Excerpt from the character, Sarah, in the book Little Children:
Not that they would, but if any of the other mothers had asked how it was that Sarah, of all people, had ended up married, living in the suburbs, and caring full-time for a small child, she would have blamed it on a moment of weakness. At least that was how she described it to herself, though the explanation always seemed a bit threadbare. After all, what was adult life but one moment of weakness piled on top of another? Most people just fell in line like obedient little children, doing exactly what society expected of them at any given moment, all the while pretending that they'd actually made some sort of choice.
For me this paragraph was the equivalent of a slap in the face.
Am I married? No. A mother? No.
But what I am is at an age where no one can be accountable for my decisions in life except me. There is no longer an excuse of being naive or having felt pressure from an authority figure to be one way or another. It all comes down to myself and that sometimes all too foreign person on the other side of the mirror.
As women I feel we spend an incredible amount of time looking at our reflections. Many immediately assume this can only derive from our own vanity and to some extent I'm sure that is true. But mostly I believe we are just trying to look for who the hell that person is in there.
We all have some sort of expectations when we go to take a glance at ourselves whether it is to see if something disappeared, still exists or can be found. It seems when we are teenagers we look so anxiously and have unlimited ideas to change or better ourselves. There are constant experiments with makeup, hair and clothes all to see which fits best. Searching for whatever fits even if what you feel is not in agreement.
As a teenager I felt when I grew up all I would need was a different shade of lipstick to become the woman I desired. There were images of a nude gloss gracing the lips of an independent business woman.. A sex siren in red carelessly strutting city streets.. Pout filled pink for adding an allure of innocence that could bring any man to his knees.. I was convinced I could become all of these women.
The thought never occurred to me that society had a very different opinion.
I seemed to hold onto these dreams and evade pressures of society for quite some time. I even created blinders to avoid watching girls around me fall in line, giving into the weight of it all. Slowly but surely young girls meet young boys... and well, we all know where that leads.
But why must it always have to lead to the same place? Marriage, children, responsibilities. And not necessarily in that order. I know a handful of young women in these situations who have kept there vigor for life and I admire them for doing so.
I am not against any of these positions of life and also want them for myself one day. Babies are beautiful and having a partner to experience life with is priceless. All I am hoping is that I can keep my desires and be a fearless woman in the process.
Why do we have to lose ourselves amongst these things like Sarah has? In the book she speaks of the colorful dreams and determination she had when she was in her 20s only to have lost all of her drive in a sea of heartbreak, play dates and what she is dreading to prepare for dinner. The way she describes her current state as a pile of moments of weakness frightened me to the core.
It made me look at my own hidden pile of weaknesses I can't quite explain and pray to God they don't define who I am today. I must become an example.. I have to make the choice to be a young woman who can not only look in the mirror and recognize herself but surely does not blame her state of existence on moments of weakness but rather moments of intention.