I am 26. Latina. I come from a family and community that believes I should already be married with at least one child and another on the way.
But, I’m single. To them that is just horrifying news. The unthinkable. They’ve been patiently waiting, and feel like they cannot wait any longer.
I spent the holidays being surrounded by family members with significant others, kids, newly engaged, married for years, and quien sabe que mas.
So the lingering question that every young Latinx person has heard was imminent in that room “y el novio?”
And the Boyfriend?
And the boyfriend?
You don’t have a little friend?
Como que no?
The idea that a young 26 year old, with a degree, on her way to get her masters, who knows how to cook, and loves kids doesn’t have a husband, not even a boyfriend, is unfathomable. It’s ungodly in their eyes. Like a piece of my life is missing.
I recently went to dinner with my mother, who asked me if I was seeing someone.
I sat there quietly and before I gave her my real answer I asked her if she was going to listen without judgement, if she really wanted to know my story. The answer was that I was single. That I am single. And that I was tired of settling for men undeserving of my attention because of the immense pressure to settle down and have kids.
She just nodded, and looked at me with these eyes full of pity. I knew she was saying, “I just want you to be happy.”
As quickly as I parted my lips, I blurted out my whole story. My summer romance with a guy that the whole family loved but I just couldn’t see it going long term. It lasted longer than it should have because my family adored him, prayed for him, asked continuously about him.
But as women we just know when that “it feeling” is non-existent. I had to say goodbye out of respect for myself, for him, our time, and our beloved friendship.
But then came the unexpected. A reconnection with an old “could have been” and it was magical. You know when you get that immediate spark, and you just know, damn I don’t know where you came from but I want you to stay type of feeling.
He gave it to me. In a way that I hadn’t felt it in years. In very un-me fashion I let my guard down, I let him in. I told him about my wants, my goals, my desires, and my way of looking at life. We came to terms with the fact that we both just wanted to go with the flow, let nature runs its course, and if it flourished into something, actually go with it.
This was it, or so I thought.
Someone on the same page, no pressure. Someone who let me imagine being with them past a dinner date and a mid-night rendezvous. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and after a week of nonsense and typical fuckboy fashion ignoring, I got the “I’m still in love with my ex” speech.
He had to go. Of course, I felt some type of way. I liked him. A lot. More than I should have. But this experience, this man, this fuckboy, and this text, taught me a lesson I needed to relearn.
He made me realize what I wanted, what I was looking for, and what I already knew I deserved.
I decided to stop answering the booty-call texts. Stop going on mindless dates with people who couldn’t hold my attention past the appetizers. To stop swiping right or left. I decided to just focus on me, to realign my energy, and to truly embrace my greatness.
As I continued to tell my mother my story I let her know that I was happy, that I am happy. That I’m embracing all that I have to offer. That yes, I would love to share my life with someone, but that I won’t settle for anything less than what I deserve. I told her how man number two made me realize what I wanted in someone and what I didn’t’t. He made me realize what values were important for my future husband to have.
Then she smiled.
It was at this moment that I knew she was proud of me. I defied all the odds my family had and still thrusts upon me. It didn’t matter that I was 26. Latina. Educated. Unmarried. Without children.
I am her daughter. Her soldier. Her warrior. The spitting image of who she was and who she had raised me to be.
So this Valentine’s Day I will sip my glass of wine, and watch TV all by myself. On the 15th I will enter the pharmacy with my mother, as we do every year, and buy all of the joyous chocolate on sale.