I grow up like most girls, surrounded by romantization of marriage and the idea of forever happiness as the reward of constant struggle in looking for ‘the one’. Values embodied in religion and Indonesian society also strengthen the normality of marriage, hence making unmarried women not normal.
As a single Indonesian girl in her 23rd year of life, receiving wedding invitations can be frustating. It reminds me that in two year or three, people (especially my parent) will start to get worried and speculate whether I have bad personality, cannot move on, lesbian, sleeping around, or simply doomed to spend her life alone with cats. Sometimes pitiful comment comes from my own friends, they are worried if I will ever move on from the ex I broke up with last year. They asked me to accept people’s flaws, to set my standard lower, to get out more. For someone who takes people’s opinion seriously, my respond is quite predictable. I make efforts to look prettier, accept friend’s offers to match me with random stranger, and fall with a flirt or two. I desperately try to love and be loved back. But then I ask, why should I?
In the past a year and half since I am being ‘pitiful single’, I learned to love everyone. I have all the love in the world from my family and friends from which they never need to return because I am happy to do so. So why should I throw myself in an informal contract to love and be loved back, the so called ‘relationship’ that sometimes ends up to institutionalized formal contract called ‘marriage’?
When I ask people why do they want to get married, they asked me back, ‘why wouldn’t you?’, ‘don’t you want to have a husband and kids?’, and worst ‘my parent wants me to get married early’. I am lucky to grow up in a messy enough family to know that marriage is more than a flowery wedding, jolly newlyweds and cute babies. It’s not that I am against the notions of marriage, but don’t you have to question more before throwing yourself in that great level of commitment? To commit yourself to other’s life, a partner, kids, when your decisions in life will affect theirs?
If in the end I decided to be with someone, maybe it’s because of an egoistic reason for I don’t want to spend this short mortality alone. But for now, I am happy being ‘pitiful single’.