One of my favorite songs is “I Wonder” by Kanye West. It came out my junior year of high school, and at the time I was still in the process of “finding myself” and rejecting so many things I’d been taught to be true by society. Even then a particular verse in the song stood out to me, even though at the time I didn’t realize why and I just thought the song rang true for so many people in this world, not necessarily relating to me. Now that I’m a little bit older, I’ve been listening to the song a lot lately because the entire song seems to parallel so much of what’s going on in my life right now, my thoughts, my feelings. Instead of copy and pasting the lyrics (because, really, that’s what I’d be doing to highlight how much of it is on point) I’ll just link. However, I want to revisit the lines that always struck me, because in the last year it has come to fruition to me why I find them so to be so true. These lines are actually from the last verse in the song, which I think helps to intensify their impact and significance:
What you about?
On that independent shit
Trade it all for a husband and some kids
You ever wonder what it all really mean?
You ever wonder if you'll find your dreams
When I first heard these words I was instantly in love. At the time I’d just started to learn about womanism (I skipped the whole feminist stage and went straight to womanism thanks to my mentors Alice Walker and Nikki Giovanni) after being vaguely into “women’s rights.” Actually now that I think about it, growing up feminist ideals were always omnipresent in my household—from the things my mother said, to my parents divorce when I was 9 and seeing my mother be independent and tell me to never depend on a man, but also seeing her struggle and the loneliness that came with it. At the time I saw those things as my mother being “strong”, when in reality and now that I’m older, I know that was probably not the case. However, at the time I thought only of dreams of the future—I didn’t date, I didn’t want to date, I had plans to not even think about dating until I graduated college. Education and being successful would come first; anything else could and would wait. I’d planned out my life and in it there was no sign of a relationship, and children? Ha, definitely not that. I saw all of these things as a hindrance—as something that would get in the way of my dreams and ruin them (which is how women are taught to think: either career or family, happy in-betweens are more than likely not plausible. I’d like to think this idea is complete bullshit, but that may not be entirely true).
I think subconsciously those lyrics were trying to tell me something when I was sixteen. I think deep down I knew that that’s the road I was heading down, and that one day I would realize that everything cannot wait, and sometimes you have to make room for the things that seem “weak” and realize there is nothing wrong wanting those things. I didn’t understand that until I was 18 and a freshman at university. I’d made it to college, yet I was lonelier and more miserable than ever. There weren’t too many couples on campus to rub this in my face, yet it was this deep feeling of unhappiness. I would have these intense bouts of depression that all seemed to stem back to be alone. One night over the summer my mother put is so plainly for me. She said, “When you fall in love your sadness will go away—think about it. You are completely happy in every other way, but in that one way you are so alone, and it can effect so many things even if you wish it didn’t or want to find another cause for the sadness.” And she was right.
I realized that no amount of success could replace loneliness. There are so many songs and films and books about how awful it is to be alone when you don’t want to be. People spend years of their lives trying to find some semblance of happiness, someone to share their lives with. There are plenty of people who really do enjoy being alone, but I am just not wired to be one them. Someone down the line my priorities changed, I realized I want someone to see me through, to share my success with, to love me and hold my hand and kiss me just because. I realized that someday I want kids and to have someone by my side to watch them grow, that I want all of the things I once worked so hard to reject. And you know what else I realized? There’s nothing wrong with that, there’s nothing inherently weak in wanting those things, and it won’t hinder anything—it just such a wonderful enhancement.
That was made all the more obvious to me when I met T, and how much I want to make this work with him because I know guys like him don’t come around too often, and I know that I am lucky to have found him. But my paranoia and fears and insecurities might be the death of us—although I’m really trying—and that’ another blog altogether (which it just might be very soon). I guess what I’m trying to say is that in the end, nothing matters if you aren’t happy. And that is the simple answer.