Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When's my turn?

I never had a boyfriend in high school. This was mainly due to the fact that if I did my mother would have killed me or at least beat me within an inch of my life if she knew about it (she really wasn't playing when it came to me and boys!) Moms was the major main deterrent but there was also quite a bit of the feeling that no one really liked me enough to want to be my boyfriend in high school (which, looking back, is probably not true - but a lack of self esteem can seriously distort reality.)

So there I was - the only girl I knew in high school without boyfriend - and all my friends and associates had somebody at some point in time. To say I felt left out understates just how it made me feel. (It definitely reinforced my low self-esteem - especially when I saw girls who were clearly not cute but had boys after them left and right. I didn't get it. What was it about these girls that made boys drool while it seemed I could barely hold a boy's attention? Years later I learned that it was mainly about self-esteem. When my self-esteem went up, so did my # of dates!) My mother was a deterrent but I was willing to sneak around... but it really didn't happen. I wanted to be down with everyone else. All my friends had boyfriends - and all I wanted to know was when my turn to have a boyfriend would come!

One of my best friends coined this experience the "Barbie Doll Syndrome" (BDS). All little girls love Barbies - and most little girls do end up with at least one Barbie doll (or at least they did back in the '80's!). Given the popularity of Barbie dolls, to be a little girl without a Barbie doll would be difficult! All the little girls in her class have one - and they might even get together to play with their Barbies together. The girl without a Barbie can only watch and wonder what it must be like to play with one... and if the little girl had a Barbie, but she didn't have the new special Barbie that everyone else had (remember how popular Totally Hair Barbie was in the 90's?) then she too would be left out of the Barbie Doll experience.That was me in high school. Even though high school relationships came with high school drama - I didn't care - I wanted to play with a Barbie too!!

And here I am 8 years after high school, after going through my share of relationships and dates and other dealings with men. I'm much more confident than I was 8 years ago, and I don't have a mother preventing me from being in a relationship but I find myself in a similar state of mind as in high school, except that Barbie now has her own wedding gown and a huge rock on her lil plastic hand.

I cannot log onto Facebook these days without seeing some friend or associate having changed their relationship status to "Engaged" or "Married"!! It's crazy! But then again - not so much - because at 26 I'm definitely at the time of my life where more of my peers will be getting married. It's to be expected but still overwhelming. And once again I find myself asking God when my turn will come.

One difference between the high school BDS and what I'm going through now is that not everybody has that Barbie. I haven't counted but it seems to me that at least half of my friends and associates (and Facebook friends) are quite single and possibly not even dating. There's something about Facebook and Myspace and sites of the sort that distorts my perception of the flurry of marriage activity, I think. The few people who are getting married or are married now that makes it seem all the more prevalent in number than they would if there were no such sites. I think what contributes to my perception also are my close friends who are engaged and married - there has been a lot of marriage activity within my closer circle of friends. Two of my best friends are married (one successfully thus far and one not so much), another close friend will be married in a few months and another friend isn't officially engaged but the wedding is already being planned - I call her engaged to be engaged.

Another difference between the high school BDS and now is that I don't really just want any 'ol Barbie. (Preferably, I'd like it to be as as high of a quality as the quality of Barbie pictured above. Simply fabulous.) Take my two friends who are married, for instance. As previously mentioned, one is not so successfully married. If her marriage was a Barbie doll, it'd be missing the head. (Who wants to play with a headless Barbie?) And both married friends started their relationships long distance and actually ended up moving a significant distance away from their home just to be with their husbands. Not to knock those who are willing to pick up their lives and move far away for love - but I'd prefer it if the luggage my Barbie comes with is only for the honeymoon.

This is just an interesting experience for me (which is why I'm compelled to write about it). It wasn't that long ago when marriage didn't even seem like an option - but my last boyfriend changed my mind about that. When it came down to deciding whether or not to break up with him, it came down to a question of whether I saw myself marrying that man - and I definitely did not. In asking myself that question and making the decision about what I didn't want in a mate, I unexpectedly made a decision about what I did want in a husband without really even conceptualizing it that way. It occurred to me recently what the impact of my decision was and now has me looking at dating in a completely different light than I did before I met my ex. My standards have changed - they've heightened. Any ol' raggedy Barbie won't do.

And it's interesting because I don't question "if" it will happen. It's sort of how I feel about my job hunt - it's not a question of "If?" but of "When?" It's in God's hands.

1 comment:

m dot said...

yo yo yo... i'm all up in your blog!

OK, so to the post above... eh. regardless of what's going on around us... 25, 26, 27 is still really YOUNG, especially since those we know who are 35, 36, 37 (let's keep it real) still act like they're 15, 16, 17, so... I say this to say, forget a Barbie doll, dear. I only had 2 and I chopped all their hair off and made their clothes. I quickly lost interest in the dolls after about 2 months. Some girls are supposed to play with dolls. Others are destined to become them. And some of us, if we're lucky, become women and put the damn dolls away.

new millennium negro, m dot