I began writing a blog several weeks ago on the subject of running; however, since beginning said blog, I have managed to break my back* and, whilst I fully intend to pick it up once I am healed, the thought of blogging about running, my beloved sport, seems unnecessarily masochistic at present. Still, there is many a blog subject whizzing around in my head just waiting to be put into writing.
During the last flat-bound week, a subject on which I have recently ruminated much, has been pushed to the forefront of my mind. You see, what with the vast majority of my friends tying the proverbial noose… I mean knot… buying houses in true grown-up fash’ and even dropping sproggers, I have been driven to study my own situation in greater depth.
It has been suggested that my views on relationships, nay on society in general, are somewhat unorthodox. I can’t even begin to summarise on such a broad subject without going off on a tangent, but I can say, just to give the general idea, that the middle-class myth of romance, marriage and happily-ever-afters leaves me cold. Don’t get me wrong, I v.much believe in love, but not in quite the way that western society dictates, although I have been Disney indoctrinated on my life journey as much as the next person. Anyway anyway anyway, to conclude before I really begin, I have no intention of marrying**, no interest in bearing babbits and I am clinging to my solitary studio as if my life depends upon it. All well and good and that’s my prerogative, you might say. But for the past few months, this resolution has been tinged with a nagging doubt. It isn’t the body clock rapping on my maternal instinct and it certainly isn’t the sight of yet another blushing bride in a strapless*** wedding gown. It is simply the matter of security.
Possibly this uncertainty has been borne from my mother’s indefatigable refusal to conform and marry her partner of 12 years, and my concern for her future well-being. Regardless of how it sprang into being, the question of security had begun to needle me long before the disappearing chair incident and my subsequent incapacity. A week of disability, however, has taken it’s toll. The question is now not just lurking nonchalantly, but tramping around the forefront of my mind wearing hobnail boots.
It’s all v.well my spouting on about independence and freedom and personal space and self-respect as an active twenty seven year old. It’s ok for me to spurn marriage as a fresh(ish)-faced young woman; no conventional beauty, it’s true, but no munter, either. But what happens when I unravel? What happens when I am forced to give up running, walking, yoga-ing, working out****? What will happen when the lines on my face don’t fade throughout the day, when my hair is grey and thinning and I can’t quite make it up the stairs or even remember where the stairs lead? If I do not marry, if I do not have children, if I never manage to make enough money to hire a good nurse, who is there to look after me?
This week, I have mainly relied on Gary, my boss (or my boss’s boss, if I am to be pedantic), who lives just around the corner from me and is, much to my eternal gratitude, always looking out for me. Michelle would have also been a great source of support, if she hadn’t been seconded to Belfast for the week. And it’s unfortunate that my partner is away skiïng in.. um… Sweden… Switzerland… somewhere beginning with “Sw”, although he did spend the former part of the week running me to hospital and bringing me shopping. I’m sure that both Michelle and my partner would have done their best to take care of me had they been here, but it’s a boring, time-consuming job to look after someone when you work full time yourself, and neither of them are used to me needing them; I encourage and seek autonomy in any relationship. I have been indoors for a week, peering out of the window at the ice-rink that is my street, unable to even step foot out of the door for fear of falling and doing yet more damage. I hate this. I hate needing people.
I hate even needing my mother and consider our relationship to be strictly want-to-know these days. But of course, the fabulous Mrs Dewsnap has, naturally, come up trumps in the hospitality stakes once more. She is my Mum at the end of the day. But when I am old, what then? My mother insists she will live well into her hundreds and, being as solid as she is, I can well believe it. If she makes her hundreds, though, who will be looking after who?
Michelle, my saviour and good friend, will one day pledge allegiance to the U. S. of A., marry a rich American and pop out more bairns than she’ll know what to do with. She does not share my cynicism of marriage. And Gary, great friend that he is, is the same age as my mother.
There is always John, of course. We made a pact, way back in the days of puppy fat, that should we both be single at the age of thirty, we’d marry each other. Thirty in those days seemed so v.far away and as the day of judgement looms, the boundary has been pushed laughably further and further back. I think we agreed on forty five at the last count. It seems John has no desire to marry either… even if I had been the right sex.
So, then, I expect to deteriorate and rot alone in my old age, far away as it seems right now.
Although I have not yet reached the end of the book, “The Female Eunuch” for me so far has been life-changing. Not in the sense that it has opened my mind, but rather because it has confirmed my own existing ideas. Whilst I don’t agree with every single point in an extended essay that is, in essence, a documentation of one woman’s opinions, it has voiced several thoughts that I have often tried to express and been rebuffed for. This book has been a blessed relief. It seems that my ideas are not as bizarre as people would have me believe – at least one other person agrees with me; and one as rational as Germain Greer, no less.
The real eye-opener, though; the section that made me think twice, was the short chapter entitled “Security”. This concern of mine is relatively new and I like to mull things over and really attack the root of any problem to find a solution, which often takes a while to come to fruition. Sometimes I ask questions of people†. The chapter on security has saved me a job, although I’d like to believe that I would have reached the same conclusion in the end had Greer not pipped me at the post. It’s all so obvious when you think about it:
There is no such thing as security
And I don’t just mean in terms of companionship. If you pay into a pension, does that guarantee your financial security? If you marry, does that mean you’ll never again be single? If you invest, does that mean you will get a greater return on your contribution? If you raise moppets, does that mean you will never be lonely? A husband/wife/civil partner can just as easily run off with a temp’ or get hit by a bus as a singleton. People change, companies go bust, markets crash, children grow into adults. All we are guaranteed is the moment in which we live and breathe and all we can do is hope that our investments (no matter what they be) pull through for us in the end.
Contrary to being daunting, the realisation that security is yet another mirage of society is v.comforting to me. At least this way, I can view other people’s situations in a new light when compared to my own. Others are no more secure than I am, they have just bought into the myth. All we can do is our best!
It’s a similar feeling to the realisation that after death comes nothing. Blessed, divine nothing. And once we are gone, none of this will matter a single jot. What a heavenly thought…
* Just my coccyx. It was a hilariously impressive feat performed after the consumption of copious amounts of mulled wine, whereby I hallucinated a chair and sat on it with all my might.
** If it hasn’t happened already
*** It is the fashion, I am well aware of this and each to their own
**** For many reasons that I won’t list right now
† Deep, delving, inappropriate, occasionally downright insubordinate questions.