“I’m just saying, these days, it’s not just women looking for sugar daddies, it’s men looking for sugar mamas.” My mom is looking down at my feet as she says this, scraping the dry parts of my feet. I feel like Jesus. When did we transition to this kind of relationship? My brother is getting married this weekend. I feel like the hippie sibling who only half grooms herself, come from out of town, to suburbia spa land. It’s kind of nice actually.
A frown grows on my face, “What do you mean? That that’s why he broke up with me?”
In my mind, my heart is churning. She certainly doesn’t do a good job of being soft with the ways she says things, and if she was trying to make me feel better, it’s definitely not working. I know she doesn’t mean to hurt my feelings though.
“I just, wish I had known some things, or understood things differently. Your dad made it seem like he was fine with me staying home, but then later on, I think he resented that I was the one staying home with the kids and he was working full time.” Working for the man. I know that’s what my dad would say. He never wanted to work for the man. I suppose that’s what happens when you take on a house, with your wife, and three children down the line.
“I didn’t feel that independence, like if I wanted to get out of it–I could”¦but if you’re happy with your life, it’s fine.”
“So you’re saying no man is going to want to commit to me because I don’t have a consistent income?” I’m half-way defending myself, and half-way terrified. Is that true? Part of me feels like crying, but that feels stupid. I don’t want her to win, or to let my self-esteem plummet completely, yet. I sigh. “I support myself though, it’s not like I’m just la-di-da, a total loser.” Right?
“Is it sustainable though? Like your brother. He married an equal, with a good job.”
I suppose that’s what weddings do though, to us seemingly wandering, aimlessly, singletons. Cause us to re-evaluate our self worth, with or without someone to call our own, to call our partner, our co-warrior and confidant.
“I feel like I am doing what I want. I support myself, I’m healthy, I have independence. If some guy doesn’t like what I’m doing, he can go get a blow-job from someone else. Rest assure you he’ll miss me later. At least I’m happy, and not doing some job I hate. I’m not asking anyone to support me.”
I frown again. A part of me is scared she’s right. Why does it really matter though? I’m in Seattle, a city I’ve really grown to love. I feel totally independent. I love my lifestyle. I walk and bike everywhere. I live with other people, we share food costs, grow lots of food in our garden, have a house that is vibrant, full of community, sharing, good conversations. I don’t feel lonely. I’ve had lovers, but she’s right. Nothing has lasted. How sustainable is my living situation? Will I be still living with others as a forty-year-old, and is that OK?
Most days, I’m just grateful, for my health, for a job. As a nanny, I get lots of little kid love without feeling like my biological clock is going to explode in my face, expiration date looming. I’m attempting to push myself into some sort of artists’ community. Find meaning in my work, to contributing something good to the greater scheme of a messed up world.
I feel decently cool, but some days, I definitely wonder. What the fuck is going on? More importantly, I wish I was attracted to the sugar daddies. It seems like some things would be easier. Maybe I wouldn’t recycle everything–but I might miss out on some cool garbage turned into art project. I’m still helplessly chasing the other wanderers, and pining after a life I have not yet fully invented, but am organically creating and stepping into.
It’s OK, I think, to re-create new standards of normal. The world is constantly changing. I am full of gratitude for the freedom to shape my own life. I know love will make a way with this poor loving heart of mine. I believe it for my friends and those I love, so I think I can allow to believe it for myself, even if I don’t know yet what that will look like.