I’d been thinking a lot about difference over the last few weeks, sandwiched in between two cousins’ weddings. This Sunday will make the sort-of-last wedding of this batch of cousins. (Other cousins are much younger, still in school so, we’d hope, not getting hitched yet).
And as much as I’d like to think that I’m oh-so-independently forging my way forward, I am, it must be said, wholly different from everyone else, not following in any of the footsteps of any of my family.
I feel conspicuously the awkward odd-one-out. You can’t help but feel that way when every wedding presents again, that question about when it will be your turn, like there’s something very wrong with you because the wedding wheel-of-fortune hasn’t swung round your way yet.
So, feeling awkwardness and different. This is why:
1. I’m the awkward one who’s always in-between boyfriends — which is a nice way of saying that I’m always conspicuously single at all these couple-&-family-centered events, like weddings.
2. When I do have a boyfriend, there’s always something a bit wrong and awkward about him — he doesn’t speak English, he’s foreign, he never went to school (like ever), he’s shorter than me, he’s not only horrifyingly young but looks younger than my youngest, barely-pubescent cousin.
Why is it, they must all be thinking, that I can’t just find a nice good-looking Chinese boy who comes from Muar and works as an investment banker.
3. But of course, because I am awkward like that, I would never choose a normal vocation nor to spend my life with someone who did. This is why I spent four years in university making daisy chains and reading old books, and have gone on to pursue a career in something I do at home in my pyjamas and pays me three months late.
4. I am not maternal. I have never wanted kids. I feel awkward and clumsy when I come up against cousins’ children because I never know what to say to them and I don’t understand why they’re asking so many questions. Something must be wrong with me, perhaps, that I have such terrifying fears about children. A gynaecologist once told me, as I sat pleading with him to do me a tuba-ligation, that I should perhaps seek psychiatric help first because this fear of babies was so grossly ‘abnormal’.
5. I look like none of them — which is a nice way of saying that I am the only decidedly overweight girl in my family and therefore, am always that awkward one in family photos who’s trying to pose sideways and stand at the back so she doesn’t overwhelm the other tiny girls.
6. I am not polite and well-mannered as a young(ish) person should be…. which is why I will always stand by my opinion that that immense idiot of a third grand-uncle should just fuck off and leave the rest of the family alone already.
So I was bemoaning this to a friend recently.
“You know, I know I should be all ‘yay’ and ‘hooray’ that I’m single and have this great career and all this hoo ha, but it sucks when the aunties start asking you that question again about when it’s going to be your turn to get married as if there’s something wrong with you that you’re not. Wait. Is there something wrong with me?”
Then I thought — bang! Just like that.
Hang on, there’s nothing wrong in difference. The family (the ones that matter, not the idiots like that third grand under) don’t have a problem with the fact that I’m single / chubby / don’t work in a bank / could perhaps maybe one day be a lesbian.
So why should I?
This season, I’ve decided, it’s all about celebrating difference.
And so, I shall keep reading historical books until 4 in the morning
roll out of bed and do my work in my pyjamas
drink too much wine
flirt outrageously with very single but almost-always awkwardly unavailable men
eat cake and enjoy the extra kilos
think about being a lesbian
enjoy being a ‘mother’ to a smelly but gorgeous dog while I consider all forms of contraception
and heck, at this Sunday’s wedding, I shall wear my singleness loudly like a badge
image from pinterest