Gracie is a a good friend, spiritual soulmate, and recovery warrior of those at Unpolished Journey. Currently finishing her masters in social work, Gracie is rediscovering her soul after years in a dark battle with an eating disorder.
“So…are you seeing anyone?”
“Hey, it’s so good to see you! What’s the boy situation like?”
“I meant to ask, is there a lucky man in your life?”
“Hey, hey, hey, any boys on the Radar?”
…any boys on the Radar? On the Radar…hmmm…let me think…I believe that my radar is showing patches of brilliance, a wave of independence, a downpour of success and taking adventures, with a 100% chance of deep and meaningful friendships.
Society, relatives, friends and coworkers too often see a bright and brilliant young woman and immediately look desperately to her right and her left to search for her “leading man”. They look at a vibrant life force and see her as only half there…missing the essential other half—the boyfriend, the fiancée, the spouse. This phenomenon does not only echo the heterosexism and heteronormativity within society, but it degrades the strength and worthiness of the woman, just as she is, without the addition of a partner. Too often I have panicked before a family get together or the weddings of friends because I lack the essential: “Grace Mayer and GUEST”. I should march into these situations eager to talk about graduating with my master’s degree. I should be excited to tell my family about my life-altering trip I took to Africa. I should be ecstatic to talk about completing my first marathon and training for more. I should march into these events with confidence and excitement to share updates on my wildly wonderful life full of rich friendships, spontaneous weekend adventures and challenging questions of what the future holds. I would love to attend a function where the first questions asked were…
“How is your life?!”
“What are you up to these days”
“Will you tell me all about your dreams!?”
I would the chance to talk about my goals, my triumphs and my struggles. I would love to talk about the wild and wonderful things that are on my Radar without topic: Hurricane Love Life. Whether I am dating someone wonderful or whether I want to embark on adventures, meet a variety of people and get married when I’m 40 I do not fundamentally change the person that I am. The presence or absence of a man does not change the core of who I am as a person, and I am not sorry for who I am because who I am is something worth asking about. The person I am is worthy of taking up space in this world…with or without a counterpart.
For many women who already struggle with confidence, self-esteem and self-love, the message that she is incomplete without a man is only reinforcement that she is not enough. This also instills a false belief that—if I struggle to love myself—I should just find a man who will do it for me. No. Young women and young men need to learn to love themselves first and not rely on someone else to provide a false sense of worthiness. As a person who struggles with self-esteem and battles to find true self-love, I would love to see society shift to recognize each person as enough, just as they are. I often wonder how the lives of young people would change if we asked about their dreams and goals instead of their love life, or lack there of. I want to be seen as complete, just as I am.
I am the leading lady, this is my life. I would welcome a sidekick, but it makes it hard to rush off to rather save the world. Imagine for me, if you will, how different the stories would look if Batman had to stop in the face of emergencies because the majority of Gotham City is asking why there is not a lady in his life. I want to answer the world’s call to take my place in the world. I want to be recognized for all of the unique facets that make my contributions special. I would love to hear Gotham City whispering, “there she goes, she’s powerful, she’s brilliant, she’s capable, and she’s not sorry”.