

From a millenial.

xoxo,

MC