Sunday, September 26, 2010

What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants (by Kristin Billerbeck) caught my eye years ago on the fiction shelf in the Christian Bookstore. The front cover looks a bit similar one of my favorite series: Shopaholic (by Sophie Kinsella), and it had this line: "All I want is a cute Christian guy who doesn't live with his mother - and maybe a Prada handbag." I bought it on a whim and immediately saw myself in the main character, Ashley Stockingdale. When I say "I saw myself," I mean it was shockingly me... as if some paparazzi cared enough about my life to follow me around, read my thoughts, and write a book about me. Creepy thought but cool series. I ended up buying and reading the entire series.

That was about 5 years ago. I was fresh out of college, depressed that the Harding Marriage Factory had failed me (or I had failed it), and I needed a book to speak to me. It did, and then it gathered dust on my bookshelf.

Tonight I picked up the book for some bubble bath reading, and again it struck me how me the main character is. I'm not trying to be vain, but it's funny how a book can practically scream "this is your life!" at you! See, Ashley is a young, just turned 30, single, Christian woman. Her life is fulfilling. She has family and friends in her life, a job she works hard at, a life balanced with work and play, and the whole "busy" thing going for her. However, she feels like she's missing something in not having a husband. Don't get her wrong, her life is complete and she loves it, but she has this sneaking suspicion that there could be more.

The first book starts with her looking around her singles' group (ok I don't have one of those) and asking herself basically what her "fatal flaw" (my words) is. You know... the flaw that stops you from being with someone. It's something you can't see yourself but it's obvious to everyone else or at least the men who don't want you.

A couple key paragraphs have already "spoken" to me, and since I don't have a highlighter handy, I decided to post them to my blog.

There's single for a season, and single for a reason. My singles' pastor used to say that and laugh like staccato Spongebob. I remember thinking it was hilarious until the day I turned thirty. Then my thoughts turned much darker, like hey, maybe I am single for a reason. That's a depressing day, when you realize Prince Charming isn't riding in on a white horse, and J. Vernon McGee is starting to sound awfully handsome on the radio.

While I'm not 30 yet (I'm 27.5), I totally understand this paragraph. I'm constantly asking myself "am I single for a reason? What the heck is the reason?!"

The next one is a bit longer, and it takes a little set up, but I really like it because it's flat out what's going on in the mind of most single women when this exact thing happens. The singles' minister gets up and announces that he and his wife are expecting. This is what follows:

Everyone claps. A polite round of applause that implies joy for the new gift of life, yet an irritable jealousy that no one wants to feel, but who can help it? Everytime someone gets pregnancy it's just another reminder: There's Absolutely No Chance of That Happening in My Life Anytime in the Near Future. Unless God is planning another Immaculate Conception, and I'm thinking He's done with that kind of miracle.

So I clap a bit more than the others, and smile. It's one of those plastered, fake smiles, but it's all I can manage. I am happy for them, really I am, and I know that envy is a sin, so I force such feelings away. But when I help throw another shower, and when I hold their perfect bundle of joy, it will hurt - and I hate that I feel that way.

I don't want a baby. I mean eventually, maybe, but not tomorrow. That last sentence though, that's how I feel. I hate that feeling, I do, but it's the truth. It's why there are times when I step away and am not a shower hostess or I don't attend a wedding/baby shower or I don't attend a wedding... because sometimes that feeling that I hate can't be pushed down to where it's not visible on my person. I am joyful for my brothers and sisters' joys, but at times, the fake smile isn't possible. Maybe that makes me a horrible person.

It all reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City talking to her friends: 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? Maybe that "rant" is for another post. Actually I think I've had that rant before but it wasn't really a rant. :)

Just thinking and enjoying my book. Hope you all have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. I totally relate to this! Sometimes it's so frustrating knowing that I'm unlikely to see a "return" on all of the gift-giving I do for baby and wedding showers. Most of the time it really doesn't bother me, but I do get the occasional melancholy feeling about it all. The SatC episode you mentioned is one of my favorites for that very reason. And the season/reason part of the book really jumped out at me when I read that series. The hard thing is, the older I get, the more I feel like perhaps I'm really one of the reasons and just don't know it, yet.

    Now, do I always feel this way? Of course not! But I do on occasion. And I know a lot of my single girlfriends say the same thing. We're in good company. :)Just don't let yourself get so caught up in that feeling that you wind up settling. That's only a recipe for disaster.