Monday, July 26, 2010

At this stage in my existence...

... I come to considering relationships, and things of that nature.

Why do we insist on them defining us, and who decided that worth was measured that way? The cries of the single, perhaps. The cries of the terminally single? I'm not sure. All I can offer an opinion on is that singledom is looked on with varying degrees of pity and incredulousity, enough that I question my own self.

Backtrack to a few nights ago. Watching my new guilty pleasure, Sex and the City. This really got me considering the whole notion of relationships. For the last week or so, I have been blissfully unaware of certain happenings around me in this sphere. According to social dictates, it is normal that at age 18, I should actively pursue a relationship. I am not, because I have a short attention span and my last few interests have turned out as follows:
  1. Please. Please, stop making me like you. It's hurting me.
  2. I have come to the conclusion I regret liking you. It'll come back to haunt me.
  3. Oh my gosh, YOU AGAIN?!
  4. I am indifferent.
  5. Get out. NOW. Stop appearing in here.
  6. This has gotten really awkward now. No, it's not you. I've forgotten your name. 
  7. We are all levels of incompatibility. I could have figured this out sooner if I paid attention to conversation. Come to think of it, that's another sign I was kidding myself.
But there is an issue here. For all my short attention span, and for actively knowing this and being okay with it, I get doubts. Doubts which aren't the usual, "I bet he doesn't like me," which more often than not is the case. These doubts are the general, "What's wrong with me? Why am I an insane crazy? Why don't I act all feminine like other girls, is that what's wrong with me? Or is it my penchant for Shakespeare, Scrubs and now How I Met Your Mother? Is it that I don't really care for sitting down and feeling fancy, while being looked after all the time? Am I emitting some vibe of 'I'm going to England, and to Melbourne, so don't get emotionally attached to me'? What is it?" 
Cue explosions.

My ideas of relationships have come from when I was tiny. I was 10, and had an insane crush on some guy at school. Older guy, he was 12. I can actually remember the very day I got that crush. Most of my first crushes, I remember their beginning. But even though I had this crush going on - which clearly could go nowhere - I was appalled at the very notion of a boyfriend
My mother said to me throughout high school, "You don't need that. You've got a life to live, and you have to focus on school." I was okay with this. I mean, I liked my books. Books were great. I'm okay with it now, too. I mean, it'd be nice. But at this stage I'm already heavily distracted by life itself. 
Reason doesn't always win out for me, and here is no exception. I want to be able to stomp excitedly through life, sure of who I am and sure of what I believe. Unfortunately for all my stomping, behind me creep the doubt bugs. Do you really want this? Do you really want to go into fiction? Are you sure editing is the path for you? Or publishing?  You should go into something more stable. Why aren't you trying for a Masters, or a PhD? And Creative Writing? Why not journalism? It'd look far better on your resume. With that sort of course you're better off just getting in a relationship. 28 may seem nice to get married at, but really? 10 years away. 
Then I get trapped. Standing there, they twist around my limbs and pour themselves into my ears. Cloud up my head nicely. Make it impossible to see emotion, let alone reason - crowding themselves with voices that aren't louder than my own, but are obstinate little fools aiming to make me forget who I am.

Then I get to praying, and to reading, and they go.

Okay, imagery's fun. But the whole point of this is, no matter how sure I feel about who I am, by myself, there's always going to be the lurking social stigma. We're getting sexualised at younger ages - interesting article here - and it's really distressing. If it's affecting me, and I've already got a fairly sure idea of who I am, what's it doing to younger girls and guys who are having these images thrown at them? Who are encouraged to get into relationships - and not even that, but to start throwing sex around as if it's a flipping frisbee, to be caught and tossed to another person with nary a care in the world? 

The report says this “drip-drip” exposure is distorting young people’s perceptions of themselves, encouraging boys to become fixated on being macho and dominant, while girls in turn are presenting themselves as sexually available and permissive.
The Democrats published this piece which also was really interesting for me to read. I mean, I'm not too up on how products are marketed nowadays, but I remember reading magazines like Girlfriend and Dolly when I was 13-14, and thinking that I should be out there sleeping around and being promiscuous all over the shop. 14. A kid, that's all I was. Here's another article - I have gone to town on Google, yeah. I'm trying to find Australian articles, being my audience and whatnot. But honestly, it sickens me.
I have a 14 year old cousin. She has two younger sisters; all three of them exposed to this. She is most susceptible, why? She's in the festering pool of youth called high school (I have great memories of mine). She's out of the realm of vague innocence and already is saying to me, "Am I fat? I'm not pretty. No one's going to like me." The girl is, quite frankly, stunning. But why is she going to listen? She's being pumped with the idea that sexiness is beauty, and sexiness requires hunting out androgyny. And that sexiness is what she needs to have at this stage in her life.

What was meant to clear my head and get me onto writing more articles hasn't really done so. Sigh. Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

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