Life as we know it is filled with hot takes. Solicited or not, there they are. We see them as we scroll through Twitter, they are discussed in length on talk shows, we hear them through the group chat, and sometimes we are told, face-to-face, how our choices rank.
As an independent person, I don’t tend to ask for advice or help; when people reach across my barrier of reluctance, I see it as a sign of compassion. I’m open to opinions. Usually.
There are some cases, though, where I’d rather throw away those unsolicited two cents, and trade them for something I can actually use. This happens most often on the internet, when I see men debating how women should act, dress, and perform in socially constructed scripts. I avoid the comment section like the plague of misogyny it is.
Sometimes opinions are a little harder to avoid, especially when they’re personal. While I have a lot of material for people to discuss—note my English degree, my side-gig as a cannabis freelance writer, or my ongoing dietary struggles (currently saying goodbye to dairy and gluten, notable favorite subjects of Angry Commentators)—the most obvious is my marriage.
Well, not so much my marriage. People who know me and my husband and have been around our relationship, don’t have any qualms with us having said our nuptials; there’s never an issue of “not ready,” “wrong for each other,” or “not gonna last.” More, the problem lies at the age at which I am, and the fact that I am also married.
I was married at 22, and some people do not like that.
Too bad, folks
It doesn’t come up very often (thankfully), though there is a rogue comment every now and then. It happens when we meet with friends for the first time in a while, usually people our age that can’t comprehend making the marriage leap. It’s more common for people to talk about us, though, distinctly making sure we’re in earshot.
I’ve heard, “Why?! They have the rest of their lives to get married,” or some variation of, “That is way too young for us, how could anyone possibly be ready?”
[A direct message to the two-centers with the particularly nasty commentary: We can hear when you make petty comments that early twenties are wayy too young for marriage. And that’s probably valid for you and your relationships. Try not to let your insecurities seep into our happy lives, though. Not all hot takes are good ones.]
There’s also been—albeit rare—a call to the patriarchal nature of marriage, and how it’s not even a relevant structure anymore, now that women are able to act for themselves.
I hear them. I’m a feminist, and a proud supporter of Being An Individual Person. I kept my last name. We dated for five years before getting engaged. We didn’t live with each other until several years in. We were practical, logical, and responsible, all around. However, I’m also a lover. Hugely. I write poems and fantasize and create cheesy gifts of appreciation. I cannonball into feelings, splashing and whirl-pooling my way through waves of emotion.
I’m someone who found their soulmate, enjoyed dating, then said vows on a mountain. We didn’t skew the timeline, it just took place earlier than most people.
I’m so thankful that we got married. Marriage and dating aren’t quite the same, similar to how self-proclaimed dog-moms aren’t actually parents (Mother’s Day posts about the pooch are grossly inappropriate). You can be completely fulfilled, just in a slightly different way. Nothing is missing, but the experience deviates, even if just slightly. For us, this step from dating to marriage was a natural progression, and I honestly cannot imagine a life without being legally tied together, forever.
Regardless, any commentary about being 22 and married is moot: it happened. We can’t go back. The deed is done. We’re now 23 and 24, and continuing the pursuit of our best lives.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.