ADMIT ONE: I am Impatient
ADMIT ONE is a series focused on a few of my less-than-stellar traits as they have played out in my everyday life. These declarations and explorations are meant to keep it funny and keep it real. Any sage advice is directly from my mother/therapist/someone much wiser than me; I just had the idea to write it down. For anyone looking to laugh and learn from someone else’s mistakes:
these words are for you.
Note to all future employers & boyfriends: DO NOT READ
I am impatient.
Prime Now is a service provided by Amazon to its members who wish to receive select online orders in a short amount of time. Like many features designed to solidify us as the Instant Gratification Generation, I initially balked at its unnecessary purpose but found my impatient self worshiping at its altar when I realized that my savior could arrive in two hours or less!
I’ve used Prime Now many times to deliver goods to my doorstep but have also increasingly found myself wondering why this option can’t apply to more than just my material wants.
Why can’t I Prime Now becoming a bestselling author?
Why can’t I Prime Now living in a gender-equal society?
Why can’t I Prime Now marrying Jake Gyllenhaal?
It doesn’t matter how I frame it; the picture that looks back at me shows that I am impatient in my relationship/humanitarian/career goals. With that in mind, I dedicated this first installment of ADMIT ONE to the manifestation of my impatience in an attempt to gain some perspective on this behavior (and maybe learn a little along the way).
Alright, let’s get the big one out of the way: my impatience has greatly impacted my love life in ways I am only now able to admit. For years, it crept into my conceptions of healthy relationships with men. I wanted Mr. Right and I wanted him to be Mr. Right Now.
I first noticed this my sophomore year of undergrad when it felt like every other early twenty-something around me was getting engaged. Whether it was a Southern, religious, or sorority tradition, it felt like everyone else had put a ring on it. I found myself asking, “What’s going to happen to me if I don’t have a fiancé by 22?” My poor, clueless boyfriend at the time probably thought I was crazy (I was.)
Yes, it is crazy to want the responsibilities, hardships, and sacrifices of a bond like marriage
just because your friends have it.
But if you are or have ever found yourself in that mindset, you feel like all of the other couples in your life, especially the engaged ones, are at an *~exclusive party~*. You wonder if you’ll ever get the invite. You wonder if those friends have any single friends who can get you the invite, if applications like Tinder can get you an invite, or if you should just forget about the invite altogether and adopt six dogs and call it a day.
Although I can look back on those years and laugh about having a Pinterest wedding board at age 20, there are things I regret missing out on; I left real parties because I was too worried about missing out on metaphorical ones. I neglected real relationships because I was so busy looking for the perfect one.
It took a long time for me to realize that I’m not ready for the invite in the first place. While I do believe that many of my young, married friends have found the right people, I now know that getting married by age X isn’t an all-inclusive invite to happiness. And while I’m sure changing and growing alongside someone has its own magic, I’m currently of the Aziz Ansari philosophy:
I feel like I see people my age getting married to people they’ve known for like a year and a half. A year and a half?! Is that enough time to get to know someone, to know you want to spend the rest of your life with them? I’ve had sweaters for a year and a half and been like what the fuck was I doing with this sweater?! Can’t believe I thought I would keep that sweater forever.
I’ve still got a lot to learn when it comes to impatience in relationships but I like to think I’ve collected a few solid pieces of advice for those trying to Prime Now everlasting love:
You have to—HAVE TO—love yourself before you can love someone else.
Relationships should (almost) always be fun. At the very least, they should make you feel good.
Learn the difference between being alone and being lonely.
Because when it comes to the sweater I’ll wear forever, I’d rather Pony Express a classic piece than Prime Now this season’s trend.
I could power stance on my feminist soapbox all day but it boils down to this: while I’m not impatient for wanting gender equality in my lifetime, I am impatient for expecting it to occur when a large portion of our society thinks feminist is the second-dirtiest F word.
While I am still deeply disturbed by the election results, I know that electing Hillary wouldn’t have really solved gender inequality, just as electing Barack Obama didn’t solve racial inequality. And electing a black female president, Muslim president, or Rolling Stones-loving president won’t solve any of our country’s other deep divides (Stones > Beatles, duh.)
The revolution isn't top down. It's bottom up. It starts with us.
On January 21, I went to the Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women. In the week leading up to the March, I saw what felt like every rebuttal attempting to disavow its importance. Asinine headlines titled I'm a Female and I Don't Need Feminism and I'm Not a Feminist and That's Okay were shared throughout my Facebook newsfeed (nice try, clickbait.)
In that same week, I also learned that I was not accepted to a prestigious, international fellowship where I would report on Italian feminists (there goes my chance to leave when #45 takes office, I thought).
And I ended a relationship with someone who I realized did not support my feminism (that one was honestly for the best.)
Yes, it was a shitty week.
But attending the March for Social Justice & Women was the highlight of my 2017 thus far. It was the most inclusive, peaceful demonstration of resistance I have ever witnessed. Finally seeing the phrase Intersectional Feminism leap from the pages of my books to the posters of my fellow marchers was absolutely incredible.
Am I bummed I didn’t get the fellowship? Without a doubt. Am I sad that someone close to me didn’t believe in my dreams? Sure. But in the week after the march, I realized that these setbacks were just a lesson in patience: something that was sorely lacking in my humanitarianism.
Without these factors in my life, I can start over and perhaps build a little patience along the way. I can nurture this virtual space where others can learn about my feminism and me, flaws and all. I can listen and be an ally to members of my community instead of trying to solve an issue 5,000 miles away. I can make it undeniably clear that fighting for the rights of women and minorities is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
In the spirit of keeping it real, it’s important for me to open up about the biggest life change I’ve experienced in the past year: beginning my first job. In my final semester of undergrad, I was interning for two nonprofit and kickass local arts organizations. Being surrounded by creatives who practiced what they preached was incredibly inspiring and unforgettable but, in the interest of exploring the full spectrum of art nonprofits, I pursued a full-time position with a larger, more corporate organization.
My inner punk was not pleased.
I got the job (woo!) but how would I transition from student and habitual overalls wearer to a real adult who asks her 45 year old co-worker how his kid did in the school spelling bee? I had just spent 5 1/2 years picking my own schedule, seeing my friends at all hours of the day, and submitting assignments where thinking outside of the box was encouraged; how was anyone supposed to take me seriously? They gave me a desk and a computer. They handed me invoices. They invited me to meetings.
The change of scenery and responsibility was initially exciting but my inner punk fought hard against working a 9 to 5 office gig. Even though my parents had told me that I probably wouldn’t get my dream job right away (in fact, they told me multiple times because I am also incredibly stubborn), I still felt such frustration when I filled out the gazillionth invoice; how was I supposed to change the world by sitting at a desk all day?!
It took a while for me to see that my frustration was just impatience in disguise. As much as I think I'm ready to change the world, I am endlessly thankful for the many opportunities to learn and grow in this first full-time role. The truth is, I do some pretty kickass things at my first job: I have an intern, I’ve played a significant role in revamping our brand and communication strategies, and I get to help make the arts more accessible to people in my community.
For now, I keep my overalls-wearing to Casual Fridays and the weekends. When I’m feeling really fierce, I bust out my pink Docs and pray I don’t get called into my boss’ office (not yet!)
And whenever I get impatient about my current situation, I channel it into doing whatever is necessary to help me land my dream job: anything where I can dress like Carrie Bradshaw, advocate like Gloria Steinem, and write like myself.