Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Fiancée/Bride/Baby Mama

Oh God. I’ve officially hit that age. You know, the age you’ve been hearing people moan about for years. The age that Buzzfeed articles make fun of and you read them thinking “Oh well, I’m not there and hopefully everyone will chill the hell out by the time we’re old enough to get there.” The Age of Bling, Brides, Bellies and Babies – and to be fair, I think I’m too young for this.

Every time I log onto social media (so for me, Instagram and Twitter), someone else is seriously committed, engaged, married or pregnant. Gone are the filtered photos of margaritas and sorority squats. Now, my feeds are full of bridal showers, couple kissy pics and babies taking their first steps. People post pictures of their first flat that they’ve rented with their boyfriend, of the dishes they bought at IKEA in a fit of domesticated bliss, of their brand new engagement ring from Tiffany’s, of the dance lessons they’re forcing their fiancé to take to prep for their wedding. There are more pregnant bellies and cooing baby videos than I’ve ever seen before in my life. And to be honest, even though I am the self-proclaimed Queen of Barf, it all makes me want to throw up. A lot.

I am not anti-romance or anti-wedding by any means, but it gets exhausting watching people who are your age or one, two, three years older than you are if that finding Their Person and starting Their Life while you still buy trashy knickers at Ann Summers and drink wine coolers sometimes. Hell, it’s worse when these girls are younger than you because then you sit there thinking “What in God’s name am I doing and is it right or wrong?”

My best friend from high school is getting married in November and I am her maid of honour. I would like to thank her for not being one of those annoying Brides to Be of Instagram and not posting a million pictures of her wedding prep. To be fair, she mainly posts pictures of food she cooks. But that’s fine. That’s normal. I would also like to thank her for still indulging in the occasional Bartles and Jaymes strawberry daiquiri wine cooler with me. To being adults and still drinking the same stuff we drank when we couldn’t buy our own! Two years ago, she said something to me that still resonates. “Mere, you’re the normal one. Juan and I are weird. It’s not normal to have this much figured out at our age. So there’s nothing wrong with you.” But with most of the people I hung out with in high school engaged or cohabiting or even committed to a transatlantic LDR, I feel like I’m ten paces behind everyone else and that I’m the freak for not being in a serious relationship or having a ring on my finger or a six months pregnant belly.

My British friends have the right idea. My friend Hannah said to me this morning via WhatsApp, “Fucking hell, we’re 23. 23.” My wifey for lifey flatmate Meggy dated a boy for five years and wasn’t even thinking about marriage any time soon. My LDN bestie Nicole has been with her boyfriend for nearly three years and they’re now trying to decide if they should open a joint bank account in addition to their own single ones. With them, I don’t feel like the Big Single Spinster in the room with her cat named Hairy Styles even though she’s deathly allergic to cats.

Now, I’ve been kind of unfair in this post because I’m not 100% alone, but I’m not 100% taken. My label is still single though, and that feels evident at certain times. Yesterday I went to my first bridal shower and I’ve never felt more single in my life. Because at least when you have a serious boyfriend you can think to yourself, “Okay, in X amount of time, it will be my turn to have everyone guess personal questions about me and force everyone to buy me house supplies.” But when there’s no one officially on that horizon, you do question whether or not your own wedding is an if instead of a when. If you’ll  make your mother cry when you step out from behind a dressing room door in an overpriced dress you’ll wear only once. If you’ll get to giddily go into Bed, Bath & Beyond holding a scanner and picking out things that you know may be a bit ridiculous but hell when else are you going to get to ask for an olive de-pitter and an espresso machine that also makes toast? If you’ll get to dress the most important women in your circle in matching sea foam green chiffon strapless dresses with sweetheart necklines from the J.Crew bridesmaids collection? And then I feel ridiculous for feeling like I’m never going to get married because I am only 23 goddamn years old.

Anyway, after the shower yesterday, I was so angry at the boy. But why? Yeah, he was a little flip when we spoke on Friday, but that’s not unusual behaviour from him. And now that I’ve had some time to think about it, here’s what I realised. I wanted reassurance from him. I wanted anything from him just to say “Hi, it’s okay, you’re okay, I’m yours and you’re fine.” He’s given me reassurance like this semi-recently, but he didn’t do it yesterday and therefore his previous reassurances became Null and Void.

I guess the overall point I’m trying to make is I feel crappy about where I am in my life right now, but I have no reason to. I am normal. These early married, early parents people? They’re the weird ones. Not me. Yes, I feel like Rapunzel in her tower singing “When will my life begin?” especially since I act like I don’t care, but I would rather have my own husband and family over anything else. I have no reason to though. I’ve travelled the world. I’ve fallen in love. And you can all bet significant amounts of money that when My Person shows up and My Life begins – you all will see it on Instagram.

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