The ‘why I am like this’ category

My Life as a Vampire

May 12th, 2017

Writing prompt: “She didn’t get married until she was in her 40s. There must be something wrong with her, right?”

When salespeople call me “ma’am” I flinch, but the truth is that I’m about 400 years old, so it’s probably accurate. That’s a slight exaggeration, but still, I often feel somewhat immortal in the way vampires are, resigned to living out lifetimes stacked upon lifetimes until I get stabbed in the heart with a wooden stake.

There was the lifetime I endured just after college, surviving as a waitress and doing pottery in all my spare time. There was the lifetime in the dotcom world, pretending to care deeply about wireframes and gritting my teeth through a forced team-bonding field trip to Disneyworld. There was the lifetime in the yoga machine, desperately seeking to be a better person every day—or at least a skinnier one. There was the lifetime I spent in Marin, organizing my days around fresh air and solitude. And there’s this lifetime I’m in now — a married mom of twins in suburban Utah.

You might think these experiences were sequential: one led to the next. But to me, they seem unrelated. In fact, it’s sometimes hard for me to believe that any of those prior lifetimes were actually mine, although I have the angsty journal entries to prove it.

I didn’t get married until I was in my 40s. To be honest with you, I never had any desire to get married. I didn’t not want to get married, I just didn’t care.

Partial credit for my unconventional mindset goes to my mom, who never once asked me when I was going to get married and have babies. In fact, I was pretty nervous to tell her that I was pregnant, because I was sure she’d be upset about my downward spiral into normalcy. I wasn’t raised to think that good girls get married, settled down, and have children. I wasn’t beholden to any sort of traditional archetypes like that. Forever I lived in worlds where happiness was not defined by one’s ability to land a man and procreate swiftly. I lived amongst feminists, gay people, and folks from all different cultures for most of my life—that was normal to me.

Then I moved to Utah.

Now, I live in a culture that revolves around traditional family structure. Women in Utah settle down early, and it’s not uncommon for them to have kids by the time they’re old enough to drink—not that drinking is a relevant measure in this heavily LDS state. I’m an anomaly here, but to be fair, Utah is an anomaly to me, too. This homogenous fixation on traditional nuclear family is pretty new to me.

It’s funny that I moved here to have kids and get married. And I am very happy to have ended up with my husband and my two beautiful twin daughters. It was a happy turn of fate—not the inevitable end to a lifetime of seeking, but an unexpected surprise. My husband was simply the right one at the right time (although once, he was the right one at the wrong time). 

I have been lucky to live many lifetimes in this lifetime. Somehow, they probably all led to this one. And yes, there are many things wrong with me, but the fact that I didn’t get married until I was in my 40s isn’t one of them.

One of the main reasons I’m excited to get my daughters out of ultra-conservative Utah is that I never want anyone to wonder why they aren’t married yet.

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