They say to me why aren’t you married? Their faces crease with worry as I grow older, with lines that carve my face and white ink that flow through my hair.
You need to be married. You don’t want to be old and alone. A statement rather than a question. A statement of my needs and desires.
Sometimes, I stand outside my body and I see my aunts watching me. They try to steer my life. To be who they want me to be. To be who they need me to be. They get frustrated at my reluctance to follow.
Look at all that your mother has done for you. You need to do this for her. They whisper in my ear. Guilt rises throughout me, making me hot and uncomfortable. I haven’t found him yet I reply. Their faces are confused. They must wonder how someone can reach this age and still be unmarried.
Why do they not celebrate me mum? I cry, hurt. Why are the women surrounding me not proud of the life I have made? If I was a He instead of a She, would it be different? Would they say how well I am doing in my job or how brave I am that I have moved away from home? I wonder why women cannot help each other rise to be greater beings. To be more than what they are. To be their truest potential.
My red lipstick and painted face offends them. I defy the notion of what they have held true their entire life. That a woman does not actually need a man to be fulfilled. That I have money to support myself. That I smile and laugh, although standing alone.