If my mother were Catholic I’m sure she’d have St. Anthony on his head- anything to help. Sometimes I feel that she views it as a personal failing; the equation in my mom’s head goes something like this:
Azul is Awesome
Awesome = Husband
Azul should have a husband
And then I don’t and she just doesn’t get it.
I’m sure my mom doesn’t use the word awesome (and am happy she thinks I’m so bomb), but overall I think we all know (logically speaking) that awesomeness does not equate marriage. I can think of plenty of awesome single people, all happy and conquering the world. But you know, Mexican culture* is more family centered: you socialize with immediate and extended. Your cousins are in your inner circle not by mere virtue of being your blood relatives but because you hang out with them all. the. time.
So, marriage, it plays a big role here.
Now, I’ve heard the marriage question a lot- my lawyer used to tell me that I should try to get my MRS degree (I subsequently told him that his job as my awesome, young Santa Claus looking attorney was to find alternative ways for me to stay in the country that did not involve pressuring me. There was a lot of finger wagging and head shaking), and the question that I get a lot here (and got a buttload in the States) “You lived in [Utah] for all those years- how did you not get married?” or “Why didn’t you get married?” or “Just get married already!”
I generally tell them I never found the marriage tree, full of ripe and ready husbands.
Now I know what you’re thinking- early twenties is no time to get married. I mean, who does that? What kind of bad idea jeans are they wearing, and what store do you avoid in order to NOT end up with a pair?
But living in a place where people fall and trip into marriage (I have stories for you about this. True stories.) it was simply expected- a social butterfly like me would snag herself some beau that would save her from deportation, and give her Mexican Mother all those longed for grandchildren. Everybody wins!
I think we can all agree that finding a person to share your life with permanently is not that easy- it hasn’t been for me anyway. Now I feel like I’m at an impasse because suddenly I have more questions than what I started with. When a guy seems interesting the interrogation starts:
- Do I like him?
- Do I like him because he’s American?
- Am I trying to like him extra hard BECAUSE he’s not American?
- Do I have internalized racism?
- Could he even grow a beard?
These are important questions that I am completely unequipped to answer- I mean, my Disney princess education did not include anything about this (maybe more singing while cleaning? or having more animal friends, not of the stuffed variety?). I think that may be part of the problem- part of the American dream is the idea that true love will find you in the end. You are going to meet that one person and sing off into some magical sunset, riding on some stallion, and finally get that kiss you’ve been trying for the entire length of the movie (has anyone noticed that? Disney is a master of the almost-kiss). The idea that you do find that one person at the end is nice, but some people never do. And- though I’m too young to even be putting myself in that boat- the thing is that finding your person/albatross/lobster is hard for some. Diminishing it to ‘Save yourself and get married’ is insulting. Why can’t I have my own dreams outside of some hot stud muffin? Is a woman becoming autonomous a right only reserved for women who came out of the birth canal on the northern side of the border line?
I don’t sit down and simplify marriage because as any married person can tell you, marriage is not simple, and asking why someone doesn’t do it makes you sound like a d-bag. You can’t whip up a spouse like you would a souffle (although that does sound delicious).
So, unless you are ready to get asked why you haven’t found the cure for cancer or why you haven’t bothered to grow an extra heart, don’t ask a person with immigration struggles why they don’t ‘just get married’. They’re probably trying to figure out the hot mess that their emotions have become.
Either that, or they’re looking for that freaking marriage tree, which if you find it, help a sister out, ya know?
* I don’t have any hard statistics for this particular statement. I’m just tellin’ it like I see it.