I’m at the age where all of my friends and everyone around me are getting married, starting careers and having children. And as they are all saying their vows, receiving salaries, moving in with adorable boyfriends, having sex… I’m sitting in my underwear, eating a microwaved meal from Trader Joe’s, re-watching the amazing love story of Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf.
Wife material, I know.
The thing is, I grew up with extremely high expectations of love and relationships.
I witnessed the undeniable love between my amazingly weird parents. Going on 34 years, strong. They found each other at college, were Homecoming King and Queen together, were engaged at 21, married at 22, their first kid just two years later.
And from the age of 10, I knew the man who would one day become my brother-in-law, Graham. Since middle school he had been in pursuit of my oldest sister, Katie.
He once skied down a hill to retrieve her ski when it fell off. He was dedicated.
They were high school sweethearts, married at 25, now living in Chicago, with great careers and the world’s cutest dog. #goals
For years I watched as my siblings were not only able to find these people but would also, willingly bring them over for our Sunday night family dinners. I would sit there at the dinner table, stuffing my face with carbs, because lets be honest, carbs were (and still are) my significant others, and I would listen to them laugh at each other’s corny jokes, or I would observe how one of them would casually place a hand on the other’s knee, or more creepily, watch from the garage as my brother gave his girlfriend a kiss goodbye.
I’m an observer. Sometimes a creepy one…I won’t apologize. This is real. This is me.
Then there was me. The strange, theatrical, younger sister who didn’t grow into her personality until college and who went through her entire educational years without a boy to call her own. No one to invite over to family dinners. No one to stand by me for prom photos or even someone to buy my prom ticket (my dad bought mine). Not one guy to just proudly call mine.
Or even a fake boyfriend to convince my parents that, yes, I was indeed into boys. Even when I did get a boyfriend, right after graduating college, my family never met him… And that relationship didn’t last.
It was disheartening.
Although going to two proms stag, allowed me to dance up on anyone I wanted. So that was fun. Can’t be tamed.
Don’t get me wrong, I love making jokes about being a sad single human; ask any of my friends, they hear my terribly humorous jokes too often.
One year for Halloween I told people that I was going to go out in my everyday clothes and if people asked me what I was, I would reply with, “I’m single,” I thought it was hysterical.
But after years of being single, and then a failed long distance relationship, you begin to believe that maybe you will die alone with a bottle of wine in your hand and Harry Potter on repeat, choking on the left over powder from the donut you just ate in your bed.
What happened to the idea that your twenties were suppose to be spent regretting drunken tattoos, hooking up with a new guy every week, or traveling the world because you believe you’re too young to settle down just yet?…
No, now my early twenties consist of wondering if I should start selling my blood to pay for my apartment that lacks air conditioning, or questioning whether or not the moles on my sunburnt body are cancerous, and more expensively, traveling cross country to make it to my friend’s weddings, merely as another guest.
You know the saying, “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” well I’m not even making the bridesmaids cut for my friends’ weddings. (I’m not including my sister’s wedding, because sisters are automatic bridesmaids… They didn’t choose for me to be in their lives, I just graced them with my existence.)
So where does that leave me? I’ll tell you. It leaves me alone in a pretty dress my mom made for me… asking for the dairy-free option wedding dinner, scoping out the cupcake covered dessert table and taking full advantage of the open bar.
The most recent wedding I attended was for two of my college friends. The wedding was beautiful, I cried more times than I would like to admit. I literally have a photo of the bride hugging me and I’m in tears. Scrunched up face, ugly crying at its finest. In my defense though, I was on my period.
My friends’ wedding ceremony and love was beautiful and moved me to feel incredibly single.
And then the moment during the reception arrived. The bouquet toss. The moment that every female invited to the wedding waits for, in hopes that if they catch the bouquet, they won’t die alone. So naturally, I claimed my spot, front and center amongst the rest of the eager girls and prepped myself for the fight for the flowers.
The flowers that could possibly hold my destiny.
It happened in slow motion. The bride turned. The flowers were flung. And I leaped.
I used my newly made leg muscles and I jumped into the air, arms fully outreached, fingers widely spread. Determination etched on my face. No one stood a chance.
The bouquet was mine.
To say it was a proud moment of mine would be correct. I wanted to live my life being able to say that I, Maggie, was able to catch a bundle of flowers that someone spent way too much money on and would soon wilt and die… I’m being honest. I wanted this.
The funny thing though was that people, random humans at this wedding, actually came up to me and congratulated me on catching the bouquet. Or they would wink at me and whisper, “You’re next.”
Like, excuse me sir, but I do not know you. Nor you me, so there is no possible way that you could know if I was next or not. Unless of course you are referring to me being next to die, which means you’d probably be the one to stab me with the cake knife. Which, honestly, wouldn’t be a bad way to go. Death by cake. Okay.
Also, just to put it out there, into the world to know… I do not, in the slightest, want to be next. Next to die, but mostly, next to get married.
I am 23, going on 24 years old. I have only just, in the past year moved to a new city to start my career. I haven’t even lived my life yet. How would I ever be able to commit to a marriage when I can’t even decide if I want the large box of tampons or just the regular?
But for the first time in my 23 years, I feel like I am beginning to fully embrace my age and where I am in the journey that is Life.
I am at the age where, yes, many of my friends are settling down and marrying other humans with somewhat more secure career choices.
But I am also at the age where I am figuring out who the fuck I am without the comfort of family and school and any set schedules. I am at the age where I am going on dates, no longer in hopes of making my ex jealous, but because I enjoy the great guy who has shown an interest in me, at this particular stage in my life. I am at the age where I am doing things for myself, to make me happy. I am at the age where I am becoming confident in the woman that has lived, hidden inside me, and I am finally letting her out. And it feels amazing.
I have always been a person who dances like no one is watching. But now, I say proudly, that I dance as if the world is watching and my sole goal is to get everyone up on their feet, dancing with me.