Sixteen years ago when I first became a single mother after walking out of my marriage, most of what I heard from people were tongue lashings of pity and mild condemnation.
Well-meaning relatives and tactless friends would offer unsolicited commentary about my future or lack of it. The most common line was that I was now “damaged goods” and that no man would ever want me and my baggage.
I will begrudgingly admit that for a time, I let that get to me. I entertained thoughts of: What if they’re right?
Over the years, I realized that the comments didn’t stop at being labeled as damaged goods. There was always something to highlight, to warn me about, to admonish. Some flaw that supposedly spelled my doom.
“Too smart for your own good.”
The last comment is one that is especially memorable because it came from the judge at my annulment hearing. According to him, my being too smart for my own good was the reason why my marriage failed. There was a lot of other evidence to the contrary, but the good judge thought otherwise.
I don’t remember exactly when my turning point was. I only remember that I got tired of hearing some version of why I was not enough – or maybe to align it with the superlatives used – too excessive. I simply got tired of letting other people’s opinion influence my life. My life, at least as I saw it, was full and complete in its imperfection.
So I decided I had two choices: I could get angry. Or I could get busy.
I decided on the latter.
I have stories to write, goals to achieve, men to fall in love with (maybe I should include women? It is 2018, after all), memories to make and many hearts to break along the way. My to-do list is a long one.
The path will be riddled with disappointment and failures but, in equal measure, it will be filled with joy and fulfillment. I’m sure my heart and my ego will become battered and bruised when they refuse to stop at speed bumps, but so what? So the fuck what? Life should be lived with a sense of openness to adventure and a healthy dose of optimism. It shouldn’t be wasted worrying about what other people think and letting that dictate my decisions.
I have my stilettos, sneakers, and flip flops at the ready for whatever adventure presents itself. Hell, I’ll even go barefoot if that is what the occasion calls for.
Of course, this won’t deter the detractors, the cynics and the naysayers. And that’s totally fine. I know that when I get to where I want to be, I will look back at them with...gratitude. Their discouragement and their skepticism made me work harder, aim higher, and do better.
Whenever someone labels you some version of “expiring women” and warns you about your limited shelf life, thank them. They just reminded you that time is the most precious asset we have been given in this lifetime. Time is also the greatest equalizer – it is the only thing that none of use will ever have enough of.
Don’t waste time getting angry. Get busy.
I have and I’m still not done. I won’t stop until my work and my achievements stand out over minor details like my age or my gender.
To the most callous and insensitive of detractors, I have my two tall (wo)men on standby. Right now, I am running my tongue over both of my middle fingers and using it to blow them a kiss.
The best revenge is a life well lived. It is also the best comeback to being called an “expiring woman”. – Rappler.com