Firstly, please forgive me for the cliche title and secondly, before you judge me as a jealous, wicked stepsister type, hear me out.
I am so very happy for my friends. They have found wonderful men to share their lives with and I am honored to stand by them while they start their new journeys. I am also thrilled that some of them are popping out babies…on purpose. (Confession: I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that. It still makes me shudder, cute as they are. )
My main concern is that I’m being left behind and all the things I’m doing for them won’t be returned when it is my turn. Isn’t that awful? Did I just admit that? But I can’t help it. I have thrown shower after shower and bachelorette party after bachelorette party and now that I’m literally the last single girl standing what is going to happen when it is my turn? Is it just my fault that I’ve waited this long? Tough luck for me?
When people get married they stop hanging out with their friends (as much). They have a partner in life and the tribe they created in their twenties is now second fiddle. And that is what they should do. But what happens to me? Am I just the lone wolf because I didn’t find Prince Charming and get sperminated before thirty hit? Am I doomed to sit at home alone? Or worse, be that weird old chick that hangs out with the younger kids and makes out with guys fresh out of college?
It was fun when we were in our twenties to go to Vegas and celebrate so-and-so’s last hurrah but I don’t see that happening now that thirties, a husband and children are in the picture. And perhaps that wouldn’t still be an appropriate sendoff given our now advanced age. (Excuse me while I roll my eyes.) I know my friends have every intention to be there for me them…but life gets in the way. I can see it now, “I wanted to come but little Becky has a fever, sorry!”
And I’ve already experienced a few friends tell me they don’t want to meet my would-be-suitors (read: their husbands don’t) and “can we please just not meet the next one until you hit the six month mark and know he’s sticking around?” Excuse me but am I supposed to just go in hiding until then? Because they don’t seem to go anywhere without their husbands these days…and I’m tired of being the third wheel.
And can we please stop with the pity looks? Or telling me that maybe my expectations are too high. So it was not OK for you to settle but I should?
I don’t know why I always go back to Sex and the City…probably because I feel more and more like Carrie Bradshaw these days (with a dash of Ted Mosby thrown in), but I remember watching HBO in awe as these awesome spinsters (yes, I said spinsters) with great jobs were roaming around Manhattan looking for love. “That will never be me. I’ll find love young…when you’re supposed to.” Now I just want to shake my old self and say, “Prep yourself honey because it isn’t even going to happen in your twenties.” Little me would have a heart attack.
And Carrie was right, boy was was she ever right:
“Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn’t one occasion where people celebrate you … Hallmark doesn’t make a “congratulations, you didn’t marry the wrong guy” card. And where’s the flatware for going on vacation alone?”
I feel invisible some days. And why? Because I haven’t found a man? Well, I guess so. I’m not invited to couples weekends or dinner parties or playdates for the kids. And I’m not bitter. I haven’t given up hope… but it seems the world is doubting my worth because I don’t have another half to complete me.
And I wonder if it is because I live in the south. Some days I think I should move back to LA or some other city where I’m not a freak. My mom this morning even asked if I needed to move to a city where there aren’t 30,000 more single women than men. Yes, you read that right. Memphis has 30,000 more single women than men. And I’ve hit that age where baggage will be there, you just have to pick the person whose baggage you can deal with. When did that happen? How did I get to that age where everyone has some deal breaker “thing” about them?
So do I find new friends? I don’t want to find new friends. These are my people. They were there for me when my father died. They held my hand when my serious relationship that I was convinced would end in marriage instead just ended. And…they’re awesome. I love them. Why should a little wedding band get in the way?
I was in Ephesus, Turkey last month and the beauty of the place moved me to tears. They have only uncovered 14% of this ancient city, but I was in constant awe of what lay beneath the ground for so many years. I loved looking up at this magical library like a child full of wonder and when I saw the rainbow going across the theatre, I thought for sure this was my dad’s way of saying hello from heaven.
My legal first name, Joy-Elizabeth, was too long for a newborn, so Joelle became my nickname before I was out of the womb. Joy was my maternal grandmother and Elizabeth was my paternal grandmother … hyphenated to show that each name was equal and I was both parts.
Joy as a noun means “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness; a source or cause of delight” and as a verb, it means “to rejoice.”
So combined, I like to think it means “to rejoice the fullness of God.”
I have always thought Joelle was strictly French (the feminine of Joel), but in my research this morning I also found that it is a Hebrew name, and of course, now an American name. Across the board, it means “Jehovah is God.”
At this time of my life, I can’t imagine being called anything but Joelle. For years though, mostly after college, I hated it and wanted to reinvent myself. – so I simply went by Joy when I moved to LA. Returning back to Memphis, however, also meant returning back to Joelle.
Now, I think that Joelle is a beautiful name (probably due to my current state of Zen), but as a child I was “tortured” over it. The kids would sing “Joelle, Joelle” instead of “Noel, Noel” at Christmas time – it was devastating. Plus people would mispronounce it, mostly calling me Joel, which highly offended me because how could anyone possibly think I was a boy?
Names are a powerful thing and I often wonder what I will name my own children…now that I am anywhere close to being a mother. We don’t think about the important names play day-to-day but it is how you introduce yourself literally to the world…and it can definitely make a difference on how people perceive you.