An Invitation

19/04/2018


Last sunday, I attended my friend's wedding. She is twenty seven and has been in a relationship with her partner for seven years. Days like this are the reason I think about how marriage was never in my mind, something I don't like (or want) to think about.

I am not one for sentimentalism about weddings. Growing up, I never thought about the kind of wedding gown I'd love to wear or the kind of colours or flowers I want my aisle to be flourished with, partly because I was too busy playing video games and watching anime to think about such superficial thing. I've always thought weddings are great because I can get free meal. Other than that, I cannot see myself rushing about it.

The night before, I told my mom about the invitation because apparently that's what you do when you still live with your parents so they don't sweat it when they see you all dressed up. What came out of her mouth, however, were these exact words: "when you see her married, don't you think about your own?" I quickly replied, "of course not. I don't care about marriage."

And that was true. It still is. Marriage is just a contract bound to seal you and your partner - a written statement that prove you are your partner's and vice versa. Figuratively, of course. In where I live, it is also another way to be intimate with your partner without being humiliated. When seen from the perspective I have been surrounded with, marriage becomes a shackle to one's freedom, the end to my self-centered love for myself. It also doubles as a chain to label your significant other. I personally find that quite unpleasant. It gives me the idea that unless you bound your partner like that, you cannot trust him (or her) to appreciate or keep your feelings — which, in my opinion, goes against what relationship actually means. If there is no trust without marriage then why is there a need for a relationship to be formed? Besides, as much as I don't mind sharing my ice cream with the dude I'm dating, being married means I have to share everything. I just can't see myself as an unconditionally generous 'sharing is caring' individual, yet.

When you are in your 20s, people like to be nosy and ask you about whether or not you want to be married. Relatives, colleagues and even your own parents may gnaw at your patience and ask the same thing. The question is why. Why does it matter so much? Why is it necessary to be so competitive about everything in life? It's exhausting.

Marriage is not about winning or losing from a friend, a relative or a colleague. Sure, as humans, we are bound to feel jealous, bound to feel like we are losing from other people who launched their rocket first, who reached the finish line first. It's designated to happen anyway. Yet I'm tired. I'm tired of being told to win, to compete. I'm sick of hearing conservative adults saying that the best age to get married is 28 year old. I'm sick of my aunts and uncles saying that when a woman has passed the age of 28, getting married is too late for her since she no longer 'looks fresh.' Not to mention that is rude and insensitive to the person and their situation as well. 

I think about my relatives who were so quick to jump into marriage and wonder if they ever regret it. I wonder if they ever wished to undo things the moment they decided to be parents two months after their marriage. Or maybe they were just that - happy and prepared. On the other hand, don't even talk to me about kids. I hate kids and they are expensive pets, case closed.

My mind sees me with a book, probably pursuing yet another degree if possible. My mind doesn't see me in a wedding dress, walking down the aisle with a bouquet in hand. When I close my eyes, I see myself happily in love without having to be married, having a home with my partner and being a mom for the cats and dogs. That's cool too.

I'm not against any of this. Not really, no. It's just not a concept I want to think of especially not when I am haunted by unsolicited advisors who glorify marriage in a way I cannot digest. There are billions of people in this world it's impossible to compete against all of them. So I won't. I don't care who gets to marry first and I certainly don't give a damn who gives birth to a baby first.

And even if this is a match or as much as I love the sweet taste of victory, I don't think I have the intention to win at all. If losing the game means not having a wedding budget because I need to spend them on traveling or education, adopt all the stray cats and dogs I can manage, live with my partner in a small yet cozy apartment without having to label each other as husband and wife then I'll probably choose the latter.

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